[Vwoolf] History of Hogarth Press

Mark Hussey mhussey at verizon.net
Mon Nov 12 14:02:42 EST 2018

It was kind of everyone not to point out my error in the post below, where I’ve put Willis’s title instead of Southworth’s, which is in fact Leonard & Virginia Woolf: The Hogarth Press and the Networks of Modernism.



From: Vwoolf [mailto:vwoolf-bounces at lists.osu.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Hussey via Vwoolf
Sent: Friday, November 09, 2018 6:00 PM
To: 'Woolf Listserv'
Subject: Re: [Vwoolf] History of Hogarth Press


As Brenda Helt points out, the view of the Hogarth P as a “niche business” is no longer widely shared by modernist scholars. It does, however, persist elsewhere: as recently as 2010, Iain Stevenson wrote in Book Makers: British Publishing in the Twentieth Century (London: British Library) that the Hogarth P was, even in the 1930s, a cottage industry--“amateur dabbling” that would have not survived without the Woolfs’ “personal wealth and the patronage of their friends” (Stevenson 69).  The work of revising such erroneous views, beginning, as Brenda notes, with Willis’s foundational account, and furthered by the team now working on MAPP, includes Helen Southworth’s Leonard & Virginia Woolf as Publishers, and the important articles of the last few years by Alice Staveley, Nicola Wilson, Claire Battershill, and Elizabeth Willson Gordon. (With apologies to Trudi Tate, I would not include Peter Alexander’s diatribe against Virginia Woolf in that list.)  Writers of university newsletters often represent the context of our scholarship in ways that, shall we say, unfortunately lack nuance, but we should not let that detract from celebration of this important project.  One fascinating aspect of MAPP’s analysis of the data to be gleaned from what Willis described in his 1992 book as 32 grimy boxes of press records (which are now at MERL, Reading University) is the new story about the readership and reach of Woolf’s writing that digital analysis affords, and that is revealed by the collaborative work of the project.  As Alice Staveley noted earlier today, an important aspect of collaboration got somewhat lost in the newsletter story, but luckily we have the MAPP team’s book Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities to supplement it.



From: Vwoolf [mailto:vwoolf-bounces+mhussey=verizon.net at lists.osu.edu] On Behalf Of Alice E. Staveley via Vwoolf
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2018 3:04 PM
To: Nicola Louise Wilson
Cc: vwoolf at lists.osu.edu
Subject: Re: [Vwoolf] History of Hogarth Press


Dear All, 


Hello from the MSA in Ohio!  As the MAPP cofounder and team member featured in the Stanford Report, I just wanted to thank Gill for posting this to the lists, and to my colleague Nicola for generously explaining the backstory to it.  Indeed, the angle of the story which got lost in the lede was on the student and faculty collaborations on transcribing the Hogarth Press financial records, a massive undertaking which really does tell a new and different story about Woolf’s readership networks and the distribution protocols at the Hogarth Press.  It’s work that cannot be accomplished without humanists and computer scientists sharing knowledge and skills.  This has been funded by a generous donation from the Roberta Bowman Denning Foundation, but I promise you, the offending line was not in my original grant proposal!  


What I had hoped might have been emphasized a bit more, but it’s there in the spirit of the piece, is the voices of the students, and what I had told the reporter about MAPP’s commitment to credited, collaborative authorship on all our potential publications on the Order Books.   All the featured students are not just data curators but coauthors on our future scholarly publications.  At MAPP we enact collaborative writing in the mode of Digital Humanities scholarship, and as feminists and Woolfians we know how easily all systems can default to invisible labor and uncredited work.   As Nicola has affirmed, this means that as a team we also know how deeply indebted we are to this wonderful community, and to our predecessors — we do stand on the shoulders of giants and will continue to invoke them in our writings as we have done in the past.


I’ll be showcasing MAPP’s new features, and posters of the data so far from the Order Books project (which are not ingested yet into the MAPP site — this is a many-staged project) tomorrow 9-1 at MSA for anyone in the society who is here!  


Best wishes,



Alice Staveley, DPhil


Department of English

Stanford University

Director | Honors English

Director | Digital Humanities Minor



On Nov 8, 2018, at 8:00 AM, Nicola Wilson via Vwoolf <vwoolf at lists.osu.edu> wrote:


Dear all,


Thanks Gill for sharing the initial link to Stanford's report on the Hogarth Press Order Books project, a transcription/digitisation project of the sales/order books held at University of Reading, funded by Stanford over the last yea


We are hoping to publish collaboratively on this in the near future, looking in detail at the sale and distribution of Woolf and Sackville-West's works to different individual bookshops, libraries and wholesalers across Britain, Europe, and what were then known as the 'Empire Markets'. 


The story was very much written as a press release, as people have spotted, and the MAPP team weren't involved in the language of the report.  We are obviously indebted to the wealth of earlier research on the history of the Hogarth Press and I hope we do justice to some of this in our book on MAPP, Scholarly Adventures in Digital Humanities, published last year. 


All best,






Dr Nicola Wilson

Lecturer in Book and Publishing Studies

English Literature | School of Literature and Languages   

Edith Morley  | Whiteknights | PO Box 218  |  Reading  |  RG6 6AA 

Tel: +44 (0)118 378 <tel:+44%20118%20378%C2%A05272>  5272  |  Twitter: @Nicola_LWilson


Author of Home in British Working-Class Fiction (2015)





From: Vwoolf <vwoolf-bounces+n.l.wilson=reading.ac.uk at lists.osu.edu> on behalf of Brenda S. Helt via Vwoolf <vwoolf at lists.osu.edu>
Sent: 08 November 2018 15:30:07
To: 'Dr T Tate'; Woolf list
Subject: Re: [Vwoolf] History of Hogarth Press 


The senior scholars involved with MAPP have long been engaged in important and very sophisticated and in-depth work on the press and its role in modernist publishing.  Their work has relied on earlier work by people like J.H. Willis Jr, who wrote Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers, published in 1992.  And many others!  So it is indeed surprising to read in that article that “Until now, no one has studied in detail Woolf’s impact on the publishing industry of that era and the business networks of Hogarth Press, the printing press founded in 1917 by Woolf and her husband, Leonard Woolf, at their home in southwest London. Scholars had previously thought the press was a niche business created to publish just Woolf’s work.”  That’s patently untrue.  I know no modernist scholar who understands the Hogarth Press in that way, let alone any Woolf scholars.  And so I assume that line might have been written for a grant proposal or something?







Brenda Helt

Co-editor Queer Bloomsbury (with Madelyn Detloff)




-----Original Message-----
From: Vwoolf [mailto:vwoolf-bounces at lists.osu.edu] On Behalf Of Dr T Tate via Vwoolf
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2018 7:17 AM
To: vwoolf at lists.osu.edu
Subject: [Vwoolf] History of Hogarth Press


Thanks to Gill Lowe for the news of research on the Hogarth Press going on at Stanford. The report does however ignore some very good research done over the years on this topic; eg Peter Alexander on VW and LW.


Trudi Tate


 <https://truditateblog.wordpress.com/> https://truditateblog.wordpress.com




Vwoolf mailing list

 <mailto:Vwoolf at lists.osu.edu> Vwoolf at lists.osu.edu

 <https://lists.osu.edu/mailman/listinfo/vwoolf> https://lists.osu.edu/mailman/listinfo/vwoolf

Vwoolf mailing list
Vwoolf at lists.osu.edu


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osu.edu/pipermail/vwoolf/attachments/20181112/f0a9acc5/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the Vwoolf mailing list