Dating the publication of Hugh Miller’s Testimony of the Rocks (1857)

Michael Taylor, Ralph O'Connor, Leslie K. Overstreet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Assessing the precise publication dates of nineteenth-century books is difficult because of changes in the technologies and practices of production and distribution. Common problems include inadequate, inaccurate, and confusing title-page information, and misleading advertisements. It is better to use multiple lines of evidence rather than a single source. The first Scottish and English edition of The Testimony of the Rocks, by Hugh Miller (1802–1856), is shown to have been published on or about 24 March 1857, after the author’s suicide, as a combination of the first and second issues simultaneously. The first issue was published by Shepherd & Elliot of Edinburgh in cooperation with Hamilton, Adams & Co., of London. It was optionally available with an additional frontispiece of a photographic print of the author. The second issue was published by Thomas Constable & Co. of Edinburgh with Shepherd & Elliot and Hamilton, Adams. After several further issues, Shepherd & Elliot were dropped later in 1857, so that the third publishers’ imprint became Constable with Hamilton, Adams. Constable and Hamilton, Adams published a newly typeset second Edinburgh edition in 1860, although the publishers failed to denote it as such. Gould & Lincoln of Boston, Massachusetts, printed the first United States edition from a new type-setting and distributed it on or about 28 April 1857.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-324
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Natural History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • geology
  • Edinburgh
  • publishing
  • printing
  • photographic illustration


Dive into the research topics of 'Dating the publication of Hugh Miller’s Testimony of the Rocks (1857)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this