Samuel Orchart Beeton

IntroBritish publisher
Was Publisher 
From United Kingdom 
Type Business 
Birth 2 March 1831 
, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death 1 January 1877 

(aged 45 years)
Star sign Pisces

Samuel Orchart Beeton (2 March 1830 – 6 June 1877) was an English publisher, best known as the husband of Mrs Beeton (Isabella Mary Mayson) and publisher of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. He also founded and published Boy’s Own Magazine (1855–90), the first and most influential boys’ magazine.

Publishing career

Beeton made money as the first British publisher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, securing the rights from the then-unknown Harriet Beecher Stowe. He launched The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, a pioneering serial for middle-class women, the same year. His Boy’s Own Magazine, published in the UK from 1855 to 1890, was the first and most influential boys’ magazine.

Beeton married Isabella Mary Mayson in 1856. She began writing for The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, and contributed to the growing success of the business.

He founded Beeton’s Christmas Annual paperback magazine in 1860.

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was published in 1861. Beeton followed it with a series of other self-help textbooks, including Beeton’s Book of Needlework, Beeton’s Dictionary of Geography, Beeton’s Book of Birds, Beeton’s Book of Poultry and Domestic Animals, Beeton’s Book of Home Pets, Beeton’s Book of Anecdote, Wit and Humour, Beeton’s Dictionary of Natural History, and others. He also produced an edition of the works of Francis Bacon.

Later life

After his wife Isabella died in 1865, Beeton’s fortunes failed and he was obliged to sell the rights to the “Beeton” name to rival publishers and work for them for a salary. His last years were clouded by the tuberculosis from which he ultimately died, in 1877.

The 2006 TV drama The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton, based in part on Kathryn Hughes’ biography The Short Life & Long Times of Mrs. Beeton, implied that Isabella Beeton suffered from syphilis contracted from Samuel, and that this could have led to her early death and those of her first two children, and an alleged number of early miscarriages, although there is no firm evidence for this speculation. Hughes’ book points out that syphilis can imitate many other diseases and also that a more discreet cause was often listed on death certificates.