Front page for May 1759
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Gentleman’s Magazine or Monthly Intelligencer as it was originally known, founded in London by the publisher Edward Cave in 1731, was intended to be a monthly compendium of the best news, essays and information gathered from the daily and weekly newspapers.[1] It was a great success from its inception, and by 1739 had achieved monthly sales of almost 10,000.[2] Cave himself was a frequent contributor, writing under the name of Sylvanus Urban,[3] and his close friend Dr Samuel Johnson18th-century English writer, critic, editor and lexicographer whose Dictionary of the English Language had far-reaching effects on the development of Modern English. also contributed regularly. By way of Johnson’s reports from Lilliput,[a]Lilliput is a fictional island nation invented by the satirist Jonathan Swift, which features in his Gulliver’s Travels (1726). the magazine succeeded in evading the official sanction on reporting the proceedings of parliament.[1]

The magazine, one of the first to use that word in its title,[b]The word magazine derives from the Middle French magasin, meaning a store or repository.[4] continued in production until 1914.[1] The image of St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, the magazine’s original office and where it was printed, appeared on the title page of every issue.[5]




British Library. Gentleman’s Magazine.
Drabble, Margaret, et al. “Urban, Sylvanus.” Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature, Oxford University Press, 2013,
Griffiths, Dennis. The Encyclopedia of the British Press, 1422–1992. Macmillan Press, 1992.
OED. “Magazine, n.” Oxford English Dictionary, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2021,