STRAHAN, George Scots Emigre Bookseller
- Born: About 1679
- Died: 12 November 1752
Mr George Strachan, the eminent Bookseller, was a son of the Rev. John Strachan DD in the University of Aberdeen, and professor of Divinity at Edinburgh, who was incorporated DD at Oxford July 15, 1693, and afterwards a resident in the parish of St Martin in the Fields."
from Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century
This is the common belief. However, there are problems with this.
The son of John Strachan DD, who was called George, was almost certainly the father of the eminent printer William Strahan. This man probably gave life to the myth outlined above, connected as he was with books. His father, George, was a writer or solicitor in Edinburgh, but not a bookseller, and not in London in any case.
The bookseller, George Strahan, and the printer, William Strahan, did know each other in London and did some small amount of business together, but there is no indication or evidence that they were in any way related by blood or marriage. George was of an older generation than William. He was active in publishing certainly by 1703, whereas William was not born until 1715.
Moreover, to make things more complicated, William had a brother and a son, both called George!
"Strahan, George. There is now in the Press, and will shortly be publish'd, A Discourse by way of Dialogue, concerning Providence, the Pleasure of a Virtuous Life, the Divinity of our Blessed Saviour, the Doctrine of the Trinity, Incarnation, &c with some Occasional Thoughts concerning Elections, the Original of Government, Appeals to the People, Passive Obedience, the Act of Toleration, &c. The 2d Edition. Written by Sir Humphrey Mackworth, and formerly publish'd under the Title of The Principles of a Member of the Black List. Whereof some few Books are still remaining in the Hands of Mr. George Strahan at the Golden Ball near the Royal Exchange, Cornhill. (Daily Courant 27 Dec 1703)"
from Exeter Working Papers in Book History
"Mr. George Strahan, of London Bookseller."
from STRYPE'S SURVEY OF LONDON (1720)
"On 5 & 6 Aug 1735 Elizabeth Grestock the elder of Eastbourne, widow of Richard Grestock of Eastbourne, gent, settled a large estate on the marriage of her daughter Elizabeth with John Clarke 'now residing in Eastbourne', clerk; the trustees were Hanbury Walthall of St Catherine Creechurch in London, haberdasher and George Strahan of St Michael Cornhill in London, bookseller. The estate consisted of Land called Honeys in Bexhill, possibly purchased by Newton Parks."
from The National Archives East Sussex Record Office
"Mr George Strahan many years a bookseller in Cornhill"
from Marriages and Deaths 12 November 1752 in
The London magazine; or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer, Volume 21 1 2 3 4
GEORGE CHEYNE AND GEORGE STRAHAN
Writer and bookseller are sometimes referred to as kinsmen. George Strahan was in fact related to the wife of George Cheyne, Margaret Middleton. She and Strahan were second cousins sharing one set of great grandparents in John Middleton and Elizabeth Ramsay. 5
Noted events in his life were:
• Sold: A New Theory of Fevers by George Cheyne, 1701, London, England. 6 Archibald Pitcairne arranged for the book to be published in Edinburgh but sent to London for sale. He told David Gregory and Robert Gray in February 1701 that 300 copies had been sent to George Strachan, a London émigré bookseller. The reason for sending the book to London was that the atmosphere in Edinburgh at that time was not conducive to free and open debate.
George Strahan would remain Cheyne's published for life.
• Issued: 3rd edition of Cheyne's first two works, 1722. 6 Cheyne's name now appeared on the title page.