Oxford University Press.

Some account of the Oxford University Press, 1468-1921 online

. (page 1 of 6)
Online LibraryOxford University PressSome account of the Oxford University Press, 1468-1921 → online text (page 1 of 6)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


AULINE FORE MOFFITT
LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
GENERAL LIBRARY, BERKELEY



With the ^Author's Compliments



^ t



THE



OXFORD

University Press




rw



INITIAL FROM THE GREAT CHARTER OF THE UNIVERSITY,
Granted by Charles I to confirm and settle printing privileges
which had been first granted in 1631. Seep, in



SOME ACCOUNT

OF THE

OXFORD

*

University Press

1468-1921




O X F O R7)
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

M CM XXII



Oxford University Press

London Edinburgh Glasgow Copenhagen
N"JJ Tork Toronto Melbourne Cape Toiun

Bombay Calcutta Madras Shanghai
Humphrey Milford Publisher to the UNIVERSITY



THE AUTHOR desires to exprefi
bis grateful tbanki to all those



members of the Staffs of the TPrefi and
its ^Branches <who have helped him in
the compilation of this sketch, or have
contributed to its typographical or pic-
torial embellishment ; and especially to
Mr. FALCONER MADAN, from *whose
Brief Account of the University Press
at Oxford (1908) the historical details
here mentioned are derived.

OXFORD, December 1921.



CONTENTS

I. HISTORICAL SKETCH . . 9

II. THE PRESS TO-DAY

The Press at Oxford . . . 23

The Press in the War . . .33

Wolvercote Paper Mill . . -36

The Press in London . . .38

Administration . .40
Finance ...... 42

Oxford Imprints . . . 45

Catalogues and Advertisement . . 49

The Press and its Authors . . - 54

Bibles and Prayer Books . . .. 58

Clarendon Press Books 61



7

III. THE PRESS ABROAD

India . . . . .63

Canada ...... 67

Australasia ..... 68

South Africa ..... 69

China .... 69

Scandinavia 69

The United States . . . .70

IV. OXFORD BOOKS

Oxford Series ... 73

Oxford Books on the Empire , .81

The Oxford Standard . . . .83

Illustrated Books . . . .90

Official Publications . . . 92

The Oxford English Dictionary . 95
The Dictionary of National Biography 103

The Oxford Medical Publications . 106

Oxford Books for Boys and Girls . 109

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS no




I



HISTORICAL SKETCH




HE first book printed at Oxford is the
very rare Commentary on the Apostles'
Creed attributed to St. Jerome, the
colophon of which is dated 17 De-
cember, Anno domini Mcccclxviij. It
is improbable that a book was printed
at Oxford so early as r4<*8 ; and the
bibliographers are on various grounds
agreed that an x has been omitted. If so, Oxford must
be content to date the beginning of its Press from the
year 1478 ; while Westminster, its only English pre-
cursor, produced its first book from Caxton p s press in

1477.

The first printer was Theodoric Rood, who came to
England from Cologne, and looked after the Press until
about 1485-; soon after which dace the first Press came to
an end. The second Press lasted from 15-17 until 15-20,



2467



io HISTORICAL SKETCH



SPH/ERA



and was near Merton College. Some twenty-three books
are known to have issued from these Presses ; they are
for the most part classical or theological works in Latin.
There is no doubt that this early Press was really the
University Press ; for many of the books have the imprint
in Jllma e l)niversitate Oxoniae or the like, some bear the

University Arms, and some
are issued with the express
privilege of th Chancellor
of the University.

After 1720 there is a gap
in the history, which begins
again in 15-85-. The Chan-
cellor of that time was Queen
Elizabeth's favourite, the Earl
of Leicester, who in the first
issue of the new Press is
celebrated as its founder.
Convocation in 15*84 had ap-
pointed a committee De Libris
imprimendis^ and in 15-8^ the
University lent 100 to an
Oxford bookseller, Joseph
Barnes, to carry on a press.
In the next year an ordinance
of the Star Chamber allowed
one press at Oxford, and one apprentice in addition to
the master printer. Barnes managed the Press until 161 7,
and printed many books now prized by collectors, among
them the first book printed at Oxford in Greek (the
Chrysostom of 15-86), the first book with Hebrew type
(i; 96), Richard de Bury's Philobiblon, and Captain John
Smith's Map of Virginia.




Device used on the back of the

title of Sphaera Civitatis

Oxford 15-88




Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester




Archbishop Laud




Dr. John Fell Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon

FOUR FOUNDERS OF THE OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS



HISTORICAL SKETCH



The first notable promoter of the Oxford Press was
Archbishop Laud, whose statutes contemplate the appoint-
ment of an ArchitypographuSy and who secured for the




Oxford Gazette.



Publifhed by Authority.



Ox**. Nav.j.

day the RcvetcndDr. WtJfcy Bt&tdford* War-
den ot vPadham Colledge in this Univcrfity was
cicfed Ld. Biflwp of this Sec, vacant by the death
of Dr.P^/^cBilhophcrc,

Oxoit. Jf9v.ii. This Day His Majefty in Councct accord
ing to the ufual cuftom, having the Roll of Sheriffs
prcTcmcd to him, pricked thofe Persons following to be
Sheriffs for the tacceeding Year, in their rcfpcftjvc
Counties of Extend and vote*.



Berks.
tedfsrd.



Cumberland.

Chefter.

Cambridge.



Devon.
Dorfet.
Derby.
Torkjbire.



Glocefier.
Hertford.
Hereford.



BafilBreiu, /fY
ThotSnaggc. Efa.
Symon Benna,/f.
Sir William Dalfton,
Sir lohn Ardcrne, fyi
Sir TIio: WUhs, l(
Tho: Dorrel, Efa.
IohnKcIIttd,E/
Roger Clavel, Efq.
Si: Samuel Sleigh,
Sir Francis Cobb, Knight.
SirHencagcFcthcribn, Sennit.
Sir Richard Cox, Zarotut.
Sir Lorathan Kcac, Baronet.
Tho: Rod, / f .
Sir Humphry Miller,
WiJJiimSpcnccri /



fieur de C tutitlttc having bcsn put to death by the Conr
miffioners of the Grands lours : It fccms they had laid
fomc new Taxes or Impofitions on thofc pans There are
Troyps marching agair.3 them > arid it is thought they will
loon be reduced . My Lord Aubigy Lord Almoner to
her Mi jelly hiving Men Gck fame :ime here of in Hy
dropfje attended with a Flux,it this week dead.

PariiNovemb'. 18. The Mtrefckal de Tare tie arri-
ved here on Sunday laftfrotn the Frontiers , whence he
brines account chat the Succors intended againft the Prince
of Mtitjler had pa&d in ftn ill parties, and that they had
teen received at Mteftricbt by Mufevr Bti/emg in the
name of the States General.

Guemyy OStob. 50. Ycftcrday came into our Road
the tfity Fitax 9 Captain Traford Commander, who
brought in a Friie Captain lofn Gil[b* of F//fcMg, be-
ing a Privateer of 7 Guns, and 45. Men.

CbrtthamtfoTJi 4. Captain /#* Commander of the
Stphirc has taken j Bufles, woof them out of 50 at die
Dogger./ia^j, under the Pwe&ion of four of their Men
of War. In his paffage home, us faid, he faw fcvcral tops
of SIups,Mafts,&c. which feemed- to be the effects of fome
Wreck , which God be thanked we doc not hearc to
have been any of the *gl</& Ships.

QXM\ HoTjembi n. Not knowing what accomptthe
Publick has hitherto received of the Progrefs of the
Prince of Mutter* s Armes, we havexhought it not im-
proper without further repetition,togive an account of fucb
places u oc al ptefenk Rands potfeft oflntheEnc.



Upper part of the first page of the Oxford (now London) Gazette,
The oldest newspaper still existing in England



University in 1632 Letters Patent authorizing three
printers (each with two presses and two apprentices), and
in 1 6 $6 a Royal Charter entitling the University to print
< all manner of books '. The privilege of printing the
Bible was not exercised at this date; but in 1656



B 2




Used in Burlcu on Aristotle, printed at Opjorl 1517




Usecl in 1565-93,1597-1600, at intiroals till 1635




Used in 162.7- 8,1630- 33, 1635-7,
and 1640



AC:




IW at intervals jfom 1502-1638




Used in 1628, anJ at inUruiL till
1637





Used in i6$o-&, 1636-8,



From tlwEnwnsihj Specimen, 1



OXFORD UNIVERSITY ARMS

Some ancient examples usei bu the OxjSrI Unbcrsitu TVejs




'these Arm*- were first usdm



H HISTORICAL SKETCH

Almanacks were produced, and this seems to have
alarmed the Stationers' Company, who then enjoyed
a virtual monopoly of Bibles, Grammars, and Almanacks ;
for we find that in 1637 the University surrendered the
privilege to the Stationers for an annual payment of 200,
twice the amount of Joseph' Barnes's working capital.
The most famous books belonging to what may be called




From The History of Lapland by John ShefFerus, 1674, the
first anthropological book published by the Press

the Laudian period were five editions of Burton's Anatomy
of Melancholy and one of Bacon's Advancement of Learning
in English.

The work of the Press during the Civil War is of
interest to historians and bibliographers on account of
the great number of Royalist Pamphlets and Proclama-
tions issued while the Court of Charles I was at Oxford ;
a number swollen in appearance by those printed in
London with counterfeit Oxford imprints. But this
period is not important in the history of the Learned



HISTORICAL SKETCH 15

Press; and after 1649 it suffered a partial eclipse which
did not pass until the Restoration.

The history of the Press in the latter part of the
seventeenth century will always be connected with the



o&rc&pei erf M&ppa.




From W. MaundrelFs Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem,
Oxford, 1703, engraved by M. Burghers

name of the second of its great patrons, Dr. John Fell,
Dean of Christ Church and Bishop of Oxford. Fell
made the great collection of type-punches and matrices
from which the beautiful types known by his name are
still cast at Oxford; he promoted the setting up of
a paper mill at Wolvercote, where Oxford paper is still



16 HISTORICAL SKETCH

made ; he conducted the long, and ultimately successful,
struggle with the Stationers and the King's Printers, from
which the history of Oxford Bibles and Prayer Books
begins (1675). In 1671 he and three others took over the
management of the Press, paying the University 200
a year and spending themselves a large sum upon its
development. Lastly, it seems that he suggested to
Archbishop Sheldon the provision, due to his munificence,
of the new and spacious printing house and Theatre
which still bears his name. The Press was installed there
in 1 669, and began to issue the long series of books
which bear the imprint Oxoniae e Theatro Sheldoniano, or
in the vulgar tongue Oxford at the Theater. These
imprints, indeed, were still used, at times, long after
the Press had been moved from the Sheldonian to its
next home in the Clarendon Building. Many learned
folios were printed at this time, including pioneer work
by Oxford students of Oriental languages; the book
best remembered to-day is no doubt Anthony Wood's
Historia et Antiquitates 'Universitatis Oxoniensis published
in 1674.

To this period belongs also the first exercise of the
privilege to print Bibles and Prayer Books, which was
recognized, as we have seen, at least as early as 1637,
when the Stationers' Company paid the University to
refrain from printing Bibles. This agreement lasted
until 1642, and, by renewal at intervals, until 1672, when
it was at length denounced; and in 1675- a quarto English
Bible was printed at the Theater^ and a beginning made
of what has become an extensive and highly technical
process of manufacture and distribution.

Early in the eighteenth century the Press acquired,
with a new habitation, a name still in very general use.



HISTORIA >

ET

ANTIQUITATES

VNJVERSITATIS
OXONIENSIS,




2467



. c Theatre ShtUoninno. M.JDC LXXTV.

c



18 HISTORICAL SKETCH

The University was granted the perpetual copyright of
Clarendon's History of the Rebellion (a possession in which
it was confirmed by the Copyright Act of 1911); and
the Clarendon Building was built chiefly from the profits
accruing from the sales of that book. Many editions
were printed in folio at various dates; and the Press
Catalogue still offers the fine edition of 1849, with the
notes of Bishop Warburton, in seven volumes octavo,
and that of the Life in two volumes, 185-7; the whole
comprising over $-,000 pages and sold for .4 ID/. Still
cheaper is the one-volume edition of 1843, in 1,366
pages royal octavo, the price of which is 2 is. More
recently the demands of piety have been still further
satisfied by the issue of a new edition based on fresh
collations made from the manuscript by the late
Dr. Macray. Though the Clarendon Building long
since ceased to be a printing house, one of its rooms
is still The Delegates' Room ; and there the Delegates of
the Press hold their stated meetings.

In the eighteenth century the Bible Press grew in
strength with the co-operation of London booksellers
and finally with the establishment (in 1770, if not earlier)
of its own Bible Warehouse in Paternoster Row. The
Learned Press, on the other hand, though some important
books were produced, suffered from the general apathy
which then pervaded the University. Sir William Black-
stone, having been appointed a Delegate, found that his
colleagues did not meet, or met .only to do nothing; and
addressed to the Vice-Chancellor a vigorous pamphlet,
in which he described the Press as < languishing in a lazy

C-/ C-7 J

obscurity, and barely reminding us of its existence, by
now and then slowly bringing forth a Program, a Sermon
printed by request, or at best a Bodleian Catalogue'.





The Three University Presses



20 HISTORICAL SKETCH

The great lawyer's polemic gradually battered down the
ramparts of ignorant negligence, and the Press began
to revive under the new statute which he promoted.
Dr. Johnson in 1767 was able to assure his sovereign
that the authorities at Oxford c had put their press
under better regulation, and were at that time printing
Polybius y .

The Clarendon Building is not large, and the Press
very soon outgrowing it was partly housed in various
adjacent buildings, until in 1826-30 the present Press
in Walton Street was erected. It is remarkable that
though the building is more like a college than a factory
it is of the quadrangular plan regular in Oxford and
was built when printing was still mainly a handicraft,
it has been found possible to adapt its solid fabric and
spacious rooms to modern processes with very little
structural alteration. Extensive additions, however, have
been and are even now being made.

The activities of the nineteenth century are too
various to detail; but a few outstanding facts claim
mention. The Bible business continued to prosper, and
gained immensely in variety by the introduction of Oxford
India paper and by the publication, in conjunction with
Cambridge, of the Revised Version of the Old and New
Testaments. Earlier in the century there was a period
of great activity in the production of editions of the
Classics, in which Gaisfbrd played a great part and to
which many foreign scholars like Wyttenbach and
Dindorf gave their support. Later, in the Secretaryships
of Kitchin (for many years afterwards Dean of Durham)
and of Bartholomew Price, new ground was broken with
the famous Clarendon Press Series of school books by such
scholars as Aldis Wright, whose editions of Shakespeare




Q
&
O
Cn
X
O



V}
CO



C/5

^

w



h

fc

O
w

uJ

O




O U
S

13- O



'

J2 <U

3 -2



O




o



HISTORICAL SKETCH 21

have long served as a quarry for successive editors. The
Nero English Dictionary began to be published in 1884.
Meanwhile the manufacturing powers of the Press at
Oxford and the selling powers of the publishing house
in London were very widely extended by the energies of
Mr. Horace Hart and Mr. Henry Frowde, and the founda-
tions were laid of the great and multifarious enterprises
which belong to the history of the last twenty years.

The growth of the Press in the first two decades of
the present century is due to the co-operation of a large
number of individuals : of the members of the University
who have acted as Delegates ; of their officers, managers,
and employees; and of the authors of Oxford books.
In so far, however, as this period of its history can be
identified with the name of one man, it will be remem-
bered as that in which the late CHARLES CANNAN served
the Delegates as Secretary. The Delegates at his death
placed on record their judgement that he had made an
inestimable contribution to the prosperity and usefulness
of the Press. The Times Literary Supplement, in reviewing
the last edition of the Oxford ^University Roll of Service,
gave some account of the services performed by the
University in the war. One paragraph dealt with the
work of the Press :

4 Probably no European Press did more to propagate
historical and ethical truth about the war. The death
of its Secretary, Charles Cannan, a year ago, has left
an inconsolable regret among all those more fortunate
Oxford men, old and young, who had the honour to be
acquainted with one of the finest characters and most
piercing intelligences of our time. He was a very great
man, and is alive to-day in the spirit of the institution
which he enriched with his personality and his life.'




II



THE PRESS TO-DAY

i. The 'Press at Oxford

HE main building of the Oxford Press,
erected 1826-30, consists of three sides
of a quadrangle. The two main wings,
each of three floors, are still known as
the Learned Side and the Bible Side, though
their appropriation to Bibles and secular
books has long since ceased in fact. On
the Learned Side are the hand composing rooms, both
the book department and the jobbing department, where
some readers and compositors are employed in setting up
the official papers of the University, examination papers,
and other miscellaneous work, and the more difficult and
complicated books produced for the Delegates or other
publishers.

The total quantity of type in the Press is estimated at




GXX%3^^

FELL 3 -line Pica




John Fell. 1689
Cbrist Church



Sttfc^fc^*^^

I FELL Double Pica

| EARLIEST PRINTERS. The ecclesias-
1 tical and academical world probably
I viewed printers at first with some




^ FELL Great Primer

THE FIRST OXFORD BOOK. The first
book printed at Oxford bears the unmis-
| takable date MCCCCLXVIII (1468). Even %

WSUfitXX^^

FELL Pica

THE SECOND OXFORD PRESS, 15-17-20. The second press
is peculiar for its short and almost unrecorded work, and
for the entire absence of Theology among its products,
whereas in the first press Theology and Classics were about

i^swavaa^^

FELL Small Pica & FELL Brevier

THE OXFORD PRESS, 1585- h OXFORD TYPES OF 1693. It was for

l66(). The great feature Of this % this reason that when an edition of the

interesting period is the London # , Lord ' s Prayer in more than a hundred

r-^rf^r i- O languages was published at London, in

counterfeits of Oxford imprints, h 1?0 6 nd I7I? , pp . 9 _ i4 ( t w sheets),

the royalist publishers in London \\ containing Hebrew, Samaritan, Syriac,

GKSZXX^^ g







Valpergen MUSIC


fT


1 i i 1




y u *


J 1




fh A


T


ta A o





Old face (based on Walpergen)



\y If












i*


* J *


..._.


-3


<

























J \




F^


A


f




T_


^


4


4 f


I_










1


I




I


Li l


1 T


t 1





:sa^us2fc^^

ROMAN AND ITALIC

English OLD STYLE

When I say that all governments are alike, I consider
that in no government power can be abused long. Man-

Pica

kind will not bear it. If a sovereign oppresses his people
to a great degree, they will rise and cut off his head. There

Small pica

is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us
safe under every form of government. Sir Adam introduced the ancient

Pica NEW STYLE

Greeks and Eomans. Johnson. ' Sir, the mass of both of g
them were barbarians. The mass of every people must be bar- %

Small pica

barous where there is no printing, and consequently knowledge is
not generally diffused. Knoivledge is diffused among our people by

Long primer.

our people by the newspapers.' Boswell's Life of Johnson, 1791.

When I say that all governments are alike, I consider that in no government

Bourgeois

power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it. If a sovereign oppresses

Ms people to a great degree, they will rise and cut off his head. There is a remedy

Brevier

in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under every form of

government. Sir Adam introduced the ancient Greeks and Romans. Johnson. i Sir, the

$F$&V$i%^^



2467



D



vxKaav^^

g ARABIC g ARMENIAN g

5 3-line bourgeois g Small pica &

b

g uftplrg luzfuivtft



Long primer



uJnn



Ixxxava^^

BENGALI g BURMESE

pica Great primer



fr



$X^^

Vj



English



CHINESE



m m ^



tr,




HIKOCJULOC

Pica



iife ffi

AC I ^ Long primer

|J\J y^j H guiik OToniu&en



English



ETHIOPIC



r P OC J

r^t^r^r^r^t^t^T^^^^^r^j

GREEK

English

g (f>do"KCDV V7TO TOV TTCLTpOS,

Eng. Porsonic

avTOi? rrjv eKaaTOV yv&cnv




Z&%$%&^^

HIEROGLYPHS



English (pointed)
Long primer (pointed)



3-line nonpareil



Long primer (unpointed)



AA/W\A /*" If l| I I

^SRXXMS^^

SANSKRIT



RUSSIAN
Small pica

a na EHX-B He

Bourgeois

6o^Binofi aMBift

SLAVONIC
Great primer

HGCf . * CTHTCA HIV\A



^SYRIAC

Pica (Estranghelo)

rtlW .^in.l



^2255^^55 95^023



Long primer (Maronite)

..v t +



Long primer (Nestorian)



$%8ZX%X%^^

TAMIL v- TIBETAN

Double pica]



Small pica

^ S
Brevier




D 2



28 The TRESS at OXFORD

over one million pounds of metal, and includes some ? 5-0
different founts of type in some 15-0 different characters,
ranging from the hieroglyphic and the prehistoric
'Minoan' (cast to record Sir Arthur Evans's discoveries), to
the phonetic scripts of Sweet and Passy ; and including San-
skrit, Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic,
Amharic, Coptic, Armenian, Chinese, Tibetan, Burmese,
Sinhalese, Tamil, Gothic, Cyrillic. Here, too, are the
famous Fell types acquired by the University about 1667.
These are virtually the same as the founts from which
were printed the first edition of The Faerie Queene and the
First Folio Shakespeare; and their beauty makes them
still the envy of printers all the world over. Here com-
positors are still daily engaged in setting the Oxford
Dictionary (with its twenty-one different sizes or charac-
ters of type), which has been slowly growing since 1882.
One compositor has a record of thirty-eight years' con-
tinuous work on the Dictionary.

In part of the same wing is the Delegates* Warehouse.
Here, and in a number of annexes, including the old
Delegates'* School built about 1840, repose the oldest and
most durable of the Delegates' publications. They are
stored for the most part in lofty stacks of unfolded sheets,
like the piers of a Norman crypt. From these vaults was
drawn into the upper air, in 1907, the last copy of
Wilkins's Coptic New Testament, published in 1716, the
paper hardly discoloured and the impression still black
and brilliant. It is estimated that these warehouses
contain some three and a half million copies of about
four thousand five hundred distinct books.

Of the Bible Side the ground floor is now the press room
or Machine Room, which, with its more recent extensions,
holds about fifty machines, from the last survivor of the




Ancient Oak Frames in one of the Composing Rooms




The Upper Composing Room




Monotype Casters




Ink-making




The Old Machine Room




A Perfecting Machine with Self-feeder




The Old Bindery (now a Warehouse)




One of the Warehouses



The TRESS at OXFORD 29

old flat-impression double Platens to the most modern
American double-cylinder 'perfecting' presses with their
automatic < feeders \ All kinds of printing are done here,
from the small numbers of an oriental book or a Prayer
Book in black and red to the largest impression of
a Bible printed in sheets containing 320 pages each.
The long experience of printing Bibles on thin paper and
especially on Oxford India paper has given the Oxford
machine-minder an unrivalled dexterity in the nice adjust-
ment required to produce a fine clean effect on paper
which will not stand a heavy impression.

As the sheets come from machine they are sent to
the Bindery. This was until recently on the floor above
the machine room, but has lately been transferred to
a larger and more convenient building erected in the old
garden behind the Press. The Oxford Bindery deals with
most of the Clarendon Press books in cloth bindings, and
prides itself upon the fine finish of the cases and gilding
of such beautiful books as the Oxford Book of English
Verse, as well as on being able to turn out artistic and


1 3 4 5 6

Online LibraryOxford University PressSome account of the Oxford University Press, 1468-1921 → online text (page 1 of 6)