A Dictionary of the Booksellers and Printers who Were at Work in England, Scotland and Ireland from 1641 to 1667/Ogilby (John)

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OGILBY (JOHN), author, translator, and publisher in London; Whitefriars, 1600-76. John Ogilby was neither a bookseller nor a printer by trade, but from the facts that he was the promoter of some of the finest books issued during this period, and that he was his own publisher, and even organised lotteries for the sale of his books, he is entitled to notice. He began life as a dancing master, then became schoolmaster to the Earl of Strafford's children. During the troubles of the Civil War he lost everything, was shipwrecked on his way from Ireland, and arrived in London penniless. He proceeded to Cambridge on foot, and was there given Latin lessons by some of the scholars. He also is said to have learnt Greek about the same time. At the Restoration he was made Master of the Revels in Ireland. He was besides given the titles of "king's cosmographer" and "geographic printer." He died September 4th, 1676, and was buried in St. Bride's Church, Fleet Street. Ogilby spared no cost in the production of his books, which were printed by the best men, with the best type, and on the best paper procurable, with illustrations drawn and engraved by the first artists and engravers of the period. A magnificent example of the typography of the period is his translation of the Works of Virgil, printed by Thomas Roycroft in 1658. To facilitate the sale of his books Ogilby was allowed to establish a lottery in which all the prizes were his own works. A copy of the prospectus for one of these lotteries is amongst the Bagford fragments. During the last years of his life he devoted himself to the production of books of geography and topography. [D.N.B.]