This thesis looks beyond the stereotypes of women as
transmitters and caretakers of businesses by focussing on
the careers of three women, one a widow who remarried, one
a woman with no apparent family connection with the trade,
and the third another widow who carried on the business for
almost ten years after the death of her husband. Their
careers are reconstructed from biographical data and the
details of their publishing output. Emphasis is placed on
the relationship of individuals to the sectarian communities
for which they published, and on the ways in which sectarian
material came to be published and distributed. The studies
suggest ways in which women's inferior legal status could
protect them in their 'seditious' activities, and reveal
the inadequacies of attempts to control the press during
the period 1645-75.
Hannah Allen's output demonstrates her development
over a brief period of a specialized trade in books
representing the strand of Independent thought which grew
into Fifth Monarchism, and her emergence from economic
dependency on partnerships to become a publisher in her own
right. Mary Westwood's career reveals a level of publishing
outside the London book trade and concerned exclusively
with a Quaker market largely in-the provinces. The career
of Elizabeth Calvert is examined both before and after the
death of her husband in order to investigate her role in a
leading radical bookseiling business. -' Her later activities
provide evidence of the shortcomings of the 1662 'Licensing,
Act, and confrontations between a group of 'Confederate'
women and the authorities suggest how women could avoid
punishment despite their persistent publishing of
nonconformist and opposition literature.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.