Henry George Bohn

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Henry George Bohn (4 January 1796 22 August 1884) was a British publisher. He is principally remembered for the Bohn's Libraries which he inaugurated. These were begun in 1846, targeted the mass market, and comprised editions of standard works and translations, dealing with history, science, classics, theology and archaeology.

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

History past events and their record

History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Science systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.



Bohn was born in London. He was the son of a German bookbinder who had settled in England. In 1831 he began his career as a dealer in rare books and remainders. In 1841 he issued his "Guinea" Catalogue of books, a monumental work containing 23,208 items. Bohn was noted for his book auction sales: one held in 1848 lasted four days, the catalogue comprising twenty folio pages. Printed on this catalogue was the information: "Dinner at 2 o'clock, dessert at 4, tea at 5, and supper at 10."

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

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Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

The name of Bohn is principally remembered by the important Bohn's Libraries which he inaugurated: these were begun in 1846 and comprised editions of standard works and translations, dealing with history, science, classics, theology and archaeology, consisting in all of 766 volumes. His authors included Julia Corner who created educational books about India and China for him in the 1850s. [1]

Classics Study of the culture of (mainly) Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world, particularly of its languages and literature but also of Greco-Roman philosophy, history, and archaeology. Traditionally in the West, the study of the Greek and Roman classics was considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities and a fundamental element of a rounded education. The study of classics has therefore traditionally been a cornerstone of a typical elite education.

Theology Study of the nature of deities and religious belief

Theology is the critical study of the nature of the divine. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries.

Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines.

The reasons for the success of Bohn's Libraries may have included their marketing to a general mass readership with volumes selling at low prices, [2] their "lack of literary pretensions", and their "policy of a widespread, but restrained expurgation". [3]

One of Bohn's most useful and laborious undertakings was his revision (6 vols. 1864) of The Bibliographer's Manual of English Literature (1834) of W.T. Lowndes. The plan includes bibliographical and critical notices, particulars of prices, etc., and a considerable addition to the original work.

William Thomas Lowndes, English bibliographer, was born about 1798, the son of a London bookseller.

It had been one of Bohn's ambitions to found a great publishing house, but, finding that his sons had no taste for the trade, he sold his Bohn's Libraries in 1864 to Messrs. Bell and Daldy, afterwards G. Bell & Sons. At that time the Bohn's Libraries included more than 600 titles. [4] [5] In subsequent years, he disposed of all his copyrights and business properties, finally realizing £73,000 overall. [6]

George Bell & Sons was a book publishing house located in London, United Kingdom, from 1839 to 1986.

Bohn was a man of wide culture and many interests. He himself made considerable contributions to his Libraries, he collected pictures, china and ivories, and was a famous rose-grower.

He died at Twickenham and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery.


Among his own works were:

Besides his edition of Lowndes' Bibliographer's Manual, he developed an edition of Addison's works.

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  1. Rosemary Mitchell, ‘Corner, Julia (1798–1875)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 4 Oct 2014
  2. O'Sullivan, Carol, "Translation within the margin: The Libraries of Henry Bohn," in Milton, John, Bandia, Paul (eds.) Agents of Translation (Benjamins Translation Library). p.107. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2009.
  3. O'Sullivan, Carol, "Translation within the margin: The Libraries of Henry Bohn," in Milton, John, Bandia, Paul (eds.) Agents of Translation (Benjamins Translation Library). p.126. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2009.
  4. Feather, John. A History of British Publishing. p.106. London: Routledge, 2005.
  5. Bohn’s Popular Library, seriesofseries.owu.edu. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  6. David B. Mock, "H. G. Bohn (London: 1831-1864)", in: Patricia Anderson and Jonathan Rose, eds., British Literary Publishing Houses 1820-1880 (Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 106). Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1991, p. 60.


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