Dolman, Charles (DNB00)

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DOLMAN, CHARLES (1807–1863), catholic publisher, born at Monmouth 20 Sept. 1807, was the only son of Charles Dolman, surgeon of that town, by his wife Mary Frances, daughter of Thomas Booker, a catholic publisher in London. Charles's father died in the year of his birth. His widowed mother in 1818 married as her second husband Mr. Thomas Buckley. Dolman was educated at the Benedictine college of St. Gregory's, Downside, near Bath. On leaving Downside he studied architecture for a while at Preston in Lancashire, under the guidance of Joseph Aloysius Hansom, the inventor of the two-wheeled cabs of London. He was invited by the Bookers to join their establishment at 61 New Bond Street. In 1840 he entered into partnership with his cousin, Thomas Booker, and the title of the firm became Booker & Dolman. Not long afterwards the property passed entirely into Dolman's possession. On 12 Jan. 1841 he married Frances, daughter of James and Apollonia Coverdale of Ingatestone Hall in Essex, by whom he had an only son, the Very Rev. Charles Vincent Dolman of Hereford, canon of Newport. In 1838 Charles Dolman started a new series of the ‘Catholic Magazine,’ which came to a close in 1844. In March 1845 he established ‘Dolman's Magazine,’ which was continued until the close of 1849. His energies were afterwards directed to the publication of works of a costly character, many of them richly illustrated, and several still highly valued as specimens of typography. Conspicuous among these were Rock's ‘Church of our Fathers,’ Kenelm Digby's ‘Broad Stone of Honour,’ and Barker's ‘Three Days of Wensleydale.’ In 1850 Dolman completed the publication of the fifth edition, in 10 vols. 8vo, of Lingard's ‘History of England,’ containing the annalist's last corrections. The expensive character of the works issued from the press by Dolman involved him at last in embarrassment. In 1858 he had exhausted all his capital, and tried to form his business into a limited liability company, called the Catholic Bookselling and Publishing Company. Dolman withdrew to Paris, where, with the help of friends, he set up a small business at No. 64 Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. His health, always delicate, gave way, and he died there on 31 Dec. 1863, his widow dying in her sixty-sixth year, on 2 March 1885, at Erith.

[Personal recollections of the writer and memoranda by Charles Dolman's only son, the Very Rev. Canon Dolman of Hereford; see also Gillow's Bibl. Dict. of the English Catholics, ii. 87–90, 1885.]

C. K.