David Atkinson

Published On


Page Range

pp. 137–164


  • English

Print Length

28 pages

6. Chapmen’s Books Printed for Henry Woodgate and Samuel Brooks (1757–61)

  • David Atkinson (author)
This chapter considers a series of ‘Chapmen’s Books, Printed for Henry Woodgate and Samuel Brooks, at the Golden Ball, in Paternoster Row’ in the 1750s/60s, listed in printed catalogues appended to several of the firm’s publications. These chapmen’s books were typically upwards of a hundred pages in extent, printed on several sheets, and priced at one shilling. That was twelve times the price of a broadside or cheap chapbook, and so these publications might be expected to have been aimed at a rather different market from that usually associated with the itinerant book trade. Cautiously, the chapter concludes that it is plausible to think of booksellers like Woodgate and Brooks reflecting the growth of the market for print, and to think of the itinerant book trade as being, or having become,more diverse than the conventional picture of the petty chapman selling ballads and chapbooks for a penny or so might allow.


David Atkinson

Honorary Research Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute at University of Aberdeen

David Atkinson is the author of The English Traditional Ballad (2002), The Anglo-Scottish Ballad and its Imaginary Contexts (2014), and The Ballad and its Pasts: Literary Histories and the Play of Memory (2018). With Steve Roud he has co-edited Street Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and North America (2014), Street Literature of the Long Nineteenth Century (2017), Cheap Print and the People: European Perspectives on Popular Literature (2019), Street Literature and the Circulation of Songs (2019), and Printers, Pedlars, Sailors, Nuns: Aspects of Street Literature (2020). He has published articles on cheap print in The Library, Publishing History, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. He is the editor of Folk Music Journal, Honorary Research Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, and Executive Secretary of the Kommission für Volksdichtung (Ballad Commission).