Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rodd, Thomas

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RODD, THOMAS, the elder (1763–1822), bookseller, born in Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, 17 Feb. 1763, was the son of Charles Rodd of Liverpool and Alicante in Spain. He was educated at the Charterhouse and afterwards in France. For three years he was in his father's counting-office at Alicante, where he acquired a taste for Spanish literature. In 1794 he received from the Society of Arts their first premium of 20l. for osier-planting (Transactions, xii. 136–42). He sold a small property at Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire, and started a manufactory of imitation precious stones at Sheffield in 1804–5, and about 1809 opened a bookseller's shop in Great Newport Street, London. The excise officials interfered with the working of his glass furnaces. He subsequently gave up the manufactory and confined himself to bookselling and amateur authorship. He was a facile writer of sermons. Charles Knight acknowledged obligation to his wide acquaintance with early English literature (Pictorial Shakespeare, 1867, iv. 312), and J. P. Collier refers to him ‘as celebrated for his knowledge of books as for his fairness in dealing with them’ (Bibl. Account, 1865, vol. i. pref. p. x). He retired from business in 1821.

He died at Clothall End, near Baldock, on 27 Nov. 1822, aged 59. He was twice married, first to Elizabeth Inskip, by whom he had two sons, Thomas (1796–1849), who succeeded in the business; and Horatio (see below). By a second wife, who survived him, he had three children. A portrait from a pencil sketch by A. Wivell is reproduced by Nichols (Illustrations of Lit. Hist. viii. 678).

He wrote:

  1. ‘The Theriad, an heroic comic Poem,’ London, 1790, sm. 8vo.
  2. ‘The Battle of Copenhagen, a Poem,’ 1798, sm. 8vo.
  3. ‘Zuma, a Tragedy translated from the French of Le Fèvre,’ 1800, 8vo.
  4. ‘Ancient Ballads from the Civil Wars of Granada and the twelve Peers of France,’ 1801, 8vo (also with new title, 1803).
  5. ‘Elegy on Francis, Duke of Bedford,’ 1802, 4to.
  6. ‘The Civil Wars of Granada, by G. Perez de Hita,’ 1803, 8vo (only the first volume published).
  7. ‘Elegiac Stanzas on C. J. Fox,’ 1806, 4to.
  8. ‘Translation of W. Bowles's “Treatise on Merino Sheep,”’ 1811, 4to.
  9. ‘Sonnets, Odes, Songs, and Ballads,’ 1814, 8vo.
  10. ‘Ode on the Bones of T. Paine,’ 1819, 8vo.
  11. ‘Original Letters from Lord Charlemont, &c.,’ 1820, 4to.
  12. ‘Defence of the Veracity of Moses by Philobiblos,’ 1820, 8vo.
  13. ‘Sermon on the Holy Trinity,’ 1822, 4to.

Thomas Rodd, the younger (1796–1849), eldest son of the above, was born on 9 Oct. 1796, at Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire. At an early age he received an injury to his knee in his father's manufactory, and afterwards helped in the bookselling business in Great Newport Street, London, which he took over in 1821. In 1832 he circulated a ‘Statement’ with reference to a brawl in Piccadilly in which he was involved. He wrote ‘Traditionary Anecdotes of Shakespeare’ (1833, 8vo), and printed in 1845 a ‘Narrative of the Proceedings instituted in the Court of Common Pleas against Mr. T. Rodd for the purpose of wresting from him a certain manuscript roll under pretence of its being a document of the court.’ His memory and knowledge of books were remarkable, and his catalogues, especially those of Americana, are still sought after. He was much esteemed by Grenville. Douce left him a legacy in token of regard, and Campbell specially complimented him in the ‘Lives of the Chancellors.’ He was married, but left no children, and died at Great Newport Street on 23 April, in his fifty-third year.

Horatio Rodd (fl. 1859), second son of Thomas Rodd, the elder, after helping his father, went into the bookselling business with his brother, but on a dissolution of partnership was for many years a picture-dealer and printseller in London. He afterwards lived in Philadelphia. He wrote:

  1. ‘Opinions of Learned Men on the Bible,’ London, 1839, sm. 8vo.
  2. ‘Remarks on the Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare,’ 1849, 8vo.
  3. ‘Catalogue of rare Books and Prints illustrative of Shakespeare,’ 1850, 8vo.
  4. ‘Catalogue of all the Pictures of J. M. W. Turner,’ 1857, 8vo.
  5. ‘Letters between P. Cunningham and H. Rodd on the Chandos Portrait,’ 1858, 8vo,

and various catalogues of portraits (1824, 1827, 1831).

[Gent. Mag. 1849 i. 653–6 (memoir by Horatio Rodd); Nichols's Illustrations of Lit. Hist. viii. 346, 678–80; Allibone's Dictionary, ii. 1845–6.]

H. R. T.