Prof. Carol Ann Johnston

Category: Adopted Book–Origins

Students in ENGL 222 at Dickinson College trace the origins of their book–its conception, writing, printing, author, acquisition by the archive.

Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue: Origins and Afterlife

For those readers just joining me now, this is the second in a series of three blog posts about Dickinson College’s 1619 copy of the Catalogue and Succession of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, and Viscounts of England. (I’ve had to abridge the rather unwieldy title, which can be found in part one.) My first post was a general overview of the material book, and here I turn to the origins and the afterlife of this deceptively straightforward text. 

The existence of the Catalogue is inextricably linked to one man: Ralph Brooke. Brooke rose from the son of a shoemaker to York Herald in the College of Arms, where his combined desire to fight corruption in the College and his short temper regularly put him at odds with other heralds—and made him no stranger to fines and suspensions. The story of Brooke’s personality and career shines through best in the following anecdote: in 1602, he formally challenged (among 22 others) the heraldry that Garter King of Arms William Dethick had granted to John Shakespeare, the father of William Shakespeare, on the basis both of low social rank and of similarity to those of another lord (fig. 1). Brooke soon found his challenge defeated, though, by a group which included his arch-nemesis (and coworker) William Camden. Brooke’s general discontent with the College’s output, particularly Camden’s survey of the British Isles, Britannia, led him to author his own Catalogue and Succession to correct the perceived errors made by his colleagues. 

Fig. 1: The arms challenged by Ralph Brooke. Shakespeare’s arms can be seen in the top row, second to the right.

He chose William Jaggard to print it. A former apprentice of the great Henry Denham, Jaggard had by 1619 become a leading London printer and bookseller with a Crown commission for copies of the Ten Commandments. But he was hardly a paragon of honest business, and coincidentally, his own dealings with Shakespeare best establish his complicated personality. In 1599 Jaggard printed a collection of poems called The Passionate Pilgrim. The second edition, published the same year, is attributed to “W. Shakespeare”—who had written only five short poems in the entire twenty-poem volume. Jaggard also credited the 1612 expanded edition solely to Shakespeare though the only new additions were poems by Thomas Heywood; it took Heywood’s publication of his (and Shakespeare’s) disapproval to get Jaggard to remove “By W. Shakespeare” from the title page (fig. 2 depicts the title page of Heywood’s “Apology for actors”). In 1619, Jaggard falsified the dates of several Shakespeare plays so it appeared he had the rights to them; the resultant compilation has become known as the False Folio. But even after a long career spent wading in the muck of unethical business, Jaggard also printed the legitimate First Folio. William Jaggard’s dealings with Shakespeare thus reveal something of a Janus with a print shop: a man simultaneously reputable and prone to unethical action in order to make money. 

Fig. 2: The title page of Heywood’s Apology for Actors.

A conflict between the personalities of Brooke and Jaggard seems almost inevitable. Dickinson’s copy, which is a mess, bears the scars of the two men’s conflict. In order to determine this book’s physical origins, particularly its fraught printing process, one must consider its afterlife. We must look to the published words of Brooke and Jaggard. 

Two editions of this book exist: the 1619 edition and a corrected 1622 edition in which Ralph Brooke appears more incensed than before. The title page, while it does contain much the same text as in 1619, also features this addition: “Collected by RALPH BROOKE, Eſquire, Yorke Herauld, and by him inlarged, with amendment of diuers faults, committed by the Printer, in the time of the Authors ſickneſſe” (Brooke). No printer’s name appears, but according to the catalogue entry from Duke University, Brooke has jettisoned Jaggard and enlisted the services of William Stansby, printer of Ben Jonson’s 1616 Workes. 

Brooke explains the “faults committed by the Printer” in a letter addressed directly to the reader. While most of the letter accuses other heralds of enviously trying to defame him, Brooke states in the opening paragraph that he has fixed “many eſcapes, and miſtakings, committed by the Printer, whilſt my ſickneſſe abſented me from the Preſſe, at the first publication” (Brooke). He styles himself as someone who intended to regularly check in on his book during its printing, seeking a significant level of control over Jaggard’s press, and whose illness is what let the printer freely make errors. Our York Herald is not content to air his grievances in prose alone: he also includes a poem in heroic couplets. (Below this extended diatribe William Stansby chooses to include his own errata list.) 

It must be noted: the comic potential of Ralph Brooke’s characteristic irritability did not escape his contemporaries. In 1622, Brooke’s coworker Augustine Vincent published A discouerie of errours in the first edition of the Catalogue of nobility, published by Raphe Brooke, Yorke Herald, 1619. This book satirizes Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue and includes testimony from numerous individuals with connections to the York Herald. One of these individuals, it happens, is the printer of Vincent’s book: William Jaggard. 

In his own scathing letter, Jaggard pushes back against Brooke’s assertion that he is to blame for the errors in the 1619 edition of the Catalogue. Drawing on the original errata list, Jaggard argues that the errors are self-evidently the result of Brooke’s own mistakes in scholarship. Even the workmen at his shop “will at no hand yeelde themſelues to be fathers of those ſyllabical faults”; they too believe Brooke to be to blame (Jaggard). Here Jaggard turns Brooke’s watchfulness on its head: if he was watching the printing process so carefully, then the errors must be his, especially given that during his much-mentioned illness, “though hee came not in perſon to ouer-looke the Preſſe, yet the Proofe and Reviews duly attended him, and he peruſed them… in the maner he did before” (Jaggard). Jaggard finishes his letter pointedly with the word FAREWELL in capitals. 

What emerges from the discourse between the 1619 Catalogue, the 1622 Catalogue, and Augustine Vincent’s Discoverie is a decidedly combative printing process. One wonders whether Brooke’s meddling is why most of the engravings are missing in the 1619 edition, why the page numbers are messy, and why the title page has been glued in. It must be said, of course: the biographies of Brooke and Jaggard alike give legitimate reason to distrust both their accounts, for one was prone to bad-faith criticism, the other repeatedly conducted dishonest business, and both were openly keen to preserve their reputations. Their conflict, though, is self-evident, and the book seems to have been the main casualty. 

The afterlife of Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue is a quiet one after 1622. Brooke and Jaggard were both dead by the middle of the decade. From the 1640s to 1660, the Civil War and Interregnum resulted in the death or exile of countless nobles and lasting changes to the English governmental structure, rapidly making Brooke’s text—either edition—obsolete. It is telling, I think, that Dickinson’s 1619 edition bears the marks of a single early modern reader, one Sir Samuell Thomas Newman, who annotates it according to the errata list in 1640. (More on him in my upcoming “Audience” post.) The only later marks establish the book as the property of Edwin E. Willoughby and then Dickinson College (fig. 3). When Dickinson acquired the book from his sister Col. Frances Willoughby, the provenance did not come with it, so the text attests only to the ownership of Newman, Willoughby, and Dickinson College. 

Fig. 3: The bookplate in Dickinson’s copy of the Catalogue.

What seems abundantly clear, regardless of how it got from Newman to Willoughby, is that this book was rarely used. Because Brooke failed to acknowledge that his work was collaborative, its quality suffered, and his book gradually faded from memory as anything more than the ranting of an irritable herald whose printer happened to also print the First Folio. Ralph Brooke, were he alive today, would likely hate to hear that William Camden’s Britannia is considered a milestone in English literature, while the Catalogue has become obscure. 

Works Cited 

“Book Descriptions: Glossary of Terms.” Book Addiction UK, 2023, 

Brooke, Ralph. A CATALOGVE and Succeſsion of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marqueſſes, Earles, and Viſcounts of this Realme of England, ſince the Norman Conqueſt, to this preſent yeare, 1619. London, William Jaggard, 1619. 

—. A catalogve and succession of the kings, princes, dukes, marquesses, earles, and viscounts of this realme of England, since the Norman conquest, to this present yeere 1622. London, William Stansby, 1622. <> 

—. The Armes presented vnto her Maiestie with the first [..] par Garter Dethecke. 1602, . 

Bland, Mark. “Stansby, William (bap. 1572, d. 1638), printer and bookseller.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

Herendeen, Wyman H. “Brooke [Brookesmouth], Ralph (c. 1553–1625), herald.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

Heywood, Thomas. An apology for actors. 1612, 

Vincent, Augustine. A discouerie of errours in the first edition of the Catalogue of nobility, published by Raphe Brooke, Yorke Herald, 1619, and printed heerewith word for word, according to that edition. London, William Jaggard, 1622. <> 

Wells, Stanley. “Jaggard, William (c. 1568–1623), printer and bookseller.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

The Frugal American Housewife—Origins

Lydia Maria Child was a known author and editor, a Native American Rights and Women’s Rights activist, and abolitionist, with published works about slavery and race; she also authored The Frugal American Housewife. Many of her published works are on topics of race, slavery, and rights, including her work An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans. She received backlash for publishing the piece, leading her to step down as editor to her children’s magazine The Juvenile Miscellany, though she continued to publish works for and about marginalized societal groups (“Lydia Maria Child,” 1). Some of Child’s other works include The Freedmen’s Book and The Mother’s Book (Poetry Foundation, 1). She married David L. Child, an abolitionist and editor, who was also an abolitionist (“Lydia Maria Child,” 1). Some of her other projects are highlighted on the title page of The American Frugal Housewife (See Figure 1). 


Figure 1


The book was printed at the American Stationers’ Company in 1836. This company opened the same year and closed two years later in 1838 (Firms Out of Business, 2). An interesting observation to note is the fourth edition copy I was able to look at was also published in Boston in 1831 but by a different company, Carter, Hendee & Babcock, which underscores how popular this book was, with multiple publishers needed to meet demand. The American Stationers’ Company published other known authors including Nathanial Hawthorne (Christie’s, 1) and informational texts like Atlases (Digital Public Library of America, 1). The Frugal American Housewife was a popular guidebook; therefore, when looking at other texts the American Stationers’ Company had published, it is not unique that they would take interest in Child’s book. Not much is known about the company and why it closed two years after its opening. Further research using the Gale Literature Dictionary of Literary Biography failed to find a reason for the company’s closure, but it confirmed the publishing of some previously mentioned titles. It is interesting that this publishing company went out of business, even with selling a popular book in circulation at the time during their first year of business. My guess is the company may have simply lost business and had plummeting profits, as there is no mention of a merger with another publishing company. In general, I could not find much information about the company other than their published titles. 

After speaking with Dickinson College Archivist Malinda Triller-Doran, I concluded the book is printed on rag-based paper. Pulp-based paper became popular after the publication of this book in the mid-1800s. There is no evident pulp in the paper, and it has not grown brittle with age. Pulp-based paper is more likely to be worn with age as it is cheaper than cloth-based. The publisher made the binding for early copies of the book published in Boston. The binding was made up of boards (compressed cardboard) with blue paper over them (“The Frugal Housewife : Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy,” 1). The eighth and twentieth editions I examined do not have blue paper covers but do have trace elements of paper left on their boards. The twentieth edition has what appears to be an added homemade cover; a patterned cloth sewn on with loose string and glued to the cover (See Figure 2). This decorative element was likely added on after the purchase of the book by a former owner of it.  


Figure 2


The Frugal American Housewife’s publisher Carter, Hendee, & Co. published a variety of books in the 1830s, including other guidebooks and children’s books, like The Child’s Book of American Geography (“The Child’s Book of American Geography,” 1). They also printed works by notable people like John Quincy Adams (Adams, 1). I can assume that Lydia Maria Child did not have an agent as there is no one credited as such, and the first literary agency opened in the late 19th century in the United States, decades after this edition was published (Cottenet, 1). The only reference within the book to editing or corrections is on the title page, which says, “ENLARGED AND CORRECTED BY THE AUTHOR” (Figure 1), however this was likely a marketing tactic to sell newer editions. Child’s husband, David L. Child, was an editor and it is likely he also looked over his wife’s works (David Ruggles Center for History and Education, 1). No other editor is credited on the title page or anywhere else in the book.  

The book has over thirty editions (accounts vary but there are between thirty-two and thirty-five) (“The Frugal Housewife,” 1). I was fortunate enough to look at both the twentieth and the eighth edition. One difference between the editions is that the former includes front matter that reads “It has become necessary to change the tit of this work to the ‘American Frugal Housewife,’ because there is an English work of the same name, not adapted to the wants of this country.” There was an English text titled The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook by Susannah Carter published in the 18th century and focused primarily on cooking (Sotheby’s, 1). The American Frugal Housewife has cooking tips and recipes but also includes materials on etiquette, herbs, and remedies. The changes are significant in emphasizing different activities women participated in depending on the country; what American housewives were interested as opposed to what English housewives were interested in.  

On the title page of this guidebook there are two Benjamin Franklin quotes: “A fat kitchen maketh a lean will” and “Economy is a poor man’s revenue; extravagance, a rich man’s ruin.” These two quotes set the tone of the book as it is filled with recipes, cooking tricks, and remedies. The book is meant for the working class and households without staff and serves as a guide to economically conscious household management. Using Benjamin Franklin, a United States Founding Father, quotes set the tone about how this book is tailored to Americans. This is also shown through the copyright distinction I mentioned previously. It emphasizes the importance of economy in daily life during the 1830s and how it influences the household. 



Works Cited 

Adams. “Dermot MacMorrogh, or the Conquest of Ireland; an Historical Tale of the Twelfth Century. in Four Cantos.” The Online Books Page, 

Christie’s. “HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel (1804-1864). Twice-Told Tales. Boston: American Stationers Co., 1837.”  

Cottenet, Cécile. “Literary Agents.” Transatlantic Cultures, 1 Jan. 1970, 

Digital Public Library of America. “Georgia. (to Accompany) A Comprehensive Atlas, Geographical, Historical & Commercial. By T.G. Bradford. Boston: American Stationers’ Company. Entered … 1835, by Thos. G. Bradford … Massachusetts., A Comprehensive Atlas, Geographical, Historical & Commercial. By T.G. Bradford. Boston: American Stationers’ Company. Entered … 1835, by Thos. G. Bradford … Massachusetts. (Title Page) Drawn by E. Tisdale, Landscapes by W. Croome. Eng. by J. Andrews., Georgia.”  

Firms Out of Business, 4 Mar. 2023, FOBFirmName=C&locSTARTROW=11  

FOBFirmName=C&amp;locSTARTROW=11 .  


“Lydia Maria Child.” David Ruggles Center for History and Education, 10 Feb. 2021,,family%20breadwinner%20throughout%20their%20marriage. 

“Lydia Maria Child.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, 

Sotheby’s. “Carter, Susannah. The Frugal Housewife, or Complete Woman Cook…[Boston]: [1772].”  

“The Child’s Book of American Geography.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1 Jan. 1970, 

“The Frugal Housewife.” Andrews McMeel Publishing, 4 Mar. 2023, 

“The Frugal Housewife : Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy.” The Library of Congress, 

The Life of Merlin, Surnamed Ambrosius by Arthur Heywood: Part Two

Figuring out what possible path this book could have taken through time from when it was printed in 1641 was fascinating. The author of The Life Of Merlin was Thomas Heywood, an English playwright through the peak periods of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. He became part of the theatrical company The Admiral’s Men and claimed to have had a hand in writing at least 220 plays, of which 30 are known today. His plays typically focused upon a charming portrayal of the workings of London with realistic settings and citizen heroes and were very popular for his time. According to the ODNB entry on Heywood, King Charles I and his queen saw one of his plays, Love’s Mistress, three times in eight days. In addition to plays, Heywood wrote both poetry and prose. One of his more important pieces of prose was an account titled An Apology For Actors, written in 1612, that supported an actors’ place in history and defended their continued role in society. He died in 1641, in London– the exact circumstances and date of his death are a mystery, but he was buried on August 16th, 1641.  

The historical circumstances already paint an intriguing picture, especially when regarding the content of The Life of Merlin. We can conclude that Heywood was well-liked by royalty — meaning King Charles — and that he was staunchly in support of theater, which the Puritan government viewed as reprehensible. King Charles I was relatively liked in the beginning of his reign, but with his dissolution of the Parliament and the addition of reforms led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and backed by the Catholic queen, citizens rapidly became suspicious about his assertions of religion. In 1637, Charles I attempted to establish “a modified version of the English Book of Common Prayer that provoked a wave of riots in Scotland”, according to a Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide entry on English Civil Wars. Scotland quickly responded with the National Covenant, which in essence politely justified a revolt against Charles I for interfering. 1642 brought with it the English Civil War, in which King Charles I raised an army despite the Parliament’s wishes, meaning to deal with parts of Ireland rebelling, but then having the skirmishes quickly devolve into an outright war between Parliament and royalty. This was the year the theaters were shut down. 

So, Thomas Heywood, a prolific and extremely popular playwright who frequently had royalty attending his plays, writes a book that’s primarily about what he believes to be an accurate account of Merlin’s prophecies about kings from Brute to Charles I (that he’s writing with the benefit of hindsight). It’s meant to be flattering and to help the public find some kind of reassurance in their royalty in times of uncertainty, as when this was being published there was unrest and a general disdain regarding Charles I and his frequent abuses of power. The war breaks out a year later, and Heywood himself passes away in 1641 after the printing of his book. Coincidence (the man was in his late sixties) or not, the timing is certainly ironic. Charles I was beheaded eight years later in 1649.  

Heywood was of course not the only one involved in the creation of this book. From what I could tell, our printer “J. Okes” stood for John Oakes, and he was part of a line of printers. His father Nicholas Oakes was the one who preceded him, and the woman presumed to be his widow, Mary Oakes, succeeded him. Apparently, his printing business was founded by a man named Thomas Judson in 1586, and John Oakes was a printer from 1636-1644. He was partnered with his father for a good portion of that time. The other person included in the title page of The Life Of Merlin was a man named Jasper Emery, who was also a printer and a bookseller and is listed in “A transcript of the registers of the company of stationers of London” as having been publisher from 1629 to 1640 (the records I’ve seen seem to play fast and loose with the words printer and publisher). Jasper Emery had a small bookseller’s shop near St. Paul’s Church-yard, which is the address from the title page of The Life of Merlin. From what it looks like, the three of them had a well-maintained relationship– John and Nicholas Oakes collaborated with Jasper Emery on books together. Similarly, I believe Oakes and Emery worked together to assemble the book, which is why the title page makes note that Emery folded the pages. Overall, Emery assisted with at least a dozen or so publications, including Thomas Heywood’s play Loves Maistresse: Or, The Queen’s Masque. The rest of his publishing was mainly theological texts, which was the norm at the time. With the knowledge of Heywood’s popularity and the records of Emery and Oakes having worked together before, it’s not entirely out of the question that they’d be willing to print this book. The location it’s listed as printed at is St. Paul’s Churchyard, a general area around the Cathedral of Saint Paul and a hotspot for printers and booksellers.  

A map of St. Paul’s Churchyard. Image from the Map of Early London website.

Heywood was remembered far beyond his death. According to a journal article from Modern Language Notes titled “Thomas Heywood As A Critic” by Arthur Melville Clark, “extracts of it were used in The Rarities of Richmond by E.C.” in 1736 and “a condensed version of it appeared in 1755 as The Life of Merlin: Merlin’s Life And Prophecies” (Clark 141). He continued to be celebrated, particularly into the 19th century.  

The names written at various points throughout the book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite discover who Arthur and Hannah Bradley were, but perhaps as I continue looking into the circumstances around how this book got here it’ll be revealed. Further information about the book’s journey beyond printing as well as the book’s appearance will be detailed in an upcoming blog post.  

The mystery continues.




Works Cited 

Ainsworth, Sarah-Jayne et al. “St. Paul’s Churchyard.” The Map of Early Modern London, U of Victoria, 2022. Accessed 5 March 2023.  

“Civil War, English.” The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide, edited by Helicon, 2018. Credo Reference, Accessed 27 Apr. 2023. 

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. “Thomas Heywood”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed 5 March 2023. 

Carlone, Dominic. “Bookselling at Paul’s Churchyard.” The Map of Early Modern London, U of Victoria. Accessed 5 March 2023.  

Clark, Arthur Melville. “Thomas Heywood As A Critic.” Modern Language Notes.  

Kathman, David. “Heywood, Thomas (c. 1573–1641), playwright and poet.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press. 

/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-13190. Accessed 27 April 2023. 

Ohlmeyer, Jane H. “English Civil Wars”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed 5 March 2023. 

Plomer, Henry Robert. A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland. 

Stationers’ Company. A transcript of the registers of the company of stationers of London, Columbia University

Libraries, 2007. Electronic reproduction. 

Wright, Louis B. “Notes on Thomas Heywood’s Later Reputation.” The Review of English Studies, vol. 4, no. 14, 1928, pp. 135–44. JSTOR, Accessed 5 March 2023. 


Moby-Dick; or, the Whale: Origins

Moby Dick; or, the Whale, was adroitly handcrafted and produced by the Arion Press in 1979. This sensation of a book has a storied creation that reinvigorates the importance of the seemingly lost art of bookmaking in modern society. This book is unique because it was created by the last functional letterpress publisher in the country; its existence proves that the attention paid to the smallest details from a customized font to a hand-sewn headband has a substantial impact on how the work is perceived and valued.

First edition of Moby Dick, published by Harper & Brothers, New York, 1851

The author of this classic adventure novel has become a household name, meaning Herman Melville’s life and turbulent career has been meticulously cataloged by scholars and historians. Although his book is widely regarded as a masterwork of literature, Moby Dick was largely overlooked and even criticized during his lifetime (“How Melville’s Moby-Dick went from flop to literary masterpiece”, While Melville was alive, he sold a mere 3,000 copies of the book in the U.K. and America combined ( In fact, during Melville’s career his book Typee experienced more praise and popularity due to its easy thrill factor and comparative lightheartedness. His stories are recognized as dramatized accounts of his life and experiences with whaling  (“Herman Melville – the years of acclaim”, Starkly contrasting this past unpopularity, Moby Dick has become a cultural staple, in turn making the original edition and the modern Arion press edition valuable artifacts. The book’s success is marked by the hefty price tags — the first edition is on the market for $65,000, while the Arion press version is also valued in the thousands (“Moby Dick by Melville, First Edition”, Overall, Moby Dick is considered a classic today due to its shameless critique of 19th century conventions and its philosophical nature.

Moby Dick was brought to life by a modern-day printing press (also functioning as a publisher) that values awe-inspiring quality and a level of precision that is unmatched in any mass-produced book. The Arion Press, founded in 1974, is a San-Francisco based company that specializes in limited edition handmade works. Each book they produce is the product of a laborious process that begins with the careful planning and design and ends with the execution of the handcrafted binding. Today, Arion Press is regarded for its magnificent accomplishments with works such as Frankenstein, Sense & Sensibility, Don Quixote, Paradise Lost, and several more pieces of esteemed literature. Overall, Moby Dick was the sixth chronological production from this company out of nearly 125 books (“Catalogue”, Printing the colossal Moby Dick was an ambitious goal to pursue, especially considering that the dense text was entirely handset. 

Despite the printing industry being threatened by the modernization of the reading process, Arion Press defies these social obstacles by using the artful craft of bookmaking to pay homage to classic works of literature. The major names associated with this work can be found in the colophon — Andrew Hoyem, Charles Bigelow, Kris Holmes, and Barry Moser. Hoyem is the founder and most prominent force in the company. He was closely involved in the executive decisions for design and course of action for the book, and oversaw the mechanical tasks regarding the production of the text (“About Arion Press”, Moreover, the team of Bigelow and Holmes toiled over the design of the custom-made Leviathan typeface, attempting to bring the significance of the writing into a visual composition. For the bulk of the text, Bigelow and Holmes used the Goudy modern font, a variation of the Goudy open with the letters filled in (“Goudy Modern in use”, Moreover, Barry Moser was commissioned to complete 100 wood-engraved illustrations for the book, and he was challenged by restrictions to not portray pivotal action scenes or major characters (“A Note on the California Edition”). Notably, the book is a clear distinction from identically mass-produced works, in which excellence is sacrificed for a lower price.

Furthermore, the quality of this copy’s paper is unmatched by the thin and flimsy paper used in mechanically manufactured books. In the front matter of the book, “A Note on the California Edition” describes the paper as being handcrafted with faint whale-shaped watermarks on the corner of select pages; this distinct practice reflects the companies’ continued implementation of old-fashioned machinery. Furthermore, the models of 19th technology are used to create the text printed on the paper. A caster in Arion Press’s type foundry is used to create individual pieces of type that will be used to print the book (“About Arion Press”, Each individual piece of type was meticulously forged then laid out, employing methods and technologies that recreate the feel of valuable books made in earlier centuries. Full-time type casters are of extreme rarity today, yet they hold an essential position in establishing works of art that will be read and appreciated by many in subsequent years. The hand cast type lends character to the book, allowing every aspect of the product to be conscious and deliberate instead of mechanically reproduced without any thought. This handset and handmade ty

pe is not reproducible. Although it may be imitated, the Arion edition possesses qualities of type and execution that are exclusively theirs.

The exquisite quality of the book is carried into the process of binding, where an individual punches holes in the printed sections ofthe book before it is sewn. This job could very efficiently be done with a machine to several books in rapid succession, yet the use of a physical person reinforces the importance of the careful handcrafted nature of the book (“About Arion Press”, The book was bound in-house, hand sewn with extreme care. In the final step of the process, the cover is glued to the book and the finished product is put on sale.

Arion Press’s Moby Dick was presented to the public in the original Arion Edition, and later, the California Deluxe Edition. To the untrained eye, not much seems to be different between the two editions. However, the most jarring change is the material of the cover. The original book exhibits a blue Moroccan goatskin cover, whereas the California Deluxe displays a buckram cloth in the same oceanic blue. Furthermore, the newer edition was not printed from the handset type. Instead, the pages are high quality photographic replications of the originals. Ultimately, the changes demonstrate a shift creating a work that can be appreciated by the public, bringing the price down from $1,000 (a value that has appreciated since the initial sale) to significantly less (Davis, Moby Dick; published by University of California Press & Arion Press).

Overall, the book was successful in its mission of providing a work of art that reconciles the past of bookmaking and the modern desire for high quality books. It was magnificent learning about the process of making this book because I was able to fully grasp how a great variety of people contributed to the creation of this work of art. The font used for this paper, Goudy type, is loosely based on the tasteful and elegant font used for the Arion Press’s interpretation of Melville’s famous work. With this edition of the book, several elements combine to generate a physical object deserving of the title ‘perfection’.


Works Cited

“About Arion Press.” Arion Press,

“Catalogue.” Arion Press, The Arion Press,

Davis, J. “Moby Dick; Published by University of California Press & Arion Press.” The Whole Book Experience, 14 Sept. 2014, /moby-dick-published-by-university-of-california-press-arion-press/.

“Goudy Modern in Use.” Fonts in Use, goudy-modern.

History Hit, 3 Aug. 2022, publication-moby-dick/. “Moby Dick; or, the Whale.” AbeBooks, Harper & Brothers, New York, n=Moby%2BDick&x=48&y=18&yrh=1851&yrl=1851.

Irvine, Amy. “How Melville’s Moby-Dick Went from Flop to Literary Masterpiece.”

“Melville, Herman (1819–91),” The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea, edited by I. C. B Dear, and Peter Kemp, Oxford University Press, Inc., 2nd edition, 2016. Credo Reference, Accessed 13 Apr. 2023.

“The Years of Acclaim of Herman Melville.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,

The Rosebud: Origins

The Rosebud, an ornate gift book composed of various fables and tidbits of knowledge by various authors. Therefore, there is no author listed. Curiously, the authors of each work are not listed, and the only credit given is to the publisher, Leavitt and Allen. 

Leavitt and Allen was established in 1851 when George Ayers Leavitt took over his father, Jonathan Leavitt’s publishing firm after his death and took on a partner, John K. Allen. The company was located in Lower Manhattan, and first settled on Dey St, what would be called Broadway today. 

Leavitt and Allen were best known for publishing gift books, also called annuals, which were a common gift in the 19th century. They were often anthology style collections of short fiction, poetry, fables and essays, with ornate and beautiful decorative covers. Their purpose was essentially to be displayed and sometimes flipped through, but served as what we would contemporarily refer to as a “coffee table book.”  They were often used as a courtship gift. In particular, many gift books such as The Rosebud were purposely given names of flowers to signify their purpose as a romantic gesture, as “flower language” was a common courtship tactic during this time. Often gift books would come with a “presentation plate” that marked their purpose as a gift. 

The building Leavitt and Allen worked from also housed their printer and business partner, John Fowler Trow. Trow was born in 1810 in Andover, Massachusetts. He first came into the printing business due to working at his brother-in-law’s printing business, where he acquired knowledge of Greek and Hebrew type. He established a newspaper in April 1832 that only lasted until July 1832, after which he moved to New York City and worked under various publishers before establishing his own printing and bookbinding company, where he worked until his death. Trow is notable for being among the first to introduce electrotyping to the printing business, which was a means of creating duplicate plates for letterpress printing (Electrotyping | Britannica), as well as his publication of Trow’s New York City Directory. He worked with Jonathan Leavitt under the name Leavitt and Trow, and worked with Leavitt and Allen until 1849, after which the printer of the business remains unknown. (John Trow).

An interesting aspect of The Rosebud is that there is no editor listed. Many gift books by Leavitt and Allen published in the 1850’s were edited by Timothy Shay Arthur (Timothy Shay Arthur) but The Rose Bud has no listed editor despite having a very similar look and genre of other gift books from that particular time period. It is unclear if there was an editor at all, or multiple, as the only credit given in The Rosebud is to the publishers. 

Many gift books published by Leavitt and Allen are bound in Morocco leather, and ornately tooled and later machine embossed. With the invention of the stamping press in the 1830’s, ornate designs became even easier. Additionally, gold leaf was a common feature in the covers as well as gilt edges to both protect the pages and contribute to the ornamental look of the book. It is unlikely this is the case in this particular edition, but an interesting aspect of the binding is that it is possible that the green onlays included in the ornamentation of the cover may actually be poisonous, as arsenic is a key component in some emerald green pigments for  binding and onlays. There are some Leavitt and Allen published works that incorporate arsenic binding,  including two editions of The Rosebud  that do use arsenic green onlays, but it is unclear if the edition that I possess has these components(ARSENICAL BOOKS DATABASE – Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library). The color of the green onlays is similar to those used in the arsenic bindings, but it is unconfirmed. 

Works Cited

ARSENICAL BOOKS DATABASE – Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Accessed 5 Mar. 2023.

Electrotyping | Britannica. Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

John Trow. Accessed 5 Mar. 2023.

Timothy Shay Arthur. Accessed 5 Mar. 2023.

Original Legacies in The Edinburgh New Dispensatory

The authorship of the Edinburgh New Dispensatory’s spans nearly a century. At first glance of the physical book, this would likely start with determining the identity of the “Duncan” described on the spine (Figure 1) Though the 1805 version’s title page lists Andrew Duncan Jr. as its author, further research reveals the multifaceted authorship of the book and positions Duncan Jr. as an editor and compiler of multiple works (Figure 2). As the name implies, the Dispensatory’s content originates in Edinburgh, and so the main contributors of William Lewis, Andrew Duncan Sr., and Andrew Duncan Jr. all hail from the city. More importantly, for the Dispensatory to earn the “new” title, there must be an original “old” dispensatory, in which William Lewis was the originator. Lewis worked as physician and chemist in his lifetime of 1708 to 1781. Though the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography does not say from which language, it does note that his translation of the 4th edition of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia in 1748 also appears in the New Dispensatory (Page “Lewis”). Among many other publications, he edited and reworked John Quincy’s Compleat English Dispensatory into what would be the first 1753 edition of The New Dispensatory (Page “Lewis”). Quincy’s English Dispensatory also has a long lineage of success; the book was on published in its 12th edition in 1749 before the New Dispensatory’s publication (“Compleat English”).

Figure 1-The spine of the dispensatory- who does “Duncan” refer to?

Figure 2- Title Page

Thus, the publication of the Dispensatory represents another step in a long line of medical and familial history. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists, the end of the 18th century coincided with a rise in consolidating the meaning of “’clinical’ medicine” and moving towards diagnosis based on senses rather than humors (Cunningham, “History”). The city of Edinburgh also represented another step in printing evolution. Over 14,000 imprints were published across the second half of the 17th century in Edinburgh, making it the 3rd largest publishing city overall in the anglophone book production sphere (Sher 34). Thus, even if we cannot pin the specific numbers for the Dispensatory’s printing, we can at least know the cultural and historical moments surrounding its production. Despite being the physically edited work of Andrew Duncan Sr., his father seemed to have contributed as much in spirit, if not specific words. This is acknowledged by the dedication page, as well (Figure 3). Duncan Sr. was a physician and professor for the University of Edinburgh, eventually writing several medical journals, one of which was apparently discontinued to make room for his son’s similar medical publication (Bettany “Elder”). Out of twelve children, only Duncan Jr. followed the path of the father in medicine (Bettany “Duncan”) After gaining experience working with his father in Annals of Medicine, Duncan Jr. published the first edition of the Edinburgh New Dispensatory in 1803 (Bettany “Duncan”). As the ODNB website notes, the Dispensatory gained renown enough to be published in French and German, as well as in the United States (Bettany “Duncan”). Thus, the Worcester Press edition published in 1805 can be surmised to be part of this publication expansion in the United States.

Figure 3- Dedication Page

The publication transition to American from Edinburgh also reflects a similar patrilineal dynamic as seen with the Duncans. In the title page, the 1805 edition states its origins in uppercase from the “press of Isaiah Thomas Jr” (Figure 2). Though stated as a “first Worcester edition,” the type below the press section also notes in lowercase that the book was sold to him by “Thomas and Andrews, Boston, and Thomas and Whipple, Newburyport” (Figure 1). After further research, Isaiah Thomas Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps, identical to the Duncans. Like Andrew Duncan Jr., much more information exists on their fathers instead of them themselves. When looking at the full life story of Isaiah Thomas Sr., the reasons why become clear.

Through his printing press powers, Thomas helped incite the Revolutionary War. In 1770, Thomas started publication of the Massachusetts Spy which was known for continual criticism of the government and favor towards revolution (Hixson “Thomas”). In 1773 he opened a printing house in Newbury Port where he also continued to publish a variety of works that were not specifically political (Hixson “Thomas”). However, the British takeover of Boston forced him to relocate once more to a location in Worcester in 1775, thus almost certainly being the place where the 1805 Dispensatory was published (Hixson “Thomas”). After the war and establishment of printing locations beyond Massachusetts, Thomas published and invested in over 400 titles in his printing houses, some of which included works by Rosseau, Paine, Noah Webster, and the oldest American edition of Mother Goose (Hixson “Thomas”). In short, Isaiah Thomas’ prolific printing acumen had impressive contributions to both the printing field and the development of United States as a nation. However, everything must end, and for Isaiah Thomas Sr.’s working life, this was his retirement at the start of the 19th century (Hixson “Thomas”). Starting in 1800, he started to transfer ownership of his printing businesses over to Isaiah Thomas Jr. (Knoles “Isaiah”). Thus, the Dispensatory’s publication situates itself in multiple scientific, political, and personally significant historical events.

Evidence of the Dispensatory’s success and legacy can still be seen today from the copies of this over two-hundred-year-old book still in existence. When examining the World Cat site, the Dispensatory has at least 69 copies in the United States in various editions (“Dispensatory”). The WorldCat does not have the Dickinson edition registered, which also implies there may be many yet still unregistered. Appropriately, they are mainly housed in college medical libraries, such as the Yale, Holy Cross, and Harvard medical libraries. The Dispensatory also appears in preservation organizations like the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford. These copies mainly are housed along the East Coast United States with a specific concentration in the Northeast, though copies cover as far as California and Texas. The farthest copy from Carlisle, Pennsylvania rests in Wellcome Library in London, though another edition (“Dispensatory”). The 1805 edition appears in 44 libraries according to Worldcat, also indicating popularity. Despite being published in Worcester, at least one 1805 edition traveled as far as the Canadian city of Alberta (“Dispensatory”). To have journeyed so far from the original publication in Boston signals this book to have at least moderate success and import. The fact the there are many editions also implies a demand to keep printing and updating, further insinuating at least moderate success. Overall, the Edinburgh New Dispensatory has a sizable material, political, and culture success as evidenced by the surviving copies and historical legacies and associations gone into creation.



Works Cited:

Bettany, G.T. “Duncan, Andrew (1773–1832), physician and expert in forensic science.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004, https://www-oxforddnb-       9780198614128-e-8213?rskey=aqJK4e&result=3. Accessed 4 March 2023.

Bettany, G.T. “Duncan, Andrew, the elder (1744–1828), physician.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 11 August 2022,            9780198614128-e-8212?rskey=ZYJaVh&result=2. Accessed 4 March 2023.

Cunningham, Andrew. “The History of Medicine.” The Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists, edited by David Millar, Cambridge University Press, 2nd edition, 2002. Credo Reference,                                                                                                                                             dicscientist/the_history_of_medicine/0?institutionId=2613. Accessed 10 Apr. 2023.

Hixson, Richard F. “Thomas, Isaiah.” American National Biography, February 2000, https://www-anb- Accessed 4 March 2023.

Knoles, Thomas. “Thomas, Isaiah (1749 1831).” The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment, edited by Mark Spencer, Bloomsbury, 1st edition, 2014. Credo Reference, Accessed 08 April 2023.

Page, Frederick G. “Lewis, William.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 30 May 2013, div1-d790392e383. Accessed 4 March 2023.

“Pharmacopœia officinalis & extemporanea: or, a compleat English dispensatory, in two parts, theoretic and practical. Part I. In two books. Book I. Of the Definition, Subject, General  Intentions, Media, Instruments, and Operations of Pharmacy. Book II. Of the Distribution into proper Classes, General Nature, and Medicinal Virtues, &c. of Simples. Part II. In  five books. Book I. Of the Preparation of Simples. Book II. Of Saline Preparations. Book   III. Of Metalline Preparations. Book. IV. Of Officinal Compositions; containing all the      Prescriptions of the London and Edinburgh Pharmacopoeias, according to the last Alterations thereof ; together with those of other Authors, and the present Practice, which claim any Notice. Book V. Of Extemporaneous Prescriptions; which are therein disposed              into proper Classes according to their several Curative Intentions. By John Quincy, M.D.” World Cat, Accessed 4 March 2023.

“The Edinburgh new dispensatory: containing, I. The elements of pharmaceutical chemistry. II.  The materia medica … III. The pharmaceutical preparations and compositions; including complete and accurate translations of the octavo edition of the London pharmacopoeia, published in 1791; Dublin pharmacopoeia, published in 1794; and of the new edition of the Edinburgh pharmacopoeia, published in 1803. Illustrated and explained in the language and according to the principles of modern chemistry. With many new and      useful tables. And several copperplates, explaining the new system of chemical characters, and representing the most useful pharmaceutical apparatus.” WorldCat, Accessed 4 March 2023.

Sher, Richard B. “Corporatism and Consensus in the Late Eighteenth-Century Book Trade: The Edinburgh Booksellers’ Society in Comparative Perspective.” Book History, vol. 1, 1998, pp. 32–93. JSTOR, Accessed 11 Apr. 2023.

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