Networks in Stationers’ Wills, 1624-1641

Saunders, Joseph (2021) Networks in Stationers’ Wills, 1624-1641. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Throughout studies of the early modern English print trade the term ‘network’ has been used to describe the web of relationships connecting the people who practised the manufacture, sale and distribution of texts. This metaphor has often been used casually, with little regard to its meaning, particularly the operation and construction of such a network. Studies of contemporary early modern trades and communities including for the print trade itself have established the importance of networks to the functioning of mercantile and social activity. The present study aims to contribute to this growing area of scholarship which endeavours to understand the print trade as a network, exploring how numerous relationships formed a structure that facilitated the creation and exchange of print in seventeenth-century England. This time and place have been chosen as a period of relative calm at the height of the powers of the Stationers’ Company which controlled the trade in England for more than a century during the early growth of English print culture. As a small group closely bound by marriage, guild allegiance and geography this has always been considered a tightly knit and interconnected community. For this reason, the Stationers of London offer an ideal sample with which to conduct network and will analysis, as a well-defined social group with a wealth of supporting source material available from the ESTC and records of the Stationers’ Court and Registers. This was first achieved by transcribing all 59 wills proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury between 1624 and 1641 which we know belong to members of the Stationers’ community. The data from these wills were then transcribed into a database which could be analysed and then transferred into Social Network Analysis software. Using a combination of quantitative bequest analysis, individual qualitative case studies and SNA strong family links and weak ties of social capital can be identified as forming a network of kinship and credit within the Stationers’ community. This approach enables us to consider the Stationers’ network from several perspectives, especially the real-world relationships with which it was constituted.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Stationers Company, print trade, book trade, book history, social history, wills, last will and testament, probate, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, PCC, early modern, early modern England, seventeenth-century, seventeenth-century England, London, early modern London, seventeenth-century London, Social Network Analysis, Historical Social Network Analysis, SNA
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Spaeth, Dr Donald
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Saunders
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82045
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2021 08:03
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2021 08:27
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82045

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