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Malthus in Cambridge

Malthus by John Linnell (1834), Wellcome Library (Creative Commons)

On this day in 1766 – 250 years ago – was born Thomas Robert Malthus, for whom bells rang out in Cambridge yesterday. A scholar, cleric and political economist, Robert (his preferred name) studied at and became a fellow of Jesus College Cambridge, where his family library (which I had the pleasure to catalogue online in 2011) has been preserved since 1949. The library contains about 2000 volumes and was begun by his father, Daniel Malthus (1730-1800), when the family lived at The Rookery, a large house just outside the village of Westcott (near Dorking in Surrey). Robert added greatly to the collection, adding many works relating to his work on political economy, which he used when writing his magnum opus, the Essay on the principle of population, first published in London in 1798. The University Library holds three copies of the first edition, including one in its original blue paper boards which came to the Library in 1868 with the library of Professor George Pryme (the first lecturer on political economy at Cambridge, in 1816) and another in 1982 with the library of Sir Geoffrey Keynes, brother of the economist Maynard Keynes. But probably the most significant copy of Malthus’ work in the University Library is a copy of his 1820 Principles of political economy which, until 1949, formed part of the Malthus family library. In that year, before the library was sent to Jesus College, the descendant of the family who was at that time its custodian – Reginald Bray – gave this copy to the Marshall Library of Economics in Cambridge – via the economist Piero Sraffa – from where it was eventually sent with other rare material to the University Library.

Title page (Marshall.c.29)

Malthus spent a good part of his career at Cambridge, matriculating at Jesus College in 1784 (on the advice of his tutor Gilbert Wakefield, also a Jesuan) and taking his BA in 1788. He was a fellow of the college 1793-1804, and from 1805 until his death was Professor of History and Political Economy at what is now Haileybury and Imperial Service College (near Hertford).

He was also a man of the cloth, serving as curate of Albury (Surrey) and rector of Walesby (Lincolnshire). His work on political economy, represented by his first great work – An essay on the principle of population – influenced the law concerning poverty and unemployment. In it he argued that, since population multiplies geometrically and food arithmetically, the population will eventually outstrip the food supply. His work would go on to inspire later economists, among them two other great Cambridge men: Charles Darwin and John Maynard Keynes (whose own library is now at King’s College). The Essay was reprinted six times by 1826, during which time he published a pamphlet entitled Observations on the effects of the Corn Laws (1814) and, as we have seen, Principles of political economy (1820).

Malthus’ heavily annotated copy of this, now in the University Library,  is now in rather poor condition, but its printed pages are covered in Malthus’ pencilled notes, and there are many extra leaves of notes in ink slipped inside (as in the example at the head of this post), all in his own hand. In either 1820 or 1821 the author presented it – as we see from his inscription on the title page – to Henry Dalton, brother of Jane Dalton (herself a cousin of Robert’s father Daniel), who inherited Jane’s substantial library at her death in 1817 and who died in 1821. Malthus himself died suddenly in Bath in 1834 and is buried in the Abbey there.

Table in Malthus’ hand

The significance of the volume was realised early on for it was used for Henry allowed it to be used for the posthumous 1836 second edition, which the title page proclaimed was ‘with considerable additions from the author’s own manuscript’. But after this it seems to have fallen into obscurity with the rest of the Malthus Library until 1928, when a note inside tells us it was rediscovered library at Dalton Hill – the family home. In that year the manuscript notes were copied by the Scottish political economist James Bonar, whose Malthus and his work appeared in 1885. Another slip of paper reveals that twenty years later the volume was given by Reginald Bray to the Marshall Library (on 7 July 1949), and a letter from Bray to Sraffa ten days later confirms that the separate pile of manuscript notes by Malthus, evidently slipped into the book, had become separated. These were evidently reunited with the book, and the two now sit within a conservation box in the University Library. The notes and letters alongside the book turn it into a veritable archive of Malthusian scholarship and, in this 600th anniversary year of the University Library, its long journey to the University Library reminds us of Malthus’ importance to generations of scholars, not only in Cambridge, but more widely.

Pencilled annotations

Darwin Correspondence Project launches their new website on Darwin’s birthday

The Darwin Correspondence Project is celebrating ‘Darwin Day’ today (12th February) with a new website helping us to find out more about the life and times of Charles Darwin and the people who wrote to him. The texts of more than 8,500 of his letters are now available, together with many images of the originals now in the University Library’s Darwin Archive. An improved search facility will support the work of scholars whilst features such as ‘Darwin’s life in letters’, a new set of resources for primary schools, and a ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse on the journey of a letter from arrival to publication, will ensure that Darwin’s letters are shared with a wider audience.

Alison Pearn, Associate Director, said “Among a mass of other new content and features, such as commentaries on Darwin’s understanding of sexual selection and human evolution, several hundred of his letters from the year 1871 (when Descent of Man was published) are now available for the first time online. It’s a great way to celebrate what would have been Darwin’s 207th birthday.”

The Darwin Correspondence Project is publishing all of Charles Darwin’s correspondence online and in print – around 15,000 letters in total. The project began in 1974 and is based in Cambridge University Library, which hosts the largest single collection of Darwin’s letters (around 9,000). Images of letters and manuscripts are provided through collaboration with Cambridge University Digital Library. Volume 23 of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin was published by Cambridge University Press in December 2015.



Working in the Darwin Archive from Darwin Correspondence Project on Vimeo.


The Brothers Grimm: much more than just fairy tales

New academic research into fairy tales made it into the news recently, suggesting that many are thousands of years old and date back to before the languages of the common Indo-European language family split. This corroborates the beliefs of the … Continue reading →

Valentine’s Day at MusiCB3

Valentine’s Day. Whether you love it or loathe it, it will be all around us this weekend! Ever eager to please, today MusiCB3 will try cater to both camps. For those of you planning romantic moonlit serenades this weekend, read … Continue reading →

The Chicago Manual of Style Online

Photo credit: Xlibber (Creative Commons)

In the 1890s, a proofreader at the University of Chicago Press prepared a single sheet of typographic fundamentals intended as a guide for the University community. That sheet grew into a pamphlet, and the pamphlet grew into a book—the first edition of the Manual of Style, published in 1906. Now in its sixteenth edition, The Chicago Manual of Style is more comprehensive and easier to use than ever before, and provides recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age.

The ebooks@cambridge Service is pleased to announce that The Chicago Manual of Style (CMSO) is now available online for University of Cambridge users. You can access the website here.

The online version includes the fully searchable Chicago Style Q&A and convenient Tools such as sample correspondence, proofreaders’ marks and a quick guide to citation.

The CMSO will be searchable in LibrarySearch from later this week, and is accessible off campus when using a Raven login.

If you have any comments or queries about this resource, please email the ebooks@cambridge team on



<h2><b>Greetings from the new Marshall

Greetings from the new Marshall Librarian
Hello – my name is Clare Trowell and I took over the role of Marshall Librarian on 1 February 2016. My previous post was at the University of Sheffield where I was a Faculty Librarian and the Copyright Officer. I am looking forward to meeting the staff and students of the Faculty of Economics here at Cambridge as well as library colleagues in the affiliate libraries and the University Library. My particular areas of interest in Librarianship include information literacy (user education), scholarly communications, special collections and archives, as well as copyright.I am new to Cambridge University as well as the Marshall Library so at the moment I am very much enjoying the challenge of trying to understand how the organisation fits together. I feel I have a lot to learn but things are beginning to make sense. I especially enjoyed going to The Old Schools on my first day to sign in The Book. It feels as though I have been inducted and admitted officially to the University.
I am looking forward to working with the library team at the Marshall Library and hope we can build and improve on the excellent library service they already provide. If there are any comments or suggestions that you have for me in my new role then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.  I will be very grateful  for any feedback.

Film, television, theatre & dance

In tandem with the trial of FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals and associated resources for film studies, trial access is also available to the following two further bibliographies for theatre & dance and for film & television respectively until 31 March 2016:

International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text

International Bibliography of Theatre & Dance with Full Text is a research tool for the study of theatre and performing arts comprising a fully indexed, cross-referenced and annotated database of journal articles, books, book chapters and dissertation abstracts on all aspects of theatre and performance in 126 countries. IBDT with Full Text also contains author-supplied abstracts, author-supplied keywords and author affiliations.

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text            

Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text is an online tool for Film and Television research, providing a collection of full-text and bibliographic coverage from scholarly and popular sources, and spanning the entire spectrum of film and television studies.  It contains over 150 full text journals, 160+ full text books, and more than 37,400 images from the MPTV Image Archive. Subject coverage includes: Cinematography; Film and television theory; Preservation and restoration; Production; Reviews; Technical aspects; Screenwriting.

Please send your feedback to  Thank you.

New from NICE

This month in Eyes on Evidence

Risk of intracranial bleeding when antidepressants are used with NSAIDs
A Korean cohort study found that use of antidepressants in combination with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) was associated with an increased risk of bleeding inside the skull within 30 days of first taking the drugs together.

Early identification of dementia with IQCODE in secondary care
A Cochrane review reported that the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE) test could be used to identify risk of dementia in older people presenting to secondary care, although this tool was less effective in specialist memory settings than in general hospital settings.

Smoking during pregnancy and risk of stillbirth
A meta-analysis reported that the risk of stillbirth was higher in women who smoked during pregnancy than in pregnant women who did not smoke.

Parental perceptions of child weight
A UK cross-sectional study found that around a third of parents underestimated their child’s weight and less than 1% overestimated the weight of their child.

Long working hours, stroke and coronary heart disease
A meta-analysis found that working 55 hours a week or more was associated with an increased risk of stroke and a smaller increase in the risk of coronary heart disease.

Evidence summaries from NICE’s Medicines and Prescribing Programme
NICE has recently published summaries on:

  • Restless legs syndrome: Oxycodone/naloxone prolonged release
  • External genital and perianal warts: green tea (Camellia sinensis) leaf extract 10% ointment
  • Pregnancy: Effect of metformin on pregnancy outcomes in obese women without diabetes (EMPOWaR study)
  • Obesity: liraglutide for weight loss among people with type 2 diabetes (SCALE study)

Apps survey for pharmacists
The National Information Board has asked NICE to develop a framework to evaluate health and medical apps for mobile devices. NICE has developed a short online survey for pharmacists who work in the community or primary care to understand how they use health and medical apps in their practice, and their opinions around app evaluation.

The post New from NICE appeared first on Medical Library.

Film resources trial

Originally posted on ejournals@cambridge:
Four film resources are currently on trial until 31 March 2016: Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from…

Brill New Pauly supplements


Supplements to Brill’s New Pauly now available online

Cambridge has long enjoyed access to the New Pauly, “the unrivalled modern reference work for the ancient world” published by Brill, but readers have only been able to consult its supplements in print.  Now both the work and its supplements are available online.

Taking a variety of approaches, each volume provides quick access to indepth knowledge on subjects from chronological lists of rulers of the ancient world, a biographical dictionary of classists who have made their mark on scholarship, to an historical atlas and encyclopedia-type works on the reception of myth and classical literature

To search a single supplement, select the title from the dropdown on the Brill New Pauly site: Chronologies of the ancient world; Dictionary of Greek and Latin authors and texts; Historical atlas of the ancient world; The reception of myth and mythology; The…

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