Explanation of the bibliographical lists of the Hakluyt Society from 1847 to the present

An explanation of the bibliographical lists of the Hakluyt Society

Publications of the Hakluyt Society

A listing compiled by P. E. H. Hair

Previous Lists

1. This listing updates, enlarges, revises and restyles a series of lists of Hakluyt Society (HS) volumes. From the 1850s onwards, cumulative lists of titles, with names of editors and limited other details, appeared in occasional volumes (in the additional sections of supplementary material at the front or rear devoted to Society affairs), the final list appearing in 1931 (HS 2/166). These lists had also appeared in a brochure entitled ‘Prospectus’ which was prepared and issued at intervals from at least the 1910s; and updated lists continued to be issued after 1931 in this form. These lists have the particular disadvantage that they progressively updated the titles and honorifics of still-living past editors. A revised list prepared by R. A. Skelton and printed in the Centenary commemorative volume of 1946 (HS 2/93), pp. vi-xxv, updated and added more details: in turn this list was updated, presumably also by Skelton, in later prospectuses and finally in the 1956 Prospectus (HS OB/6). A further updated list, prepared by E. L. C. Mullins and printed in The Hakluyt Handbook of 1974 (HS 2/144-5), pp. 611-48, was compiled somewhat differently, adding summary descriptions of the content of volumes but omitting certain details of the earlier lists, notably the pagination of volumes. As far as the earlier lists advanced chronologically, the present listing takes its details of pagination, maps and illustrations mainly from the Skelton lists, while the summary descriptions of contents of volumes are mainly from the Mullins list. Comparable information on post-1973 volumes is the work of the present compiler, or in a few instances is borrowed from an updating of the Mullins list prepared by Professor Loren Pennington. The present listing adds information about the supplementary material (see below) which forms part of certain volumes.

2. The present listing differs from previous lists in that it attempts to represent more closely the information on the title-page and the contemporary editorial presentation. Editorial and typographic practice has inevitably changed over a period of a century and a half, hence the present list achieves a measure of historical accuracy at the expense of total consistency in bibliographical presentation.


3. The present listing copies in full the title-page of each volume in respect of the information supplied regarding the contents and the editor(s). Repetitions of this information between volumes of a single edition are, however, omitted and indicated by three dots (…). The verses and other literary dedications which very occasionally appeared in early editions are not copied. The present listing adds emphasis, in the form of blue characters for the title, and bold print for the name(s) of editor(s) and translator(s).

4. The original punctuation is followed. Occasionally in the nineteenth century and increasingly thereafter until it became the rule, normal punctuation was replaced in the main title, and at times elsewhere on the title-page, by lining. When lining replaces necessary punctuation, the lining is indicated.

5. Consistently up to the 1920s and commonly thereafter, editorial practice was to set the whole title-page in upper case letters. In the present listing, lower case letters are introduced, initial capitals being retained, either according to the consistent usage on other title-pages of the period, or else according to current editorial practice. From the 1940s, however, initial capitals were frequently reduced, at times to normal prose usage, especially on sub-titles, and this has been followed, despite the inconsistency with previous titles.

6. Personal titles of editors and honorifics after their names are given, but for any individual only on first appearance in any specific form, repetitions being omitted and indicated by three dots (…).

Numbering and dates

7. Originally volumes were not numbered. Within lists of previous publications appearing in the supplementary material in certain volumes (for supplementary material see below), the numbering of items was not introduced until 1861 (HS 28). The number of a volume, indicated on its half-title page, was introduced in 1874 (HS 51) and has continued since.

8. Some volumes carry two dates, the subscription or issue year, and the imprint or publication year. On occasions these dates differ. The issue year date was shown on the half-title page between 1905 (HS 2/12) and 1982 (HS 2/152), this page having before 1905 shown the publication year date. The early annual reports, which lack a month of publication, are vague about which volumes were assigned to particular subscription years, but in 1861 the list of previous publications, as well as having numbered items, also supplied for all earlier items a subscription year (‘Issued in 1847’, etc). This was presumably the work of the Honorary Secretary at the time, Clements Markham, but it is not clear how he obtained the information and not all the issue year dates he assigned to early volumes would seem to be correct, since some are later than the publication date. (The Mullins and Skelton lists avoided the issue, the former supplying only issue dates, the latter only publication dates.)

9. The listing below supplies the publication date, and if the issue date was different this is added in brackets. The annual reports and the British Museum date stamps on volumes suggest that occasionally the stated publication year may have preceded the actual year of release and distribution, but more research is required on this problem.

Supplementary material

10. Apart from a list of officers and members of Council which has appeared in all Hakluyt Society volumes to date, normally before the title page, and which is included in the regular pagination, separately-paginated supplementary material relating to the Society was included in most Hakluyt Society volumes from publication dates 1849 up to 1931 (HS 4 – HS 2/66), intermittently but generally in any single-volume edition or the first volume of a multi-volume edition.

11. This supplementary material always included, separately paginated and of increasing length and contents (in 1925 it reached 45 pages), what might be termed a prospectus of the Society, beginning with a statement of aims. It continued with lists of various features (previous publications, works in progress, works suggested, subscriber membership, agents), and for long concluded with ‘Laws of the Society’. The 1904 material is in thin blue paper covers and perhaps copies were always distributed separately in this brochure form too; certainly at intervals from at least the 1920s up to 1956 a brochure entitled `Prospectus’ containing such material was separately issued.

12. The supplementary material could include, separately paginated, the annual report. This appeared, in only one volume each issue year, between publication dates 1849 and 1894 (HS 5 – HS 91), and again in 1902 and 1903 (HS 2/9, 15), its length normally three or four pages. The reports for 1853, 1874-1877, 1881 and 1883 are, however, lacking in the sets of volumes examined. Whether before 1895 the annual report was published separately as well as within volumes is not known; after 1894, other than in 1902-1903, it was only published separately, as is the case today.

13. Normally the annual report preceded the remaining supplementary material, and all the material appeared at the front of volumes up to the 1880s, and thereafter at the rear of volumes. The pagination(s) of the supplementary material are distinguished in the listing by being in underlined numbers.

14. It must be added that the Liverpool University and Aberdeen University sets do not exactly match as regards the supplementary material, mainly in respect of whether the material is at the front or the rear of volumes but occasionally in respect of material totally missing from specific volumes in either set. This is most likely the result of errors in collation at the printers (or binders) when the volumes were being made up, and it raises the possibility that other sets may have different dispositions of this material.


15. Over the period conventions in respect of inserting page numbers have changed, as have bibliographical conventions in respect of the count of page numbers. The count in the listing below does not always agree with that in previous lists (whose conventions were unexplained). Here the pagination count represents numbered pages, as indicated by the highest printed number. It does not include the unnumbered blank verso page which often appears after the last numbered page of a section, but it adds one to the highest printed number where a printed but unnumbered page occurs after the last numbered page of a section, as happens occasionally. Where pagination runs on to a second or third volume, the starting page-number for the later text is given as the actual page-number of the first page of text, whether printed or not.


16. The count of illustrations requires explanation. The earlier volumes had no list of illustrations, and subsequent lists were variously and inconsistently titled, while the Mullins overall list did not include a count of illustrations. Skelton, following the earlier lists, supplied a count of illustrations distinguished, by categories of form of production, between ‘maps’ and ‘plates’, that is, (normally) fold-out maps and full-page plates. With the increasing use of maps reproduced on photographic plates and of in-text illustrations these distinctions are impossible to maintain. The count in the present listing therefore attempts to categorise solely by form of content, distinguishing ‘maps’ (including charts, plans, sketch maps, etc) from ‘illustrations’, i.e. all other illustrations. This has led to recounting for the earlier volumes, but it needs to be understood that the distinction is not always clear (for instance, are birds’ eye views of harbours ‘maps’ or ‘illustrations’?). Nor do my totals always agree with Skelton’s, perhaps because of different interpretations of what constitutes a separate map or illustration. Hence the distribution between the two categories is suggestive and approximate only. Skelton provided, in the same volume, a separate list of ‘the most important maps’ in earlier editions (pp. xxvii-xxxiv), with an index, and in the 1956 Prospectus (HS OB/6) the list and index were updated to 1955: it is regretted that it has not proved possible to update further this useful list.

Publisher and place of publication

17. The place of publication has always been London, except between HS 2/108 of 1957 and HS 2/143 of 1973 when it was Cambridge, and except in the single case of HS 2/59 of 1927, which for an unstated reason was published at Oxford. London is not noted in the listing, but the exceptional places are noted. The publisher’s name is not noted in the listing. From 1847 to 1954 the wording was ‘London / Printed for the Hakluyt Society’, and in 1955 ‘London / For the Hakluyt Society’. Between 1957 and 1973 it read ‘Cambridge / Published for the Hakluyt Society / At the University Press’. Since then it has read ‘The Hakluyt Society / London’.

Other publishers

18. Extra Series nos 1-12, 14-33, 37 and 38 appeared in commercial editions by other publishers, and only volumes whose binding contains the name of the Society were issued under its auspices.


19. Since the 1960s most volumes of the First and Second Series and a few of the Extra Series have been reissued by various reprint publishers, on licence from the Society, and microfiche and microform reproductions have more recently become available. Details appear in the Society’s annual List of Publications in Print.