In the next few weeks, I will be publishing under my imprint Authoring History a short pamphlet on John Alfred Langford (1823-1903) written by Stephen Roberts. This is my first venture into publishing another author’s work and it is a pleasure to take what is well-researched and written and original material into print.
Langford was a man much like Thomas Cooper--whom he knew well. He was an autodidact and the author of much poetry. He also wrote a lot of local history, notably the compendiums A Century of Birmingham Life and Modern Birmingham (1868-73) that are still regularly consulted by local historians. Unlike Cooper, Langford did not get involved in Chartism but worked closely with middle-class radicals like George Dawson in promoting Birmingham's famous ‘Civic Gospel’. Most interestingly, he acquired a doctorate from a little-known American college--a little digging has discovered that this particular institution was selling degrees in mid-Victorian Britain--more than 50 men acquired them according to his research and there was much controversy in the newspapers.