Tuesday 14 March 2017 – Robyn Adams – ‘The early years of the Bodleian Library’: current research at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters

Venue: John S Cohen Room, 203

Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Download a map of the central precinct with directions for getting to the University of London Senate House.


This paper presents an overview of one of the current projects in progress at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, UCL. Our project focuses on the early donations to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, following its refurbishment by Sir Thomas Bodley in the early seventeenth century. The archival components of the project feature the Library Records of the Bodleian, as well as the books themselves. Information about the books, the shelfmarks, the donors and the cataloguing practice all combine to provide insight as to how the new Library was conceived by Bodley and his first Librarian, Thomas James. At its core, the project has built a database of bibliographical metadata but at CELL we are also interested to see how this data can be manipulated for different pathways of scholarship.


Robyn Adams is a senior research associate at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, University College London. Her research focuses on manuscript culture and book history, particularly on the history of collections and questions of provenance. She has edited the digital letter collections of the intelligencer William Herle, and the diplomat Thomas Bodley, and has been involved in the Hooke Folio transcription project in partnership with the Royal Society. More recently, her interests lie in tracing ownership routes through provenance, particularly in named collections of seventeenth-century libraries. Her research on Thomas Bodley’s diplomatic career led to analyzing the overlap between his diplomatic and bibliographical ‘careers’, and she then fell down the rabbit hole of working with seventeenth-century library catalogues, from which she has yet to emerge.

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