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Chapter 13 Mine of Debt: William White and the Printing of the 1602 Spanish Tragedy … with new additions

david l. gants

Toward the end of Act 3 of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, Hieronimo struggles to reconcile his conflicting desires for vengeance for his murdered son while consulting a book that seems to counsel patience. Just as he decides to wait for the right moment, 'Till to reuenge thou know when, where, and how', his inner struggles are interrupted by 'a sort of poore Petitioners' seeking his aid in their legal cases (STC 15086, sig. I1v). Three citizens have found themselves ensnared in the legal system over a debt, a bond, and a lease, and they have sought out the only 'aduocate in Spaine,| That can preuaile, or will take halfe the paine,| That he will in pursuite of equitie' (STC 15086, I2r). Sadly for the petitioners, the tale told by their companion Senex resonates strongly with Hieronimo, who tears up the legal documents they gave him and instead commiserates with the old man about the painful depths of a father's grief.

In terms of dramatic plotting, this brief episode serves the now-familiar function of extending the revenger's vacillation as the play moves inexorably toward its bloody climax. Yet the brief on-stage appearance of three characters, whose financial woes today only merit an explanatory footnote or two in a scholarly edition, might well have struck deeper chords within the man whose printing house (and that of his son who succeeded him) produced seven editions of the play, including the 1602 version that contains 312 additional lines some scholars have argued were written by William Shakespeare. This chapter does not seek to answer the question of who penned the additions; instead, it aims to provide broader contextual evidence concerning the printing of the 1602 augmented edition so that literary and textual scholars may enhance their analyses with bibliographical insights.

William White

William White was probably born around 1558–9, within a year or two of Mary I granting a royal charter to the Stationers. The company rules dictated that apprentices could not be freed before their 24th birthday, although patrimony could be claimed at 21, which was not the case with White. The records indicate that White was freed by Richard Jugge's widow Joan on 10 April 1583 pg 232(Arber 1875–94, 2: 688). Typically, someone became a member of a craft company and free of the City in one of four ways: by serving an apprenticeship; by transfer from another company; by redemption (buying his way in); and by patrimony, available to anyone whose father was a member of the company. Widows could also continue operating their dead husband's business, as did Joan Jugge.

During his apprenticeship, White seems to have made a positive impression on his master, as Richard provided in his 1577 will that 'each of my two apprentices William White and Richard Reade shall have twentie shillinges a pece at the ende of their prentishipps' (The National Archives, PROB 11/59/522). White might well have imagined that serving his apprenticeship with Jugge would have given him a sizeable advantage as he sought to establish himself in the competitive London book trade. Educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, Jugge purchased his freedom as a stationer in October 1541 and commenced building a profitable and influential business, first as a publisher, and, beginning in 1559, a printer (Blayney 2013, 1: 513–14). His thirty-six-year career included a nineteen-year stint as Queen's Printer and four terms as master of the Stationers' Company, and it produced a string of former apprentices, many of whom achieved success on their own after leaving him. For example, Thomas Dawson (freed 1568) was for a time one of the Deputies of Christopher Barker (Queen's Printer) and later specialized in valuable properties such as catechisms, small-format bibles, and Lily's Grammar (Pollard and Redgrave 1976–91, 3: 51).

After being made free of the company, White probably first worked as a journeyman in the trade while attempting to accumulate enough capital to set up a bookshop and try his hand at financing his own projects. He made his first foray into publishing in December 1588, a few months after Joan and her son John died. He and Gabriel Simson, a fellow apprentice of Jugge's who had been freed the same day as White, entered with the company their copy for Hugh Broughton's brief history of the world in table form, from Creation to the Crucifixion (STC 3873), the first extant copy of which was printed in 1592 . Over the next decade, White and Simson pursued a modest agenda of publishing small religious quartos, although evidence that might illuminate the specifics of how these works were actually printed is scarce. Based on an examination of the books they produced during this period, scholars have proposed that at some point White and Simson began printing as well as publishing, using the equipment and materials that had passed to Richard Watkins, the Jugges' son-in-law.1 The records of St Giles Parish list the May 1590 christening of 'Margarett, ye daughter of Wylliam White', identified as a 'printer' (Miller 1966). However, during this period the term printer could also mean the person who paid for a book to be printed, what we call a publisher. Up to 1594, their title pages list no printer, only variations of the formula 'Imprinted for G. Simson and W. White', and indicate that they ran their establishment in Fleet Lane (see for example STC 3888).

The first surviving bibliographical evidence suggesting that the partners had begun printing appears in 1595 on the title page of Two Learned and Godly Sermons, by the Puritan preacher Richard Greenham, 'Printed by Gabriel Simson and William White, for William Jones' (STC 12325).2 Then on 18 August 1595 the company fined White and Simson 10s. for 'printinge part of a book of master Broughtons without auchtoritie'. The company further ordered that they 'bringe the leaues printed into the hall and not to proceede with the printinge of the Residue | till they haue pg 233aucthoritie for it' (Arber 1875–94, 2: 824). Perhaps this transgression, accompanied by his initial forays into printing, persuaded the Stationers' Company to keep a tighter rein on White, for when he bound his first apprentice in late October of that year, the agreement included the clause, 'Provided alwaies, and yt is ordered and the said william white agreeth that this apprentize at any tyme duringe his apprentiship shall not be put to learne the arte of printinge' (Arber 1875–94, 2: 207). From a trade perspective, this provision reflects the long-standing restrictions placed by the company on the overall number of presses and master printers operating in London; at this point White was a minor bookseller who had not yet established himself as a master printer in his own right and thus was an unlikely candidate to begin training a new printer.

By 1597, White and Simson ended their partnership, with the latter remaining at the Fleet Lane address and White purchasing the printing materials of Richard Jones. He set up shop in Cow Lane near the Holborn Conduit, a neighbourhood in which he remained until his death.3 As a publisher, White had focused on small religious works, mainly those of Broughton, a Hebrew scholar and divine, and Roger Cotton, a London draper who wrote popular religious poetry; both men were originally from Shropshire. Now the new printer faced a choice. In the early modern book trade, the masters of printing houses usually pursued one of two lines of business: they became trade printers who contracted with publishers to produce titles for a set fee; or they attempted to both print and publish, greatly increasing potential profits but also taking on substantial risks. As Peter W. M. Blayney has pointed out, 'history repeatedly shows [that] comparatively few people combined the skills and instincts to succeed as both a printer and a publisher' (Blayney 2013, 1: 182). His old master Jugge had the skills and instincts, but White soon learned that he himself did not.

White ambitiously began his solo career by both printing and publishing, financing on his own small quartos of popular material such as a translation of Phyllis and Flora: The Sweet and Civil Contentions of Two Amorous Ladies (possibly by Richard Stapleton), Janus Dubravius's A New Book of Good Husbandry, and the anonymous A Pill to Purge Melancholy (STC 19880, 7268, 19933.5). He also expanded his equipment holdings by purchasing the business of Abel Jeffes, a printer whose fortunes had been on the wane for some time.4 By 1600, though, White largely withdrew from publishing and focused his efforts on trade printing, a line he continued for the rest of his career. Significantly for this chapter, one of the properties he acquired from Jeffes was the right to print Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (Arber 1875–94, 3: 146).

White 1601–1603 and The Spanish Tragedy

During each of the first three years of the seventeenth century, White printed an average of ten titles for stationers such as Cuthbert Burbie, Thomas Pavier, and Simon Waterson, only producing three books on his own: a small octavo edition of Enoch Clapham's A Tract of Prayer, a second edition of John Awdely's The Fraternity of Vagabonds in quarto, and a quarto reprint of the anti-Catholic pamphlet The Alcaron of Barefoot Friars (STC 5346.5, 994.5, 11314). White certainly printed more pg 234than this—he registered a number of ballads with the company, and as a trade printer he would have contracted work on ephemeral or non-book materials—but his surviving output does suggest that he rarely if ever operated at anything close to capacity. Blayney has reckoned that a typical 'full-time working press in 1501–9 would have produced approximately 200 edition-sheets a year' (Blayney 2013, 1: 99). By the early seventeenth century the domestic market for English-language books had increased significantly, as had the number of printers operating in London. Nevertheless, an analysis of printing-house output for that period shows that few printers sustained a production rate of more than 200-sheets-per-press in any one year (Gants 2002). From 1601 to 1603, the period during which White printed the augmented The Spanish Tragedy, he produced in total a little over 200 extant edition sheets.5 As well, his production was not always above board; on 25 June 1600 he and Edward Allde were fined 5s. apiece for printing 'a Disorderly ballad of the wife of Bathe', and the publisher Edward White was fined 15s. for selling it. All three were sentenced to be confined, although 'ther Inprisonment is respited till another tyme', which probably never happened (Arber 1875–94, 2: 831). Even accounting for his ballad, non-book, and surreptitious printing, however, White did not operate his press at anything close to its potential capacity.

It was at about this time that White may have felt the first stirrings of empathy with Hieronimo's 'poore Petitioners', especially the one who responded to the question of their causes with 'Mine of debt'. On 3 March 1600, the Stationers' Company granted 'for him one Impression onely and no moo: to print for the Company at vjd in the li to th[e] use of the poore Ovids Metamorphosis in English'. Nearly twenty years earlier, a group of printers, including John Wolf and Roger Ward, had begun to resist the growing power and influence of those who held patents and privileges by pirating these valuable titles in large numbers.6 The company fought back by repeatedly entreating higher authority for help, including an August 1583 appeal to Lord Burghley against Ward. This appeal mentioned among other things that Ward's activities created a situation 'whereby the poore companye sustaine greate losse … to the vtter vndoinge generally of us all, and perticularly to the greate decaye of vij poore yonge menne of saide Company'. It also claimed that the actions of Ward and others damaged the value of materials reserved in a 'charitable order for the poore' (Arber 1875–94, 2: 785–6). Five months later the company produced a list of the materials that various powerful stationers had donated to create a pool of popular titles that poor members could print, including eleven titles turned over by Henry Denham, among them Ovid's Metamorphosis (Arber 1875–94, 2: 786–9). This is the popular and protected work that, for a small fee, the Stationers' Company allowed White to print for his profit.

Placing The Spanish Tragedy within the overall production schedule of White's house poses a daunting bibliographical challenge given that, with two exceptions, his total output from 1601 to 1603 consists of fewer than thirty small quartos and octavos. The narrative that follows is based on five classes of evidence:

  1. 1. Stationers' Register entry and dated epistles. White or his publishers entered fifteen of the titles in question with the company, and one small quarto book of prayers contains a dated epistle from the author.

  2. pg 2352. Edition-sheet totals. The number of sheets in a book provides a rough guide as to the amount of time and labour required to machine the entire edition. With two exceptions, none of the books printed by White was larger than twelve edition sheets.

  3. 3. Fount availability. White's compositors used almost exclusively four founts of type: an 82 mm pica roman, an 82 mm pica black letter, a 92 mm english roman, and 92 mm english black letter. The one exception was a 112 mm great primer roman, which he may have borrowed for his part of Samuel Daniel's Works (1602). (Type body measurements are for the height of 20 lines with no spacing between them.) What brevier (60 mm) and long primer (68 mm) type he did possess was used for dedications, short preliminary passages, or section heads.

  4. 4. Composition. For the twenty-eight books White printed during this period, his compositors set roughly 971,000 ens of black letter (907,000 pica, 39,000 english, and 25,000 brevier), and 534,000 ens of roman (283,000 pica, 180,000 english, 37,000 long primer, and 34,000 great primer), or a little over 1.5 million ens of type.7 White evidently had limited type material and rarely worked on more than one project set in the same body and face at the same time. Using dates derived from Stationers' Register entries and epistles, in combination with typographical choices, it is possible to construct a basic sequence of printing into which we can deduce the placement of undated titles.

  5. 5. Forme-work. Working with one production press8 and limited typographical materials, White and his staff typically employed a single skeleton for both outer and inner formes when printing a book.9 Those few occasions where more than one skeleton forme appears usually indicate that White was working on a large project at the same time as on a sequence of smaller ones. In other words, he would alternate between the single large and multiple small projects, with the result that work on the large project was intermittent and spread over many months.

Table 13.1. Measurements of White's Output, 1601–1603.

Black Lettera

Roman

Year

STC

SR Entry

Sheets

Pica

English

Pica

English

Other

1601

20890

29 July 1600b

1.5

8.6

1601

4286

5 Aug. 1601

6.0

36.2

1601

12504.5

6 Nov. 1601

2.0

8.5

1601

6236

47.0

34.4

1601

11502.5

10.0

73.1

12.9

0.5

0.5

Subtotal

66.5

109.3

8.6

21.4

0.5

34.9

1602

24651

10 Jan. 1602c

1.0

0.5

1602

18547

22 Mar. 1602

2.5

28.4

1602

25744a

19 Apr. 1602

6.5

44.9

32.5

1602

3673

4 June 1602

5.0

0.5

20.4

1602

21409

15 Sept. 1602

6.0

19.6

1602

4296

2 Nov. 1602

4.0

43.5

4.8

1602

5346.5

23 Nov. 1602d

2.5

10.3

1602

4287e

6.0

36.2

1602

15089

11.5

100.4

1602

19798

3.0

4.2

Subtotal

48.0

108.1

150.6

55.0

32.5

1603

11726

27 Jan. 1602f

1.0

10.3

1603

15189

15 Apr. 1602

2.0

7.5

1603

21364

16 Apr. 1602

2.0

1.3

6.1

1603

18472a

8 May 1602g

3.0

20.2

1.7

1603

14671

22 June 1602

2.0

1.5

1603

11314

15 July 1602

7.0

77.6

3.8

1603

994.5

2.0

18.4

0.4

1603

15089a

11.5

100.4

1603

18513.5

2.0

0.7

11.6

1603

18961h

50.0

586.1

8.0

24.4

1603

22045

5.0

54.6

1603

24121

4.0

33.1

0.2

pg 237

1603

24918

2.0

7.8

Subtotal

93.5

682.1

30.5

110.4

124.3

28.4

Three-Year Total

208.0

899.5

39.1

282.4

179.8

95.8

a All composition totals expressed in thousands of ens.

b Not entered; pamphlet concerns an event that took place on this date.

c At least three issues in 1602, including one partially reset.

d Entered on this date; dedicatory epistle dated 2 December 1602.

e Second edition of 4286.

f Entered on this date; pamphlet concerns an event that occurred 12 December 1602.

g Entered on this date; pamphlet is a Dutch proclamation dated 5 April 1603.

h Ovid's Metamorphosis; White received permission from company to print one edition, 3 March 1600 (see above).

The analysis of paper stocks can play a crucial role in determining a printing house's production practices (Hailey 2008), but in almost every case here the lack of evidence (too few copies of too small books have survived) coupled with the uniformly poor quality of the paper supplied by the publishers precludes such an investigation in this case study (see Table 13.1 for a title-by-title breakdown of White's annual output).

With one exception, White's production in 1601 consisted of four small-format books totalling fewer than twenty sheets, each employing a single skeleton forme and relying mainly on his fount of pica black letter. Only Daniel's folio Works shows any bibliographical divergence from White's usual practices, most likely due to the large amount of presswork relative to composition required. Simon Waterson was the publisher, a bookseller, and stationer who during the last two decades of the sixteenth century had pursued a modest but steady programme of commissioning small-format books.10 In 1592 he produced the first edition of Daniel's Delia, and thereafter he went on to become the poet's de facto publisher. Works was Waterson's first project using a folio format, and he split the printing between White and Valentine Simmes, a printer who had been made free two years after White. The folio collates A2 B–O6 P–T4, 2A–N6, 3A–B6 C4; bibliographical analyses indicate White printed gatherings B–S (47 sheets), with Simmes (and possibly a third printer) producing the rest (48 sheets), judging from 'ornaments and the manner of signing' (Jackson 1940, 1: 245 n. †). In order to maintain a consistent look across the work of two printers, Waterson apparently arranged the loan of great primer roman types for White's use, the only time this fount shows up in his production during this period.

With its large-body type and leaded lines (that is, with additional spaces inserted between the lines), Works required the establishment in Cow Lane to machine a large number of sheets in relation to the amount of type set. As a result, White appears to have frequently allowed composition to run ahead of machining, which had the advantage of providing additional time for multiple stages of proofreading while at the same time stressing the available supply of types. On a number of occasions, White seems to have run short of certain heavily used characters and made substitutions, for example using vv in the place of w. He employed the familiar single-skeleton strategy when imposing and printing pairs of pages, although there is some evidence that production may have progressed in three stages. The stocks of paper used for White's portion of Works fall into three distinct groups: gatherings B–K are on a nondescript, medium-quality pot; L–N are on pot with the date 1598 in the watermarks; and O–S are on a mixture of the 1598 pot and a hand-with-star watermarked stock. These three groups also feature distinct skeleton formes that change roughly as the paper does, which indicates production may have proceeded in multiple stages.

The year 1601 is also the one in which White began his long business collaboration with Pavier, who was originally freed as a draper by William Barley on 9 April 1600, then translated with ten others as a stationer on 3 June 1600 (Arber 1875–94, 2: 725; Johnson 1992). Indeed, Daniel's Works was the only book printed by White in 1601 that was not also published by Pavier. In 1602 White printed three more works for him: the first gathering of a letter to Sir Francis Vere concerning the wars in the Low Countries, a reprint of a book on horse husbandry (STC 24651, 4286), and Kyd's Spanish Tragedy … with new additions. This printing is the fourth known edition of the tragedy and the first to boast the textual additions, and it posed few if any problems for a competent printing house and publisher. White had already printed the play quarto in 1599, the text was in verse and thus easy to cast off, and the market seemed eager for a new version of the popular piece.11

pg 236pg 238White's overall production in 1602 shows a slight decrease in output along with a more varied use of his typographical resources. With the exception of The Spanish Tragedy (discussed herein) he printed nine small books, none more than 6½ sheets, spreading his composition over his pica black letter, pica and english roman, and his rarely used long primer roman. Following his usual practice, he employed one skeleton forme for each of these works, save in two cases: Nicholas Breton's Old Mad Cap and the anonymous St Peter's Tears (STC 3673, 19798), both small quartos set in english roman, which display at least six and nine distinct running titles respectively that occur in jumbled order across the formes. White's tenth project that year, the revised Spanish Tragedy, stands out for the amount of type set (nearly twice as much as the next largest publication) and for its use of pica roman.

While he had owned the rights to print Kyd's play after acquiring Jeffes's materials in 1599, White's apparent failure as a publisher-printer and subsequent turn to trade printing meant he could realize short-term gains by selling his more valuable titles. On 14 August 1601, Pavier entered with the company the transfer to him of a total of twelve titles, including The Spanish Tragedy. Although the terms agreed upon by the two stationers are unknown, Pavier built his early career on publishing popular titles, including sixteen plays (not counting the infamous Pavier Quartos). By the time of the transfer, he had already published or was publishing four playbooks, including two editions of Shakespeare's Henry V (STC 16681, 18795, 22289, 22290), which may have put White in a good bargaining position (Johnson 1992, 26–7, 47–8).

The printing of The Spanish Tragedy itself appears to have progressed smoothly for the most part. The paper stock supplied by Pavier consisted of an unremarkable assortment of pot and hand sheets in no apparent order, what Allan Stevenson termed 'remnants' (Stevenson 1961, 19–23). Drawing on his fount of pica roman, White's compositors set roughly 100,000 ens of type for the quarto, about the same amount they used each year when setting in his most common body, pica black letter (this does not include the special case of Metamorphosis, discussed below). When combined with the 1603 edition, the amount of type set for the two editions of The Spanish Tragedy comprised 70 per cent of White's pica-roman composition for the three-year period. As before, the printer imposed the text using a single skeleton forme and left the disposition of the individual running titles relatively stable: only once, between the machining of G outer and inner, did the compositors switch the placement of the headlines, not an unusual event in itself.

The only evidence of anything out of the ordinary appears in the running title used on 1v/2v in gatherings B–F and G outer, then on 3r/4r in G inner and gatherings H–L and A. Some time between the completion of B inner and start of machining of C outer, the T in The and sh ligature in Spanish were damaged. In particular, the long-s descender in the ligature was bent sharply to the right. Over the course of the book's printing, the running title's damaged T remains while the descender slowly and regularly returns to its original position, probably due to the vigorous cleaning each forme received. However, the state of the damaged F1v (inner) headline does not match that of F2v (outer) but instead corresponds with the state of the headline in gathering A, the last sheet machined. Likewise, the other three headlines on F inner vary from their partners on F outer in subtle ways, although this cannot positively be demonstrated. The chronologically out-of-place headline on F1v (and perhaps the other three pages as well) suggests that the forme was reset or reimposed after the initial printing was completed and more impressions run, or that setting of F inner was held back for some reason. Possibly there was some confusion over the placement of the third additional passage, a forty-seven-line monologue Hieronimo delivers to a pair of slightly bewildered Portingales, which in the 1602 edition begins at the top of G3v, on G inner, the first forme where the headline-pairing switches. Or possibly a question arose as to some passage on F inner, such as Hieronimo's eighteen-line speech at the bottom of F4r. Textually, the placement of these passages seems obvious to the modern reader, but as White's compositors juggled the existing printed copy-text and the manuscript pg 239additions, opportunities to confuse how all the pieces fit together must have arisen frequently. However, lacking any further textual or bibliographical evidence, explanations for the disruption in the printing of The Spanish Tragedy remain purely speculative.

We can estimate where Kyd's tragedy fell in White's 1602 production schedule by examining his deployment of typographical resources. Judging from the known entry dates in the Stationers' Register, White employed his cases of pica black letter, english roman, and long primer roman fairly evenly over the months (Table 13.1). The only other book printed in pica roman that year was John Willis's Art of Stenographie, a small octavo that nonetheless presented a few challenges to White's compositors (STC 25477a). Given that printers typically managed concurrent printing by working on multiple or overlapping projects set in different bodies of type, we would expect that production of The Spanish Tragedy and Stenographie did not take place at the same time. The entrance date of 19 April indicates late spring to early summer as the most likely period during which White's house worked on Stenographie. It is not a large volume, but the rather complicated content and page layout must have slowed composition and proofing. In 1602 Willis was rector of St Mary Bothaw, Dowgate Hill, London, and thus getting proofsheets to him would not have entailed much time or difficulty (Henderson 2004). However, Stenographie describes a system of shorthand writing that, in Willis's words, allows for the quick transcription of speech through 'the abreuiation of a word, and the abreuiation of a sentence' (sig. A4r). His system involved a large number of symbols, which meant that procuring the special types required for the work, confirming their correct placement and usage, and checking all the other details involved in producing this octavo must have taken more time than usual. Printing of The Spanish Tragedy, then, either began late 1601 or early 1602 and finished before May or it began some time during the summer of 1602, with completion in the autumn. Blayney's observation that playbook entries in the Stationers' Register spiked from spring 1600 to autumn 1601, and the fact that White used very little pica roman in his 1601 projects, points to the earlier production date for The Spanish Tragedy.

The only other work that may have been in the printing house during the production of The Spanish Tragedy was published in 1603, Ovid's Metamorphosis. Viewed without this large quarto-in-eights, White's 1603 production totals vary little from those of the previous year: roughly the same number of sheets machined, the same amount of pica black letter set, with less pica roman and more english roman. Given that the Stationers' Company granted permission for 'one Impression onely' of the Ovid book back in March 1600, White seems to have worked on it intermittently, turning to it whenever the press was idle and he had the money for materials. A physical examination of the work supports this view; unlike other books printed by White, there is little regularity in its production. Across the 48½ sheets of the main text, headlines change, line widths vary, and the number of lines per page shift frequently. Furthermore, a spot optical collation of the work reveals numerous pages with shifting type but no textual changes, a sign that formes were partially printed, the pages set aside, and then later reimposed and completed. If, as seems likely, Metamorphosis was in the printing house in 1602, work only resumed on the project while compositors were struggling with the textual additions to The Spanish Tragedy or waiting for Willis to return proofsheets.

White's Later Career

In the years that followed the printing of The Spanish Tragedy, nothing in the records suggests that White's printing-house activities and connections with publishers changed much. He continued to register ballad titles with the company and regularly printed playbooks, along with a pg 240selection of other popular and religious works. During this time, the spectre of poverty and debt seems to have remained hovering in the wings. On at least five occasions he turned to the company for aid. In 1603, 1605, and 1607, he sought permission to print a protected title, as he had in 1600 with Metamorphosis (Arber 1875–94, 3: 277, 307, 345), and on 18 June 1605 he received a loan of £6 from the company, which he repaid three years later (Ferguson 1989, 34). It is unclear how White intended to use the sum, but he probably did not acquire more equipment since on 9 May 1615 he was recorded as possessing only one allowed press (Jackson 1957, 74–5). In 1611 he received £4 from the company, recorded in its Poor Book (Ferguson 1976). When his son John was made free of the company by patrimony in 1613, the younger White began working with his father in the house in Cow Lane, his name first appearing on an imprint the next year. This had no apparent influence on printing-house output, though. The White establishment averaged fifty edition sheets per year in 1614–17, the same as it had when White first started working as a trade printer at the end of the sixteenth century (Gants 2002, 194). With his son looking after the printing business, White may have turned his energies to his bookshop, or perhaps to a rather different retail pursuit. In early August 1617, 'William White of Cow Lane, stationer' and another man appeared at the Middlesex Sessions as licensed tipplers to present their surety bonds (Hardy 1941, 461). (A tippler was a tapster, or tavern keeper, and the bond probably concerned price regulations and other restrictions on ale houses.) The final document concerning William White is in the probate records, where on 30 March 1618 his will was proved, listing the value of his estate at death as £39 13s. 4d. (Aldred 2004).

Like so many of the men and women who helped create the early modern English book culture, William White rarely merits more than a footnote in a monograph or scholarly edition. Yet a careful analysis of his printing-house practices in the early seventeenth century sheds a little more light on the textual history of Kyd's popular and influential Spanish Tragedy. Philip Henslowe's diary records that he twice paid through the intermediary agent Edward Alleyn for Ben Jonson to supply additions to the play: 40s. on 25 September 1601, and £10 on 22 June 1602, along with earnest money for a new play called 'Richard Crockbacke' (Foakes 2002, 182, 203). While no demonstrative link has been established between Jonson's additions and those in the 1602 Spanish Tragedy, if printing of the edition began in the autumn of 1601, then the additions mentioned in the diary entry of 1602 could not have been included. If printing began in the summer of 1602, then it is possible the additions mentioned in the 1601 entry could have been included, but given the proximity of the two events in time, unlikely. Finally, the apparent disruption that occurred during the printing of gatherings F and G hints at possible delay or confusion arising from the manuscript additions, but to date, the source of the additions remains unknown.

Notes

1 This probably included a pair of presses. A 1583 list compiled by the Stationers indicates that Jugge's house owned two presses, while another list put together in response to the 1586 Star Chamber decree showed Watkins then possessed two (Arber 1875–94, 1: 248; 5: lii; McKerrow 1910, 246–7, 288–9; Pollard and Redgrave 1976–91, 3: 155, 178–9, 182).

2 The copy was entered with the company by Jones on 11 June 1595 (Arber 1875–94, 2: 299). The title page advertises that copies of the book were available at Jones's address in Holborn, indicating that he also acted as wholesale distributor.

3 Simson died three years later, in 1600, and within a year his widow Frances remarried; her new husband was Richard Read, who along with White had been provided 20s. in Richard Jugge's will (Pollard and Redgrave 1976–91, 3: 155).

4 Much of the trouble Jeffes encountered was of his own making. He repeatedly defied the company, printed both other stationers' titles and prohibited books, and in early 1596 was reduced to petitioning the company 'for Relief beinge in prison' (Greg and Boswell 1930, 54). At least once, though, he and his family suffered through no fault of his own: in 1593 the company gave 5s. 'to Abell Jeffes wyfe for her Relief when her howse was visited', that is, infected with the plague (Arber 1875–94, 1: 566).

5 200 sheets over three years does, however, indicate some growth in printing-house activity. During the previous three years (1598–1600, his first running his own establishment), he produced a total of a little more than 150 sheets.

6 Starting in the second decade of the sixteenth century, the Crown began granting privileges to certain favoured booksellers and printers, exclusive rights to print and sell titles for which an established and predictable market existed: law collections, devotional works, schoolbooks, and other popular properties. Over time, the increasing number of these valuable privileges held by a small group of powerful men sparked a struggle within the trade that ultimately led to the creation of the English Stock (Greg and Boswell 1930, lxiv–lxix; Jackson 1957, viii–xi).

7 An en is a unit of measure roughly equal to the width of a roman capital N. Printers calculated the amount of type set by a compositor in ens rather than employing an absolute linear measure like inches or feet because the latter would vary depending on the body of the type being set. This gave a more accurate account of how much work had been done no matter what type body a compositor was setting.

8 The 1586 Star Chamber decree lists Richard Jones, whose printing house White took over in 1597, as owning one press, and a 1615 order by the company shows White's establishment limited to one press (Arber 1875–94, 1: 248; Jackson 1957, 75).

9 A forme consists of all the pages to be printed on one side of a sheet locked into an iron frame called a chase. The outer forme begins with the 1r page of the gathering while the inner begins with the 1v. Because the running titles were typically the same from gathering to gathering, printers would reuse the same lines of type from forme to forme, and those reused groups of running titles were called skeleton formes (Gaskell 1972, 40–56, 78–110).

10 Between 1589 and 1600, Waterson published from one to four titles a year, averaging 34 sheets annually, with a high of 73 in 1592 and 1599 and a low of six in 1600.

11 Peter W. M. Blayney has pointed out two periods in which large numbers of playbooks were entered for publication: December 1593–May 1595, and May 1600–October 1601; the White–Pavier Spanish Tragedy appears to have been prompted by the second spike in theatrical publication (Blayney 1997).

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