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Cambridge University Library


About Us

The Cambridge Bibliographical Society was founded on 20 January 1949 for the promotion and publication of bibliographical studies. The Society holds regular meetings at Cambridge University Library and its summer AGM is usually accompanied by a visit to a Cambridge library. Membership of the Society is open to all those interested in bibliography, and members receive the publications as part of their annual subscription. The Society publishes occasional monographs as well as the annual, peer reviewed Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society and welcomes offers of papers from members and non-members alike. General correspondence and applications for membership should be addressed to the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR (email: For further information, see Membership and Subscriptions.

Events (all 5.00pm in the Milstein Room, University Library)

Wednesday 13th December 2023: Scott Mandelbrote (Peterhouse) & Michael Terry

  • Cataloguing Hebrew books in Cambridge libraries: A three-year project to catalogue Hebrew printed books that have been in Cambridge libraries since before 1750 was begun in October 2022. The project has so far catalogued Hebraica in Emmanuel College, Queens’ College, and Gonville and Caius College, as well as surveying material prior to cataloguing at Peterhouse, Clare, and Sidney Sussex. This talk will explain some of the background to the project, share some of the materials discovered, and draw some conclusions for the early modern study of Hebrew and trade in Hebrew books in Cambridge.

Tuesday 26th March 2024: Dr Alicia Smith (Parker Library Fellow)

  • The harlot saint Thais in the composite book: Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 385 as case study. This talk will present work in progress on the inclusion in Corpus Christi College MS 385 of an abridged version of the life of Thais, an early Christian sex worker turned saint, as the first of a series of exempla which concludes this miscellaneous fourteenth- and fifteenth-century manuscript. Described by M.R. James in the library catalogue as 'stories of little importance', this portion of the manuscript in fact prompts important questions both about the use of the Thais narrative in this period in England, and about processes of manuscript compilation more broadly. More here.

Wednesday 1st May 2024: Dr Clarck Drieshen, Dr James Freeman & Dr Sarah Gilbert (Cambridge University Library) (moved from 1 February due to strike action)

  • Case Studies from the Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries Project. Clarck Drieshen and Sarah Gilbert, Project Cataloguers, will present case studies arising from the Wellcome-funded conservation, digitisation, cataloguing and transcription project, Curious Cures in Cambridge Libraries, which is enhancing the discoverability of medieval medical recipes in 187 manuscripts across 14 collections in Cambridge. Sarah will discuss the manuscript collecting, curating, and donating practices of Roger Marchall (d. 1477), fellow of Peterhouse and doctor to the royal household, and will share examples of his unusual approach to ‘perfecting’ the books in his possession. Clarck will talk about collections of medical recipes that contain references to places, patients, and medical practitioners, and how cataloguing such “receptaria” in detail can reveal new insights about their origins. More on the project here

Tuesday 14th May 2024: Dr Jean-Pascal Pouzet (Associate Research Fellow at CESCM/CNRS Poitiers, France)

  • An elephant in the library rooms: the library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649): The library of Richard Holdsworth (1590-1649) was the largest private collection to have entered Cambridge University Library before George I’s gift of John Moore’s books in 1715. Beyond individual highlights including Caxtons and some spectacular medieval manuscripts, the majority of its contents – never kept together as a distinct collection but scattered on the Library’s shelves – seem to have lain in bibliographic abeyance. Drawing on observations of signs of use within the Library and external documentary evidence hitherto unaddressed or underestimated, this paper tackles some technical and heritage issues arising from seventeenth-century librarianship; presents new bibliographic hypotheses and discoveries; and reflects on the significance of attempting to explore the stratigraphy of the Holdsworth collection.

TBC (2, 3 or 4 July): AGM and visit to the Old Library at Jesus College.

Journal Submissions

The Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society is a blind refereed journal, publishing high quality articles on all aspects of bibliography. Issues include substantial articles as well as brief notes. Whilst submissions on all subjects are welcome, the Editor particularly welcomes those which have, in the widest sense, some Cambridge connections—those, for example, which deal with manuscripts or printed books in Cambridge libraries, books printed at Cambridge or written by Cambridge authors. Offers of papers for the Transactions and requests for the stylesheet should be addressed to the Editor, Liam Sims, Rare Books Specialist, Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DR (email: Most issues of the journal are available via JSTOR and may be purchased in print using the Paypal links at this page.

The most recent published issue of the Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society for 2021 (vol. XVII, part 2), appeared in November 2023 and may be purchased by non-members via the Paypal link below:

Roger Lovatt: 'Register of scribes & members of the book trade in medieval Cambridge' / David Carlson: 'Early printing in Cambridge: Richard Croke & the authorship of John Siberch's 1522 Hermathena' / Scott Mandelbrote: 'Humanist, Galenic Physician and Royal Doctor: the books of Thomas Wendy' / N. Scott Amos: 'BL Lansdowne MS 931, fols. 1r-27r and the disappearance (and rediscovery) of items in the Parker Library' / C. D. Preston: 'Financing a county flora in the eighteenth century: Richard Relhan's Flora Cantabrigiensis (1785)' / Laure Miolo: 'Practising the scientia stellarum in the Franciscan custody of Cambridge: Thomas de Wyndele (fl. 1390-1424) and his astronomical book'.


The issue for 2020 (vol. XVII, part 1) contained the following papers and may be purchased by non-members via the Paypal link below:

Rosalind Lintott: 'Cuttings of history in a Trinity Hall manuscripts' / Matthew Coulter: 'Hec est quedam profetia que fuit inventa': a prophecy in Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 372 / Dunstan Roberts: Books owned by Sir Thomas Hoby (1530-1566) / Jonathan Reimer: Selling forbidden evangelical books in early Tudor Cambridge / Micha Lazarus: Inventory booklists in legal context / F. J. Norton†: A brief account of paper sizes and printed formats in nineteenth-century Spain / Scot McKendrick: Collecting Greek manuscripts in eighteenth-century England: the origins, scope and legacy of the collections of Richard Mead and Anthony Askew / James Freeman: Unpublished descriptions of western medieval manuscripts at Cambridge University Library.


The 2019 issue of TCBS (XVI, part 4), of papers from the 2017 conference on University Librarian Henry Bradshaw can be purchased using the link below.


Membership & Subscriptions

Applications for membership should be addressed to the Treasurer, Cambridge Bibliographical Society, University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR (email: Subscriptions (£15.00 or $25.00 a year for individuals, £25 or $30 for institutions) cover the twelve months from 1 January. Members will be invoiced each autumn for the following year's subscription.

Existing individual members may renew their membership for a small additional fee via the Paypal links below. Please note that institutional members cannot renew by this method.

To renew your individual membership for one year (includes 50p administrative charge), click below:

To renew your individual membership for two years (includes £1 administrative charge), click below:

To renew your individual membership for three years (includes £1 administrative charge), click below:

The Commissioners of Inland Revenue have approved the Society for the purposes of Section 16, Finance Act, 1958, and the whole of the subscription paid by a member who qualifies for relief under that Section will be allowable as a deduction from emoluments assessable to income tax under Schedule E. Any member entitled to relief should apply to the tax office as soon as possible for form P358.

Officers 2023-2024

  • President: Professor James Raven
  • Vice-President: Professor David McKitterick
  • Honorary Members: Dr John Hall & Nicholas Smith
  • Editor: Liam Sims
  • Assistant Editor: Dr James Freeman
  • Hon. Secretary: Liam Sims
  • Assistant Secretary: Lucille Munoz
  • Programme Secretary: Dr Sophie Defrance
  • Treasurer: William Hale
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Library

Committee 2023-2024

Dr Nicolas Bell; Dr Tim Eggington; Dr Irene Fabry-Tehranchi; Peter Fox; Peter Jones; Dr Stella Panayotova; Dr Suzanne Reynolds; Dr Teresa Webber; Dr Jill Whitelock.