William Axon

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William Edward Armytage Axon (1846–1913) was an English librarian and antiquary,[1] and a journalist for the Manchester Guardian. He contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography under his initials W. E. A. A.


Dr William Axon was best known as an antiquary and a bibliographer, but his interests were extremely varied. He was a prominent member of the Anti-Tobacco League, and was also an ardent vegetarian. As honorary secretary of the Manchester and Salford Sunday Society he took a prominent part in the agitation for the opening of the Manchester libraries on Sunday. He had begun life as a boy in the Manchester Reference Library, and was early drawn to literary pursuits. Later he wrote much on the folklore and historical associations of Lancashire and Cheshire, and the antiquaries of these counties made him their president. Besides this, as a member of the English Dialect Society he wrote many tales and sketches illustrating the dialect and customs of the county in which he lived. He was also the author of Cobden as a Citizen (1907). He had been for 30 years on the literary staff of the Manchester Guardian, and for his general literary work was distinguished by the University of Manchester, which conferred on him the honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1913. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an honorary LL.D. of Wilberforce University, and had contributed articles to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the Dictionary of National Biography, the American Encyclopædia, and Notes and Queries.[2]


  • 1877: Handbook of the Public Libraries of Manchester and Salford. Manchester: Abel Heywood and Son
  • 1879: John Ruskin; a bibliographical biography[3]
  • 1883: Lancashire Gleanings[4]
  • 1884: Cheshire Gleanings[5]
  • 1888: Stray Chapters in Literature, Folk-lore, and Archaeology[6]
  • 1890: Thomas Taylor, the Platonist[7]
  • 1891: Shelley's Vegetarianism[8]
  • 1897: Bygone Sussex[9]
  • 1899: Echoes of Old Lancashire[10]
  • 1899: Ortensio Lando, a humorist of the Renaissance[11]
  • 1907: Cobden as a Citizen

Edited works[edit]

  • 1886: The Annals of Manchester: a chronological record from the earliest times to the end of 1885. Manchester: J. Heywood, Deansgate and Ridgefield ("The volume now offered to the public, as a revised edition of the Manchester Historical Recorder, is virtually a new work ...". - preface); electronic version
  • Collected sermons, 1631–1659 of Thomas Fuller, Volume 1 edited by John Eglington Bailey. Completed by William E. A. Axon (1891)[12]
  • Collected sermons, 1631–1659 Volume 2 edited by John Eglington Bailey. Completed by William E. A. Axon (1891)[13]

Contributions to the DNB[edit]

  • Ashworth, John
  • Banks, George Linnaeus
  • Bellot, Thomas
  • Bennis, George Geary
  • Blythe, John Dean
  • Bowers, George Hull
  • Bradberry, David
  • Brandwood, James
  • Brittain, Thomas
  • Brooke, Henry
  • Brookes, Joshua
  • Brotherton, Edward
  • Bruen, John
  • Butterworth, James
  • Calvert, Charles
  • Calvert, Thomas
  • Canne, John
  • Castillo, John
  • Caw, John Young
  • Clayton, John (1754–1843)
  • Cole, Thomas (1628–1697)
  • Crestadoro, Andrea



  • This article incorporates text from a work in the public domain: "Obituary: Dr. William Edward Armytage Axon", The Times (1913)

External links[edit]