Jonathan Cooper

Published On


Page Range

pp. 259–320


  • English

Print Length

62 pages

10. Alphabet Pies, Animal Quacks, and Ugly Sisters: John Evans and the Growth of Cheap Books for Children

  • Jonathan Cooper (author)
The printer and bookseller John Evans was, in the last decade of the eighteenth century, seemingly prolonging the lifespan of the type of publication that had hitherto typified the Aldermary Churchyard press and which it was abandoning in search of ‘respectability’. The place of business Evans established for his work, and which was retained by his family for a further forty-five years, was originally John Marshall’s, and what seems to have been his ‘big break’ came courtesy of Marshall when he fell out of favour with the patrons of the Cheap Repository Tracts. Nevertheless, Evans had a distinct career. Stretching into the 1800s, he was arguably the last printer of the traditional ‘penny history’ in the capital, a text and illustrative tradition that dated back at least to the printers and publishers of the mid-seventeenth century; he was a major link in the production of broadside ballads and slip songs between Marshall and the later printers Pitts and Catnach; and, as this chapter will show, he was a significant and heretofore underappreciated printer of street literature specifically for children.


Jonathan Cooper