David Alphonso Talboys


David Alphonso Talboys (c. 1790–1840) was an English bookseller, known as a publisher, translator, and local politician.


Born about 1790, Talboys established himself as a bookseller in Bedford. He subsequently moved his business to Oxford, where he became known for his knowledge of the book trade.[1] In 1823 he went into partnership with James Luff Wheeler, the university bookseller, who married his daughter Anne Ophelia.[2][3] Talboys & Wheeler then began to publish the "Oxford English Classics" series, with William Pickering of Chancery Lane, London.[4]

On 1 December 1827 Talboys was admitted to the privileges of a member of Oxford University. He took a leading part in the affairs of the city of Oxford, was a councillor of the east ward, and served the office of sheriff.[1] After the election of 1835, Talboys was seen as the leader of the radical reformers in Oxford municipal affairs; together with Charles Sadler, a moderate reformer, he was able to make some changes in charity organisation.[5] He was then attacked by the Oxford Herald, controlled by Philip Bliss, who attempted to have his business boycotted.[6]

Talboys died at Oxford on 23 May 1840, leaving a widow and seven children.[1]

His son-in-law was the gymnast and fencing master Archibald MacLaren.


Talboys was the author of Oxford Chronological Tables of Universal History, 1835 and 1840.[1] He referenced James Bell's Compendious view of universal history and literature, in a series of tables (1820) and adopted some of the typographical conventions of Bell. Together Bell and Talboys are considered to have innovated influentially, in the use of bold type for cueing, in a way that carried over into textbook design.[7]

Talboys made translations of Arnold Hermann Ludwig Heeren's Researches into the Politics, Intercourse, and Trade of the Carthaginians, Ethiopians, and Egyptians (1832) (from the Ideen of Heeren)[8] and Manual of the Political System of Europe (1834). He translated also Friedrich von Adelung's Historical Sketch of Sanscrit Literature (Oxford, 1832), making additions and corrections.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Talboys, David Alphonso" . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ Bookseller: The Organ of the Book Trade. J. Whitaker. 1863. p. 93.
  3. ^ Washbrook, David. "Wheeler, James Talboys". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/29187. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Warrington, Bernard. "Pickering, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/22213. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Alan Crossley, C R Elrington (Editors), Eleanor Chance, Christina Colvin, Janet Cooper, C J Day, T G Hassall, Mary Jessup, Nesta Selwyn (1979). "Modern Oxford". A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4: The City of Oxford. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 19 May 2014. {{cite web}}: |author= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Vaisey, David. "Talboys, David Alphonso". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/26947. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  7. ^ Twyman, Michael (December 1990). "Textbook design: chronological tables and the use of typographic cueing". Paradigm (4).
  8. ^ George Ripley; Charles Anderson Dana (1869). The New American Cyclopædia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge. D. Appleton. p. 51.


  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Talboys, David Alphonso". Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 55. London: Smith, Elder & Co.