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Chapman, Robert William (1881–1960), literary scholar and publisher
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Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

Wensleydale.—Submits some queries about imposition which have arisen in compiling a bibliography of Dodsley’s Collection.

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Transcript

In Wensleydale
17:8:24

My dear McKerrow

In working at a bibliography of Dodsley’s Collectionsof Poems by several Hands I have struck difficulties about imposition, and should be grateful for advice.

The original work in 3 vols. 1748 (reprinted 1748, 1751) is a duodecimo of the ordinary kind. It was imposed ‘for cutting’; a conclusion suggested to me by the fact that a whole forme (ex hypothesi) is wrongly paged, and confirmed by the watermarks, which fall on the seventh and eighth or on the eleventh and twelfth leaves (or on both pairs when there were 2 watermarks; 2 different papers were used). There are numerous cancels; and I was pleased to find my conclusions from examination of stubs etc. very prettily confirmed by the w.-marks.

The chain-lines are horizontal.

But my difficulty begins with Vols. IV (1755) and V–VI (1758). They are uniform with the earlier volumes, but are in eights. The chain-lines being (in V, VI) horizontal. I assumed that the books were 16o printed in half-sheets, so that each sheet yielded two copies of an 8-leaf quire. This would mean the use of a paper of an unusual size; but it may have occurred to Dodsley that he could economize by getting an extra four pages on to each forme.

But while reposing in this hypothesis I discovered that some of the chain-lines are vertical!

In Vol. IV they are all vertical (and of course this volume may be 8o).

In Vol. V 19 signatures, & 2 prelim. leaves, are horizontal; but A8 & C8 are vertical.

In Vol. VI 20 signatures + 2 prel. leaves are horizontal; but X8 vertical.

There are unfortunately no watermarks in these 3 volumes.

I do not know of any uncut copy. My copy of V is 6¾ x 4¼, and I suppose may have been nearly 7½ x 5 (7 x 4½ is a minimum). I cannot see what imposition would get this on to a sheet so nearly square that it could be put in either way indifferently.

Please don’t think of going to the Museum and hunting out these books. I trouble you with my difficulty only in the chance that it may be quite simple and that the solution may be already familiar.

I expect you are very busy with No I {1}—I wish it all success.

Yours sincerely
R. W. Chapman

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Numbers in signatures and the 'o' in '16o' and '8o' are superscript in the original.

{1} The first number of the Review of English Studies.

† Sic.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—The misunderstanding as to the relationship between the Press and the new journal came about in a natural way. Offers to discuss the matter further, and expresses the Press’s goodwill towards the enterprise.

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Transcript

P 4509

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
9 Jan. 1924 {1}

My dear McKerrow

This is a private letter in the sense that it expresses only a personal opinion. But I am filing a copy of it for convenience—I have no means of keeping papers in order outside this office!

Thank you very much indeed for writing so friendly and so frank a letter. Like you I regret the turn events have taken, in one respect; but it happened very naturally. We understood that we should hear again, if any thing were projected; but we were then talking to representatives of the English Association; and I understand that the Assn as such has nothing to say, so hasnt said it. I see, too, the way in which the conclusion was arrived at, that it would be useless to ask me to consider the later scheme; though I think that conclusion was not really deducible from the previous discussion about an editor. I wish you had asked!

Now I have been wondering whether I ought to ask if we can do any thing to assist you e.g. in the USA and Dominions. I hesitate to do so—much as I should like to help—because I dont want even to seem to poach; because I see that if we had ‘a foot in it’ we should be somewhat committed if (say) you went in to liquidation with a view to reconstruction; lastly, because it is clear to me that the Review would be much more attractive to us if it were offered as a new thing than if it were relinquished by its original publishers—because of course such relinquishing must suggest (to purchasers and advertisers) a financial loss and a disappointing circulation.

I may already have written either too much or too little! If you make no reply I shall not be surprised or offended. But if you would like to have some further discussion, I dont think it could do any harm—you know that we are well-disposed to the enterprise in any event.

I shall be at Amen Corner {2} on Monday, {3} and could be free 11–1, or after 3.

Yours sincerely
R. W. Chapman

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

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{1} The first two figures of the year are printed.

{2} The address of the Press’s London warehouse.

{3} 14th.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

[Oxford?]—Suggests examples of books before 1750 containing illustrations, for the bibliography.

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Transcript

Bibliography slip 32

Illustrations before 1750:

Portraits of course, e.g. in:
Drummond’s Works Paris {1} 1709
Pope’s Works 1717
etc. etc.

Fancy Pictures. Rape of the Lock 1714.
Thomson 1730—the four Seasons
Young Night Thoughts 1742—one plate
Pope’s Works Vol. II 1735—tailpieces etc. by Kent
Gay’s Poems 1720
[Gay's] {2} Shepherd’s Week 
Philip’s Cyder
[The preceding three lines are braced on the right to:] all rustic subjects | Gay’s Fables!
Rowe’s Quean {1} I think has an allegorical frontispiece.

This is from memory—I think you must modify.

24:12:26 RWC

RBMcK

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{1} Reading uncertain.

{2} Represented by a ditto mark in the original.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

[Oxford?]—Suggests further examples of books containing illustrations.

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Portraits 1660–1700 usw {1}

Cowley 1668
Ormida 1667(?)
Dryden 1700?
Temple 1720(?)
Clarendon 1701
Waller

[*To the right of the foregoing list is written:] Many of these are fine engravings by Faithorne {2} etc.

RWC
24/12/26

RBMcK

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{1} ‘und so weiter’ (German), i.e. ‘etc.’

{2} William Faithorne the elder.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Yesterday’s discussion and McKerrow’s letter have clarified the situation (the relationship between the Press and the Review of English Studies).

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Transcript

P 4509

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
15 January 1924

My dear McKerrow,

Yesterday’s discussion seemed to me to be perfectly clear, though no doubt more would have had to be said if the participants or any of them had been dull of understanding. But I am glad to have your letter of 14 January, {1} which puts it in a nutshell. You leave the door tantalisingly ajar; I shall not shove it, but if anyone else should want to, he would probably know what he would find on the other side.

Yours sincerely
R. W. Chapman

R. B. McKerrow Esq.,
Messrs Sidgwick and Jackson, Ltd.,
3 Adam Street, Adelphi, W.C.2.

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Typed, except the signature.

{1} Mistyped ‘Jnauary’.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on a passage about the prices of books.

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The Clarendon Press, Oxford
29 December, 1926.

Slip 37. Prices.

What about the relation of a novel of 1820 at 18/– or 20/– for 3 little volumes, or a novel of 1880 at 31/6, with a novel of 1910 at 6/–?

My general impression is that books became pretty dear at the end of the 18C and beginning of the 19C—probably dearer than they had been in 1650 or 1750, and certainly much dearer than cheap (and untaxed) paper made them in 1910.

RWC

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.,
c/o Sidgwick & Jackson,
44 Museum Street,
London, W.C.1.

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Typed, except Chapman’s initials. At the head is the reference ‘Pkt. 428/R.F.’ A pencil line has been drawn through the text.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on a passage about copyright.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
29 December, 1926.

Slips 40–1. Copyright.

The “trade” doctrine of perpetual copyright, in the 18C, is of some importance. Tonson claimed perpetual copyright in Shakespeare, and actually stopped the edition for which Johnson issued Proposals in 1745. (The documents are extant.) He did not prosecute the University of Oxford (1744) but I think he undersold us.

The Scottish courts in 1774 decided that there was no such thing as “literary property”. They argued that it arose out of printing, and therefore could not have inhered in Adam and Eve; also that if it had been perpetual (even in England) the Act of Queen Anne (14 years) would have been useless. There was also litigation in England. Injunctions had been obtained by publishers against what they called piracy; but the doctrine came to grief finally in the House of Lords (see Boswell) and thereafter statutory copyright was the only right recognised (except for Clarendon and other picturesque survivals!). I am afraid I am rather vague about it all. Johnson was opposed to perpetual copyright.

RWC

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.

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Typed, except Chapman’s initials and some corrections. At the head is the reference ‘Pkt. 428/R.F.’ A pencil line has been drawn through the text.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Advises what titles, etc., should be appended to his name (in the prospectus).

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
25 Jan. 1924

My dear McKerrow

I have no decoration except plain Master of Arts and my official designation. If you think my edition of Jane Austen ‘qualifies’, by all means put it in. I think perhaps Clarendon Press had better not appear, though the Delegates will be glad that their benevolent attitude should be known indirectly.

Yours sincerely {1}
R. W. Chapman

R B McKerrow Esq

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{1} Indistinct.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Sends the proofs, with some comments on them.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
30 December, 1926.

My dear McKerrow,

I am sending you the proofs, which I have galloped through. There isn’t very much on them—most of my thoughts I have put on separate paper.

My comments are often light-hearted. Don’t pay them any exaggerated deference if you have duly considered a point and made up your mind. What I have written is intended merely to call you to attention.

Yours,
R. W. Chapman

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.

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Typed, except signature and a correction. At the head is the reference ‘3249’ (altered from ‘Pkt. 428/RF’).

Note from R. H. N. to R. W. Chapman(?)

Cites a passage from the Dictionary of National Biography in support of a statement in An Introduction to Bibliography.

(Forwarded to McKerrow by Chapman on 3 Jan. 1928.)

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Transcript

R. B. McKerrow, Introduction to Bibliography | page 72

‘Stereotyping was reinvented at Edinburgh in 1781.’

Cf. D.N.B., s.v. Alexander Tilloch:

‘… son of John Tulloch, a tobacco merchant and magistrate of Glasgow, was born in that city on 28 Feb. 1759. Alexander, who changed his name to Tilloch soon after 1787, was educated at Glasgow University, and early turned his attention to the art of printing. In 1781 he began a course of experiments which resulted in the revival, or rather rediscovery, of the art of stereo-typing. … Tilloch had recourse to the assistance of Andrew Foulis the younger, printer to the university of Glasgow …’

R.H.N.
5 November 1927

[Added by Chapman:]

For you

RWC

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

3/1/28

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The first note is typed, except the initials.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on a passage about fakes.

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The Clarendon Press, Oxford
3 January 1927.

Fakes

The faking of half-titles and the like is being practised on a pretty large scale. Pickering showed me a year or two ago a Gray’s Odes 1757 in which he said “he thought the half-title was wrong”. The “1913 Chance” (the earliest state of Conrad’s novel) has been faked in two different ways—first (if I remember right) the faker reprinted 4 pages; then when it was pointed out that the real 1913 issue had a 2-page cancel, he faked a single leaf—but failed to use the right type for the imprint.

Wise says that if he were to go to America he could pick up dozens of fakes in famous collections!

One of the happiest hunting-grounds is the rare Shelleys.

RWC

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.

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Typed, except signature and some corrections. At the head is the reference ‘Pkt. 428/RF’.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on a passage about cancels.

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The Clarendon Press, Oxford
4 January 1927

Cancels

Do you say quite enough about recorded cancellata? The chief interest of cancels is in the discovery of the original state; I have myself found some half-dozen in the 18C—apart from books in which their occurrence is quite common (i.e. when the cancel was made some time after publication).

RWC

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.

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Typed, except initials and a correction. At the head is the reference ‘Pkt. 158/RF’ (altered from ‘Pkt. 428/RF’).

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on a passage about dictation.

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The Clarendon Press, Oxford
5 January 1927.

A priori, I think that if dictation was resorted to it was in the exceptional cases you suggest (bad light and the like). Is not composition so slow a process that to employ a regular reader must always be uneconomic (unless it were an unpaid apprentice)? Proofreading, now, is often done by use of a reader. Could some of the oddities, supposed to be due to dictation, be accounted for as corrections introduced at this stage? I wonder.

(I don’t credit the story of the man reading to a number of compositors!)

RWC

R. B. McKerrow, Esq.

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Typed, except initials and an underlining. At the head is the reference ‘Pkt. 428/RF’.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on the text, and suggests alterations.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
1:1:26

Part III I p. 4 dele ‘or even non-existent’? I see what you mean, but it is awkward.

p. 10 Johnson’s Letters printed (from his MSS) in 1788 and in 1791. The printer normalized nearly all J’s (not infrequent) odd spellings.

Jane Austen always wrote beleive, neice, and even veiw. Hardly any trace of such spellings survived in her novels, except that in the first edition of Mansfield Park (which is very badly printed) a few spellings occur such as teize, which is undoubtedly Janian.

RWC

RBMcK.

Copy of a letter from R. B. McKerrow to R. W. Chapman

Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.—Repeats his suggestion that the lectures on elementary bibliography he gave for many years at King’s College, London, might make a useful introductory book. If Chapman agrees, he will begin revising them while he is on holiday.

(Typed transcript. The original was sent to R. W. Chapman with the original of Add. MS. a. 355/6/1a and the text of ‘Elements of Bibliography’ (perhaps Add. MS. a. 355/6/2b).)

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Transcript

COPY

Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.
14th July 1939.

Dear Chapman,

You may remember that when I saw you at Oxford in March, or thereabouts, I mentioned a short series of lectures on very elementary bibliography that I had been in the habit of giving at King’s College, London, for many years past and that I thought might, if printed, be a useful introduction for people who don’t want to go far with the subject, and also perhaps for the beginnings of librarianship course (most of which are said to be very bad—far from clear and too full of detail). The stuff had become unreadable through much alteration, and so I had it typed. The idea is that if you think there is the making of a little book in the lectures (price 4/– or so), I will take them away when I go for a holiday and see about improving them—the stuff can mostly be done without books. It could be done very quickly if I felt like it, and would not interfere with anything else. The main point is (if you think it worth publishing)—should the lecture style be entirely abolished, i.e. should I turn ‘Always be careful not to mix up …’ into ‘Care should be taken not to confuse …’ or ‘to differentiate between …’ Personally I see no harm in the former. Of course one has to explain a lot that one makes clear in a lecture by showing things, but I think I have already put in most of these necessary explanations.

If you don’t want the stuff, do you think that publication elsewhere could damage your rights in the ‘Introduction to Bibliography’? I dare say Sidgwick and Jackson would do it if you would rather not, but of course this would only be if you did not think it could harm the larger book.

I need hardly say that if you approve of the book in general I should be very glad of any comments or suggestions for improvement.

Yours sincerely,
(Signed) R. B. McKerrow

P.S. | Just going to Cliftonville for a fortnight (for health, no other reason!). Am not well, but think I now see a chance of improvement, perhaps cure.

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At the head is the reference ‘P.12977’.

Notes by R. W. Chapman on An Introduction to Bibliography

(The beginning is missing.)

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[Part I, Chapter vii?] p. 24

If you bring in stereos perhaps you ought to mention the nobler art of electroplating, {1} though I cannot say off-hand when it was introduced. The footnote perhaps needs modification. I believe that the introduction of stereos into America is quite recent. Frank Doubleday told me in 1920 that he was trying to persuade his people that it was possible to print from stereo; but when I asked him in (I think) 1925 if he had succeeded in doing so he said the resistance had been too strong for him. I am not quite clear if the second half of the footnote refers to America only. We should not willingly accept it as true of ourselves. In the first place (and this affects your text as well) we very often print a book in the first instance from plates. No type used in the New Eng-lish Dictionary ever touched the paper; and we should as soon think of printing a bible from type as of infringing the Thirty-Nine Articles. No printer would dream of printing a book like the Pocket Oxford Dictionary from type, unless he set it by machine, for no one would have enough type to produce it at any decent pace. The same is of course true of such books as Liddell and Scott. And when we set up a book of which we expect to sell a great many copies, e.g. the Oxford Book of English Verse, we make electroplates before printing, in order to keep the type perfectly clean. Indeed (and here I let you into a state secret) we make two sets of plates, so that if the first gets worn out a second may be made from the unused set. N.B. This is not true of the Oxford Book of English Prose, and is very exceptional. You mustn’t print too much of this information.

Chapter viii, p. 2

I believe that in the United States signatures are regarded as obsolete. {2}

[Chapter viii,] p. 11

Printing with figures. It might be interesting to infer, by comparison of a number of books printed by the same printer in the course of a few years, how many presses he possessed. I do not think I have ever seen a ‘figure’ consisting of two digits, or, if I have, certainly nothing above 12.

Chapter viii, pp 7–8

I think, indeed I am sure, that the normal place for both watermarks was the centre of the half-sheet. {3} I do not remember an ‘excentric’ {4} watermark before the very end of the eighteenth century. In my experience of the eighteenth century, paper far oftener than not had two water-marks; and I suppose the intention of putting the mark or marks in the centre of the half-sheet was that it should be visible in the finest kind of book for which the paper was used, namely a folio. N.B. My Rawlinson MS of 1674 shews that the double watermark was well established by that date. {5} After about 1800 I think watermarks appear in all sorts of funny places.

Chapter x, p. 3

My copy of Brooke’s Gustavus Vasa (a subscriber’s copy on Royal paper) has two blank leaves at the beginning and two at the end, not forming part of the book as printed, but included in the stabbing.

[Chapter x,] p. 4–5

Unfortunately I cannot lay my hands on such evidence; but my impression is that publishers’ boards are a good deal earlier than you suggest. Eighteenth Century publishers’ advertisements give price sewn, price in boards, price bound. Sometimes, though not normally, two of these are given as alternatives. My impression is that ‘price in boards’ is as common earlyish in the century as ‘price sewn’. A Dodsley pamphlet of 1754, which I happen to turn up, has in half a dozen places ‘price bound’. Pamphlets were issued also in wrappers. {6}

Part II.
Chapter iv, p. 1

Except of course in collected editions. The first edition of Thomson’s Sophonisba is octavo, the second edition is a very handsome quarto, printed to complete ‘the second volume of Mr Thomson’s Poems’, which consists mainly of the unsold and unsaleable sheets of the first edition of Liberty, and was produced with a special title-page uniform with The Seasons.

I suggest the avoidance of the word 12mo., which is as ugly to the eye as to the ear. Why not twelves? ‘(But you can’t say a twelve!)’ {7}

[Chapter iv,] p. 8.

Today the cost of blanks is due, not so much to waste in machining, as to the fact that we have to pay the compositor for the blanks as if they were full. But I do not know how far back that goes.

Chapter Vi†, p. 2

See my edition of the Tour to the Hebrides, p. 324, from which you will see that Boswell ‘hastened to the printing-house’; and also p. 481, which refers you to the notes to pp 232, 291, 324. I have recently been examining the revises (so-called by Boswell himself) of the Life of Johnson. These were regularly marked ‘For Press’ or ‘Send another revise’, and corrected by the press reader and by the author in a manner differing hardly at all from the modern practice. I am afraid I do not know of any proofs, except those you mention, earlier than about 1780, nor do I know of any surviving MSS which have been through the printer’s hands earlier than about that date. {8}

[Chapter Vi,] p. 287 (of the original print)

Bywater used to tell me that he had no doubt of the existence of picked copies; and I remember his shewing me a book which he believed to be a picked copy intended for presentation to some great man; but the process of picking would probably have reference to technical excellence (freedom from flaws in the paper and the like) rather than to the selection of sheets containing the corrected readings. But I can quite imagine Boswell, for instance, instructing Messrs Dilly to pick for say Sir Joshua Reynolds a copy containing the latest state of the sheets. {9}

Chapter ix

I demur to your expression (p. 4) ‘The text which embodies the author’s latest corrections should as a general rule be decisive in questions of reading’; I prefer your original wording ‘should be the basis of a modern edition’. In all the eighteenth and nineteenth century texts which I have edited and in which this question comes up I have found that variants must be judged upon their merits; there are, for example, readings in the third edition of the Life of Johnson which might be defended if they stood alone, but which fall to the ground the moment they are compared with the readings of the first and second editions, because they are explicable as printer’s errors and wholly inexplicable as author’s corrections. Sometimes of course (though not relatively very often) one has difficulty in making up one’s mind whether the author made a correction or the printer a mistake. There are quite gross errors in almost every edition of Boswell which ought not to have been perpetuated.

This is so far as I have got, but I hope to finish Part III in a day or so.

I will return the whole thing as soon as I can.

N.B. I have overlooked one or two notes.

Part II, chapter ii, p. 11

My uncut copy of Peacock’s Misfortunes of Elphin has the rough margin of the sheet at the top of the page, and the insets (the book is a duodecimo imposed for cutting) are much shorter at the top than the rest of the book.

Chapter iii, p. 3

I do not understand the expression ‘Printer, i.e. presumably publisher’. Ought you not to make it clearer why you presume this? {8}

RWC

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Typed, except for a few corrections and additions (see below). At least one sheet is missing from the beginning. Chapter references repeated from the previous entry are omitted in the MS, but they have been supplied above in square brackets.

{1} Cf. Introduction to Bibliography, pp. 71–2.

{2} McKerrow has added the note: ‘(A fair number still)’.

{3} Cf. Introduction to Bibliography, p. 102, note.

{4} ‘x’ altered from ‘c’.

{5} Chapman has struck through the following sentence here: ‘(This wants verification; but my Library paper, p. 75, says ‘watermark’ or ‘watermarks’).’ The reference is to Chapman’s ‘Notes on Eighteenth-Century Bookbuilding’ in The Library, 4th series, iv, 175 (sic).

{6} This sentence was added by hand.

{7} This sentence was added by hand in the margin.

{8} There are pencil lines, or ticks, through this paragraph.

{9} There is a pencil line, or tick, through this paragraph.

† Sic.

Copy of notes by R. B. McKerrow on ‘Elements of Bibliography’

Transcript

Elements of Bibliography

Please note:

This is not offered as a finished manuscript. It is a typescript of six lectures which have been under continual revision for a number of years and they are, I think, approximately as last delivered, except that certain connecting links, recalling what was said in the previous lecture or anticipating the subject of the next one, have been cut out, and that, here and there, references to what was actually show to the students are omitted. I had for example a stereotype plate, a couple of Malone Society books in sheets and several other things which I could pass round and com-ment upon.

It will presumably be advisable to get rid altogether of the lecture-style and to substitute that of a text book, turning “you” into the “student” throughout and getting rid of colloquialisms. (Personally I rather like reading stuff written in the 2nd person, but I believe that most people don’t). It will also be necessary to be more careful in certain descriptions of processes where in lecturing one is greatly helped by gesture.

The illustrations can be improved. I think a full-size half-tone of a small page of type, and a reduced one of a quarto or 8vo forme, showing furniture, would be useful. Also an illustration of the modern reconstruction of Moxon’s press at University College could I think, be got and shows many points not clear in the old drawings. And the fantastic watermark in the sheets of paper (fig. 8, 9, 10 in leaflet) needs to be replaced by a new one. But it would not be necessary to have a great many new ones: about half could be taken from my Introduction to Bibliography.

Points specially to be considered:

(1) Whether you think the book is worth doing?

(2) Whether you think it could be usefully elaborated in any particular direction. For example it makes no attempt to discuss the bibliographical description of books from a practical point of view. I suppose this could be done, but it is so much easier to do it if one has a few books before one, that it seemed hardly worth while.

(3) Should more be said of the 18th century?

(4) I should like to elaborate the ‘questions’ at the end. Is there any examination in bibliography at Oxford from the old papers of which questions could be got. There is one in London, but the people concerned seem to be very secretive. Possibly they find it difficult to invent a sufficient variety (I dare say it is!).

(5) There are two other matters of which something might be said.

(a) type, things like long [blank] and [blank] {1} how modern books generally deal with such things in reprinted {2} earlier ones. I find students often completely muddled about such points.

(b) publishing—how a book gets from the author on to the market, a very little about the financial side of the matter in Shakespeare’s time and now. The relation of printer, publisher and bookseller—and the fact that their functions were always distinct though they may have been undertaken by the same person.

(6) Perhaps even if it would be useless to say much about bibliographical formulae, collation etc. one should say more than is said here. In particular I should like to add a page or two about the distinction between a description of an ideal copy of a book, as in the usual ‘bibliography’, and a description of a particular copy which one has before one. People are always confusing these.

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Typed transcript. ‘COPY’ is typed in the top left-hand corner of each sheet. The original was sent to R. W. Chapman with the original of Add. MS. a. 355/6/1a and the text of ‘Elements of Bibliography’ (perhaps Add. MS. a. 355/6/2b).

{1} In the original the first blank was probably filled with a ‘ſ’ (long ‘s’). It is unclear what was in the second, if anything.

{2} A slip for ‘reprinting’.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Comments on the text, and suggests alterations.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
4 January 1926

Part I
Chapter iii

You do not mention stabbing here, but I see you have it later. The word consute is ingenious, but I doubt if you will get it across. Section is I suppose too vague for your purpose. {1}

Chapter iv, p. 3

I demur to ‘as a general rule’ in line 3. My strong impression is that eighteenth century folios were as a rule sewn in twos. This is certainly true of a multitude of folio pamphlets; and though I have not inspected a very large number of fat folios I think that nearly all I have inspected in my period are in twos. I cannot conceive what the reason may have been for this departure.

Chapter vi, p. 18

You say ‘occasionally octavo’; I should say ‘not infrequently’. If you will look at an eighteenth century part of Thomas Wise’s catalogue I think you will find ‘octavo printed in half sheets’ quite a common entry.

[Chapter vi,] {2} p. 20, line 1

I am not sure that I follow you here. Does ‘this method’ mean ‘the former method’?

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Typed, except McKerrow’s note (see below), a correction, and the reference ‘P4894’ at the head. There is a pencil tick through each paragraph.

{1} McKerrow has written in the margin, ‘Applied to literary content’.

{2} The chapter number, which is repeated from the previous paragraph, is omitted in the original.

Note from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

[Oxford?]—Cites an advertisement for an edition of Shakespeare issued in 1785 in a choice of seven bindings, which is more elaborate than anything he has noted before.

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Transcript

25/2/26

Stockdale in 1785 advertised a one-volume Shakespeare in royal octavo {1} at the following prices:—

[The items in the following list are braced together on the right-hand side:]
Boards 15s.
Calf 17s. 6d.
Calf gilt 18s.
Russia 19s.
Vellum 21s.
Morocco extra 25s.
Tortoiseshell 63s.

This is much more elaborate than anything I have noted. It shows that publishers’ binding had gone far!

RWC

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

—————

Marked ‘noted’ at the head by McKerrow.

{1} No. 346 in Murphy’s Shakespeare in Print (2003).

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Discusses the price of the book.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
15:7:27

My dear McKerrow

Can you produce a view about the price? We must keep under 20/– but I am afraid 12/6 is impossible. That being so, is there anything in it as between 15/– (or 16/–) and 18/–? I guess not. It is worth 18/–.

Yrs
R W Chapman

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

—————

There is no reference at the head.

Letter from L. F. Powell to R. B. McKerrow

Taylor Institution, Oxford.—Refers to aspects of his own work (on Boswell’s Life of Johnson), and comments on Crane and Kaye’s Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals and McKerrow’s Introduction to Bibliography.

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Transcript

Taylor Institution, Oxford
7 Feb. 28.

Dear McKerrow (if you will pardon the familiarity).

I am glad you agree. I shall be able to show that Johnson suggested the publication of the Reliques to Percy some time before Shenstone & that Percy started to collect material much earlier than is generally known.

Pollard wrote to me about a week ago concerning facsimiles. I told him they were not really necessary as the editions are easily accessible & the Cancels can be dealt with without the aid of photographs.

Yes. Chapman did send me your book & I am reading it in what leisure I can snatch from other pressing duties. I will try to write a short notice for the April number, but I have to write a paper for the Johnson Club before the 14th of March & ‘one day treads on the heels of another’.

Crane & Kaye {1} get worse. I find Grose’s Olio solemnly struck down as a periodical! I think I will leave them alone for a bit & turn to better books.

If ‘marginal number’ was a recognized term I think you would have known it; but Percy was in close touch with Dodsley who may have told him. Anyhow I think his use is worth recording. {2}

Catchwords—I much prefer ‘catch-line’, but bow to authority. A good instance will be found in The Passenger of Benvenuto 1612, as book of some 600 pp. in which the Italian is printed on the versos & the English translation ‘de Messer Chingo’ otherwise Mr King, on the rectos. Percy has an instance of a separate series for text & notes. {2}

I will try to bring these points out.

I am looking forward to meeting you on the 20th.

Thanks for cards.

Yours sincerely
L. F. Powell

—————

{1} A Census of British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1620–1800, by R. S. Crane and F. B. Kaye.

{2} This paragraph has been marked by McKerrow by a line in the margin.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Discusses the price of the book and the size of the first printing.

—————

Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
23:7:27

My dear McKerrow

1. We will send the t.p.

2. I wrote to you some days ago about the price. {1} We can’t do 12/6, & I think we may as well go to 18/–. I don’t think the difference between 16/– (or even 15/–) & 18/– will deter many.

3. And how many shall we print? I think 1500 a minimum (we shd sell 500 quickly, 50 a year for a few years, & then 30?) and 2000 a maximum.

4. I don’t think you need get a second loan for the Strike. {2}

Yours sincerely {3}
R W Chapman

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

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At the head is the reference ‘3249’.

{1} See Add. MS. a. 355/3/21.

{2} The reading of this sentence is uncertain.

{3} This word is a mere scribble.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Is glad McKerrow has had a holiday. Discusses the inclusion of Vienna in the list of Latin place-names.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
25 July 1927

My dear McKerrow

I am glad you have had a holiday. You will find waiting for you a query from me about the number to print, {1} but if you have no decided view we will settle that as best we can. We will give you a dark blue binding. This is very much the kind of book of which we like to emphasise the Oxonianism.

As to Vienna {2}—I do not know that it is important as a Latin, i.e. an early, imprint. Books were printed there in vernacular in the 18th century, at all events. But Vienna is Latin for Vienne, and a note to that effect may save people from falling into the common trap of supposing that Vienne in an imprint is French for Vienna. There is no doubt about Vindobona, and Vindobonensis is a common occurrence in the nomenclature of MSS. I have added both.

Yours sincerely
R W Chapman

I am very glad indeed to have been of service to you.

R. B. McKerrow Esq.

—————

Typed, except the signature and the last sentence. At the head is the reference ‘3249’.

{1} Add. MS. a. 355/3/23.

{2} Cf. Add. MS. a. 355/3/22.

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Commends McKerrow’s suggested title-page, and discusses the size of the first printing.

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
8th August 1927.

Dear Mr. McKerrow,

Thank you for your letter of August 6th. We shall try your titlepage, and personally I think it is an improvement. One modernist tendency in titlepages is to give them the size formerly given to half titles. I understand this is based on the theory that the jacket provides the real external title,—a very false theory when applied to learned books which will in their later days require a binding. I imagine some teachers in the schools of printing have always novels in mind when they lay down their rules on construction.

As for the number—let 1,500 be the minimum. I am inclined to think that writers of theses will buy this book, and when Chapman returns I shall raise with him the question of making it 2,000 or splitting the difference. I am inclined to think the sale will be long and steady, and in that case it is all a matter of overtaking the interest charges; but we shall be well satisfied not to examine too closely into commercial profit in producing such an admirable work.

Yours sincerely,
Kenneth Sisam

R. B. McKerrow Esq.,
Enderley,
Little Kingshill,
Great Missenden,
Bucks.

—————

Typed, except signature. At the head are the reference ‘3249/K.S.’ and, elsewhere, the letters ‘MG.’

Letter from R. W. Chapman to R. B. McKerrow

9 Park Town, Oxford.—Asks about the format of George Lyttelton’s To the Memory of a Lady lately deceased (1747).

—————

Transcript

5:4:28 9 Park Town, Oxford

My dear McKerrow

George Lyttelton’s To the Memory of a Lady lately deceased 1747 is to all appearances a folio in twos, my uncut copy measuring 15 x nearly 10. The chain-lines are horizontal. I cant find a w/m.

15 x 19 cant be a half-sheet, can it?

Yrs
R. W. Chapman

Letter from Kenneth Sisam to R. B. McKerrow

The Clarendon Press, Oxford.—Proposes terms for publishing McKerrow’s ‘Elements of Bibliography’, which he and Chapman think would make an excellent small book.

(With an envelope.)

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Transcript

The Clarendon Press, Oxford
24th July, 1939.

My dear McKerrow,

Chapman and I have both had time to glance at your Lecture notes, and we think that when you have revised them as you suggest, eliminating the lecture forms, they will make an excellent small book, particularly suitable for those Library Schools in America which cannot afford the bigger book, and also for beginners at research in the Universities here.

I think the price should be 5s. The booksellers do not like very cheap books which are inevitably sold in single copies, because their working costs on them are too high, and anybody who wants them will pay 5s.

We should propose a royalty of 12½% of the United Kingdom published price on all copies sold in the United Kingdom, and 10% of the U.K. published price on all copies sold for Export or in the United States: you will know that a good deal of the U.S.A. demand does not come under this latter category, because so many copies are bought through agents or booksellers in this country.

We should supply you with 12 free copies.

Chapman thought it would be best if he raised any points of detail after you had revised the MS., as it is quite likely they will be taken up in the course of your revision.

I hope this will encourage you to get on with it. I am myself leaving on Thursday for a longish holiday in the Scilly Islands: August is a dead month with us, and I expect to be back about mid-September. I hope you will have good weather for your own holiday.

Yours sincerely,
Kenneth Sisam

Dr. R. B. McKerrow,
Picket Piece, Wendover, Bucks.

[Direction on envelope:] Dr. R. B. McKerrow | Picket Piece | Wendover | Bucks [Redirected to:] 11 Warwick Rd | Cliftonville | Margate

—————

Typed, except the signature. At the head is the reference ‘P.12977/K.S.’ The letter was sent by registered post, the envelope being postmarked at the Secretary’s Office, Clarendon Press, Oxford, and at Walton Street, Oxford, on 24 July 1939; at Aylesbury, Bucks, and at Wendover, Aylesbury, Bucks, on the 25th; and at Margate, Kent, on the 26th. ‘Registered’ marks were also added at Oxford and Margate.

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