A bookseller in the New Exchange.
A bookseller in the New Exchange.
The London bookseller Henry Herringman (c.1628-1704) was one of the lucky few who managed to profit from the Great Fire. Most of the printers and booksellers in London had stored their stocks in the Chapel of St Faith in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral for safe keeping during the fire. Unfortunately the whole lot burned when the cathedral caught fire, costing an estimated £2 million. As his competitors struggled to recover, Herringman was able to step into their place and sell copies of books which had been lost. He republished many popular titles, including Shakespeare's fourth folio (the third had burnt in the fire). In 1685 he became master of the Stationers' Company.
HERRINGMAN (HENRY), bookseller in London; Blue Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange, 1653-93. Next to Humphrey Moseley, the most important bookseller in the period covered by this dictionary. [1641-1667] He was the son of John Herringman, of Kessalton [i.e., Carshalton], in Surrey, yeoman, and was apprenticed to Abell Roper, bookseller of Fleet Street, for eight years from August 1st, 1644. His first book entry, which curiously enough follows one by his great contemporary Moseley, was Sir Kenelm Digby's "Short Treatise of Adhearing to God, written by Albert the Great," entered on September 19th, 1653, and he followed this on October 12th in the same year with Lord Broghall's "Parthenissa, a Romance." At the time of Moseley's death in 1661, Herringman possessed copyrights of books by Sir Kenelm Digby and James Howell, and many of Sir R. Davenant's pre-Restoration operas. He was Dryden's publisher, and in 1663 acquired the copyright of Cowley's poems, and in the following year the copyright of Waller's poems, which he obtained no doubt by purchase from Moseley's widow. Herringman was also an extensive publisher of plays and all the lighter literature of the Commonwealth and Restoration periods. His shop was the chief literary lounging place in London, and is frequently referred to in Pepys' Diary. Herringman also held a share in the King's Printing House, and in 1682 was defendant in a suit brought in the Court of Chancery by the trustees of Charles Bill, one of the children of John Bill II. Mr. Arber, in his reprint of the Term Catalogues, says that Herringman was apparently the first London wholesale publisher in the modern sense of the words. He turned over his retail business at the Blue Anchor to F. Saunders and J. Knight, and devoted himself to the production of the Fourth Folio Shakespeare, Chaucer's works, and other large publishing ventures. His last entry in the Term Catalogues was in Trinity, 1693, shortly after which he appears to have retired to his native place, Carshalton, in Surrey. Here he died on January 15th, 1703/4, and was buried in Carshalton Church, where a monument was erected to his memory. By his will, which was dated the day before his death, he left to his "kinsman" John Herringman all his copies and parts of copies when he attained the age of twenty-three, the profits meanwhile to go to his widow. To the Company of Stationers he left a sum of £20 to purchase a piece of plate.
---A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers ... H.R. Plomer, 1907.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.