Our Lineage and Values

We believe and strive to be truthful to those ideals:

  • Free editions available for all. Money is NOT mandatory to increase one’s moral intelligence.
  • Sustainable materials for the printed works and alternative digital editions whenever possible
  • No exploitation of other people, we bind our books ourselves in France with sustainable materials
  • A curated catalog of books that are useful and short. No mindless fake self-help literature here.
    Life is short, let’s not waste it writing and reading fluff instead of acting on what matters.

Count Leo Tolstoy greatly influenced the company’s values from it’s first days, 120 years ago.
At first we were mainly dedicated to publishing his works. In fact, our founder, was deemed to be even more Tolstoy than Tolstoy himself.

We do our best to be faithful to them and our first mission is still to provide mankind with meaningful material to heighten the level of consciousness and alleviate suffering in the world.

From the beginning we were a revolutionary editor, not in the sense of a violent coup: The Free Age Press was “à l’avant garde” in the publishing world, as, according to Tolstoy’s wish, the editions were free to reproduce and not copyrighted.

Such an idea of how literature ought to be distributed was not to be seen again in europe for the greater part of the century as the copyleft and creative commons movements only began quite recently.

Publisher Vladimir Chertkov (1854-1936) in the compositors’ room of the Free Age Press in Bournemouth, England, 1902. (photo by Hulton Archive)
Chertkov in the compositors' room Bournemouth, 1902.

Here is our preface from a 1900 edition:

The Free Age Press stands for an attempt to assist in spreading those deep convictions in which the noblest spirits of every age and race have united—that man’s true aim and happiness is “unity in reason and love”; the realisation of the brotherhood of all men,—and that we must all strive to purge away, each from himself, those false ideas, false feelings, and false desires, personal, social, religious, political, racial, economic, which alienate us one from another and produce nine-tenths of the sum of human suffering.

Of these truly Christian and universally religious aspirations the writings of Leo Tolstoy are perhaps to-day the most definite expression, and it is to the production of 1d., 3d., and 6d. editions of all his known religious, social, and ethical works, together with the unpublished matter and future writings to which we have and shall have special access (being in close relationship with Tolstoy), that The Free Age Press will at first devote itself; trusting that all who sympathise will assist by every means in their power, especially in helping to spread the books the world over, losing no opportunity of introducing them whenever and wherever feasible, and of so making it possible for the work to be continued, and extended into wider and wider fields. As it is Tolstoy’s desire that his books shall not be copyrighted, our editions will, whenever possible, be free to the world.

Suggestions, criticisms, inquiries, offers of help and co-operation will be gratefully welcomed; and it is specially requested that the names of any books that have helped towards a better understanding of life may be furnished, so that a much needed list may be compiled and published.

Letters, Private Orders, and Money Orders (it is hoped that friends will purchase as many copies as possible: even one will help) should be addressed to:
The Editors, “Free Age Press,”
Maldon, Essex.

Please do not use this address anymore, see contact us)

Page 9 of Pamphlets by Leo Tolstoy, published by The Free Age Press in 1900 green paper and black ink, mission statement

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