This collection brings to light many of the women whose labours were important to the creation and consumption of early modern English books, from those who gathered linen rags on the streets of London for paper production, to those who ran printing houses and financed the production of books, sold them, wrote them, edited them, owned and read them.
The evidence of extant books reveals that women who worked beside their husbands in printing houses and bookshops sometimes exerted considerable influence over their shops' business decisions. Most of the identifiable women stationers were widows, who often sought to minimize their financial risk through a conservative approach to publishing. But some were more enterpreneurial, expanding the network of those with whom they worked and increasing the number and types of books they issued. In their roles as authors, editors, and annotators, women further extended their impact on the history of early modern books. By considering women from widely differing backgrounds who engaged in manual, commercial, familial and literary forms of labour, this collection recovers women's participation in book history as never before.
About the Author
Valerie Wayne is Professor Emerita of English at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA.