In 1854 at the age of twenty-four, John Miller Dow Meiklejohn translated Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason into English and it would remain the standard translation for many years. However, it was in another area of Victorian writing that Meiklejohn’s name would become celebrated. He wrote and published the most comprehensive set of schoolbooks, lesson materials and instructional texts for schoolmasters yet seen in an English-speaking classroom.

Foremost and longest lasting among those books was The English Language: its Grammar, History and Literature, (1886), which reached over thirty editions in Britain, the U.S.A. and the British Commonwealth. This revised edition marks the 125th anniversary of its first publication by Blackwood and Sons in London.