While Dropmore was a private press that was founded in 1945, its history actually starts in 1936 with a private press called Corvinus. Corvinus Press was the respected hobby press owned and operated by George Lionel Seymour Dawson-Damer (who was once Ireland’s Viscount Carlow). Corvinus published beautiful new work by authors like T. E. Lawrence, James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis, but the company was forced to cease operations when Dawson-Damer was killed in a wartime plane crash in 1944.
Dropmore Press got its chance when newspaper-owner James Gomer Berry purchased most of the assets required to open a private press from the now defunct Corvinus Press, including all of the necessary printing equipment, paper, and type - and even their press-man.
While Dropmore continued to be a private press, its directors took the publishing house in a slightly more commercial direction. Like Corvinus before it, most of Dropmore’s publications were limited runs, usually of a less than a thousand copies. However, their books were less flashy than those Corvinus had published years earlier, which was a product of the post-war times. Despite appearing more like a typical trade publication of the era, they produced some very interesting works by the likes of Evelyn Waugh, T.S. Eliot and George Sitwell, and due to their limited print runs have become fairly collectible.
Dropmore was also noted for producing quality ephemera, the most recognizable title for bibliophiles being the Book Handbook, which was dubbed "An Illustrated Quarterly for Discriminating Book Lovers" and was partly the brain child of none other than Ian Fleming. It was this quarterly which eventually would morph into the magazine known to contemporary collectors as “The Book Collector.”