George Routledge continued to operate as a publisher at 36 Soho Square through the mid 1840s, and published an eclectic mixture of titles, mainly reprints of English and American fiction and non-fiction. He continued to publish the very successful biblical commentaries of the American Reverend Barnes that he had started selling in the early 1840s. He introduced the world at large to the unconventional, socially-concerned fiction of Henry Cockton (1807-1853), by reprinting “The Life and Adventures of Valentine Fox, the Ventriloquist”, an expose of the parlous state of British mental asylums and lunacy laws, first published in 1840, and “The Life and Adventures of George St. Julien, the Prince of Swindlers” (1841). Both were first reprinted by Routledge in 1844. He was probably able to publish these books because of the bankruptcy of Cockton in 1842. Routledge continued to publish reprints of “Valentine Fox” for many years, and more than 400,000 copies of this now mostly forgotten title were published by the end of the 19th century.
Most of the Routledge reprints of Cockton’s books reproduced the illustrations by Thomas Onwhyn from the first editions. Onwhyn had gained notoriety following his publication of pirated versions of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby containing his own illustrations; Dickens famously complained of “the singular vileness of the illustrations.”
Routledge also published reprints of some of the novels of William Harrison Ainsworth during this period. Ainsworth, a friend and collaborator of Dickens, had come to the public’s notice with the publication by Richard Bentley of his first novel, “Rookwood”, in 1834. Just as with Cockton, Routledge republished Ainsworth’s novels with their original illustrations, many of which were by Dickens’ main illustrators, Cruikshank and “Phiz”.
By the end of the 1840s, Routledge was trying to find a better way of publishing his reprints. He had noticed the reprinted novels published by Simms and McIntyre in Belfast in 1846 under the series title of “The Parlour Novels”, which in 1847 became “The Parlour Library”. These were low-price publications in attractive embossed cloth bindings. Routledge used to travel around the country selling his own books directly to provincial booksellers. He started doing this by stagecoach, but by the mid to late 1840s he travelled on the rapidly-developing British railway system, which had become both extensive and cheap in the period 1835-1845. During these journeys, he noticed the growing popularity of reading on trains, an activity which had become possible due to the much smoother ride that the railway offered, compared to the stagecoach.
Routledge put these two observations together and decided to produce high quality but low-cost reprints, specifically targeted at the growing population of railway travellers. This became Routledge’s Railway Library, which was launched in 1849. The books were mainly sold by the bookseller W.H. Smith, who had developed the first bookstalls in British railway stations in 1848. Routledge’s Railway Library was a huge success, and although it was soon copied by other publishers, it was the financial making of George Routledge. The series was launched with about a dozen titles available in 1849. By 1898, when the series ended, more than 1270 titles had been published in the Routledge Railway Library series.
The changing styles of the card-bound books issued as part of the Railway Library over its first fifteen years are illustrated above. The left-hand panel shows James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pilot”, published in 1849 as the first book in the series. The British copyright for Fenimore Cooper was held by Richard Bentley at this time, but Routledge ignored this, and in fact published six Fenimore Cooper titles in his first ten Railway Library books. Later on, after the success of the Railway Library had been assured, Routledge belatedly paid Bentley his royalties for the copyright infringements, and entered into an arrangement with Bentley to reprint thirty-six of Bentley’s Standard Novels as Routledge’s Standard Novels, a series that ran from 1851 to 1860.
The middle panel shows another American book, this time by Nathaniel Hawthorne, reprinted by Routledge in the Railway Library series in 1852. You can see that by this time, the success of the Railway Library had allowed Routledge to move his publishing business to 2 Farringdon Street, a much better address than 36 Soho Square, although Soho Square remained the family home until the late 1850s. The business move to Farringdon St. happened in the second half of 1851.
In the right-hand panel, we can see that by 1863, the firm had matured into Routledge, Warne and Routledge, by the inclusion into the partnership of George Routledge’s brother in law, Frederick Warne, and Routledge’s eldest son Robert Warne Routledge. The firm was still operating at 2 Farringdon Street at this time, and the book shown is by an English author, Mrs. Catherine Gore, who was one of the most prolific and popular writers of the 19th century. Her obituary in The Times in 1861 described her as “the best novel writer of her class and the wittiest woman of her age.”
Note that the price of the Railway Library books had been kept at one shilling for all three of these books issued over a 14 year period. The basic price remained at one shilling for the card-bound books until the 1870s, although cloth-bound versions, which shamelessly copied the binding style of the Simms and McIntyre Parlour Library, were also available at 1s 6d.
The first ten books issued in the Railway Library series were:
The success of The Railway Library series encouraged George Routledge to take a considerable financial gamble in 1853. On December 27th of that year, he signed a contract with the author Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton for the right for ten years to publish reprints of nineteen of Lytton’s novels in The Railway Library series, for what Routledge described as “the immense sum of twenty thousand pounds.” It turned out to be a successful investment, so much so that when the contract expired in 1863, Routledge agreed to pay a further ten thousand pounds to extend the publication rights for another ten years. The outcome of these arrangements is that novels by Sir Edward, later Lord Lytton, are the commonest titles from Routledge’s Railway Library to be found in the secondhand book world today.
In later years, the appearance of the Railway Library series continued to change. By the mid 1850’s the very popular “Yellowback” binding style had been adopted by Routledge for the Railway Library, which made the books look rather similar to books from several other publishers of cheap reprints at that time. Some examples of these Routledge Railway Library Yellowbacks, which were priced at 2 shillings, are shown below.
In the next installment of this series I will look at the changes that occurred in George Routledge’s family and his business in the years 1850 to 1870.
Robinson the Youngeror the New Crusoe published in 1856
This version of Robinson Crusoe from my collection was specifically produced for the juvenile reader as Robinson the Younger, and was published by George Routledge & Co. in London in 1856. The upper board, which is the original gilt-decorated cloth binding, and both the engraved and the printed title pages are shown below.
The printed title page reveals that this is an English translation of Robinson der Jüngere (1779) by Joachim Heinrich Campe, the first juvenile version of the story of Robinson Crusoe ever published, which was discussed in a previous Robinson Crusoe blog. My copy is the second Routledge edition of 1856, the first edition having appeared in 1855. There seems also to have been a third edition published in 1859. All three editions are scarce, but the text is available in electronic form in several libraries.
The book has two prefaces; a translator’s preface and some extracts from an unattributed author’s preface, which is presumably a translation of part of a preface written in German by Campe in 1779. The translator R. Hick explained how he came to translate Campe’s book as follows:
The original work of which the following is a translation, fell accidentally into my hands when looking for an entertaining German reading book. I was presently struck with its admirable adaptation for the use of children, and once resolved to translate it for my own little boys; during the progress of my agreeable task I now and then read what I had written, sometimes to my wife, sometimes to friends, who one and all strongly recommended my offering it for publication.
Translator’s Preface, Robinson the Younger, George Routledge & Co. London 1856
He finished by writing:
I have endeavoured as much as possible to render it simply what it professes to be, a faithful image of the admirable original, the worth of which has been emphatically stamped by the German public having demanded upwards of forty large editions of it.
R.Hick Woodhouse Hill, Near Leeds, 1855.
The image on the engraved title page in the central panel above shows a man reading from a book to his family grouped around him. This is how Robinson der Jüngere and Robinson the Younger are both structured, with the story being read out to the children by the father as a narrative interrupted by frequent questions from the children. I give an example of this below, with the famous incident of the discovery by Robinson of the footprint. This is from the chapter headed “Fourteenth Evening.”
“He had not gone far when he reached the most southerly part of the island. Here the ground in some parts was sandy, and just as he reached the most prominent point, he was struck almost as with a thunderbolt, became as white as a sheet, and trembled all over.
Papa.- He saw what he never dreamed of seeing here, the footprints of one or more men in the sand.
Nicholas.- And did that frighten him so? Why, it should have delighted him!
Papa.- The cause of his terror was this : he concluded at once that the man of whose foot this was the print, was not a brother or a friend, who would be ready to help and serve him; but a cruel creature, who would fall upon him in a fury, and would kill and eat him. In a word, he saw in this, not the trace of a polished European, but of a savage cannibal, like those of whom you have heard in the Caribbee Islands.
George.- Ah! That I believe, and so he must have been frightened.”
from Robinson the Younger, George Routledge & Co. London, 1856, pp 117-118.
My copy of the book has no illustrations other than its frontispiece, shown below. The Robinson Crusoe depicted seems decidedly older than the young man described in the text.
In the next blog postings, I will discuss some other 19th century editions of Robinson Crusoe that I have in my collection.
In the previous post, Price and Provenance 6, I discussed some of the Routledge Editions of Macaria as well as other titles by Augusta Jane Evans Wilson, and showed how the page count for Macaria was, at 380 pages, identical to the Miles and Miles edition, further supporting the notion that the Miles and Miles edition was printed from Routledge stereotype plates. I also noted that there were 7 copies of Routledge editions of Macaria on offer via Abe Books. One of those copies was offered by a local Victorian (Australia) online book dealer whom I have bought books from before. The asking price was modest and the description was slightly vague, but did include a mention of no date, 380 pages, chapter vignettes and the phrase “Cover faded and scuffed in places”, so, sight unseen, I ordered the book on April 9th 2020.
It arrived today, 16th April 2020, and here it is, in all its glory, in Figures 1 and 2. The condition of the cover was all that was promised.
Several things were immediately apparent. The design on the binding, while it is clearly different from the Miles and Miles binding, does show some similarities, with the title at the top of the top board in a rectangular cartouche, and an overall design that is floral in nature. The appearance of the text block, as exemplified by page one, shown in the left hand panel of figure 2, is identical to that of that of the Miles and Miles Macaria, including an identical decorative vignette at the top of the page and the number 7 at the bottom centre of the page. The words on the title page (Figure 1, right hand panel) are identical to the text of the Miles and Miles edition, except for the publisher’s name and address, but the layout of the text is slightly different. Neither of the title pages is dated. There is a wood engraving as the frontispiece for the Routledge edition, but no illustrations in the Miles and Miles edition. The frontispiece is signed “Geo. G” in the bottom left hand corner, but again, there is no date. The final pages of the text blocks are identical for the two books, down to the detail of the final ornamental floral vignette, except for the identification of the printer of the Routledge edition at the bottom of page 380. It reads “BILLING AND SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.” This exactly matches the printer identified in WorldCat for the later Routledge edition of Macaria.
To assist with visual comparisons, the binding, title pages and first and last text pages of the two editions are presented side by side in Figure 3, with the Routledge edition on the left and the Miles and Miles edition on the right.
All of these observations confirm that these two books have been created from the same stereotype plates. Overall, the Miles and Miles edition appears to have been a higher quality production than the Routledge edition, both in the printing and the quality of the binding and the paper, notwithstanding the poor condition of my copy of the Routledge edition.
The search on WorldCat reported in Price and Provenance 6 revealed a scarce Routledge edition (one copy known) published in 1892. It also listed many copies of my edition, clearly as a later reprint, appearing at some time after 1900. On the lower right of the top board, we see printed “The Augusta Evans Wilson Series”, suggesting that the book is part of a later set of collected reprints. From the wear on the printed pages, it may well have been printed from the common stereotype plates after they were used to print the Miles and Miles edition. I can put some tentative limits on the dates. From the appearance of the title page, particularly the form of the address and the lack of the Routledge colophon, the Routledge edition seems to have been printed between 1900 and 1902. This would provisionally date the Miles and Miles edition to perhaps 1898-1899.
A Helpful Signature
As part of my examination of the Routledge Macaria, I looked for any other clues to the date of publication. There is a block of four pages of publisher’s advertisements, but after examining the titles, they are all 19th century books. One of the listed books is dated as a 12th edition of September 1897, implying that this edition of Macaria was published in 1898 at the earliest.
On the top of the front paste-down, there is a faded hand-written name “B.V. Inglis Alvie”, but no date. It is shown in Figure 4. below.
My initial thought was who could this B. V. Inglis Alvie be, when I noticed the gap between Inglis and Alvie. A Google search for “Inglis Alvie” revealed that an Inglis family had lived in Alvie, a small town near Colac in the Western District of Victoria, Australia. Further research revealed that a Thomas Gordon Inglis of Alvie had been killed on August 3rd 1915, during the Gallipoli campaign of World War I. A search on Ancestry.com for Thomas Gordon Inglis of Alvie soon revealed his older sister Barbara Victoria Inglis (1887 – 1972), who lived her whole life in the Colac area, mostly at Alvie. She married a Leopold William Wallace in 1911. On both the 1909 and 1912 electoral rolls for Corangamite, the electorate which still covers Colac and Alvie, she is shown as living, firstly with her parents, and then with her husband, both times at Alvie.
The signature is helpful, even without a date, as after 1911 she was no longer Barbara Victoria Inglis, but had become Barbara Victoria Wallace, so she would no longer have written her name as Inglis. This clearly dates the book to no later than 1911, and is consistent with the notion that Macaria was published in the first few years of the 20th century. The Victorian book dealer from whom I bought the book is located at Skipton, in the Western District of Victoria, about 85km north of Alvie. It would be interesting to know if they obtained the book locally.
My Routledge edition of Macaria clearly looks like a fairly cheap production. The four pages of advertisements bound into the back of the book are described as “George Routledge’s Juvenile Catalogue”, and presents books at two different prices. First of all, there were Gift Books for 7s. 6d., described as “In large crown 8vo., profusely illustrated with plain and coloured plates, and tastefully bound in cloth gilt or gilt edges.” There were also three other categories of cheaper books described, each of them offered at five shillings:
Five Shilling Gift Books, described as “Large crown 8vo., with many illustrations, plain and coloured, and in attractive clothbindings.”
Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Books, described as “Well printed on good paper, page llustrations, elegantly bound in cloth gilt.”
Five Shilling Picture Books, described as “Printed in colours by Edmond Evans, and tastefully bound in picture-boarded covers designed by the artists.”
All of these books sound like much better productions than my Macaria, and I think that the Macaria would be more likely to have been priced at 2s. or 2s. 6d. The Five Shilling Picture Books that were advertised were the famous four “Pictures from the Graphic” volumes illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. These were all very attractive books, published by Routledge between 1886 and 1890. Interestingly, one of the titles listed under the Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Books is At The Mercy of Tiberius by Augusta Evans Wilson. It sounds like a better production than Macaria.
The final point worth considering is how did such a book get to a small settlement in the Western District of Victoria in the first few years of the 20th century? Some London publishers, such as Ward Lock, Cassell, Collins and William Inglis (ironically!), had offices in Melbourne, the centre of Australian publishing in Victorian and Edwardian times. Routledge did not have an Australian office at that time, so their books would have been ordered from London and imported by individual booksellers or possibly a wholesale supply house. It would mean at least a six month delay between publication in London and availability in Australia.
UPDATE 27 May 2020
I have since purchased another book from the same book dealer, a copy of Women of Israel by Grace Aguilar, published by Groombridge and Sons in 1876. My interest in this book is an attempt to learn more about Groombridge and Sons’ publishing of fiction, as they were mainly publishers of natural history, horticultural and agricultural works, with a few religious books thrown in for good measure. Groombridge was the publisher of my illustrated Mansfield Park featured in Price and Provenance 10. For more on Groombridge and Sons, see my page Groombridge, publishers.
The owner of the bookshop from which I purchased the Routledge Macaria and the Groombridge Women of Isreal has sent me the following information on how he obtained the two books. Many thanks to John Orton of Black Stump Books, Skipton, Victoria, Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Apropos your purchase of Macaria and Women of Israel. For your records, you may be interested to know that we acquired both these and many other titles at an auction in Colac, about a decade ago. The auction was held at 39 Gravesend Street, Colac, the residence of the Bassett family. The last occupants of the house were Bromwyn and Valerie Bassett. They were elderly twin sisters, who were avid book collectors. After the death of the last of the twins the home and contents were put up for auction.”
Barbara Victoria Wallace nee Inglis was the previous owner of the Macaria. Her final address in Colac before she died was (ironically) 2 Inglis Court. If you look at the map of the southern part of Colac shown below in Figure 5, you can see that Barbara Victoria Wallace and the two Bassett sisters were very close neighbours, as their two houses are within about 50 metres of each other. In 1972, Valerie Bassett was living in East Hawthorn in Melbourne, but her sister, Irene Bronwen Bassett to give her full name, was living at 39 Gravesend Street with her widowed mother, Clare Irene Bassett nee Sitlington. Bronwen seems to have moved back from East Melbourne to Colac following her father’s death in 1970. She would have been on hand to buy books from the estate of Barbara Victoria Wallace following her death in Colac in 1972. This provides one possible explanation of the line of provenance of the Routledge Macaria.
The Bassetts are an interesting study in family history. I have spent a day exploring them online and have identifed many members of the family at large, including all 16 great-great-grandparents of the two sisters, who were not twins, but were in fact Irene Bronwen Bassett (1920-2013) and Valerie Farndale Bassett (1921-2013). They lived to be 93 and 92 years old respectively and died within three weeks of each other in December 2013.
It will be interesting to find out if there was any other relationship than proximity between the Bassett sisters and Barbara Victoria Wallace nee Inglis.
In the next post, I will consider the prior ownership and provenance of the Miles and Miles Macaria.
Having established as much as possible from the printed information in books, the next step is to use information left in books from previous owners. This is most commonly from ownership inscriptions, bookplates, gift inscriptions or prize and award labels. But rather than just focusing this step on the book itself, particularly on the dating of a book, I like to follow up with an investigation on who, exactly, the previous owner was. Where and when did they live? What was the circumstance of their acquisition of the book? As examples of my approach, we will return to the three editions of Mansfield Park that I examined in part 2 of this blog.
Where to look for ownership information
Normally, we look at the blank pages bound into the front of the book or sometimes the back of the book for evidence of previous owners. We call the pages bound in before the text block the preliminaries, often abbreviated as “prelims”. The first page, which is glued down to the front board of the binding is called the “paste down end paper”, although it is now more frequently called the “front paste-down” The next blank page is called the “free front end paper”, often abbreviated as “ffep“. At the back of the book, the equivalent pages are called the “rear paste down” and the rear free end paper”. The other places where inscriptions commonly occur are on the title page, on the half-title page, if present, or on the recto page which has the frontispiece on the verso. The half-title page is found between the ffep and frontispiece and the title page and usually has the title of the book printed on it and sometimes the name of the series that the book forms a part of, is such is the case. Half titles were very common in the 19th century and less common in the 20th century. Sometimes, prelim pages may be missing from the book. This is often because a previous owner has wanted to remove the name or inscription from a earlier owner. This desire also can result to a small piece being cut from the prelim page, generally the ffep, to remove the name of a previous owner. I strongly disapprove of this practice and of the removal of bookplates!
If we examine the Routledge “The Ruby Series” copy of Mansfield Park from 1876 shown in the left panel above, we find that there is a ffep, a half-title page which reads MANSFIELD PARK, a frontispiece and a title page, shown in the previous blog. However, there are no inscriptions, bookplates or labels, so we really can not find out anything about previous owners. One should note that the end papers are a dark brown colour, which would not carry a legible inscription unless it were written in a very light colour or in white.
The Routledge Mansfield Park in the central panel, which was shown to be a reprint of Gilson E62 from 1903-1906 in the previous blog, has white end-papers, no half-title, a frontispiece and a title page. However, it also has a hand written gift inscription on the front paste down Figure 2.
The inscription reads “Presented by The Managers of the M.N.C. Sunday School Westwoodside to George Henry Maw May 20 – 1906.”
This inscription is almost ideal in terms of investigating the provenance of the book. Firstly, the date is precise, 20th May 1906. This means that the book must have been printed and published prior to this date. This confirms the idea that the book was published between 1903 and 1906. It is also interesting to note that 20th May 1906 was a Sunday. (You can look this up on an online perpetual calendar.) This is not surprising as the book was presented by a Sunday School.
The other two things that occurred to me when I first saw this inscription was that the place identified, Westwoodside, is unambiguous and, perhaps, an unusual place name. Secondly, George Henry Maw is a precise, full name and Maw is an unusual family name. It is much harder to trace the provenance of a book that is inscribed ” To Fred from his favourite Auntie” – I do possess a book with exactly this inscription.
Typing “Westwoodside” into Google returns the Wikipedia entry for Westwoodside as the first item listed. It reveals that “Westwoodside is a small village in North Lincolnshire, England. It is situated within the Isle of Axholme and 7 miles (11 km) north-west from Gainsborough.” In the map of the Isle of Axholme below (Figure 3), it can be seen that the “Isle” is in fact a tract of low lying farmland that sits between the River Don to the west (not shown) and the Trent to the east. In fact, the Isle of Axholme can best be thought as occupying a triangle defined by Doncaster (Yorkshire), Scunthorpe and Gainsborough (both in Lincolnshire).
What is the M.N.C. Sunday School?
The book was presented by the “M.N.C. Sunday School Westwoodside.” Typing this phrase into Google returns an article on Alexander Kilham and Epworth. The first sentence of the article states “Alexander Kilham the founder of the METHODIST NEW CONNEXION was born in Epworth in 1762, and the family business was sackcloth weaving.” You can see Epworth on the map above, a few km to the north-east of Westwoodside. M.N.C. is clearly Methodist New Connextion, a breakaway form of Methodism that spread from Epworth to nearby villages like Westwoodside. The article also has two pictures. The second one, shown below in Figure 4, shows the M.N.C. chapel at Westwoodside, together with its congregation in 1905! The image was from a contemporary postcard which has survived.
Could one of the men or boys in this picture be George Henry Maw?
I have found a second picture of the Westwoodside MNC chapel on another postcard, undated but clearly of the same period (Figure 5).
George Henry Maw
Approaches to Family History Research
In order to find out more about George Henry Maw, we need to enter the realm of family history research. I use several of the commercial websites for this, including The Genealogist, Findmypast.com and Ancestry.com, as well as the free site Family Search which is run by The Church of the Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). All of these sites are easily found online.
My preference is Ancestry.com which I have been using for more than a decade to research my own family history. It also proves to be an invaluable tool in researching authors and previous owners of books. It does involve an annual subscription, but you can often also access it if you join a local genealogical or family history society.
To start the search, you enter what you know. I entered that George Henry Maw was male, alive in 1906 and living in Westwoodside, Lincolnshire, UK. I guessed an approximate birth date of 1890 plus or minus 10 years, selected the UK data set and hit the search button. Unfortunately I had erroneously typed MAY instead of MAW in the family name box, so I found a whole lot of George Mays! This shows that you need to be precise to get the search to work properly.
Once I had succeeded in entering MAW, the search immediately found George H Maw in the 1901 UK census. He was a thirteen year old, living in Westwoodside with his parents Gervase W and Mary J Maw and his younger siblings Frances A Maw aged 11 and Horace W Maw aged 3. The family was living in Nethergate, Westwoodside in the Parish of Haxey.
The same family was still all living in Westwoodside in the 1911 census, where the names are given fully as Gervase William and Mary Jane Maw with their children George Henry 23, Frances Alice 21 and Horace William 14. George Henry Maw is described as a House Joiner. In the 1891 census, the family were reported to be living in the hamlet of Graizelound, about 1 km south-east of Westwoodside and 500 metres south of Haxey. In this census, George was 3 and had an older sister, Bertha, aged 5. Further online research, which took me about 2-3 hours to complete, revealed a fairly complete view of the life of George Henry Maw. I summarise the main points below.
George Henry Maw was born on 22nd August 1887 in the parish of Haxey, Lincolnshire to parents Gervase William Maw (1863 – 1947) and Mary Jane Maw nee Hather (1867 -1935). He was at least the fourth generation of his farming family to be born in that area, starting with his great grandfather, another Gervase William Maw (1792 – 1847). George Henry Maw’s marriage to Lillie Oates, the daughter of David and Emma Oates, a farmer and his wife living in Westwoodside, was registered in the 2nd quarter of 1913 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. They had two children, Albert Horace Maw, born 1st February 1915 and Elsie Maw born 3rd December 1917. In 1939, George and his family were still living in the Isle of Axholme rural district, where George was described as a farmer and grocer. George Henry Maw died on 18th October 1972. His wife Lillie Maw nee Oates, who had been born on 8th June 1883, died on 1st May 1977. They both appeared to have lived their whole lives together in Westwoodside and are buried together near there (Figure 6).
George Henry Maw’s two children both married in Lincolnshire; Albert Horace Maw (1915-1998) to Sara H Campion and Elsie Maw to a Mr. Williamson. I have been unable to tell if either of these couples had children.
If we back to look at the picture of the MNC chapel and community in 1905, there are five or six young men who could be the then 18 year old George Henry Maw. Unless an authenticated photograph of him can be discovered, I do not expect to be able to identify him in the group picture.
Two other interesting things occurred to me. Firstly, he was presented with the book at the age of 18 or 19, which seems a little bit old to be a Sunday School pupil. Secondly, I can find no record of any military service in the first world war for him. He would have been 26 years old in 1914 and would have been expected to join the forces. However, he may have become a farmer following his marriage in 1913 to the daughter of a farmer, noting that he was reported to be a farmer in 1939. Farming was a reserved occupation in the 1914-1918 period. That may have saved his life.
Another thing that I don’t know is when the book left the Maw family. Was it at the death of George or his wife? Did the book pass on to one of his two children? What I do know is that I bought the book in 2010 from a well known dealer, who specialises in editions of Jane Austen. He works from Northampton in England, which is about 100 miles (160 km) to the south of Westwoodside.
What are these three editions of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen?
This is an example of how to establish the identity and provenance of books. In this part of the blog I am concentrating on the precise identification of books. I am going to compare these three books and then look at each in detail to see what we can learn about its origin. In the next posting, I will demonstrate how to investigate their provenance.
Here (Figure 1) are three different editions of Mansfield Park, all published more than 50 years after the first edition, which was published in 1814 in London by John Murray in three volumes. Only the left hand book has any extra information on the front of the binding, properly called the top board. In the upper cartouche is the phrase “Inestimable Stones Unvalued Jewels” and in the lower cartouche the phrase “The Ruby Series”. Inestimable Stones Unvalued Jewels is a quotation from Shakespeare’s play Richard III Act 1 Scene 4: “Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels, All scatter’d in the bottom of the sea“.
We can often roughly date a book by examining the appearance, style, materials and quality of the binding. All three books are cloth bound in predominantly red cloth, with two of them decorated with gilding. The Ruby Series binding is in a geometric style that is suggestive of the 1860-1880 period. The central book has an Art Nouveau look to it, and the style of the dress of the woman shown reading is Edwardian, which suggests a date range of 1900 – 1910. The right hand book with its ornate floral design suggests the broader late Victorian and Edwardian period of 1875 – 1910. All of these opinions are entirely subjective and represent my feeling on first seeing the books.
The next thing to do when examining any book is to look at the title page to see what information is present, and, all too often, what information is missing. On the three title pages, which are reproduced below (Figure 2), you can see that two of these books were published by George Routledge and Sons, while the third was published by Miles and Miles. None of the title pages cites a publication date. Here are the three title pages:
All three books are clearly editions of Mansfield Park published in London. After the title, all three pages repeat the same text ‘ BY JANE AUSTEN Author of “Northanger Abbey,” “Persuasion,” “Emma” etc, etc’, with some slight differences in fonts and cases. It is quite unusual for exactly these same three books to be cited in the same way; indeed, it is much more common for Austen to be cited as the author of Pride and Prejudice and/or Sense and Sensibility on title pages of the other Austen novels.
The left hand and central books are both published by George Routledge and Sons, with some differences in the address. In the left hand book, Routledge’s address is given as The Broadway Ludgate, followed by New York: 416 Broome Street. In the central book, the address is given as Broadway House, Ludgate Hill with no New York address. The central book also has an ornamented capital R device, obviously a colophon or logo for the publisher. The right hand book is published by Miles and Miles at Foresters’ Hall Place, Clerkenwell Road EC. The close similarity of the printed text concerning the author suggests that all three books are related.
The next thing to examine is the page count of the text of the novel, normally called the “text block”, and to have a look at the appearance of the text. The left hand book has a text block of 288 pages, whereas the central and right hand books both have text blocks of 443 pages. The first page of each text block is shown in Figure 3 below.
It is quite clear from Figure 3 that the two editions published by Routledge look different, but that the text block of the Miles and Miles edition seems to be exactly the same as the Routledge edition in the central panel, both in terms of page count, decoration and appearance. It is hard to get a proper impression of the quality of the pages from the images, but both the paper and print quality of the Routledge edition in the central panel is superior to both of the other two editions. How should we proceed from here?
Other relevant printed information
If we look at The Ruby Series edition of Mansfield Park, there are three other helpful pieces of printed information that can be found. These are a frontispiece, the printer’s details and some pages of publisher’s advertisements. These are shown in Figure 4 below.
The frontispiece is a fairly low quality wood engraving. It is disfigured by a large horizontal black ink smear, which is a printing defect that runs through the heads of the man and the woman. There are no artists’ names nor is there a date on the frontispiece image. This is disappointing, as we can often find both an engraver and and artist name in book illustrations. Dates are rarer, but can sometimes be found in illustrations. However, illustrations are not always original images made for a particular book; they can often be recycled and reused.
The last page of the text block, shown in the central panel of Figure 4 above, indicates a page count of 288 pages. Also, as is often the case, the last page of the text block bears the name of the printer. In this case, it is “Woodfall and Kinder, Printers, Milford Lane, Strand, London, W.C.” which is printed at the bottom of p.288. This information is often useful because the printer’s relationship with the publisher, the form of the name of the printing company and the address of the printer all may be associated with particular date ranges. In this case, we know from the Library of Congress records that this was the address for Woodfall and Kinder from 1865 to 1887.
Publisher’s advertisements in books can be very revealing. In this case there is some frustration, as it seems that the publisher’s advertising block of four leaves may be incomplete, as after the unnumbered first advert page, the following page numbers are present; 4,13,14,19,20,29,30. The page shown in the right hand panel of Figure 4, p.4, is the verso of the first advert page, suggesting that the publishers printed advertising pages that were extracted from a larger document. The most useful entry in the advert block is the entry two thirds of the way down the page shown in Figure 4, which reads “Routledge’s Every Boy’s Annual for 1876”. Annuals, by their nature are produced every year, so this entry strongly suggests the period 1876-1877 for the publication of The Ruby Series.
The other Routledge edition of Mansfield Park shown in the central panel of Figure 1 above also has a frontispiece and a block of advertisements, which are shown in Figure 5 below.
The frontispiece is a photographically produced half tone image that has an artist’s name, Sydney Carter, in the lower right hand corner. The picture shows Edward Bertram riding with Mrs Crawford, an incident from Chapter 7 of Mansfield Park. The frontispiece has no date. The decorated capital ‘R’ colophon for Routledge first appears on the title page of Routledge and Sons publications in 1903, and appears consistently on their publications until 1920. There is a four page block of publisher’s advertisements bound at the end of the text block. It consists of advertisements for books in Routledge’s Popular Library and Routledge’s Popular Poets, all of which were priced at 3/6. (three shillings and sixpence). An investigation of the book titles in the advertisements show that these items were first published by Routledge in the 1880s and 1890s.
There is also a printer’s name and address printed on the verso of the title page. It reveals the printer to be “London and County Printing Works, Bazaar Buildings, London, W.C.” This refers to the printer L. Upcott Gill, who worked at this address, which is in Drury Lane. There is evidence for the firm operating at that address at least between 1902 and 1907, including the printing of a book for Routledge in 1903.
When we consider the Miles and Miles edition of Mansfield Park, the situation is both much simpler and less helpful. There is no frontispiece present nor any other illustrations, there is no printer identified and there is no block of advertisements. So, where should we go from here?
Consult the Experts or Ask a Friend?
At this point, it is generally best to look at what is known about different editions of Jane Austen, and what is known about the two publishers, George Routledge and Sons and Miles and Miles. We now need to consult the most reliable bibliographic sources available. Another useful approach can be to consult WorldCat on line, which gives listings of holdings of books in thousands of libraries around the world. This can be a convenient way to access the Library of Congress and The British Library. For this investigation, I am going to stick to the standard bibliographies which provide far more detail. However, you do need to have access to copies of them. One of the essential elements of book collecting is to build a practical and working bibliographic library, appropriate to your collecting needs.
There are four bibliographic sources for Jane Austen. These are by Michael Sadlier (1888-1957), the authority on the publication of literature in 19th century England. His XIX Century Fiction: A Bibliographic Record, Constable, London 1951, based on his own collection, is the best general authority on 19th century publications. More specific and detailed bibliographies of Jane Austen were published by Geoffrey Keynes (1887-1982) Jane Austen:A Bibliography. Nonesuch Press, 1929 and Robert Chapman (1881-1960) Jane Austen: A Critical Bibliography Oxford University Press 1969. The current standard authority is David Gilson (1938-2014) in his massive A Bibliography of Jane Austen, 2nd edition, Oak Knoll Press, Newcastle, Delaware, USA , 1997.
The identification system used by Gilson is a combination of a letter which represents a class of publications, followed by a number which identifies the edition within that class, with the numbers assigned in chronological order. The letter and number codes are as follows in the 1997 edition:
A1 – A9 Original UK editions
B1 – B7 Original US editions
C1 – C249 Non-English translations
D1 – D13 Editions published by Bentley
E1 – E425 Later editions 1838 -1976
F1 – F24 Minor works by Austen
G1 – G7 Austen’s letters
H1 – H50 Dramatisations
J1 – J14 Continuations and completions
K1 – K20 Books owned by Jane Austen
L1 – L48 Miscellaneous
M1 – M1814 Biography and Criticism
When we consult Gilson, and similarly with Sadlier, Keynes and Chapman, the first thing to note is that there is no mention of Miles and Miles as a publisher of Jane Austen. However, there is quite a lot of detail on George Routledge in Gilson. Routledge published different inexpensive editions of Jane Austen, starting in 1849 with Sense and Sensibility recorded as Gilson E12 and Pride and Prejudice as Gilson E13. The publisher’s name and address on both of these is given as George Routledge and Co., Soho Square. These two titles reappeared in several reprinted editions throughout the 1850s.
Gilson also noted a 288 page edition of Mansfield Park published by George Routledge and Co., Farringdon Street; and 18 Beekman Street New York dated 1857 (Gilson E23). He noted that E23 was reprinted by Routledge in 1876 as a part of The Ruby Series, which Gilson recorded as E44. Gilson also noted that E44 was bound in a blue daisy-patterned cloth, with no date on the title page. The publisher’s details were given as George Routledge and Sons, The Broadway, Ludgate; NewYork 416 Broome Street. He also noted that the British Library copy had four leaves of publisher’s advertisements bound in. He also stated that E44 had a wood engraved frontispiece which depicted Edward Bertram and Mary Crawford on the park seat at Sotherton. From the list shown below, 416 Broome Street was the New York address for Routledge from 1866 – 1881.
I think the identity of my Ruby Series Mansfield Park is now clearly established as Gilson E44, published in 1876 in an alternative binding to that described by Gilson.
Gilson reports later editions of Austen printed by George Routledge and Sons, including all six novels in 1883, which included a 433 page edition of Mansfield Park (Gilson E61). These 1883 editions were all undated on the title page, but showed the publisher’s address as Broadway, Ludgate Hill; New York, 9 Lafayette Place. Gilson mentions that several of the 1883 editions of Jane Austen published by Routledge have been recorded by other researchers as reprinted by George Routledge and Sons in 1898 and 1899 as “The Steventon Edition”.
I have three of “The Steventon Edition” volumes of Jane Austen published by George Routledge and Sons in my personal library. Sadly, I don’t have a copy of “The Steventon Edition” of Mansfield Park. The bindings and title pages are shown below (Figure 6.) This are clearly Art Nouveau style bindings. The phrase “The Steventon Edition” appears blind stamped just above the gilded titles.
My copies of Sense and Sensibility and Emma shown in Figure 6 above both have frontispieces that are clearly stylistically very similar to that shown for the Routledge Mansfield Park in Figure 5. They are all signed Sydney Carter, all produced by the same photographic halftone process and all have the same style of caption. Sadly, the Northanger Abbey/Persuasion in Figure 6 has apparently lost its frontispiece.
The title pages in Figure 6. are all similar but have some slight differences. None of these “Steventon” editions have the decorated R colophon on the title page. The other Jane Austen titles cited following the author’s name are printed slightly differently, and the addresses on the Emma and NorthangerAbbey/Persuasion are given exactly as on the Mansfield Park in Figure 5 Broadway House, Ludgate Hill, whereas the address on the Sense and Sensibility is given as Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Manchester and New York. The “Manchester and New York” printed on the Sense and Sensibility is indicative of a publication date from 1892 to 1897. The other two books were probably published in the period 1900-1902.
From the images of the first page (Figure 7), the style of these three books closely matches the styles of the Miles and Miles Mansfield Park and the Routledge Mansfield Park in the centre of Figure 2. If we look at the text blocks of these three Steventon editions, we find they are 379, 444 and 448 pages for Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Northanger Abbey/Persuasion respectively. This exactly matches the page counts for the 1883 Routledge editions of these titles recorded by Gilson as E60, E63 and E64. The printer for these books is identified as “Woodfall and Kinder, Printers, 70-76 Long Acre, London, W.C.” According to the Library of Congress, this is the address for this printing firm from 1888 to around 1900.
George Routledge the publisher
What do we know abut George Routledge the publisher? Fortunately, the company records for George Routledge, who lived from 1812 to 1888, have survived, and are held by University College London. Inspection of these records reveal how the description of the company and its addresses changed over 100 years. They are summarised in the following list: The numbers in brackets are the street addresses, which sometimes were printed in full, but often the number was omitted.
1836-1843 George Routledge 11 Ryders Court, Leicester Square, London
1843-1851 George Routledge and Co., (36) Soho Square, London
1852-1858 George Routledge and Co., Farringdon Street
1858-1859 Routledge, Warnes and Routledge, (2) Farringdon Street
1860-1864 Routledge, Warne and Routledge, (2) Farringdon Street
1865 Routledge, Warne and Routledge, Broadway Ludgate Hill
1865-1866 George Routledge and Sons, Broadway Ludgate Hill
1866-1878 George Routledge and Sons, The Broadway Ludgate
1879-1886 George Routledge and Sons, Broadway Ludgate Hill
From 1854 to 1886, the address of the New York office was often printed below the London address. From 1887 to 1902, New York address no longer appeared on the title pages. All of the years from 1887-1890 start LONDON | George Routledge and Sons. and from 1890 onward LONDON | George Routledge and SonsLimited.
1887-1888 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Glasgow and New York
1889-1892 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Glasgow Manchester and New York
1892-1897 Broadway, Ludgate Hill | Manchester and New York
1895-1902 George Routledge and SonsLimited, Broadway Ludgate Hill
1900-1911 George Routledge and SonsLimited, Broadway House, Ludgate Hill
1903-1925 London | George Routledge and Sons, Limited |New York E.P. Dutton and Co.
1912-1925 London | George Routledge and Sons, Limited | Broadway House 68-74 Carter Lane E.C.
The New York addresses are shown below.
1854-1859 18 Beekman Street. New York
1859-1864 56 Walker Street. New York
1864-1866 129 Grand Street. New York
1866-1881 416 Broome Street. New York
1881-1886 9 Lafayette place New York
1887-1902 New York (American only publications will still use 9 Lafayette Place)
From all of these considerations, it seems clear that the Routledge edition of Mansfield Park shown in the central panel of Figure 1 must be a reprint of the 1883 Routledge edition described by Gilson as E62. The Steventon editions are also reprints of the 1883 editions, probably printed between 1892 and 1900. My Mansfield Park with the woman reading on the cover is almost certainly another, later reprint of E61, printed between 1903 and 1906, because of the evidence of the title page style and the printer and publisher’s addresses. As will be seen in Part 3 of the blog, there is another piece of evidence which supports this.
How can we identify the Miles and Miles edition, which is lacking in any evidence other than the name and address of the publisher and the style of the binding and the text block. Fortunately for me, Janine Barchas in her excellent “The Lost Novels of Jane Austen” published in 2019 by Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA , has explored the origin of the Miles and Miles editions of Jane Austen. In chapter 2, Professor Barchas relates an impressive account of how the stereotype printing plates, which were created by Routledge and Sons for their 1883 editions of Jane Austen (Gilson E60 -E64) were sold or leased to other publishers to produce cheap editions of the books. She shows how Lever Brothers, soap manufacturers at Port Sunlight in Cheshire, UK, issued at least 100 titles from stereotype plates between 1890 and 1897, which included a copy of Sense and Sensibility in her own possession, and copies of Pride and Prejudice which are all clearly printed from the Routledge stereotype plates of 1883.
Janine Barchas has also identified that several books on the Lever Brothers list were also published by Miles and Miles in at least three binding styles, one described as The Marguerite Series, another as The Sundial Series and a third unnamed series which corresponds to the Miles and Miles binding of my Mansfield Park shown in Figure 1. She also identified the use of these same stereotype plates to produce even shoddier and cheaper looking editions by other publishers including Standard Authors, The Londoner Press and John Heywood Ltd of Manchester. Clearly a range of different publishers have had access to the same stereotype plates to produce cheap editions of Jane Austen in the period 1890 to 1905, perhaps even to 1910.
Finally, Janine Barchas noted that The British Library has a copy of Mansfield Park, published by Miles and Miles, tentatively dated to 1900 by an inscription. All of the above leads me to believe that my Miles and Miles edition of Mansfield Park is another reprint from the Routledge stereotype plates of 1883, printed some time between 1900 and 1906. For more on Miles and Miles see Price and Provenance 5.
The conclusions for the dating of all three of my editions of Mansfield Park are summarised in Figure 8 below. For an account of the establishment of provenance and prior ownership of these and other related books, please refer to the following section of the blog Price and Provenance 3.