The Society of Authors was founded in 1884 and its first President was Lord Tennyson. Over the years, a great many prominent writers, including Shaw, Galsworthy, Hardy, Wells, Barrie, Masefield, Forster, A. P. Herbert and countless contemporary writers, have assisted in its activities and campaigns.
The SoA’s journal The Author has been published quarterly (at times, more often) since 1890 and is a valuable record of the fates and fortunes of writers over the last 125 years. The SoA’s archives from 1884 to the 1960s are now at the British Library.
A past Secretary of the SoA, Victor Bonham-Carter, wrote an excellent history of authorship, based largely on the SoA’s archives. Authors by Profession Volume 1 covers the period from the introduction of printing until the Copyright Act 1911; Authors by Profession Volume 2 covers the period 1911-1981. In 1984, to mark the SoA’s centenary, Richard Findlater published Author! Author!, a selection of articles from The Author (of which he was then the Editor) since 1890.
A limited number of copies of Authors by Profession Vols 1 and 2, and Author! Author! are available from the SoA - £15 each (including UK postage). Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.