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Literary Print Culture

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Explore this unique archive relating to the history of printing, publishing and bookselling dating from 1554 to the 20th century.

"The Stationers' Company Archive is central to the academic study of the history of the book trade.”
Helen Esmonde

Master of the Stationers’ Company 2015/16


Located in the City of London, in close proximity to St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Stationers’ Company has existed for over 600 years as a livery company for booksellers, scriveners, printers and publishers. The Stationers’ Company was a key agent in the process by which the book trade was regulated and monitored and thus it is widely regarded as one of the most important sources for studying the history of the book, publishing history, the history of copyright and the workings of an early London Livery Company.

The collection includes the registers of entries of copies which were used to establish publishers', booksellers' and eventually authors' copyright until the introduction of automatic copyright in 1912. Mapping the origins of copyright, the registers are key sources for the study of publishing in early modern England, and include historic entries such as Shakespeare’s First Folio (included on p.69 of Liber D November 8th 1623). The Company’s records also document the life of one of the world’s longest running publishing companies, the English Stock (1603-1960), which held the monopoly for many years over a number of popular and frequently re-published works.

Showcasing a diverse range of material from the archive of the Stationers' Company:


  • Constitutional records
  • Court records
  • Membership records 
  • Financial records
  • Trade records
  • General administrative and other records
  • Charities and Property records 

The official records are supplemented by photographs, ephemera and original architectural plans for Stationers’ Hall.