Stationers Assignment


You have been assigned a single early modern London stationer (a printer, a publisher, or a printer-publisher). The majority of them are men, but a few are women. I will give you a photocopy or scan of the entry for that stationer in vol. 3 of The Short Title Catalogue. Each entry begins with the authority name for that printer or publisher. Next, we have a summary of the information that we know about the person. Finally, we have a chronological list of the extant editions printed or published by that person.

Using all the print and digital resources available to you, write a bio-bibliographical entry for your person. Your entry should be about 750 to 1000 words. More than four pages is too long for publication on MoEML. Fewer than three pages suggests that you haven’t done enough research.

Likely resources include: the Short Title Catalogue (in Special Collections), Early English Books Online, the English Short Title Catalogue, the MLA International BibliographyThe British Literary Book Trade, 1475-1700 (bundled with other digital reference works in the Gale Dictionary of Literary Biography), British Book Trade Index, Shakeosphere, HamnetEnglish Broadside Ballad ArchiveA Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of LondonThe Oxford Companion to the BookLUNA, your TA, and your professor.

Note that Shakeosphere allows you to search the stationer’s name and generate a list of STC numbers. The results (which are dynamically generated from ESTC data) should be the same as the list in vol. 3 of the print STC. There isn’t yet a way to link directly to the search results in Shakeosphere (but I will ask the creators to add this feature!).

What to Address

Your entry should address the following questions:

  • What names did your stationer use? Use the authority name for the stationer given in the Short Title Catalogue. Make a list of any variant spellings and forms of the name that appear in the imprint line.
  • What was the stationer’s trade? Printer, publisher, and/or bookseller?
  • At what London addresses did the stationer work? What was the sign of the shop? How do we know?
  • If this information has survived, with whom did the stationer apprentice? When was he “freed” from apprenticeship? If applicable, whose stock and rights did he inherit or purchase? Did his stock and rights pass to someone else? (Give this information in list form. There’s no need to turn it into prose.)
  • With which other stationers did your stationer regularly collaborate? (E.g., if you are working on a printer, for which publishers did he regularly print texts?)
  • Are there patterns in the genres, topics, and physical formats represented in your stationer’s output? If yes, what are they? (E.g., Nicholas Okes rarely printed folios. He printed a number of playbooks and almost all of the mayoral shows.)
  • Was your printer embroiled in any scandals? (E.g., Okes was involved in a short, acrimonious partnership with John Norton.)
  • Did your stationer write any addresses to readers? Did any authors write addresses to your stationer? (E.g., Playwright Thomas Heywood dedicated An Apology for Actors to Nicholas Okes, praising his care and industry in printing.)
  • Did your stationer hold any official position (such as Printer to the City of London)? Did he hold the rights to any “steady sellers” or do any printing for the Stationers’ Company?

What to Include

  • Images: See below for suggestions.
  • Embed a map of the stationer’s known addresses using the selection and downloading tools in MoEML.
  • Support answer with evidence from imprint lines and/or colophons.
  • Include STC numbers in your parenthetical citations.

Organization of your Entry

See a very rough sample entry for Nicholas Okes. Use these headings to organize your findings:

Biographical Information

London Locations and Shop Signs

Print Output





Images enliven a web page greatly and provide ocular proof to support your claims. We cannot use images from EEBO. However, if your stationer is represented in the UVic collection, you are welcome to take a photograph of the title page, imprint line, or any other page/detail you want to showcase. Another great source for open-access images is the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Digital Image Collection (LUNA). Follow their instructions for acknowledging the Folger’s ownership of the image. (I suggest the following shortened text: Used by permission of the Folger Shakespeare Library under a CC BY-SA 4.0 License.)


Working with early modern primary sources, citing from non-authorial paratexts (like title pages), and writing for the digital environment all challenge our traditional modes of citing our sources. The MLA Handbook provides no guidance on most of these challenges. MoEML has anticipated some of these challenges; however, in working with students on this assignment I am seeing places where even MoEML needs to come up with a new citation rule. In every case, therefore, come back to the Three Rules of Citation.

Remember that your list of Works Cited MUST function coordinately with your parenthetical citations. If you cite BBTI in a parenthetical reference, you must have an entry in your Works Cited that begins with BBTI. Likewise, if you have Jones in a parenthetical citation, you must have an entry that begins with the word Jones. (Think about scaleability. What if your Works Cited had 300 entries? Your readers don’t want to browse 300 entries and try to figure out which source is the right one. They want to go directly to the source by using the keyword that shows up in your parenthetical citation.)

Cite your sources alphabetically by the first word in the entry; in many cases, the first word of the entry will be the author’s surname (BBTI would be alphabetized as B). Include STC number in your parenthetical citations and in your references.

How to cite from an imprint line

It doesn’t make sense to cite by the author of the work because the author has nothing to do with the title page. Give the STC number in parentheses after your quotation or allusion. You can make a direct link to the EEBO page too (which will help the MoEML encoders later). Example from a student’s assignment:

The colophon of Seneca’s The Workes of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, printed in 1620, states that William Stansby was “dwelling in Thames-street, by Pauls-wharfe, next to St. Peters Church” (STC 22214; EEBO).

In your Works Cited list, you will have one entry that begins with the abbreviation STC (because the parenthetical references MUST function coordinately with the list of Works Cited). Sample:

STC. Pollard, G. R., and A. W. Pollard. Short Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640. 2nd ed. 2 vols. London: Bibliographical Society, 1991. Print.

How to cite from vol. 3 of the STC

The data in the scan that we provided for you via CourseSpaces was compiled by Katharine F. Pantzer and published as a third volume to the STC. When you cite her chronological compilation of STC numbers, the brief biographical statement about the printer, and/or the information that she has inferred about locations, provide a parenthetical reference thus: (Pantzer 97).

In your Works Cited list, you will have one entry that begins with Pantzer’s name:

Pantzer, Katharine F. A Printers and Publishers’ Index; Other Indexes and Appendices; Cumulative Addenda and Corrigenda. Vol. 3 of A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640. First compiled by A. W. Pollard and G. R. Redgrave. 2nd ed. 2 vols.  London: Bibliographical Society, 1991. Print.


How to cite the Agas Map from MoEML

If MoEML publishes your article, we will handle the map image according to project practices. For the purposes of this assignment, you may follow this model:

Agas, Ralph. Civitas Londinum. Map attributed to Ralph Agas. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria, 2013. Web.

How to cite an entry in BBTI

Every entry in the British Book Trade Index has a unique number. It is sometimes the case that a stationer has more than one entry in BBTI. However, each of those entries provides information from different sources and will have a unique number. You’ll find this number in the URL of the page you are looking at when you are in BBTI (the e.g., the red part of this URL: Your parenthetical reference should read thus: (BBTI 51187).

In your Works Cited list, you will have one entry that begins with the abbreviation BBTI (alphabetized in the B section):

BBTI (British Book Trade Index).