The Gentleman’s Magazine. Vol. I



March 1791


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London: Printed for D. Henry by John Nichols


The Gentleman’s Magazine was the first publication to use the term ‘magazine’ (‘a storehouse, commonly an arsenal or armoury’: Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, 1755) in its now customary sense of ‘a miscellaneous pamphlet’. It was first published in 1731 by the printer Edward Cave (who edited it under the name Sylvanus Urban, i.e., ‘town and country’) and it came out monthly. It evolved from being a digest of news from European papers, to being a trusted and original source of news and features on politics, science, the arts, society, the stock market, and scholarship. It was immediately much-imitated. It included poetry and accounts of the proceedings of parliament, which from 1741 were written by Samuel Johnson, a regular contributor. It ended publication in 1922. Special Collections has a full run of the journal from 1731 to 1866. Even now, this unique resource has only been haphazardly digitised, so the best way to use it is to come and look at the real thing. Every page has something interesting or curious, and once you start browsing, it’s very hard to stop…
(Chosen by Dr Paul Tankard, Department of English and Linguistics, Otago)


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Sylvanus Urban, “The Gentleman’s Magazine. Vol. I,” | OUR Heritage, accessed May 26, 2024,