University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

Barbara Johnson’s Album: Material Literacy and Consumer Practice, 1746-1823

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Serena Dyer
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-282
Number of pages20
JournalJournal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Early online date20 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


This article examines Barbara Johnson’s Album, a prolific record of the dress consumption of a Reverend’s daughter. The Album contains over one-hundred samples of dress fabrics acquired by Johnson between the ages of eight and eighty-five. Interrogated alongside the Johnson family correspondence, and didactic tools produced by Johnson’s mother, this article argues that the Album acted as a material form of account book: conceived as a moral, financial, and material regulator. Considered within the emerging framework of material knowledge and consumer skill, the Album provides important evidence of how consumers maintained and developed their material literacy.


© 2019 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dyer, S. (2019) Barbara Johnson's Album: Material Literacy and Consumer Practice, 1746‐1823. Journal for Eighteenth‐Century Studies, 42: 263– 282., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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