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Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism

DNCJ is an attempt to provide a snapshot of British and Irish journalism in the nineteenth century, and a gateway to the period. Print journalism both shaped and reflected the complexities of its time, as the internet does now. The Dictionary takes its place beside distinguished predecessors and contemporaries, most notably the Waterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals 1800-1900 which is the most inclusive of its kind, and the more selective but invaluable British Literary Magazines and the Wellesley Index of Victorian Periodicals. The scope and remit of DNCJ lie somewhere between these landmarks. It is a one-volume, rapid reference work.

In its 1,620 entries DNCJ, like Waterloo, covers periodical and newspaper titles (37% of the total), treating them as part of a single industry. Other categories of entries include journalists/editors (30%), topics (13%), publishers/ proprietors (8.6%), illustrators (6.6%), printers (2.2%), distributors and inventors and Topics.The topics identify some of the overarching categories to which individual entries may belong or relate, such as Imperialism and Journalism, the Missionary press, or Trade Papers; or phenomena of the press such as Magazine Day, Puffing, 'Title changes', or Football Specials. Other topics draw attention to the material culture of media history such as Mastheads, Paper and printing machines. The topics are indicative of how inclusive and diverse the press is, and how profoundly it can augment our understanding of the period from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, from Art History to Temperance. The list of topics may be perused as a group in the Categorised Index of Headwords at the end of the volume.

The number of periodical and newspaper titles in the nineteenth century is prodigious, and it could be argued that the relative importance of books and serials in the period achieves a balance rare in the history of print culture. Serials played a significant part in fostering many of the learned, social and political discourses of the century; they 'made' authors, routinely published whole books serially and disseminated knowledge, both verbal and visual; they also created, investigated, reported and disseminated news, and advertising, thereby playing a vital role in the economy; and of course they entertained, through fiction, cartoons, contests, puzzles, and satire.

DNCJ has aimed to select an array of entries by serial title that fully represents the range of the press. It includes general weeklies for the middle classes (Dickens's All the Year Round and Chambers's Magazine) and the upper classes (Athenaeum); monthlies for men (the Practical Mechanic) and women (English Woman's Journal); illustrated titles such as Cassell's Illustrated Family Paper, Cleave's Police Gazette and Punch; monthly class papers such as the Workman, and the Gardener's Magazine, and class weeklies such as the [Church] Guardian, the Builder and the Queen. Some serials such as the Co-operative Magazine are primarily organs of groups (here the London Cooperative Society) who use them for internal purposes such as identity formation and policy shaping as well as external dissemination of their ideas. Others, such as the Nineteenth Century, use the proceedings of a group (here the Metaphysical Society) to generate copy and format for the journal. Our entries on daily and weekly newspapers provide readers with an array of titles to supplement the ubiquitous The Times, and some indication of the great range of sources of news and other content, that fuelled the weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies. The conflation of newspapers and periodicals also provides insight into the exchange between literature and journalism, authors and journalists, books and the newspaper press: Charles Dickens was an early editor of the Daily News, as well as editor of the weeklies Household Words and All the Year Round.

DNCJ also includes entries for a large number of persons involved in nineteenth-century journalism. It covers well-known authors, such as George Eliot, who served their apprenticeship for literary work in the journals; Eliot, quite extraordinarily for the 1850s, acted as editor of the radical and progressive Westminster Review, and worked regularly in the office of the journal rather than from the privacy of home. Through her position at the hub of the journal, George Eliot met leading thinkers of the day, from across the disciplines. Her position involved book reviewing and provision of articles on current cultural issues, from which she gained understanding of both the literary world and the publishing industry. These helped her gauge the market for the fiction which she started to write immediately following upon her apprenticeship on the Westminster.

Other editors and contributors from a range of professions, from barrister to economist, were so regularly associated with journalism that their primary profession might arguably be designated journalist. Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, was the founder, proprietor and editor of the monthly National Review for a decade; Charles Kains-Jackson, a barrister, edited the Artist, a trade paper in which he embedded gay discourse; Robert Giffen, cited as an economist in the ODNB, is more credibly a journalist, having contributed prodigiously to dailies, weeklies and monthlies over the entirety of his working life. Robert Chambers, a geologist, contributed so liberally to the press that his primary identity arguably might lie within the fourth estate; Chambers particularly was co-proprietor of a huge publishing firm, sometime editor of Chambers's Journal, and a frequent contributor to that weekly as well as to any number of the firm's other serial titles; he also was the anonymous author of the best-selling Vestiges of Creation. Harriet Martineau took advantage of anonymity to earn her living as a regular leader writer of the Daily News, and Henry James, whose aversion to New Journalism is well known, contributed extensively to the periodical market in the course of his career. DNCJ has also sought to identify publishers whose lists are closely identified with the press, either through a single title (Sampson Low) or a range of titles such as Cassell & Co. Similarly, some printers, particularly radical printers such as Richard Carlile are notable for their press work, and we have endeavoured to indicate this significant sector of the industry, albeit modestly. Having now read and edited DNCJ as a whole, we are confident that is a unique resource for this period, and hopeful that students and scholars will find it useful, and absorbing.

DNCJ has been the product of a collaborative and co-operative process from start to finish. From its base in thirteen associate editors, each of them experts in one or more fields associated with the nineteenth-century press, and an active Advisory Board, we went on to consult the international scholarly community at various stages on websites and in person, initially about selection of entries (which journalists, titles, topics) and then to recruit contributors (who was expert on what). In the event, we have contributors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Eire, France, Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the US. We also talked to publishers and researchers, who were themselves engaged in producing full-text digital databases of historical journals, including the British Library, ProQuest, Gale/Cengage Learning and ncse, to which resources DNCJ will be a useful Companion.

While the associate editors and editors had devised criteria for selection, and a template for contributors, as entries came in, dialogue ensued among editors, associate editors and contributors about the nature of model entries, and new suggestions were made for inclusion that arose from the copy, correspondence or the web which were then in turn commissioned. The criteria for inclusion that we developed were representativeness (e.g. of genre, region, 'class', or period); distinction of format or contribution, even if 'one-off ' titles/articles; extent of influence; duration/longevity of serials or personal careers; breadth of contributions by persons, across titles or subjects; and range/variety of entries in DNCJ as a whole, with respect to periodicity, gender, readership type, price and illustration.

Four times each year, progress and further selection were reviewed at well-attended Editorial Board meetings, variously in London, the US, and Belgium, and on occasion, an entire area - e.g. Sport - was identified as missing or poorly represented. The search for printers and publishers of the press was intensified, and we employed paid researchers to help develop these areas, which were outside the research expertise of the Board. As various staged deadlines came and went, we took stock of what had arrived and what had not, and commissioned entries anew, mainly from paid researchers. Editing and indexing have also involved an army of additional expert help, who additionally honed, corrected and augmented entries. We have ended up with three publishers, each of whom has played an important part in the shaping of the Dictionary. We are also grateful to two others whom we approached with our proposal, whose feedback and enthusiasm for the project enabled us both to revise the proposal and pursue our plan of simultaneous print and electronic publication. Like print journalism, the DNCJ project is the product of many hands and sectors, mediated at every level, and the richer for it.

Other features of the Dictionary are designed to augment the alphabetical sequence of entries. To offer an historical perspective on the journalism of the period, we have provided a Chronology, which attempts to interweave the essence of what have often been presented as separate histories, of periodicals and newspapers or of genres. It is an ambitious and risky attempt, that will benefit from further input from scholars. The voluminous Bibliography drawn from the sources of entries represents research to date on the vast range of the nineteenth-century press. We also include some serious Indexes: a diagnostic index of the Headwords, grouped into lists of serial titles, journalists, illustrators, printers, publisher/proprietors and topics, and a detailed Index designed to reveal crossovers among entries, and subjects and names embedded in them, of interest in their own right. The Indexes themselves are an important tool of the Dictionary.

DNCJ has been an international project, and unthinkable without the internet and email. This was evident to the would-be editors as we scoped the project in autumn 2004 in the Flemish Academy in Brussels, when we benefited from the coincidence of the first appearance of the online, new ODNB, and the riches of the online Waterloo Directory, whose editor generously gave us access. It was from these two resources, with their flexible and diverse search engines, that we began building the list of entries. Without Waterloo and ODNB to augment the opportunity afforded by the Flemish Academy, and without the internet, a project like DNCJ would have been far more difficult, and the international input impossible. The electronic edition will also enable updating, augmenting and correction of entries through its online edition, suggestions for which should be sent to the editors.

Although DNCJ has been envisaged as a reference work, we hope that some readers of the print edition might be tempted to read it through out of sheer interest and fascination, as readers did the letters of the original DNB as it appeared quarterly over a fifteen-year period (1886-1900), more than 100 years ago.

Laurel Brake (l.brake@bbk.ac.uk) and Marysa Demoor (marysa.demoor@ugent.be)
London and Gent, November 2008

Sample entries from the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism:
Updates to the online edition of the Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism

The online edition of DNCJ, which has been available to users of C19 Index since February 2009, features newly commissioned entries added since the publication of the print edition. Many of the new entries so far relate to sport, the railway press, illustrators, the local and regional press, the press in Scotland, printing, and journalism production.

Twenty new DNCJ entries were added to C19 Index as part of the October 2011 release:

  • Almanac
  • Elgin Courant and Courier (1827–1967)
  • Fairhurst, William (1847–1909)
  • Index to Periodicals (1891–1903)
  • Kilmarnock Standard (1863–)
  • Langley, John Baxter (1819–1892)
  • Literature and the Provincial Press
  • Lowndes, Marie Adelaide Elizabeth Renée Julia Belloc (1868–1947)
  • Oliver, John Andrew Westwood (1861–1936)
  • Pagan, James (1811–1870)
  • Preston Guardian (1844–1964)
  • Russell, Charles Gilchrist (1840–1916)
  • Scottish Athletic Journal (1882–1888)
  • Scottish Referee (1888–1914)
  • Scottish Umpire (1884–1888)
  • Sinclair, Alexander (1828–1910)
  • Wallace, William (1843–1921)
  • Weather Reports and Forecasts
  • Westmorland Gazette (1818–)
  • Whitehaven News (1852–)

Fifteen new entries were added to the online DNCJ in April 2011:

  • Albion (1825–1887)
  • Ayr Advertiser (1803– )
  • Dunfermline Press (1859-)
  • Falkirk Herald (1845– )
  • Field & Tuer (1862–1891)
  • Front Pages
  • John O’Groat Journal (1836– )
  • Leadenhall Press (ca.1872–1927)
  • Leigh, Percival (1813-1889)
  • Manifestos / Prospectuses
  • Natural History Columns
  • Printers' International Specimen Exchange (1880–1898)
  • Reid, Hugh Gilzean (1836–1911)
  • Reid, Thomas Wemyss (1842–1905)
  • Tuer, Andrew White (1838–1900)

The following new entries were added to the online DNCJ in August 2010:

  • Aberdeen Free Press (1853-1874); Daily Free Press (1874-1900); Aberdeen Free Press (1901-1922)
  • Aberdeen Herald (1832-1876)
  • American Humour
  • Annual Register (1759- )
  • Bailie (1872-1926)
  • British Library Newspapers at Colindale, London
  • Campbell , Alexander (1796-1870)
  • Cobbett, William (1763-1835)
  • Dumfries and Galloway Courier (1809-1939)
  • Engels, Friedrich (1820-1895)
  • Evening Papers
  • Findlay, John Ritchie (1824-1898)
  • Glasgow Observer (1885-1894)
  • Liverpool Journal and Lancashire Weekly Express (1830-1884)
  • London Letter
  • Mackenzie, Peter (1799-1875)
  • Morning Star (1856-1869)
  • Motherwell, William (1797-1835)
  • Oban Times (1861-)
  • Perthshire Advertiser (1829-)
  • Preston Guardian and Lancashire Advertiser (1844-1964)
  • Soulby, Stephen (1809-1864)

The following entries were added as part of the October 2009 release of C19 Index.

  • Acland, James (1799-1876)
  • Annand, James (1843-1906)
  • Brighton Patriot (1835-1839)
  • Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, Stockton & District (1869-81); North Eastern Daily Gazette (1881-1936); North Eastern Gazette (1936-40); Evening Gazette (1940- )
  • Hodgson, Sarah (1760?-1822)
  • Knight, Robert (1825-1890)
  • Illustrated Midland News (1869-71); Illustrated Newspaper (1871)
  • Journalism Manuals
  • Leng, Sir William Christopher (1825-1902)
  • Liverpool Mercury; or, Commercial, Literary and Political Herald (1811-1904)
  • Liverpool Press
  • London Local Press
  • Manchester Evening Chronicle (1897-1963)
  • Market Reports
  • Original Illuminated Clock Almanack (1866-1956)
  • Pamphlets
  • Pardon, Sydney Herbert (1855-1925)
  • Parish Magazines
  • Porcupine (1860-1915)
  • Public Meetings, Reporting of
  • Recruitment
  • Reporting Ring
  • Shan van Vocht (An t-Sean Bhean Bhocht) (1896-1899)
  • Sheffield Daily Telegraph (1855- )
  • Toulmin, George (1813-1888)
  • United Irishman: A National Weekly Review (1899-1906)
  • Visitors' Lists
  • Weekly News Miscellany

Twelve new entries were added to DNCJ in June 2009:

  • À Beckett, Gilbert Abbott (1811-1856)
  • Cotton Factory Times (1885-1937)
  • Football Field and Sports Telegraph (1884-1887); Cricket and Football Field (1887-1915)
  • Football Programmes
  • Isle of Man Press
  • Ladies' Edinburgh Literary Society (1865-1879?); Ladies' Edinburgh Debating Society (1880-1935)
  • Graphic: An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper (1869-1932)
  • Lineage
  • Moore's Monthly Magazine (Jan-Dec 1896); Locomotive Magazine (1897-1902); Locomotive Magazine and Railway Carriage and Wagon Review (1903-1959)
  • May, Philip William (1864-1903)
  • Penny-a-Liner
  • Railway Engineer (1880-1935)

The project is ongoing, and the editors of DNCJ welcome suggestions from users for new entries (via the "Contact Us" link in the page footer).


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