Charles Rivington - Encyclopedia

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CHARLES RIVINGTON (1688-1742), British publisher, was born at Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in 1688. Coming to London as apprentice to a bookseller, he took over in 1711 the publishing business of Richard Chiswell (1639-1711), and, at the sign of the Bible and the Crown in Paternoster Row, he carried on a business almost entirely connected with theological and educational literature. He also published one of Whitefield's earliest works, and brought out an edition of the Imitation of Christ. In 1736 Rivington founded the company of booksellers who called themselves the "New Conger," in rivalry with the older association, the "Conger," dating from about 1700. In 1741 he published the first volume of Richardson's Pamela. Charles Rivington died on the 22nd of February 1742, and was succeeded by his two sons, John (1720-1792) and James (1724-1802). James emigrated to America, and pursued his trade in New York (see Newspapers, U.S.A.); John carried on the business on the lines marked out by his father, and was the great Church of England publisher of the day. In 1760 he was appointed publisher to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the firm retained the agency for over seventy years. Having admitted his sons Francis (1745-1822) and Charles (1754-1831) into partnership he undertook for the "New Conger" Association the issue of a standard edition of the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Locke and other British classics; also Cruden's Concordance. John Rivington died on the 16th of January 1792. In 1810 John (1779-1841), the eldest son of Francis, was admitted a partner. In 1827 George (1801-1858) and Francis (1805-1885), sons of Charles Rivington, joined the firm. Rivington contracted further ties with the High Church party by the publication (1833, &c.) of Tracts for the Times. John Rivington died on the 21st of November 1841, his son, John Rivington (1812-1886) having been admitted a partner in 1836. George Rivington died in 1858; and in 1859 Francis Rivington retired, leaving the conduct of affairs in the hands of John Rivington and his own sons, Francis Hansard (b. 1834) and Septimus (b. 1846). In 1890 the business was sold to Messrs Longmans. A business of the same character was, however, carried on from 1889 to 1893 by Mr Septimus Rivington and Mr John Guthrie Percival, as Percival & Co. This was changed in 1893 to Rivington, Percival & Co.; and in 1897 the firm revived its earlier title of Rivington & Co., maintaining its reputation for educational works and its connexion with the Moderate and High Church party.

See The House of Rivington, by Septimus Rivington (1894); also the Publishers' Circular (15th January 1885, 2nd June 1890).

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