The Dublin Book Trade 1801– 1850

By: Charles Benson


Tucked away in recesses of Trinity College’s Old Library, a small team of scholar-librarians in the 1960s created what became a laboratory for the close study of the evolution of the Irish book. The key figures were Mary Pollard, whose publications transformed eighteenth-century Irish book history, and her successor Charles Benson. Early death prevented his masterpiece, a study of the post-Union Irish book trade, from being published until now.

In an era of rising literacy and the opening up of civil society, demand for print in Ireland rose sharply after 1800 and took many forms. Benson’s study illuminates this diversity, explores the new technologies of production, and documents the working life of all engaged in the craft. It reveals the scale and sophistication of the Dublin book trade by the 1840s, one that was very different from the family businesses that had dominated Pollard’s world. The foundations for a modern publishing industry had now been laid.


About the Author

Charles Benson (1946–2018) was an outstanding bibliographer and scholar of international repute. A leading authority on the 19th-century Irish book trade, he suceeeded the legendary Mary Pollard in the role of Keeper in 1988. His 23-year tenure as Keeper was marked by his vision of the early printed collections in the library as a key resource for scholars, for students, and for the public.

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 245 × 172 mm