Portable printing: British pocket books 1750-1780

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Stephen Colclough
Monday, 2 March, 2015 - 17:15
Taylor Institution

Pocket memorandum books were among the most frequently read and/or used items produced in the second half of the eighteenth century. Frequently advertised in the newspapers, especially at the end of the year, they were the stock-in-trade of almost every bookseller and stationer during this period. A hybrid form, that combined almanac material with blank pages for cash accounts and memoranda of meetings, these texts were produced in many different forms and aimed at a range of different audiences, including gentlemen, businessmen, ladies and children.

This lecture aims to examine the material forms of the texts aimed at these various audiences before moving on to a discussion of the manuscript evidence of how they were put to use. It concludes that this neglected genre was an essential part of a bookish culture that particularly embraced texts which could be modified by the owner to suit his or her own needs.