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DR. DANIEL AND THE HISTORY OF THE DANIEL PRESS

Dr. Charles Henry Olive Daniel was born on the Feast of St. Jerome, the Patron Saint of Librarians, on September 30, 1836 at Wareham in Dorset, England (Madan 55). He had three brothers and two sisters and grew up in Frome, Somerset where his father was an Anglican pastor (Madan 55). In 1845, Henry, as he was known by his friends (Madan 1), “. . . and his brother George were given some type to play with” (Cave 127). Since they seemed to enjoy playing with the type, within a year they were given a small press by their father (Cave 127). Cave suggests that this printing press was “almost certainly one of Holtzapffel’s Parlour Presses” (127). In 1850 Henry was given a miniature Albion Press, which would later be referred to as the Frome press (Cave 127; Franklin 28). Using this small hand-press, Henry and his brothers were able to produce “. . . texts, small parochial notices of all kinds, hymns, book-plates, invitations, programmes and the like, varying in size, shape, and elegance” (Madan 68). These early works, which came to be known as the “Frome Minor Pieces” of the Daniel Press, were a reflection of the life of “a new parish in a country town” during that period (Madan 68). As Falconer Madan points out in his bibliography of the Daniel Press, “. . . the first production [on the miniature Albion press] deserving the name of literature was Christmas, a Vigil, a religious poem in seventy-two four-line stanzas by C.J.C(ruttwell), produced at Christmas, 1851” (49). This work was authored by Henry’s uncle, and it is the first of several Christmas publications that were printed by the Daniel Press (Madan 56-154).

Dr. Daniel was well-educated and was awarded a number of university degrees, as well as several academic and ecclesiastical designations. Dr. Daniel went to boarding school at Grosvenor College, Bath for one year (1847-48) and to boarding school at King’s College, London for two years (1852-54) (Madan 55). Then he studied at Oxford as a Scholar of Worcester College where he earned his B.A. in 1858 and his M.A. in 1861 (Madan 55, 80). Dr. Daniel was a Classical Lecturer at King’s College in London from 1859-63 (Madan 55) and was ordained a deacon in 1862 and an Anglican priest in 1885. In 1863 he returned to Worcester College where he became a Fellow (1863-1903), Tutor (1865-75), Proctor (1873-74), Bursar (1870-1903), and the first elected Provost of the college (1903-19) (Madan 55; Warren 5). In addition to his work as the Oxford correspondent of the Times (1873-1908) and to his involvement in municipal affairs, Dr. Daniel earned his B.D. and D.D. in 1904 (Madan 55; Woods 25).

While Dr. Daniel was away at school in London, the miniature Albion Press was moved “. . . from a room at the top of the Vicarage [at Frome] to a house close to the Vicarage” (Madan 168). Although Dr. Daniel did some printing from 1856-57, it was two of his brothers who did most of the printing on the press at Frome from 1859-63 (Madan 168). Dr. Daniel's studies, as well as his various responsibilities at Worcester College, prevented him from using the press between 1863 and 1874 (Madan 49). However, in 1874, Dr. Daniel brought the miniature Albion Press to his rooms at Worcester College where he was able to resume his printing (Madan 168). A major turning point in the Daniel Press came in 1876 when Dr. Daniel discovered some type and ornaments at Clarendon Press that had not been used for more than a hundred years (Cave 129). The type turned out to be the Fell type which had been bequeathed “. . . to Oxford University Press [Clarendon] in 1686” by Dr. John Fell (Glaister 171), who had served as Dean of Christ Church (1660-86), as well as Vice Chancellor (1666-69) and Bishop of Oxford (1675-86) (Madan 157). As Madan explains, “between 1666 and 1672 he [Dr.Fell] procured from Holland . . . several sets of matrixes and many more punches and types . . . and placed them in the Press” (Madan157). Although the Fell type had not been used for over a hundred years, it was a perfect compliment to the seventeenth-century literature interests of Dr. Daniel (Madan 157).

In 1878, Dr. Daniel married his cousin Emily Olive, and they moved to Worcester House (Madan 55). The miniature Albion Press was also moved to this house, where it was used to print several minor pieces and a couple of books (Madan 168). Although the Fell type had been used in the 1876 printing of A New Sermon of the Newest Fashion (Madan 83), “. . . the first adequate specimen of the Fell type . . .” is The Garland of Rachel, which was printed in 1881 (Madan 88). This collection of poems, which was authored by Dr. Daniel and seventeen of his Oxford friends in honour of his daughter Rachel’s first birthday, includes the first appearance of the printer's mark, or the “Misit mark” as it was commonly called (Madan 86, 88). Alfred Parsons, R.A., designed this mark, as well as two woodcut ornaments which are also found in the Garland of Rachel (Madan 88, Plate VII-VIII). Although only thirty-six copies of this book were printed, Mrs. Daniel drew the first letter in each of the eighteen poems in red and miniated each of these letters in all thirty-six copies of the edition (Madan 88, Plate VII-VIII). It should be noted that the Daniels later had another daughter, Ruth, who enjoyed participating in family printing endeavours with her sister, Rachel, once the girls were old enough to help (Madan 189).

In 1882, Dr. Daniel purchased a full-size Albion press, which was “. . . a Hopkinson’s Improved Albion press, of 1835, made by John and Jeremiah Barrett exors of R. W. Cope, Finsbury, London” (Madan 91). That same year, 1882, Dr. Daniel published, Hymni Ecclesiae, which was his first work on this third Daniel press (Madan 91). It was on this new Albion press that more than 50 books and the bulk of the “Oxford Minor Pieces” were printed between 1882 and 1903 (Cave 130-31; Madan 137-54), thereby making this the most prolific period of the Daniel Press.

Although the literature that the Daniel Press published is from “various periods,” there is a strong representation from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Madan 57-154). As well, some of the works of the famous poets, Milton, Blake and Keats, were published by this private press (Madan 46). In addition, the Daniel Press printed works of people who were associated with Oxford during Dr. Daniel’s time, including Robert Bridges, Richard Watson Dixon, Sir Thomas Herbert Warren and Margaret Louisa Woods (Madan 57-154). As Franklin explains, “it [the Daniel Press] carves off Oxford, which itself was carved out from other English life, and displays one civilized small community there” (Franklin 23). The Daniel Press not only published high quality literature (Madan 46), but many of its publications gave a glimpse into life at Oxford University during Dr. Daniel’s era.

Once Dr. Daniel became Provost of Worcester College in 1903, he only published one work, Worcester College Prayers, before his death. This 1906 publication was “a form of Evening Service taken (and modified) from the old set of Latin Prayers formerly in use in Worcester College (up till about 1855),” which ended with “. . . ‘Laus Deo,’ [To God be praise] the last words which Dr. Daniel printed” (Madan 132). The new Albion press, which had been “. . . left in the garden cottage attached to Worcester House . . .” (Madan 168), was then moved to its present home in the Bodleian Library after Dr. Daniel’s death on September 6, 1919 (Madan 55-56). In 1921, the publication, The Daniel Press: Memorials of C.H.O. Daniel: With a Bibliography of the Press, 1845-1919, was printed on the Daniel Press in the Bodleian Library as a final tribute to Dr. Daniel “. . . from a few of his friends” (Madan iii). Although the lengthy publishing history of this press had come to an end, appreciation for the artistic merits of its works would increase with time.

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Title Page |List of Contents | Introduction | The Private Press | The Private Press Movement | Dr. Daniel and the History of the Daniel Press | The Fell Type and the Daniel Press | An Examination of Ailes D’Alouette | Conclusion | References | Acknowledgements | Daniel Images | Ailes D'Alouette Images