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ANNUAL REGISTER
The Annual Register, or a view of the history, politicks and literature of the year, 1758. (--1824).
London: [various printers], 1761--1825.
67 vols ; 21.0 cm. (8º)

Sub-title varies slightly. The Annual Register was begun by Robert Dodsley starting with the volume for 1758 issued in 1759, and published by his house with increasing delays, leading James Dodsley to combine the years 1784 and 1785 in a single volume issued in 1787 in an unsuccessful attempt to catch up. The volume for 1790 which did not appear until 1793, at which point Dodsley relinquished control of the publication, which had been edited by Edmund Burke until 1765 and theafter by Thomas English. The copyright of the volumes previously published and the existing stock was purchased by W. Otridge and others, and the responsibility for publishing new volumes under the editorship of English was assigned to Rivington, and each party published a distinct continuation of the Register. Rivington's authorised 'Genuine' Annual Register was beset by further delays, and shortly after the authorised volume for 1792 was published in 1798, Otridge brought out a rival volume of his 'Original' Annual Register for 1793 at the lower price of 8s. (compared to 13s.), soon followed by volumes for 1972 and 1791. Otridge also brought out reprints of earlier Dodsley volumes to enable the purchase of complete sets, sometimes also counterfeiting the date and edition numbers of authentic Dodsley volumes. Rivington finally went into partnership with Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, a publisher which had already acquired a major share of Otridge in 1815. The Register for 1820 was issued in two volumes in 1822. At the turn of 1825--6, at which point no fewer than 250 distinct editions had been issued over 68 years, Rivington went into partnership with Baldwin, Cradock & Joy who had already acquired a majority interest in the Otridge business in 1815, and from the 1825 edition (produced in 1826) the competing Annual Registers were combined by Baldwin and Co. into a single title. This already complex picture is further muddled by the existence of numerous reprints, reissues and counterfeits of individual volumes. For a detailed account see William B. Todd, 'A bibliographical account of "The Annual Register", 1758--1825', The Library, 5th ser. XVI (1961), pp. 104--20.

Soane's set consists of 'Dodsley' volumes in various editions together with the continuation issued by Otridge and others, the earliest dated volume being the volume for 1760 published in 1761. '1758' is in the eighth edition (1791), '1759' in the fifth edition (1769), '1772' to '1775' in the third edition (1780--2) and '1777' and '1778' in the second edition (1781); '1815' of the Otridge continuation is 'A New Edition' (1824). However, a close examination of Soane's set remains to be done, and no attempt is made here to match individual volumes to Todd's schedules of editions or to individual ESTC records.

Copy Notes The foundation run of Soane's set is presumably the set acquired from Egerton for 9 guineas on 28 December 1793 (SNB). The uniformly bound set includes the volumes for 1784 and 1790 of The New Annual Register, a rival publication founded by Andrew Kippis (q.v.). There is some archival evidence that Soane may have traded in an earlier set shortly afterwards as his Ledger and Journal for 2 January 1794 appear to indicate that '13 vol of Anl. Reg.' were used as part payment to the value of £2 18s. 6d. for the copy of Coryats crudities which was purchased on that date (q.v.). (Ledger B, p.91; Journal 2, p.324). Three volumes, probably those for 1801--1803 were bought from E. Macklen on 13 December 1805 for £1 5s.; the five volumes for 1804--1808 and the six volumes for 1809--1814 were bought from Baldwin, Cradock & Joy on 22 September 1815, the earlier volumes at 15s. each for a total of £2 18s. 9d. and the later volumes at 16s. each for a total of £3 16. 6d. (Spiers Box. Miscellaneous booksellers).

Binding C19th calf, sprinkled boards, gilt-tooled spines, red and green morocco spine-labels. Three volumes, presumably those purchased from Macklen a week previously, were bound on 20 December 1805 by Peter Low in 'Calf Gilt' for 2s. 10d. per volume, 8s. 6d. in total, probably the volumes for 1801--1803 on the evidence of the inscription 2s: 10d binding on the front pastedown of the volume for 1801. (Spiers Box). The set was evidently bound in several stages identifiable by the use of slightly different tools in the spine decorations, a foundation set including the volumes for 1758--81 with later volumes bound to match as nearly as possible.

Reference Number 281


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