Women in Print 2

Production, Distribution and Consumption

by Caroline Archer-Parré (Volume editor) Christine Moog (Volume editor) John Hinks (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection XII, 284 Pages
Series: Printing History and Culture, Volume 3


Women in Print is a collection of essays in two related volumes which considers the diversity of roles occupied by women in the design, authorship, production, distribution and consumption of printed material from the fifteenth century onwards.
The contributions included in Women in Print 2 cover the whole of the «letterpress era» in Europe from the early fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The essays address three themes: the role of women in the production of print; in its distribution; in addition to some neglected areas of women’s consumption of print.
To a greater extent the participation of women in the production and distribution of print has been written by the men who dominated the trade. Women in Print 2 explores the often-overlooked contribution to the business aspects of the printing and publishing industries, particularly female involvement in roles that were customarily seen as male preserves. This collection of essays brings together insights from multiple perspectives, seeking to recover the unheard voices and hitherto unnoticed activities of the many women who participated in the production, distribution and consumption of the printed word and image.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction (Christine Moog)
  • 1 Women, Printing and Prosecution (Christine Moog)
  • 2 Female Agency in the Social Network of the Early Modern English Print Trade, c.1623–41 (Joseph Saunders)
  • 3 ‘Her Book’: Identity and Femininity in Women’s Manuscript Interventions in Print (Hannah Jeans)
  • 4 From Print to Process: Gender, Creative-Adjacent Labour and the Women’s Print History Project (Kandice Sharren and Kate Moffatt)
  • 5 John Murray’s Principal Women of Letters (Michelle Levy)
  • 6 Working Women: Female Contributors to Chambers’s Encyclopaedia (Rose Roberto)
  • 7 Hungarian Women in Scottish Print: Stephanie Wohl’s Occasional Correspondence in The Scotsman (Zsuzsa Török)
  • 8 ‘Dangerous Intruders’: Women Compositors and Nineteenth-Century Print Trade Unionists – the Case of Perth (Helen S. Williams)
  • 9 Ottoman Women’s Print Network and Their Creative Contribution to Print Culture in Turkey (Özlem Özkal and Ömer Durmaz)
  • 10 Early Women Workers at the Hogarth Press (c.1917–25) (Nicola Wilson and Helen Southworth)
  • 11 ‘Second Wave’ Feminist Printers in Britain (Jess Baines)
  • Afterword (Caroline Archer-Parré)
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Index
  • Series Index

←vi | vii→


Figure 1.1. Fragment of a broadside on the Popish and Meal-Tub Plots and other events of the time; with eight of twelve scenes: Popish Damnable Plot against Our Religious and Liberties, Lively Delineated in Several of Its Branches, With an Account of the Manner of the Execution of William Viscount Stafford on Tower-Hill. London, 1680. Reproduced by permission from the British Museum.

Figure 1.2. In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of The Thirteen United States of America, Baltimore, Maryland 1777. Printed by ‘M. K. Goddard’. Continental Congress & Constitutional Convention Broadsides Collection, Library of Congress. Reproduced by permission of the Library of Congress, Rare Books and Special Collections Division.

Figure 3.1. Psalm XCV, Susanna Beckwith’s Bible, reference 464.c.5(1). © The British Library Board.

Figure 3.2. Isaiah 66, Susanna Beckwith’s Bible, reference 464.c.5(1). © The British Library Board.

Figure 4.1. Darnton’s Communications Circuit. © Robert Darnton, ‘What is the History of Books?’, Daedalus 111/3 (1982), 68.

Figure 5.1. John Samuel Murray by Edward Francis Finden, published by Charles Tilt, after Henry William Pickersgill, engraving, 1833. Reproduced by permission of the National Portrait Gallery, London.←vii | viii→

Figure 5.2. Letter from Maria Edgeworth to John Murray, May 1841, National Library of Scotland, Archive of John Murray, publishers (MS.40358–9).

Figure 6.1. Left to right: Annie Besant, Millicent Garret Fawcett, and Carrie Kilgore. From a photograph album of contributors to Chambers’s Encyclopaedia, Second Edition, presented to its editor David Patrick, c.1892. Reproduced by kind permission of the Chambers family (National Library of Scotland, WRC Archives Dep.341/409a).

Figure 9.1. Covers of a selection of Ottoman women’s periodicals in chronological order from 1869 to 1926. Courtesy of National Library of Turkey.

Figure 9.2. Ottoman women’s print network during three generations from 1860 to 1920.

Figure 9.3. Young university student working as a typesetter. Ömer Durmaz collection.

←x | xi→


The editors of Women in Print 2 are indebted to several individuals and organizations for both contributing to and supporting the book. The chapters were originally a set of papers delivered at the University of Birmingham on 13 and 14 September 2018. Organized by the Centre for Printing History & Culture, the conference, ‘Women in Print’, was designed to review and reassess the contribution made by women to printing and print culture from its origins to the present day. We were convinced that the contributors deserved a wider audience and were pleased that Peter Lang Ltd were keen to publish an edited collection in two volumes on the subject as part of its ‘Printing History and Culture’ series. Our main thanks are due to the individual authors of the chapters in this volume who accepted advice, responded to requests for changes to their drafts and supplied the images to illustrate their chapters.

Lucy Melville, Global Publishing Director and Head of Editorial at Peter Lang, has been an enthusiastic, helpful and responsive guide and her team have efficiently and effectively guided the project through from manuscript to final product.

Dr Maureen Bell afforded valuable and detailed feedback on all the chapters; and Dr Helen Williams was involved in the early stages of the editing process.

Other individuals have assisted in the process. Dr Connie Wan, Dr Kate Croft and Rebecca Howson were responsible for the on-the-ground organization of the 2018 conference; without their dedication to the project the event would not have happened. The Bibliographical Society kindly supported the conference to allow the participation of postgraduate students as both speakers and audience, and Birmingham City University generously supported the production of the book.

Women in Print 2 reflects the efforts and expertise of many people. We hope that the publication justifies their commitment and not only provides ←xi | xii→a reflection of the importance of women in print but also encourages further research into the history of women in the printing trade.

Caroline Archer-Parré, Malcolm Dick, John Hinks
Series Editors

←xii | 1→
Christine Moog


The contributions included in this volume are arranged in a chronological order and cover the whole of the ‘letterpress era’ from the early fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. They address three themes: the role of women in the production of print; in its distribution; in addition to some neglected areas of women’s consumption of print. This volume is focused mainly on European printing, and the authors explore the often-overlooked contribution to the business aspects of the printing and publishing industries, particularly female involvement in roles that were seen as male preserves. Several recent studies have focused on the place of women in print culture, for example, the volume edited by James P. Danky and Wayne A. Wiegand.1 However, while there have been a number of monographs covering aspects of women’s roles ‘in print’ in North America,2 less attention has been paid to their role in the European context.

The sample of women whose activities are examined here is small, and it is well known that the number of women involved in print production, distribution and consumption is skewed towards those for whom some ←1 | 2→kind of written record exists. The challenges of rescuing these lives from obscurity have been met in a range of ways: using imprint data from bibliographic records, wills and genealogical sources, personal and company archives, memoirs and reminiscences of participants. The variety of approaches covered by this volume demonstrates that women’s involvement in the printing trades, including its practical functions, is both broader and deeper than it appears at first sight.

Interest in women and their involvement in printing dates from the 1970s, when Alison Adburgham’s study of Women in Print: Writing Women and Women’s Magazines from the Restoration to the Accession of Victoria was published.3 The subject of ‘“Second Wave” Feminist Printers in Britain’, the final contribution to this volume, is contemporary with Adburgham’s 1972 study. In it Jess Baines surveys the feminist printing workshops in Britain established in the 1970s, and their progress into the early twenty-first century. The ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos of the feminist movement was allied to a desire to reclaim the conventionally male-dominated spaces of print production processes. Using interviews with participants, and archival material related to the printshops in London, Manchester and Sheffield, Baines explores the social and political landscape in which these screen-printing and offset-lithography printshops were established and run.

The hostility faced by twentieth-century feminists wishing to learn techniques of printing from trade operatives was part of a long-established pattern of behaviour. In the mid-nineteenth century, Britain’s emerging printing trades unions regarded women, particularly in the composing room, as ‘dangerous intruders’ and trade discussion of women’s work in commercial printshops was both hostile and patronizing. In ‘“Dangerous Intruders”: Women Compositors and Nineteenth-Century Print Trade Unionists – the Case of Perth’, Helen S. Williams explores the employment of women in so-called ‘skilled’ roles in a regional printing centre, Perth in Scotland. Most of the available sources were written from perspectives of male operative printers who were, almost uniformly, opposed to the introduction of women into printing workshops. However, Williams was able, ←2 | 3→using census data and vital records, to reconstruct the social background and careers of some of the women involved.

Leonard and Virginia Woolf likewise faced hostility from within the trade when they initially set out to learn how to set type. The ‘do-it- yourself’ ethos adopted by 1970s feminists echoed the early years of the Hogarth Press, which was set up by the Woolfs to be a small private press which they operated themselves. As the Hogarth Press output expanded and it evolved into the size of a commercial publishing operation, print production, and especially typesetting, turned out to be more time-consuming than the Woolfs had expected. Additional help was recruited through the Woolfs’ informal network of acquaintances. Nicola Wilson and Helen Southworth’s chapter, ‘Women Workers at the Hogarth Press (c.1917–25)’ explores the relationships between the Woolfs and the women who assisted them.

The informal recruitment networks used by the Woolfs to find assistants at the Hogarth Press highlight an important thread that runs through this volume: the scale of women’s involvement in the personal, familial and trade networks of print production and distribution. Joseph Saunders’s chapter, ‘Female Agency in the Social Network of the Early Modern English Print Trade, c.1623–41’, examines the place of women in the London printing trade in the seventeenth century, and analyses social networks to discuss familial and trade connections among print producers. He uncovers the importance of women both within the patriarchal community of the Stationers’ Company and in the wider familial connections of print producers. His study demonstrates the interrelationships between families and across generations which formed crucial links in the print trade of the period. Saunders uses extant wills to reconstruct the place of women – usually as wealthy printshop owners –within these businesses. In ‘From Print to Process: Gender, Creative-Adjacent Labour and the Women’s Print History Project’ Kandice Sharren and Kate Moffatt take a different approach to examining the networks of print production and distribution in the eighteenth century. Having examined the theoretical understanding of the place of print production through the lens of Bourdieu’s ‘field of cultural production’, they explore the ways in which bibliographical databases can illuminate the place of women as producers of print, despite the obscurity of the traces they left. Through the lives of a few specific individuals, they ←3 | 4→examine the opportunities and limitations of the data available, as recorded in the Women’s Print History Project, 17501836.

Özlem Özkal and Ömer Durmaz’s chapter, ‘Ottoman Women’s Print Network and Their Creative Contribution to Print Culture in Turkey’ takes a different approach to analysing the role of women in print networks in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Turkey. Using individual magazine titles and personal histories as case studies, they examine the links within and between generations of women involved in producing print either as managers, writers, editors, illustrators or as typesetters, and demonstrate the importance of the consumption of print on later generations of producers. They also specifically highlight the emergence of Muslim women as creators and producers of print in their own right during the period. In ‘Working Women: Female Contributors to Chambers’s Encyclopaedia’, Rose Roberto examines the individual contributions of women authors, some of whom were professional writers or acknowledged experts in their fields, to two editions of Chambers’s Encyclopaedia. She offers a comparison of the entries written by women, and explores their lives, the origins of their expertise and the social networks that linked them to the firm of W. & R. Chambers, and the extensive printing and publishing infrastructure which existed in nineteenth-century Edinburgh. Another aspect of this infrastructure is explored by Zsuszsa Török in her chapter ‘Hungarian Women in Scottish Print: Stephanie Wohl’s Occasional Correspondence in The Scotsman’. Edinburgh was, and still is, the home of The Scotsman newspaper, and Török considers the articles, authored by the Hungarian writers and editors Stephanie and Janka Wohl, which appeared in its columns in the 1870s and 1880s. They illustrate the range and variety of women’s contributions to nineteenth-century journalism, and the networks that enabled their participation. The writings of the Wohl sisters frequently focused on topics deemed to be of interest to female readership, but they were also intimately involved in the cultural and social life of Pesth in Hungary; Stephanie Wohl in particular provided a women’s perspective on cultural consumption in an era of societal change in the Dual Monarchy.

Michelle Levy explores the contribution of women to the success of the John Murray publishing firm in her chapter, ‘John Murray’s Principal ←4 | 5→Women of Letters’, which considers the business transactions between John Murray II and well-known female authors in the nineteenth century. The contributions of these women were a significant element in the firm’s financial well-being. Levy provides examples from the correspondence between Murray and authors including Jane Austen, Felicia Hemans, Maria Rundell and Mary Somerville, and explores the business decisions, financial arrangements and personal relationships involved. Although it is not the main focus of this contribution, the importance to the publishing industry of informal networks is emphasized in Levy’s consideration of Maria Edgeworth, only one of whose works he published, and her correspondence with John Murray on behalf of other authors.


XII, 284
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2022 (November)
Female involvement in roles customarily seen as male preserves Women's role in print production Publishing and printing Printing Publishing Women Women in Print 2 Caroline Archer-Parré Christine Moog John Hinks
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2022. XII, 284 pp., 11 fig. b/w, 2 tables.

Biographical notes

Caroline Archer-Parré (Volume editor) Christine Moog (Volume editor) John Hinks (Volume editor)

Caroline Archer-Parré is Professor of Typography, Co-director of the Centre for Printing History and Culture at Birmingham City University, and Chairman of the Baskerville Society. With an interest in typographic history from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, Caroline has published widely. She is the author of three books, contributes to numerous journals and writes regularly for the trade and academic press. Christine Moog is a book designer specializing in monographs and catalogues on art and architecture. She received an MFA in graphic design from Yale University and an MA in art history from the University of Toronto. She is a professor at Parsons School of Design and has previously taught at Yale University, School of Visual Arts, the City College of New York, and Ontario University of Art and Design. John Hinks is Chair of the National Printing Heritage Committee, Co-ordinator of the History of the Printed Image Network (HoPIN), and a member of the Print Networks conference committee. He chaired the Printing Historical Society from 2010 to 2019. He is the Deputy Editor and Reviews Editor of Publishing History and a series editor of the «Printing History and Culture» series of essay collections and monographs, published by Peter Lang. In addition to being Visiting Reader in Printing History & Culture, BCU, he is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for West Midlands History, University of Birmingham.


Title: Women in Print 2