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William Strahan's Ledgers, II: Charges for Papers, 1738-1785 by Patricia Hernlund
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Page 179

William Strahan's Ledgers, II: Charges for Papers, 1738-1785
Patricia Hernlund

We know very little about the making and use of paper in England in the eighteenth century. Even though more information is becoming available in published documents and commentary, we do not know enough to make generalizations about paper which would apply to the entire century or to large sections of England. Until we have more specific details, we must proceed with the kind of caution described by Donald F. McKenzie in his recent and valuable study The Cambridge University Press 1696-1712 (1966). Speaking of the difference between production cost and wholesale and retail costs of books, McKenzie warns

Lack of more detailed knowledge on all these points makes it difficult to draw any very reliable general conclusions from the information supplied by the Cambridge papers. So long as the limitations of their evidence are recognized, it is of considerable value in taking us slightly closer to an understanding of the economics of publishing. But we need to know a great deal more about paper costs in particular cases and about the proportion of any edition sold to the trade before we can refine the evidence at all significantly. [I, 145]

Even the few generalizations and facts we do have will bear reexamination. For example, it is widely accepted as true that the customer, particularly if he were a bookseller, provided the paper for a printing contract. Frequently the proof for this theory is a reference to the "fact" that the customer provided the paper at William Strahan's large and prosperous printing company in London — a "fact" for which there is no evidence at all. Even so careful a scholar as McKenzie refers to Strahan's ledgers to substantiate, in part, his contention that book-sellers


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who printed at Cambridge at the beginning of the century "almost invariably . . . supplied their own paper" (I, 162). The source for this theory about Strahan, cited by McKenzie, is a single sentence in Richard Austen-Leigh's "William Strahan and His Ledgers," Library, 4 Ser., III (1923), 284. Austen-Leigh says, in a vague and casual way, "when printing for booksellers, Strahan does not seem to have supplied the paper as a rule: apparently the present habit, not much approved by printers, whereby the publisher supplies the printer with paper is of old standing" (italics mine).

J. A. Cochrane makes a slightly different claim in his recent biography Dr. Johnson's Printer: The Life of William Strahan (1964). Cochrane devotes p. 16 to describing the use of paper at Strahan's company. He begins by saying that "paper was usually supplied to the printer by the bookseller (or publisher), but the printer would have to buy it for jobbing work." Cochrane's supporting evidence is not a discussion of Strahan's ledgers but a description of Richardson's practices as presented by William M. Sale, Jr., in Samuel Richardson: Master Printer (1950), pp. 24-25, which is followed by the explanation that "all paper was of course hand made in sheets measuring about 15 inches by 20 — the standard crown size — or 12 inches by 16." Cochrane concludes p. 16 by implying that Stephen Theodore Janssen was Strahan's sole supplier of "small amounts [of paper] used for jobbing work and such bookwork as was not worth the bookseller's while supplying paper for." None of Cochrane's statements is totally wrong but none of them explains any more accurately than Austen-Leigh's sentence what actually happened at Strahan's shop.

Strahan's ledgers do contain valuable information about practices followed in using and charging for paper stock. We must remember, however, that the information is fragmentary rather than complete because Strahan's warehouse books for major paper transactions have not been found.[1]

I have gathered 631 entries mentioning paper, a representative majority of such entries in Ledgers A, B, D and F, from 1738 to the year of Strahan's death, 1785. For the sake of clarity, I shall mention these 631 entries throughout as though they were exactly half of the entries for paper rather than a majority. This decision allows me to compute approximate percentages so that the reader will have a clear


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understanding as the argument proceeds:        
631 x 2  = 1,262  approximate total entries mentioning paper  = 7% 
Ledgers A, B, D and F  =16,867  approximate total entries note mentioning paper  = 93% 
------  ------ 
18,129[2]   100% 

The standard debit entry in Strahan's ledgers represented a contract between Strahan and the customer, the proprietor of the copyright. It is significant that Strahan did not mention paper stock in 16,867 entries, for it means the customer was not billed for this costly necessity. If he was not being billed, then (a) the customer was providing the paper, or (b) Strahan was including paper in the cost per sheet of the contract. At first glance, it seems logical to say that the customer was providing the paper, and this hypothesis is confirmed by examination of the entries in which paper is mentioned.

Ledger Entries Mentioning Paper

Since Strahan mentioned paper in only 7% of the ledger entries, the 631 entries discussed below represent an extremely small percentage of Strahan's business. But the very existence of these entries constitutes the first evidence leading to the conclusion that the customer provided his own paper. The entries fall into four categories, each of which internally supports the conclusion. Taken cumulatively, the five kinds of evidence are conclusive: it was standard practice for the customer to provide his own paper.

1) "Special Entries" for Paper

The first category of twenty-seven entries consists of ten credit entries and seventeen debit entries of a "special" nature: they show


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the method Strahan used on those occasions when he was asked to keep a detailed record of large amounts of paper. All of the entries occur between 1753 and 1767 and are long and detailed.

In the ten credit entries, Strahan listed paper spoiled or not used for large contracts or for large partnerships involving several joint customers. For example, Strahan "abated" Andrew Millar's account on five occasions by crediting the well-known bookseller with amounts of paper spoiled or left over from large jobs. One of these credit listings reads:

[Mr. Andrew Millar] Contra Cr. [Credit to the Account] 
Oct 1762  Qr  [Reams and Quires]  £ s d 
by Robertson Paper 8vo   1:  19:  at 14s  1. 7.6 
Hume 4to   1:  17½  at 13s  1. 4.6 
Hume's Casars [sic] spoilt  15  0. 9.9 
Fielding's Royal  1:  1. 4.0 
Chambaud's Paper  15  0.10.6 
[Ledger A 12or] 
The five works in this example were printed before the entry date of October, 1762; but in no other place, either in the standard debit entries for the printing of the works or in the entries for extra charges, had the paper been mentioned before Strahan credited it to Millar's account. It is therefore plain that Millar provided the paper and asked that Strahan credit the remainder to his account after a series of large jobs.

Similar to the credit entries, in that they are rare, long, and detailed, are the seventeen debit entries which list paper used, spoiled or not used for large contracts (thirteen are for works published in partnerships). The entries show contracts in which the customer specified a certain paper dealer (in eleven instances) and asked for a record of his shipment. Strahan simply listed the paper received; the cost to the customer was obviously a matter between the customer and his paper supplier.[3] For example, in 1754 Strahan printed part of


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Benjamin Martin's Lingua Britannica Reformata; or a new English Dictionary. The entry reads, in part,            
Partners in Martin's Dictionary 
1754  £ s d 
March  Printing 34 ½ Sheets of Do. No. 4000 &c.mmat;4.9.0 p. Sheet  153.10.6 
34 ½ Sheets takes up 276 Reams had at different times of Mr. Stiles  [no charge] 
[Ledger B 7r] 

The debit and credit entries in this category indicate contracts in which the customer supplied the paper. Taken alone, they do not prove that this was standard practice, but there are three other kinds of entries for paper to add to this evidence.

2) Entries Mentioning Size or Quality of Paper

The second category consists of forty-five entries in which Strahan designated the size or quality of paper used in a job, but did not list any charge for the paper in his billing. Again, it seems obvious that the customer supplied the paper and that Strahan had some special reason for going to the trouble of listing the kind of paper used. Eighteen of the entries show one of the special reasons: a split run


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of paper. The customer split his run between a majority of books on ordinary paper, usually common Demy, and a small number of books on large paper, usually common Royal, to be given to subscribers or influential people. Though common Royal would cost the customer more than Demy because of its size, it had the advantage of giving the impression of quality by allowing a large margin, and it did not cost as much as a finer quality of larger paper would have cost him.[4] A typical entry reads        
Guthrie's Grammar 4to  
Novr.  Printing Do. 101 Sheets, No. 750 Demy & 250 Royal &c.mmat; £1:6:0 per Sheet  [£]131.6.0 
[Ledger F 25r] 

The first two categories, then, are composed of seventy-two entries in which the customer supplied paper for the job. The third and fourth categories which follow offer a different kind of evidence, for their 559 entries indicate contracts in which Strahan provided the paper.

3) Printing Entries "with Paper"

Category three consists of eighty-eight entries distinguished by use of the term "with paper" at the end of the standard debit entry for printing. They establish that Strahan did have a method for indicating contracts which included paper he supplied. The existence of the method throughout the ledgers indicates that these are the only times when he supplied paper as part of the contract.

In almost all cases, the entries "with paper" are for "job work" rather than for the "book work" which really sustained Strahan's business; that is, the contracts usually involved fewer than 2½ sheets,


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usually cost (including paper) less than £3½, and usually had runs of 500 or 1000, which I have established in my earlier article as being "average" runs. A typical entry is:        
Thomas Gilbert Esqr. 
June  Observations on the Poor Bill, one Sheet, No. 350 with Paper  [£] 3.3.0 
[Ledger F 29v] 

It is a fairly simple matter to reconstruct the circumstances which led to these entries. A customer with a small job (usually not a book-seller) asked that paper be included in his contract, since it would be a great deal of expense and trouble for a "layman" to buy one ream or only a few reams; whereas Strahan could provide the paper from stock on hand which had been bought at wholesale prices and was therefore cheaper to the customer, even at Strahan's profit markup, than the customer's purchase of it would have been.[5]

As his business grew, Strahan accepted more of such work. By 1766, it was relatively common for customers to use Strahan's paper in the smaller contracts for job work. However, even though the incidence of entries "with paper" increased through the years, it was still the exception rather than the rule. On one occasion, Strahan actually made a special note in the printing entry when a customer for a very small job did provide his own paper. Although the wording is unique in the ledgers, the entry serves to confirm the date when "with paper" entries became common.

Mr. Bingley 
June  1000 Bills (his own Paper)  [£] 0.7.6 
[Ledger B 74r; from category one: "Special Entries"] 

4) Paper as an Extra Charge: "Ream-and-Quire" Entries

Among the 631 paper entries, the largest single category, 471 entries, is that in which Strahan recorded paper as a separate, "extra" charge on a separate line following the standard printing entry for


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the particular job. The amount of detail varied from one entry to another and from one year to another. For example:                          
Wilson and Co. 
1752  £ s d 
June  History of Betty Barnes, 2 vol. 25 Sheets No. 1000 &c.mmat; £1:1:  26. 5. - 
For 50 R/ of Paper for Do. &c.mmat; 12s.  30.-- 
[Ledger B 2r] 
Mr. John Lockman 
1741  £ s d 
March 26  To printing Verses to a Lady of Quality, one Sheet 4to 500 Coarse, and 175 fine  0.16.0 
For a ream of Coarse Paper for Do.  0.15.0 
For 2 Quires fine  0. 4.0 
For 6 Quires finest  0.15.0 
[Ledger A 18v] 

The distinction between this ream-and-quire method of entry and the "with paper" entry is a fine one, probably determined by (a) the customer's wish to have paper itemized and (b) Strahan's need to have a bookkeeping record. The method may also have been in part a "sales device" (still used by printers today) of demonstrating to the customer, by billing the item separately, that the cost of his paper was as great as the cost of setting, correcting, and printing the job.

In one entry, Strahan changed the billing after the contract had been recorded, from ream-and-quire to "with paper." From this significant entry, we can see not only the close relationship between the two methods of recording paper, but also a clear example of the bookkeeping method Strahan must have employed: "roughing in" a skeleton entry of the contract before he finished the job and could put in the details of actual work and consequent price. This method provided him with a running, up-to-date list of the jobs in work for a customer, and at the same time allowed the customer to make changes without forcing Strahan to cross out or rewrite an entry:

George Whitefield 
1734/4  £ s d 
and Paper of [sic
Janry.  For printing / a New Edition of the 20 Serm[ons] & Prayers, No. 2000  91.13.0 
For Reams of Paper for Do. &c.mmat; 10s, 6d. p. Ream  [no charge] 
[Ledger A 5v] 


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In a little over half of the ream-and-quire entries, 253 out of 471, Strahan recorded evidence of how much the customer paid per ream: the "unit price," which naturally was not the wholesale price but included Strahan's markup. In thirty-eight of these entries, the price is known because exactly one ream of paper was used: the price per ream of paper is the same as the total price for paper. But in the remaining 215 entries, Strahan actually recorded the price per ream. In 130 of the 253 entries, Strahan also recorded the kind of paper used — both size and quality. I shall use this information in the second half of this study to reconstruct the scale of prices Strahan charged.

The existence of 631 entries mentioning paper cannot be considered a "mistake" but is rather an indication that Strahan was using a system to record the use of paper: the four categories discussed above comprise that system. Further, these four categories divide naturally into two larger groups: 1) seventy-two entries indicate that Strahan had methods for recording certain special considerations when the customer provided the paper; 2) 559 entries indicate that Strahan had two methods for recording jobs when he supplied the paper. The latter two methods for occasions when the customer did not supply the paper provide the final evidence necessary to prove conclusively that the customer did supply the paper in standard practice.

If we consider the 559 entries as "exactly half" of the occasions when Strahan supplied paper (for purposes of clarity), then the total number would be 1,118 out of the 18,129 entries of Ledgers A, B, D and F. We have seen that Strahan mentioned paper in 7% of the entries; now we see that Strahan supplied paper in 6% of the entries while the customer supplied it 94% of the time.

The Scale for Paper

From the four categories of entries gathered from the printing ledgers, particularly from category four, it is possible to tell that Strahan's business had available to it a wide selection in size and quality of paper, that a systematic scale of prices was in effect at his shop, and that spoilage allowances were controlled and consistent.

Strahan described paper according to the size and the quality of the sheet when he made an entry necessitating detail; i.e. in 169 of the entries in categories one and four.

One size, Demy, was much more popular than any other; Medium was the next most popular, followed by Royal, which was used


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primarily for split runs. The paper sizes are listed below, together with the number of instances at each size.


As I showed in my earlier article, we have enough evidence to tell that octavo and large octavo were the folding sizes most often used by Strahan. Now we see in a separate group of entries that this correlates exactly with the most popular sheet sizes: Demy can fold to an octavo and Medium can fold to a large octavo, allowing a moderate margin.[6]

The quality distinctions among the various kinds of paper recorded in Strahan's ledgers are quite separate from the size distinctions. Strahan called the regular mill run of paper "common" or "coarse"


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when he used any term. After "common," the paper rose in price as the quality rose, with distinct groups of terminology at each level:              
Cheapest:  common or coarse 
Intermediate:  thick 
fine thick; fine; superfine 
Expensive:  writing 
fine writing 
finest writing 

Strahan's price per ream to the customer varied with the size of the sheet and the quality of the sheet, but not with the number of reams purchased: large and small orders were charged at the same rates in the ledgers.

Following is a reconstruction of Strahan's scale of prices to the customer, taken from 130 instances in category four which showed details of size, quality and price. I have indicated multiple examples at each price in parentheses.



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Page 191

In the light of the fluctuating prices charged by paper merchants, it is not surprising that Strahan's prices to his customers varied widely for the same kind of paper; however, the prices did not increase markedly over the years. For example, common Demy ranged in price from thirteen shillings to one pound a ream, but I found the lowest price in 1780 and the highest in 1768. This apparent anomaly can be explained in two ways. It would seem that as the number of paper mills increased and their methods improved, they could give better value for the money charged, or charge less for a paper which had originally cost a great deal to produce. It would also seem that Strahan, as his company grew in size and importance, was able to arrange more favorable contracts with papermakers, thereby keeping his paper prices to the customers at a competitively low price. However, these speculations cannot be conclusively proven by reference to the evidence we can gain from the ledgers now available.[7]


Since the ream of paper was not necessarily a standard amount in the eighteenth century, it is necessary to begin the discussion of spoilage by pointing out that Strahan used a ream of 516 sheets and a "culled quire" of twenty-five sheets when he set out paper at the press for a job in which he was providing it. That is, the ream was made perfect and then sixteen sheets were allowed for spoilage above the count of 500. The charges to the customer, as in the reconstructed Scale of Prices above, were couched in terms of the ream made perfect; but the price per ream included not only a markup for the service of providing the paper but also a markup to cover the cost of the spoilage allowance. Strahan's practices in this respect are quite similar to Richardson's. The only difference between the two printers is that Strahan added spoilage above the count whereas Richardson apparently did not.[8]


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Strahan's standard practice was to take the allowance of sixteen sheets per ream as a sufficient spoilage allowance, regardless of the length of the run, the number of formes to be printed or the difficulties caused by bastard runs or formes:


The fact that Strahan only had to increase the spoilage allowance approximately ninety-four times in forty-eight years in business is a good indication of the efficiency of his company — and of his wise choice of customers.[9] An examination of the entries indicates a variety of reasons for increased spoilage, to judge from details in the forty-seven entries recorded.

Probable Reasons for Increase   Instances  
Two or more difficulties indicated per entry  . . . . . .  19 
One difficulty indicated per entry, viz: 
--split runs (paper change) 
--quarter sheet imposition required 
--heavy corrections or alterations 
--multiple runs (same paper) 
--stitching of copies after the run 
--cancellation of a sheet  1 . . . . .   19 
No obvious reasons indicated in wording of entries  . . . . 


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I do not mean to imply that the causes listed separately above or the presence of two or more difficulties in a job always resulted in an increase in spoilage. On the contrary, Strahan completed most of the contracts in the ledgers without an increase, as we have seen.

The presence of nine split runs in the list seems significant until we find that every one was ordered by a single customer: Major General Andrew Stuart. He is also represented six times in the group of entries in which two or more difficulties apparently caused increase in spoilage. All fifteen jobs occurred in 1784-85 when Stuart was publishing books about the war with the Colonies and about political economy. Stuart is significant in two other ways, however. First, he is the only customer who consistently re-ordered split runs in which the size and quality of the paper were changed. Stuart's marked preference was for 350 copies on Demy and 150 copies on Writing Medium. Secondly, Stuart is one of very few customers about whom a personal remark is made in the ledgers. Even though Stuart ordered expensive printing and paid his bills within a year or two, he demanded a good deal of special attention. For years the ledgers record his orders for alterations and corrections, night work and Sunday work, cancellations, reprints and bindery work — all without comment. Then, two months after Strahan's death when his son Andrew had taken over management of the shop, one entry in the middle of Ledger F, folio 81 recto, gives us a rare glimpse of the printer's exasperation:

Septr.  Papers and Correspondence from July 
1783. 16 Sheets, No. 500. with many 
Corrections &c.mmat;£2:2: (cheap)  [£]33.12.0 

Of greater significance is the fact that nineteen of the entries indicate at least two possible reasons for increase in spoilage. One of these entries reads:

Messrs. Geo. and Thos. Wilkie 
1785  £ s d 
Febry  Short Essay on the Modes of Defence best adapted to the Situation of this Island, 6 Sh. No. 500, &c.mmat; £1:  6. 6.0 
One Sheet cancelled for 2d Edit. No. 300  1. 1.0 
7 R/ of Paper for Do. &c.mmat;18s.  6. 6.0 
Corrections and Sunday Work  3. 3.0 
[Ledger F 16r] 


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I believe it is apparent from this discussion that when the ledger entries are detailed enough to give us the information, we find increase in spoilage is amply justified by the difficulties in the job.[10] It follows that anyone using Strahan's ledgers for information about a particular book should look upon an increase in spoilage as highly significant and should try to find reasons — either in the ledgers or in other sources.

Even when the entries give meager detail, a knowledge of Strahan's standard practice can often resolve an apparent anomaly:

Mr. John Osborne 
Janry  Roderick Random 30 ½ Sheets No. 2000 &c.mmat;£1:16  [£]54.18.0 
Two Reams of Paper for Do.  1. 4.0 
[Ledger A 62v] 
A student of literature could be quite upset about this entry for the first edition of a famous novel (or part of it) obviously requiring at least 122 reams, unless he knew the methods of the ledgers. It seems to me fairly obvious that the bookseller Osborne didn't send enough paper, so Strahan provided the balance and charged him for it. The literary problem is not why Strahan entered a peculiar transaction but why Osborne didn't send the paper.

We see, then, that Strahan used paper and charged for paper in a pattern of procedure which began with the contract between him and the customer. In standard practice, the customer bought his own paper. Strahan used a ream of 516 at the press. The customer had a right to expect that spoilage would stay within the sixteen sheets of ream allowance unless some unusual difficulty arose. A few customers asked for detailed summaries of paper received or used.

A wide variety of size and quality of paper was available to the customer from a wide selection of paper suppliers: eight sizes with nine quality distinctions are mentioned in the ledgers, as are the names of a number of suppliers in addition to Strahan. However, the customer usually chose common Demy, which could easily fold to the


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octavo size so popular in Strahan's business. On the few occasions when the customer ordered a split run of copies, he tended to order Demy and Royal rather than change the quality of paper.

Such was the standard practice, 94% of the time. In the remaining 6% of his business, Strahan supplied the paper. Sometimes, when the contract was a small one, he agreed to a contract "with paper," in which the charge for setting, correcting and printing included the charge for paper as well. Most of the time, however, he recorded the contracts for which he supplied paper by itemizing the reams and charges in separate entries. He roughed in skeleton entries as the job was in work and then filled in the blanks when the job was finished. Strahan charged the customer on a scale in which size and quality determined price; it is assumed that he added a profit markup. The scale fluctuated with the paper market, but the general relationship of prices within the scale remained constant and the prices did not increase markedly over the years.

The cost of paper was about half the total cost of printing a work in the eighteenth century, as it is today. Strahan's printing ledgers indicate that he was conservative in his use of paper stock and consistent in his methods of charging for and recording this costly necessity. The regularity of method throughout the ledgers and the scope of the ledgers, forty-eight years from 1738 to 1785, combine to give us a good indication of the practices that probably prevailed in large London shops during the period.



See P. Hernlund, "William Strahan's Ledgers: Standard Charges for Printing, 1738-1785," SB, XX (1967) for explanation of terms and other information basic to the present study.


The approximate total number of entries in these ledgers was found as follows. For Ledgers A, B and D, the entries on sixty pages were counted, divided among beginning, middle and end of each ledger. The average number of entries for these pages was found, the result was multiplied by the remaining number of pages, and finally the total for the sixty pages previously counted was added to reach the total. For Ledger F, forty pages were counted and averaged, and then all entries to the end of 1785 were counted from folio 5or to the end of the ledger. Entries are defined as separate chargeable units (regardless of debit or credit, how long they were, or how much information they contained), names of customers heading accounts, the totals for the accounts, and comments by Strahan. I did not include indexes, end papers, or inserts. The totals for each ledger were:

Ledger  Total Entries, 
4,027 to the end of 1785 


Suppliers of manufactured products and of services are mentioned so often in the ledgers that a separate study would be necessary to indicate their identities and their importance to Strahan and his customers. In the eleven instances in which the customers specified paper suppliers, it is probable that Strahan recorded the names as a check against warehouse receipts, since he did not record the professions of the suppliers or details of the shipments. The names are: Bloss and Johnson, Chapman (twice), Grosvenor (twice), Herbert, Johnson, Johnson and Unwin, Johnston, Stiles, Wilkinson. Elsewhere in the ledgers are forty-six entries which specifically list the names of fifteen stationers. Only two of these entries are in the main printing ledgers A, B, D and F; forty-four are found in Ledgers H, K, M and O. Furthermore the entries have no immediate connection with Strahan's charges for paper. Therefore, I have not included them in the categories in the text. However, a list of them is given below. The reader will note that some of the names coincide with the list above. Wording of the list is Strahan's: Mr. Baker, Stationer; Mr. Bailis, Stationer; Mr. Bloxam, Stationer; Messrs. Bowles (also listed as "Mr. Bowles, Stationer," "Thos. Bowles"); Bowles & Ware; Mr. Browne, Stationer; Mr. Chapman, Stationer; Mr. Curtis, Stationer; Foudienier & Co., Stationers; Mr. Grosvenor ("for paper"); Mr. Johnson, Stationer (also listed as "Mr. Job Johnson for Paper"); Mr. Johnson and Unwin [sic]; Mr. Lepard, Stationer; Mr. Revell (seven entries for Demy paper); Mrs. Ware, Stationer; Mr. Webber, Stationer (also listed as "W. Weaber, Stationer"). J. A. Cochrane's notation that Stephen Theodore Janssen was a supplier is mentioned in the introduction, above, Janssen was also a customer for printing. The prevalence of the practice of buying from more than one supplier, and certainly of receiving deliveries from more than one, is amply documented. Herbert Davis, in "Bowyer's Paper Stock Ledger," Library, 5 Ser., VI (1951), mentions four suppliers whose names are the same as suppliers to Strahan: Bloss, John Bowles & Son, E. Johnson & Co. and Johnson (pp. 76, 78). He indicates that Bowyer bought at first from three leading Stationers: Thomas Brewer, Samuel Hoole and Samuel Sheafe (pp. 75-76). Several other suppliers of paper are mentioned in the article. Philip Gaskell, in John Baskerville: A Bibliography (1959), indicates that Baskerville "used many different sorts of paper at his press, some of which is identifiable as deriving from Whatman's mill, . . . and several times mentioned buying printing paper" (pp. xx-xxi). In A Bibliography of the Foulis Press (1964), Gaskell comments that "my impression is that none of the Foulises bought their paper exclusively from any single source, but patronised several mills or warehouses" (p. 27).


The practice of printing on two kinds or sizes of paper — what I have called "split runs" — can be seen in descriptions of the practices of Bowyer (Davis, pp. 81, 85, 86), the Foulises (Gaskell, Foulis, p. 22) and Cambridge University Press (McKenzie, II, 296, 340). I. G. Philip lists a particularly interesting split run at Oxford in 1759 in William Blackstone and the Reform of the Oxford University Press in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford Bibliographical Society Publications, New Ser., VII (1957 for 1955) in which 200 copies on "a coarser Paper" were designed "for foreign markets" (pp. 104-105). Though this example indicates a change in quality, I cannot discern that quality was changed more often or less often than size was changed at the printing companies mentioned above. It does appear to be true that Bowyer's customers changed size oftener than quality and that the Foulises' customers changed quality oftener. The intricacies involved in any description involving split runs can be seen in D. F. Foxon's "'Oh! Sophonisba! Sophonisba! Oh!'," SB, XII (1958), pp. 204-213.


Richardson used this alternate "jobbing" method of contracting for work on a basis of "Paper included" (Philip, Oxford, p. 127; Sale, p. 78). Bowyer not only used the jobbing entries, he even kept separate account books for paper used in "Proposals, Proof paper, Errata sheets, Titles, and . . . [possibly] 'wrapping'," as well as for "Bishops' Charges, Indentures, Lawyers' Cases, Receipts, Bills for Hogs and Pigs, and . . . Paper for Gold Coin" (Davis, p. 87).


Strahan did not mention inches in referring to sizes. The inch measurements used in the text are taken from Table V of Philip Gaskell's "Notes on Eighteenth-Century British Paper," Library, 5 Ser., XII (1957), 41, supplemented by additional information from Gaskell's Baskerville, p. xvi. The practice of referring to paper by size and quality, or "dimensions" and "group," was widespread. For example, Richardson used the double designation (Sale, pp. 24, 78, 81), as did Bowyer (Davis, p. 75), the Foulises (Gaskell, Foulis, pp. 23, 26), Oxford (Philip, p. 98), and Cambridge (McKenzie, I, 22, 144 and II, passim). When the Wolvercote Mill was inventoried in 1782 there were moulds for "printing and writing papers of eight sizes" from double crown to pot. See Harry Carter, The Wolvercote Mill, Oxford Bibliographical Society, New Ser., Extra Pub. (1957), pp. 23, 67. Super Royal, Medium and Post were fairly recent sizes in paper, having been brought to popularity early in the century by the first manufacturers to enlarge sheet sizes for the purpose of lowering the tax fees of their customers. See Allen T. Hazen, "Eighteenth Century Quartos with Vertical Chain Lines," Library, 4 Ser., XVI (1935), 337; Graham Pollard, "Notes on the Size of the Sheet," Library, 4 Ser., XXII (1941), 126-29.


A view contrary to my speculations can be seen in D. C. Coleman, The British Paper Industry, 1495-1860: A Study in Industrial Growth (1958). Coleman states that in the eighteenth century "there were neither sensational technical advances drastically to lower costs of production nor sweeping extensions in markets to carry this [paper] industry forward in the way that the cotton and iron industries were carried forward" (p. 90). However, Coleman's study covers many centuries and his statements are necessarily generalized. The fact remains that Strahan's prices did not increase markedly.


Richardson's practice is described in Sale, pp. 25, 81, Bowyer's is described throughout Davis's article, but particularly on p. 76. See also Moxon, ed. Davis and Carter, pp. 321-322; Caleb Stower's The Printer's Grammar (1808), pp. 402-406; Gaskell's "Notes," pp. 34, 41n; Phillips's Oxford, p. 98; and Allan Stevenson's Observations on Paper as Evidence, Univ. of Kansas Publications: Library Series No. 11 (1961), p. 21. In lieu of a long argument and charts, I offer two examples of how I determined the size of the ream. 1) One ream and 5 quires are sufficient to print one sheet in 632 copies only if the ream is 516, in which case there would be a spoilage allowance of nine sheets (Ledger B 15v, 1756). 2) Three reams are sufficient to print 4 ½ sheets in three runs of 60, 25, 250 (totalling 335) only if the ream is 516 sheets, in which case there would be a spoilage allowance of 8 ½ sheets for each press (Ledger F 39v, 1779).


We can obtain some idea of the efficiency of Strahan's pressmen in staying within the spoilage allowance if we know how many jobs they ran. I have computed the totals for Strahan's first full year in business and the last year of his life. In 1739, the pressmen processed fifty-five work orders for a total of 592,825 impressions (perfected sheets). In 1785, the pressmen processed 289 work orders for a total of 4,403,515 impressions.


Some of the entries for paper may give the reader an impression of "extra" charges, but we must remember that the paper is not actually "extra" at all; it is always needed in an amount necessary to complete a given number of copies for a given job. The entries which Strahan considered as "extra" charges were generally for services, rather than materials like paper, and they were primarily for services which were not part of a normal printing contract. These charges will be the subject of the third article in this series of studies of Strahan's ledgers.


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