Joseph Johnson (1738-1809) was responsible for promoting the work of several prominent writers whose works were considered to be too radical for conventional publication at the time, including Joseph Priestley, Erasmus Darwin, Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine.

Johnson dedicated the larger part of his career to ensuring that projects which encouraged free discussion and religious toleration could be distributed quickly and cost-effectively. Johnson also helped to establish the Analytical Review, a periodical notorious for its pseudonymous articles and polemics from writers who did not shy away from casting a critical eye towards the political and theological status quo in England at the time.

He is now regarded as perhaps the most important publisher of his time.