Adam Matthew to publish nearly 500 years of materials on the history of printing, publishing and bookselling

Just in from Adam Matthew:

Literary Print Culture, the latest primary source collection from Adam Matthew Digital, makes available The Stationers’ Company Archive with material from 1554 to the 21st Century.

Widely regarded as one of the most important sources for the history of the book, publishing and copyright, the archive of The Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers is now available for unparalleled research.

Formed in London in 1403,  was instrumental in the development of the printed book in England, exerting enormous power over the publishing industry as it developed in the early modern period. In the late 15th century, the company was granted immense power by Royal Charter to control this nascent industry, leading onto the development of “copyright.”

“Digital access opens up exciting new possibilities for research,” commented William Alden, MBE DL Clerk, The Stationers’ Company. “This resource will help a far wider community to understand how the Stationers’ Company has contributed to English cultural life over the last five centuries.”

Students and scholars of English literature, Renaissance theatre, and print culture from the early modern period to the twentieth century now have access to a comprehensive view of this enormously influential organization.

Researchers will be able to view the Entry Book of Copies (1554-1842) containing records of all printed works registered in England, including Shakespeare’s First Folio, entered on November 8, 1623. Read court and membership records documenting the workings of the Stationers’ Company and the publishing community, and relive the activities of the English Stock Company, the publishing arm holding a monopoly over popular published works.

“The Stationers’ Company Archive is vitally important for the study of the history of the book in Britain,” remarked Dr. Giles Bergel, University of Oxford. “This digital archive is indispensable.”