ROBINSON CRUSOE -  An English Graphical Bibliography 




Alexander Gardner.

  1. []. The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner. Paisley, Alexander Gardner, nd    [inscribed 1916]

Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd

F. J. Harvey Darton

Frederick Joseph Harvey Darton (22 September 1878 – 26 July 1936) was an author, publisher, and historian of children's literature. He wrote the pioneering work The Story of English Children's Books in England: Five Centuries of Social Life in 1932. The Children's Books History Society gives out an award in his honor.

Darton was the oldest child of Joseph William Darton (1844–1916) and Mary Darton (née Schooling). Joseph was a partner in the publishing firm Wells Gardner, Darton and Company, which had been started by William Wells Gardner (1821–1880) to produce mainly ecclesiastical texts, but had branched out into children's literature with Joseph's involvement. The family involvement in publishing children's literature went back to 1787, with the two publishing firms of Frederick's great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather, William Darton. William Darton had pioneered the publication of books for children, introducing Ann and Jane Taylor to English schoolchildren.

He went to Sutton Valence School, Dover College and graduated from St. John's College, Oxford in 1899 with a degree in classics. While at college, he visited Dorset many times on reading parties, and developed a love of the county which would last his entire life.

After graduating, he joined the family publishing firm, becoming a director in 1904. Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. published children's magazines as well as books, including The Prize and Chatterbox, which Darton edited from 1901 to 1931.He was "instrumental" in the company's publication of John Masefield's Martin Hyde (1906).

At this time, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. produced a lot of compilations of much older stories, including reissues of the old chapbook The Seven Champions of Christendom (1901) and many compilations of stories from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

In 1906 he married Emma Lucretia Bennett, a grand-daughter of Sheridan Le Fanu. Together they worked on A Wonder Book of Beasts (1909), in which Emma retold "Reynard the Fox" from the version printed by William Caxton, 400 years before. In 1920, their marriage was annulled.

In 1913 he published the first of two novels. My Father's Son was published under the nom de plume "W. W. Penn" and apparently "prepared for the press by John Harvey", both names suggesting Darton's own Quaker background In 1929 he wrote a second novel, When, again pseudonymously. The protagonists of both books end up in the family book trade and, although they are not autobiographical, Margaret Drabble, investigating Darton, called both books "darkly illuminating." [From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ]

  1. Shaylor, Joseph. Robinson Crusoe in Short Words. London, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, nd  

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