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01 February 2007

Devon imprints introduction

Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History; 6
Books with Devon imprints: a handlist to 1800

Introduction, sources & abbreviations, imprints: 1505-1674, 1675-1699, 1700-1704, 1705-1709, 1710-1714, 1715-1719, 1720-1729, 1730-1739, 1740-1749, 1750-1759, 1760-1764, 1765-1769, 1770-1779, 1780-1781, 1782-1784, 1785-1786, 1787-1789, 1790, 1791-1792, 1793-1794, 1795-1797, 1798-1800, printed forms.

This work originally published: Exeter: J.Maxted, 1989. Copyright: Ian Maxted 1989.
ISBN 0-9507306-7-X
For Kate


This handlist sets out to give details of books, pamphlets and ephemeral items printed in Devon or with Devon booksellers specified in the imprints. For the earliest period it also lists some printed items probably intended to be distributed mainly within Devon although this is not specified in the imprints. It forms part of a three-pronged project aiming to chart the development of the book trade in Devon. The other parts are a biographical dictionary of book trade personnel recorded as being active in Devon from earliest times until the middle of the nineteenth century and a history of the book in Devon. The entries in the dictionary give references to imprints recorded for each person, referring to the date of publication followed by the surname of the author, or the first word of the title for anonymous works. For this reason there is no index to printers and publishers in the present checklist.

Both parts of the project are being held as HTML files and will be continuously updated as new information becomes available and further verification of entries proceeds. The first issue of the handlist was made when the number of entries reached approximately 1,200. After consideration it was decided not to await the publication of the revised ESTC or the computerisation and indexing of the second editions of STC and Wing, all of which has doubtless revealed additional items. Many of the entries require further checking, the subject index entries have not always been based on examination of the original items - something which is in any case not possible where the original no longer survives - and the precise relationship of different imprints of the same title has rarely been established with certainty. The chief reason for this is lack of research time but it was hoped that the early release of the handlist might encourage the contribution of corrections and additions. At that stage in 1989 it contained details of many more Devon imprints than have been previously described in a single listing, and many of the titles are recorded in no other published bibliography. As already mentioned, the items have not all been described as a result of personal examination. The main exceptions are those which include WSL (a copy in the Westcountry Studies Library) as a source. In addition Dr. Jonathan Barry kindly visited the Bodleian Library to check imprints recorded in Eighteenth-century British books : an author union catalogue. I am very grateful that he has been able to expand many of the brief entries by this generous action. The staff in the Devon Record Office have always been most helpful in directing my attention to early printed items in their collections. The source of the main information is indicated in each entry by an asterisk against the appropriate reference. Full cross-checking of each entry in all sources was not attempted; normally notice was only taken of entries which actually indicated a Devon imprint. As imprints were not always given in many of the early sources, relevant items in certain catalogues may well have been missed.

As the sources differ in the amount of detail they include, total consistency of description is not possible. Most entries contain the following sections:

1. Filing date. This does not include the qualifiers sometimes found in the imprint to indicate uncertain dates.

2. Author. Like the date this is in bold type and forms the basis of subdivision within years. Where there is no author named, the first significant word of the title is given in bold and used to arrange the entry.

3. Title. In general full transcription of title-pages has been attempted, only quotations and prices being omitted. Punctuation has been taken over from the source but capitalization has been standardised, only proper names and titles being given capital letters. In the earliest works contractions have been expanded in pointed brackets thus <>, and non-roman alphabets have been transliterated within square brackets followed by a note of the original alphabet. The title is followed by an edition statement where appropriate.

4. Imprint. In the imprint [s.n.] can either indicate that there is no printer or publisher named on the item itself or, more normally, that the information is not recorded in the catalogue source. Examination of the sources at the end of the entry should normally make this clear. The imprint has been slightly modified at times to bring it more fully into line with current cataloguing practice. Unlike ESTC it includes addresses, where these could be obtained from the source. Dates not obtained from the imprint are enclosed in square brackets.

5. Pagination and format. Principles for pagination follow those adopted by ESTC. Basically unnumbered and uncounted pages are given as totals in brackets, the first and last numbers in counted but unnumbered sequences are enclosed in brackets and numbered and counted sequences are given without brackets. The presence of plates is noted at the end of the pagination statement but details of number and position are not normally given. The format is the bibliographical format and not based solely on size. Where this information is taken from catalogues it may not have been accurately recorded. Collational formulae are only given for a few early items.

6. Notes. Where present these can relate to authorship, subject, publication details or other points of interest.

7. Sources. In each entry the sources are not listed in any consistent or significant order. Details of locations are not normally given as these are frequently ascertainable from the sources themselves, but where descriptions have been taken directly from actual copies, the location of the source copy is noted; such copies are normally located in the Westcountry Studies Library, the Devon and Exeter Institution Library, the Devon Record Office or, in the case of the items examined by Dr Jonathan Barry, the Bodleian Library. A list of sources is given below.

Material is continually being added and any items recorded since the main handlist was printed are appended at the end of the main listing. Some but not all of these may be included in the indices.

There is an appendix of printed forms, mainly based on material in a few deposits of archives in the Devon Record Office. The appendix makes even less claim to exhaustiveness than the main listing.

Indices of authors, subjects, places and names were provided in the original publication. To avoid confusion for those using those indexes for statistical purposes, each item has no more than one entry in each index. Some cross-referencing has been made, particularly in the subject index. References are to date followed by author, or the first title word of anonymous works. As already mentioned some of the subjects are little more than guesswork where the original works could not be examined. However an attempt has been made to index such categories as sermons and poetry by subject. In the place index the place does not necessarily reflect the subject content. It may, for example, refer to the place where a sermon was preached or to some local association of the author. The index of proper names is subdivided chronologically by date of publication regardless of the aspect dealt with. Besides individuals forming the subject of works, this index includes institutions, properties, ships and wars as well as plays performed at the theatre.

Ian Maxted October, 1989 (revised February 2002)


AUC: Eighteenth-century British books : an author union catalogue, extracted ... by F.J.G.Robinson ... [et al.]. - Folkestone : Wm Dawson , 1981. - 5 vol. - References only given to this source where fuller descriptions have not yet been obtained.

Bodleian. Descriptions obtained from copies in the Bodleian Library examined by Dr. Jonathan Barry. The shelf-marks are normally given.

Brockett, Allan. Nonconformity in Exeter 1650-1875. - Manchester : Manchester University Press , 1962. - Appendix listing works on Trinitarian controversy.

Clough, E.A. A short-title catalogue, arranged geographically, of books printed and distributed ... in the English provincial towns and in Scotland and Ireland up to and including the year 1700. - London : Library Association , 1969.

Davidson, James. Bibliotheca Devoniensis : a catalogue of the printed books relating to the county of Devon. - Exeter : Roberts , 1852. - Supplement 1861. - A copy annotated by Davidson was used to obtain additional information. The locations given by Davidson have usually been quoted and expanded where possible to make them more immediately comprehensible. Davidson's own collection, the Secktor Library which was almost certainly the largest early collection of Devon books and pamphlets ever assembled, passed after his son's death to the Plymouth Athenaeum (q.v. in list of sources), where it was destroyed in the Blitz. Unfortunately Davidson gives the place of publication but not the publisher.

D&EI: Devon and Exeter Institution Library. Catalogue of the Devon and Exeter Institution library ... Exeter : Printed by W.Balle 1863.
- Appendix to the catalogue. - Exeter : William Pollard , 1880.
The collection itself has only been checked selectively. This reference also appears within parentheses as the source of entries in other bibliographies.

Dickinson, M.G. Early Exeter printers and booksellers 1669-1741. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, 29 (1963), p.128-138. - Used mainly in the supplement of printed forms.

Dredge, John Ingle. Devon booksellers and printers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Privately printed, 1885-91. - Reprint of articles which originally appeared in Western Antiquary: [Original paper]: vol. 5 (1885), p.1-8,25-32. Supplementary paper no. 1. Vol. 5 (1885), p.112-114,119-123. Supplementary paper no. 2. Vol. 6 (1887), p.97-100,121-125,153-156. Supplementary paper no. 3. Vol. 10 (1891) p.9-12,34-36,103-105,126-128, 151-154. Sources of information are given in parentheses. (See also Sheaves.)

DRO: Devon Record Office, Castle Stret, Exeter. Reference numbers are normally given.

DUL: Brockett, Allan. The Devon union list (D.U.L.) : a collection of written material relating to the county of Devon. - Exeter : University Library , 1977. - This work does not give imprints but references are included selectively as it provides locations in Devon libraries.

ESTC: The eighteenth century short title catalogue : the British Library collections / editor R.C.Alston ; assistant editor M.J.Crump. - London : British Library , 1983. - Only the entries with Devon towns given as the place of printing have been fully incorporated; items with Devon place-names appearing elsewhere in the imprint have been included where noticed but full searches have not yet been conducted.

Kress Library of Business and Economics. Catalogue ... - Boston : Baker Library , 1940+.

NUC: National union catalog : pre-1956 imprints. - London : Mansell , 1968-81. - 756 vol. - Used for verification of a few titles only.

Plymouth Athenaeum: Catalogue of the Davidson collection of pamphlets etc in the library at the Athenaeum. - Plymouth : Plymouth Institution , 1894. - This collection was destroyed by bombing in 1942. Like Davidson's bibliography (q.v.) it gives place of publication but not imprint.

Plymouth Public Library. Index catalogue of the reference department including the Devon & Cornwall library. - Plymouth : W.F.Westcott , 1892. - This collection was largely destroyed in World War 2. References are to accession numbers. Imprints are not given, and the place of publication is not always recorded for non-London items.

Roscoe, S. John Newbery and his successors 1740-1814 : a bibliography. - Wormley : Five Owls Press , 1973.

Sheaves: Dredge, John Ingle. A few sheaves of Devon bibliography. In: Transactions of the Devonshire Association:
The first sheaf. Vol. 21 (1889), p.498-548.
The second sheaf. Vol. 22 (1890), p.324-356.
The third sheaf. Vol. 24 (1892), p.476-526.
The fourth sheaf. Vol. 25 (1893), p. 552-601.
The fifth sheaf. Vol. 28 (1896), p.547-605.
The sixth sheaf. Vol. 31 (1899), p.331-355. Compiled posthumously from his notes.

Somers Cocks, J.V. Devon topographical prints 1660-1870 : a catalogue and guide. - Exeter : Devon Library services , 1977. - Little used in the checklist for the period to 1800, references to the publication of individual prints will appear more frequently in the forthcoming book trade biographical index.

STC: A short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English books printed abroad 1475-1640. - 2nd ed. - London : Bibliographical Society , 1976-. In progress. There was no access to the indexes of printers and booksellers.

The term catalogues 1668-1709 A.D. with a number for Easter term 1711 A.D., edited by Edward Arber. - London : E.Arber , 1903-06. - 3 vol.

Wiles, R.M. Freshest advices : early provincial newspapers in England. - Columbus : Ohio State University Press , 1965.

Wing, Donald. A short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland and Ireland ... 1641-1700. - New York : Index Society , 1945-51. - The third volume of the second edition has not yet been used for this checklist.

WSL: Information from a copy in the Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter.

Other references should be explained fully where they occur.

This page last updated 26 Jan 2001
© Ian Maxted, 2001.