As part of the IJBS Blog Series, Joe Saunders (@joe_saunders1), PhD candidate at the University of York, uncovers a new network of Puritan booksellers in seventeenth-century England. Joe’s research is part of a larger article to be published in the Society’s next issue of Bunyan Studies: A Journal of Reformation and Nonconformist Culture (forthcoming Autumn 2021).
In the spring of 1638, the Stationer William Howes died, leaving few tangible marks of his young life. He had been a member of the Company of Stationers, the London guild which theoretically controlled most of the printing and bookselling in England. However, he is one of many who barely surface in the records of the Company. Nor does he appear to have been involved in the publication of any surviving texts. Despite this absence, William left a last will and testament in which he bequeathed to his brother Thomas (fl. 1617-1638) three books; ‘Armeniasme Dixon on ye Hebrews Aynswer’, ‘the Comunion of Saintes’ and the ‘Lamentacons of Germany’. William’s membership of the print trade meant he would have acquired them directly through his work or indirectly through his knowledge and contacts within the trade network. However, they were seemingly personal texts, intended for someone William believed would appreciate them as he had done.Continue reading