James Campbell Reddie

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James Campbell Reddie

James Campbell Reddie (1807 – 1878) was a 19th-century Scottish collector and author of pornography, who, writing as James Campbell, worked for the publisher William Dugdale. According to Henry Spencer Ashbee, Reddie was self-taught and viewed his works from a philosophical point of view.


James Campbell Reddie grew up in Scotland and lived there as a Writer to the Signet until he relocated to England in 1849. There he took the name James Campbell, dropping his father's surname in favour of his mother's. He worked in England as a compositor (typesetter), writer and translator.

He is best known as an author and translator of erotica. Many of the original texts and translations of erotic literature published by William Lazenby and William Dugdale were the work of James Campbell.

According to Henry Spencer Ashbee, Reddie was a serious, exacting collector and bibliographer of erotica. When he acquired a new book he would immediately collate it, investigate every available authority on it, and compare the book page by page and word by word with any other issue of the same work. If he was unable to acquire a scarce book, he frequently made copies by hand. He never refused to lend a book from his vast collection, even though often the borrower would forget to return it. Reddie was always liberal with his knowledge of erotica, imparting information gave him great satisfaction, and he spared neither time and labor in his research.

James Campbell Reddie was homosexual and never married or had any known children. The November 1880 edition of the pornographic periodical The Pearl, which was published by William Lazenby, featured an item supposedly written by Reddie's landlord, Adamo Pedroletti, which stated "Mr. Reddie used to call me Petro ... I was continually afraid he would bring himself or both of us into serious trouble ... Mr. Reddie couldn't even bear for a woman to touch him". Pedroletti also detailed their mutual seduction of a fifteen-year-old boy, and Pedroletti's of the boy's mother.


In April 1877, Reddie decided to leave England and return to Scotland due to ill-health. On 25 July 1877, shortly before his departure, he sold his collection of erotica to Ashbee for £300. He also gave Ashbee his three volume manuscript Bibliographical Notes on Books, which was an invaluable resource for Ashbee in preparing the second and third volumes of his Bibliography of Prohibited Books (vol.1: 1877, vol.2: 1879, vol.3: 1885).

On 4 July 1878, in Crieff, Perth, Scotland, James Campbell Reddie died from a "general or wasting palsy" (a progressive muscle degeneration and weakness, eventually leading to death), first diagnosed fifteen months earlier.

Spanking literature[edit]

Reddie's own works as a writer, not a translator, include volume II of The Mysteries of Verbena House (volume I is attributed to George Augustus Sala). Both volumes were published in 1881/1882 under the collective pseudonym Etonensis.

See also[edit]

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