Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge was founded in London in 1823 to publish inexpensive but authoritative public education materials for people unable to obtain a formal education. The Society’s series of high-quality maps was one of its most successful projects.
The maps were sold by subscription. People bought one map every week or month, hoping to eventually own an entire atlas that could be kept in a home library. These were the first atlases that were small enough to be practical in the home. Unfortunately, many people were disappointed by extreme delays between new maps.
The maps were widely used in England’s emerging library system and universal public education.