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Cabinet 11: Periodicals

The Spectator. Volume the First. London: Printed for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1750. Shoults Eb 1750 S

Spectator 'All ranks of people from the Peer of the realm to the industrious mechanic find something to please them in a newspaper.' So wrote the editor of The Sheffield Register on 9th June 1797. The eighteenth century fostered improvement, 'Enlightenment', and increased avenues for readers and writers. The first daily newspaper in London was The Daily Courant (1702). By 1760 there were 4 dailies, 5 or 6 thrice-weeklies, and 4 weeklies serving London, and dozens of other weeklies elsewhere. From 1st March 1711 to 6th December 1712, Richard Steele and Joseph Addison edited The Spectator, a periodical appearing six times a week (except Sunday) that disseminated political, literary and matters moral to some 40,000 readers per issue. The frontispiece to this 1750 reprint depicts seven honest readers discussing issues of the day.

The Tatler. Volume the Second. London: Printed for Messrs Longman, and 30 others, 1709. DeB Eb 1709 T

Tatler Richard Steele's periodical The Tatler ran as a thrice weekly from 12th April 1709 to 2nd January 1711; gratis for first four issues, then costing one penny. His chatty essays, written from Will's Coffee house or 'From my own Apartment', were aimed at the 'genteel gentleman', cultivating in him notions of politeness and taste, which in modern parlance is what was hot, and what was not. Steele, an Irish-born writer and member of the Whig Kit-Cat Club, also enjoyed success as a playwright. He once said: 'Nothing can make the Town so fine of a Man as a successful Play.' The essay for 8 August 1709 begins: 'I had the honour this evening to visit some ladies, where the subject of the conversation was modesty.'

[Sylvanus Urban], The Gentleman's Magazine: Or, Monthly Intellingencer. Vol. I. London: Printed, and sold at St John's Gate, by F. Jefferies, 1731. DeB Eb 1731 G

Urban, page 92 Urban, title page The Gentleman's Magazine was begun by Edward Cave (1691-1754), printer and magazine proprietor, in January 1731. This compendium began as a digest of London newspapers and periodicals for country customers (thus his editorial pseudonym, Sylvanus Urban) and ended up a very successful publication, aimed at interesting the educated eighteenth-century reader. Cave, who coined the word 'magazine', attracted original verse contributions from Richard Savage, Dr Johnson, Elizabeth Carter, and Mark Akenside, and even took to popularizing science in its pages. He also published works such as Dr Johnson's Rambler (1750-52), and John Hawkesworth's Adventurer (1752-54). Special Collections is fortunate to have a complete run of The Gentleman's Magazine from January 1731 through to 1866.

Charles Honeycombe [Robert Lloyd], The Royal Female Magazine. Vol. I and II. London: Printed for G. Kearsly [sic], 1760. Shoults Eb 1760 R

Honeycombe, page 86 Honeycombe, title page In the eighteenth century there were some 45 periodicals written primarily by or for women. They ranged from A Legacy for Ladies (1705) and The Female Tatler (1709-10), to The Parlour Window (1795) and The Parental Monitor (1796). In 1760, Charles Honeycombe, a pseudonym for the poet Robert Lloyd (1733-1763), compiled The Royal Female Magazine. Even though hailed by William Cowper as Matthew Prior's 'sole heir' and called by Boswell one of 'London Genuises', Lloyd fell short of the mark. He died in the Fleet prison in early 1763. From the beginning, Lloyd determined the tone of this rare periodical: 'I shall always select such subjects as may be immediately and interestingly conducive to their [the ladies] improvement' and 'intersperse topicks of entertainment, to ease the attention and exercise of fancy…'.