The Oldest Surviving Printed Advertisement in English (London, 1477)

Authors – Did you know that ‘Marketing’ is over 500 years old?
Also, look out for the link, in this article, for MEDIEVAL SPAM: THE OLDEST ADVERTISEMENTS FOR BOOKS…

medievalbooks

Over the years I have developed a passion for the ways in which medieval scribes and booksellers (i.e. stationer, libraire) promoted their products. Commercial book artisans had a variety of tools available to attract clients to their shops, from spam scribbled in the back of manuscripts (“If you like this, I can make you one too!”) to unsubtle advertisement posters hung outside the shop door (“Pick a pretty letter and I’ll make you a book!”). One of the smallest advertisements surviving from before the close of the Middle Ages dates from 1476/1477 and was produced by William Caxton, Britain’s first printer (Figure 1). This piece of paper, of which two copies survive, is regarded as the earliest surviving printed advertisement in the English language (claim here). It promotes Caxton’s Sarum Pie, or the Ordinale ad usum Sarum, a handbook for priests. Only a handful pages of this…

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