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The SDUK Reviews the Results of its Publishing Program

1843 to 1854

In 1843 the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge issued  Address of Committee June 1, 1843 in which it reviewed its current financial results and assessed the successes and failures of its publishing efforts that began in 1826. My attention was drawn to this 32-page pamphlet by a reference in Charles Knight's The Old Printer and the Modern Press (London: John Murray, 1854). In that work Knight first presented a revised version of his biography of William Caxton, after which he presented a long historical essay discussing the long evolution of modern methods of publishing that had eventually resulted in cheap literature during the Industrial Revolution. For Knight the goal of cheap literature was to make knowledge available to increasingly larger and most economically diverse audiences. In his essay Knight presented what appears to be a rather frank review of the successes and failures of both the SDUK's program, for which he acted as publisher, and of his own publishing enterprise till time of publication.

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