Biography

Sarah Hodgson (née Slack) 1760-1822

Newcastle-born Sarah Hodgson was the daughter of Anne Fisher, the first woman to publish a grammar of modern English, and the radical printer Thomas Slack who owned a printing and bookselling business called ‘The Printing Press’arguably the most eminent printing house in the eighteenth-century North.

After Thomas Slack died in 1784 Sarah’s husband Solomon Hodgson inherited the printing business and after his death in 1800, Sarah became manager, and the editor of the Newcastle Chronicle, until her passing in 1822. Sarah continued the Ladies’ Own Memorandum-Book which had been created by her mother and which was published annually in London. She was a radical at the centre of Newcastle cultural life whose associates included the founding members of the Lit and Phil, the Unitarian minister William Turner (1761-1859) and Reverend Edward Moises, Master of Newcastle’s Royal Grammar School (17221806). Turner printed much of his work with her and ‘The Printing Press’ published Moises’ A Persian Grammar in 1792.

Another notable publication is the Bible in Arabic (1811) which Sarah produced with Carlisle-born orientalist Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758-1804). This is one of the earliest works of its kind outside of London and has been described as a major feat in Arabic typography.”  She was an associate of the Northumbrian engraver Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) and published his Memoir and a catalogue of his work in 1820. In 1822 she published the first volume of Archaeologia Aeliana: Or, Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquities, the journal of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne starting a series of published journals that continues today.

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