Printing and the Book Trade in the West Indies


23 x 16 cm
316 pp. Index
Publication: 1985
ISBN 0 907132 35 9
ISBN-13 978 0 907132 35 6

Book Description

The division of the Caribbean islands between the major European powers resulted in the growth of a number of regional presses, providing the colonists with the reading matter they would have expected from their countries of origin. The differing attitudes of the colonial powers towards the press is evident both in the date when printing was first introduced in the colonies, and the number and type of works subsequently issued.

Over the last twenty years Professor Cave’s research has done much to clarify the development of printing in the West Indies. This volume brings together for the first time his work on the subject, with the addition of seven papers which have previously not been generally available. The author is principally concerned with printing in the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean, in particular with Jamaica, but there are also articles on printing in the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the Dutch West Indies, Grenada and Trinidad. The parallels with early printing in the North American colonies are particularly important. Professor Cave has contributed an introduction and additional notes which draw attention to fresh material subsequently discovered. There is an index and bibliography.


  • Preface
  • Aspects of early printing and the book trade in the West Indies
  • The use of slave labour in West Indian printing houses
  • The West Indian planter and his reading
  • An advertisement by John Wells
  • Printing in 19th-century Belize
  • The printing of The Honduras Almanack
  • A Grenada printer’s commendatory verse
  • Printing in 18th-century Jamaica
  • Abstracts of wills and inventories of Jamaican printers
  • An inventory of the first Jamaican printing house
  • Thomas Craddock’s books
  • The first printers in Jamaica
  • Two Jamaican printers
  • The plantocracy’s passion for Porcupine
  • A letter from Bernard Romans
  • Early circulating libraries in Jamaica
  • The first Jamaican private press
  • The St. James Printery, Montego Bay
  • A proposal for a papermill in Jamaica
  • Printing in the Swedish West Indies
  • Printing in Trinidad: some preliminary notes
  • The first Trinidad Guardian
  • Early printing in South Trinidad
  • The early printers of Grand Turk
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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