Women Printers

Fascinating piece from my old college…

Magdalene College Libraries

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2016 on the blog, we are showcasing the work of female printers of the 17th century in the Pepys Library.

In early modern England, the printing industry was not altogether a male preserve: between 1550 and 1650, it is estimated that 130 women in Britain were working actively in the printing trade. It was common for women printers to work alongside men in the printing houses of convents or with family members and spouses, and it was usual for them to marry within the trade. Amongst the books in Magdalene’s historic libraries, one can find the names of women printers on the imprints of title pages.  Some are referred to by their marital status, such as ‘Widow Sayle’ ‘Widow of J. Blageart’ and the ‘widowe of Richarde Iugge’, others, by their full names such as Alice Norton, Elizabeth Purslowe, Mary Clark and Hannah Allen.


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