History of Libraries Seminar

History of Libraries Seminar
2 June 2020, 5.30pm - 8.00pm


Alan Nelson (University of California, Berkeley) on the books of Henry Bradshawe, nephew of the regicide. 

The name of Henry Bradshawe, and the family seat in Marple, Cheshire, in the seventeenth century, are familiar to bibliographers and to the book trade. According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, John Bradshawe the regicide, being childless, bequeathed ‘all my Law Bookes,’ along with books ‘on divinity, history and other books’ to his nephew Henry, who maintained the family library until his death in 1698. This traditional account is an extreme simplification, and in part a misrepresentation, of the true story, which must start with the realization that books from the Bradshawe family library carry the ownership signatures of at least four Henry Bradshawes, whose signatures were inscribed on title-pages from 1600 to the 1729. The most common ownership signature is not that of John Bradshawe’s nephew, but of the nephew’s son, the Henry Bradshawe who died in 1736. Books from the library are scattered across the English-speaking world. Among books which have been located are 48 volumes of English Civil War tracts in the Sutro Library, San Francisco; a 1602 Chaucer in the Pforzheimer Library, now at the University of Texas; a 1632 2nd Folio Shakespeare at the University of California, Davis; and books or tracts directly traceable to John Milton, now in Exeter Cathedral Library. Among family members whose signatures occur on title-pages are Henry I (d. 1620) or II (d. 1652), Henry III (d. 1662), Henry IV (d. 1698), and Henry V (d. 1736). Since John Bradshaw did not apparently sign his books, other evidence must be called up to identify books from his library.

This seminar will be held at Lambeth Palace Library, London SE1 7JU. Admittance not before 5.15 p.m. via the main gatehouse of Lambeth Palace. Joint meeting with the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library. All are welcome, but for security purposes those wishing to attend should send their names in advance to melissa.harrison@churchofengland.org no later than Friday 5 June.

Unless stated otherwise, all our events are free of charge and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend. Registration is required for all events. Please sign up using the booking form below.


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