“The publisher’s file copies for over two hundred issues of The Glocester Journal for 1794-97 (volumes 73-76), all but three numbers profusely annotated with information about each advertisement – how many times it has been inserted, the name of the advertiser, and how long it was to be run for. This is an exceptional discovery: not only are runs of 18th century provincial newspapers extremely rare outside the major libraries, but files copies originating from the publishing house and comprehensively annotated by the partners are, surely, almost unknown.
“Many of the notes are signed ‘R.R.’, which must mean that the paper was actively run by its publisher Robert Raikes (1736-1811), who had inherited this profitable and influential newspaper from his father and namesake (d. 1757) a week before his twenty-first birthday. Raikes went on to run the Journal for almost fifty years, retiring only in 1802 and dying nine years later, becoming a pillar of Gloucester society and a leading figure amongst its citizenry.
“This set must have served two purposes to the printing office of the Journal: first, as a record of the newspaper over four years of its existence in the mid-1790s; second, as a record of which advertisements had been run before, and how long they were to stand for. ‘First’, ‘3d’ ‘2 more’, ‘till forbid’ (presumably, until further notice) are reasonably clear, but a few other recurrent notes, such as ‘In turn’, ‘Tymbs’, ‘Heath’, ‘Wilkes’ (these last three the names of the advertiser, one assumes), ‘Taylor & Paper’ and others may need interpretation, as will the initials of those signing the notes – R.R. is common, but other initials are also found, M.W. being the most common.
❧ The above paragraphs are extracted from the description of antiquarian bookseller Christopher Edwards, from whom the Library purchased these issues in March 2013. These issues not only provide evidence about publisher’s practices but also serve as material for such research into provincial newspapers as found in John Jefferson Looney, Advertising and Society in England, 1720-1820: a statistical analysis of Yorkshire newspaper advertisements. Thesis (Ph.D.)–Princeton University, 1983.
• Call number: (Ex) Oversize Item 6561945e