"Given his near half-century career, the Romantic-era publisher Joseph Johnson (1738-1809) left behind a notably small archive. We know from a letter he wrote on today’s date in 1799 that he destroyed some of his correspondence and business documents while serving a two-year sentence for seditious libel in King’s Bench Prison (imprisonment was a fate that progressive publishers were all too familiar with during the 1790s).
Even allowing for Johnson’s cautious document purge, surely his post-prison years (he continued to publish for nearly a decade after his release) would have generated hundreds if not thousands of letters and accounting notes..."
Featured image credit: All Saints’ Church, Fulham. Used with permission of the author.