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The History of Oxford University Press: Volume IBeginnings to 1780$
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Ian Gadd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199557318

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199557318.001.0001

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The Blackstone Reforms 1755–1780

The Blackstone Reforms 1755–1780

(p.138) Chapter 5 The Blackstone Reforms 1755–1780
The History of Oxford University Press: Volume I

Matthew Kilburn

Oxford University Press

By the mid-eighteenth century the working practices and management of the Press were again in need of reform, as evidenced by an inquiry launched by William Blackstone, who became a Delegate of the Press in 1755. Blackstone suggested changes to price structures, rates of pay for workers, record keeping, and a reformed Delegacy who would more closely oversee the finances and publications of the Press. New types were ordered and the quality of production improved; the re-animated press began to establish again its reputation for authoritative classical texts. As sales of Bibles increased greater competition among printers led to larger sums paid to the Delegates for the lease of the privilege to publish them, but legal challenges to the privilege covering almanacs and Bibles and to perpetual copyright involved Oxford, Cambridge, and the Stationers' Company in costly court proceedings, and necessitated the complete reorganization of the Bible Press in 1780.

Keywords:   William Blackstone, Delegates, classics, privileged printing, copyright, Bible Press, learned press, Oxford Almanack

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