Charles Dickens’s first major book, Pickwick Papers, was issued in monthly parts beginning in 1836.  Before the parts issue was completed, an enterprising playwright, W. T. Moncrieff, published a play Sam Weller, or the Pickwickians.  A Drama, in Three Acts: as Performed at the New Strand Theatre.  The title page reads: “London: Published for the Author, 1837.”  The play was first performed on April 3rd, and ran until October 12th, 1837.  Dickens protested against this piracy of his book, and Moncrieff defended his plagiarism in an advertisement which was made a part of the published play.  The most famous actor in Sam Weller, or the Pickwickians was W. J. Hammond, who is portrayed (in his role as Sam Weller) in a lithograph from a September, 1837 issue of The Wonder.  (Image courtesy of Mr. Allan Sutcliffe)