Correspondence between Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin and the Nichols printers

Scope and Content

A collection of letters, with some enclosures, from the Reverend Thomas Frognall Dibdin to the printers John Nichols and John Bowyer Nichols. 

  • Nos. 54 and 81 are replies to Dibdin from John Bowyer Nichols; copies of other replies are endorsed on the relevant Dibdin letters.
  • No.92 is a note from John Bowyer Nichols to his father John Nichols respecting Dibdin.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Nichols was a London-based printer and author. Born in Islington, London in 1745 he was apprenticed in 1757 to the well-known printer, William Bowyer, whom he eventually succeeded. On the death of his friend and master in 1777 he published a brief memoir, which afterwards grew into the Anecdotes of William Bowyer and his Literary Friends (1782). He was known particularly in the printing world as a printer of topographical works, though his personal interests were in literature and antiquarian studies. It was these interests that led him in 1788, to become the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine and it was from that platform that he started on his life's focus of compiling the personal histories of eighteenth-century English literary figures. He remained the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine till his death in 1826 and managed to publish several works on eighteenth-century literary history. His son John Bowyer Nichols, who worked alongside his father as a printer and shared the same interests, continued his father's work till his own death in 1865.