Gentleman’s Magazine brings back memories

Delighted to see coverage of the Gentleman’s Magazine as part of a One Show piece on obituaries.

Back in 1987 I was working on the ESTC project at the British Library. At that stage ESTC stood for EighteenthCentury Short Title Catalogue, but it later expanded to be the English Short Title Catalogue (top tip, if you pick an acronym, give yourself room to grow).

My role was to research the authors, in particular to try and find dates of death. And the Gentleman’s Magazine obituaries were a key source, requiring patient study of its printed indexes. Now it’s all online.

Some of the titles we catalogued for the ESTC were very quaint (Trisolbion, anyone?). But this was the age of reason and revolution, and the works on cleaning up politics, the relationship between religion and politics and calls for free speech, strike a timeless note.

The ESTC has made the titles available to everyone online. It’s wonderful to think the books themselves are just down the road in the British Library at St Pancras. And free to access for anyone with a genuine interest.

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