Biography and History

Charles Mackay was born in Scotland. At the age of sixteen he was employed as the private secretary to William Cockerill, an ironmaster based in Belgium. In his spare time he wrote articles for the local newspaper. Coming to London in 1834, he engaged in journalism, published Songs and Poems (1834), Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and a number of other works. In 1846 his literary reputation was made with the publication of a volume of verses, Voices From the Crowd, some of which were set to music by Henry Russell and became very popular. In 1848 Mackay worked for the Illustrated London News, of which he became editor in 1852. In it he published a number of songs, set to music by Sir Henry Bishop and Henry Russell, and in 1855 they were collected in a volume which included the popular "Cheer, Boys! Cheer!"

Publisher George Routledge began work as an apprentice to Charles Thurman, bookseller, in Carlisle, UK, between 1827 and 1833. He went to London and worked for Baldwin & Craddock, publishers, from 1833 to 1836. In 1836 he started his own publishing house, which became Routledge & Co., then Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, and ultimately George Routledge & Sons. He retired in 1887.

Source: From the finding aid for C1125

  • Charles Mackay Correspondence. 1857-1872 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1125

    Consists chiefly of letters to Charles Mackay and George Routledge from 19th-century English and American poets giving permission for their poems to appear in the Mackay/Routledge illustratedd poetry anthology The Home Affections Pourtrayed by the Poets (1858).