‘Smal books for the setting forth of Gods glory’

A most necessarie caveat from God

Andrewes’ name in an acrostic poem and as an anagram: Fellows’ Library H.13.41(8) (© Jesus College, Oxford)

This unassuming pocket-sized volume preserves 8 fragile pamphlets by the preacher John Andrewes on the theme of sin and repentance, printed between 1631 and 1633. He lends his surname to Andrewes golden chaine, Andrewes humble petitionAndrewes resolution to return to God, and Andrewes repentance (from which the title of this post is drawn). Their physical format is similarly standardised, each text occupying 24 (or occasionally 28?) pages in duodecimo.

Andrewes asserts in his Soveraigne salve (number 4 in this collection) that his productions ‘are so vendible & well-liking unto the children of God, that they are imprinted six or seven times in a yeare’. His Golden trumpet, for instance, survives in four later examples numbered from the (ostensibly) 25th printing in 1641 to the 38th in 1662.

However many times Andrewes’ writings were reprinted, they are now very scarce. Cheaply printed (and badly), these ‘smal books’ would have circulated without covers, making them unlikely to survive repeated readings. It’s exciting that seven out of the eight are unrecorded in these printings – that is, these are the only copies known to exist from these particular years – which adds to our knowledge of Andrewes’ career and popularity. They have now been described on Oxford’s SOLO catalogue (see below) and submitted to the English Short-Title Catalogue where they can be discovered by researchers.

A most necessarie caveat from God

Charles Clark’s book label: Fellows’ Library H.13.41 (© Jesus College, Oxford)

Many of the tracts open or close with a verse by Andrewes. The volume itself opens with a piece of 19th-century doggerel, ‘A Pleader to the Needer When a Reader’, declaring it part of the library of the antiquarian Essex farmer Charles Clark (1806-1880). It was presented to Jesus College in 2017 by Mr Philip White (English, 1958) and rebacked in 2018 by the Oxford Conservation Consortium.

Owen McKnight (College Librarian)

Catalogue records

Further reading

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From ‘The Invention of Humanity’ to ‘The Science of Programming’

An Old Member of Jesus College has made a generous gift to improve the Meyricke Library’s collections. Gordon Jones (1970) donated funds for buying books in history (his own undergraduate course) and an equal amount for other degree courses at the Librarian’s discretion.

This timely gift has allowed the library to address the newly diversified curriculum for undergraduate history, broadening its geographical coverage and emphasising global interconnections, and to provide core textbooks in computer science, established as a new subject at Jesus with the arrival of Sir Nigel Shadbolt as Principal.

A selection of books bought with Gordon Jones's donation

Over the last two and a half years, 88 history books have been added to the collection, 19 in computer science, and 17 in other subjects, and the funds are still not yet quite spent. We are grateful for this significant donation.

Owen McKnight (College Librarian)

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Griffith Davies: alumnus and benefactor

The following article appears in the 2018 Jesus College Record.

Griffith Davies

A portrait of Griffith Davies with his daughter, Elizabeth (detail from Arthur Devis, Portrait of Sir Thomas Cave, Bt. and his family in the grounds of Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, 1749)

Among early benefactors to Jesus College, Dr Griffith Davies (c. 1667-c. 1722) deserves to be better known, both for the value of his bequest of books and for the intent behind the legacy. The gift of over 1,000 books from the estate of Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury (1582?-1648) provided Jesus with a rich foundation for its early library, and the sheer size of that donation inevitably overshadowed smaller acquisitions, so benefactors such as Davies tend to be overlooked.

Davies, the son of William Davies of Dryslwyn, Carmarthenshire, matriculated at Jesus in 1684 and graduated MA in 1691. He remained in Oxford to study medicine, graduating BM and DM in 1698 and moving then to Birmingham where he seems to have prospered as a physician. In 1715 he bought the manor at Theddingworth from Sir Richard Newdigate. From his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Burgoyne, he left a surviving daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir Thomas Cave of Stanford Hall, Northants.

Davies left no archive to extend this brief account of his life. Among the scant evidence we find two letters from him to his more famous Welsh contemporary, Edward Lhuyd. Davies had an interest in Lhuyd’s work on Welsh and Celtic languages, but reported little success in trying to secure subscribers for Lhuyd’s Archaeologia Britannica (1707).
(Griffith Davies to Edward Lhwyd, 28 August 1703, Bodleian Library, MS Ashmole 1814, fols. 373-374, image consulted on Early Modern Letters Online, Cultures of Knowledge, http://emlo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/2fa8361b-5c2f-43ee-bd94-1fa8e1ad4e8c, accessed 30 January 2019)

Davies made his will in January 1721, adding codicils later in the same year. The will includes the paragraph:

I give to Jesus Colledge Oxon (of which I was once an unworthy member) for the use of the Library of the same Colledge all such books as I shall dye possessed of in the Faculty of physick Natural phylosophy or Naturall History and Mathematicks that the said Library shall not be supplyed with at the time of my decease.

(The National Archives PB11/592/14)

Handwritten shelf-lists in the Fellows’ Library suggest that Jesus accepted around 300 books from Davies’ bequest; we cannot now tell how many books of his were not acquired as they duplicated items already in the College. The Davies bookplate enables us now to see the range of the donation, which was particularly strong in medicine and natural history.

Davies also made provision for a much larger legacy: he proposed endowing an Exhibition of £40 a year for students of medicine at Oxford, detailing eligibility, allowances and other requirements. He even anticipated the need for auditors to receive ‘Wine and Bisketts’ at the annual lecture required of exhibition recipients. Perhaps aware, however, that Dr John Radcliffe had left a legacy for medical education at Oxford – substantial enough to provide for the founding of a separate college for the study of ‘physick’ – Davies adds that his own Exhibition should be moved from Jesus to any such foundation established for the purpose.

This element of the Davies bequest never in fact materialised, as it was to take effect only in the event of failure of his heirs. When his will was proved in July 1723 his estate passed to his widows, daughter, and other family members. Medical students at Jesus College may have appreciated the use of his library, but in the event they were not to enjoy the financial advantages and ability to travel for study that Davies had thought his legacy might provide.

David Cram (Emeritus Fellow)
Owen McKnight (College Librarian)

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Invisible mending

Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Geneva, 1619), before and after conservation: Fellows’ Library I.2.26 (photos: Oxford Conservation Consortium, © Jesus College, Oxford)

Jesus College is a founder member of the Oxford Conservation Consortium, which provides collection care for the libraries and archives of 17 Oxford colleges. This book, which was recently conserved by Jess Hyslop, is a typical example of the Consortium’s work.

Both the top and bottom boards had become detached from the spine, which is a common fate for books in the Fellows’ Library. However, this book was additionally vulnerable because its title-page was being torn between the front flyleaf and the rest of the text-block.

After repair, the tear is invisible. Further painstaking treatment has reattached the boards and made the book safe to be read once more. But this conservation work is now also part of the book’s history: each step is fully documented and photographed, and equally importantly, each step is, in principle, reversible.

This book is a 1619 edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Catholic Church’s list of heretical publications. It belonged to Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and has been in the Fellows’ Library since his bequest in 1648.

Owen McKnight (College Librarian)

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Initial Impressions

The Librarian speaking at Lincoln College

The Librarian speaking at Lincoln College (photograph: Professor Cristina Dondi)

Last month, seven colleges came together to celebrate the launch of the Printing R‑Evolution and Society exhibition by the 15cBOOKTRADE project, under the punning title Initial Impressions.

Jesus College owns 45 incunables – books printed before 1501 – which were added to the MEI (Material Evidence in Incunabula) database earlier this year by James Misson of Exeter College. Since they predate the college’s foundation, our incunables arrived as antiquarian curiosities, much like our medieval manuscripts.

There was standing room only as college librarians introduced their collections, followed by a trail of displays linking Balliol, Lincoln, Magdalen, Merton, Wadham, and Worcester, as well as Jesus. The Fellows’ Library welcomed 170 visitors from inside and outside College.

Owen McKnight, College Librarian

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F for facsimile: T.E. Lawrence’s undergraduate thesis reimagined

The following article by Victoria Stevens appears in the 2017 Jesus College Record.

During the many years that I have worked on the conservation of Oxford library collections there have been several objects that stand out in my memory as being especially remarkable. T.E. Lawrence’s undergraduate thesis is the foremost of this select group, and it is certainly the object with which I have spent the most time. It has just kept on popping up. Having conserved the original binding and text block through the Oxford Conservation Consortium in 2009–10, the thesis and I set off on a short tour of northern Europe, with me acting as courier for its safe installation in a two-centre exhibition on Lawrence in Germany during 2010 and 2011. A second courier trip for an exhibition at Magdalen College, and ongoing advice regarding its storage environment, cemented my working relationship with the thesis. It seemed like a fitting tribute to a ten-year friendship that I should be asked to contribute to the creation of a facsimile of this tactile but fragile object.

Photographic equipment

A digital copy: photographic equipment at the Grove Cottage studio (photo: Colin Dunn)

This fragility had long been recognised, and a digital copy of the thesis was created in February 2010 by Colin Dunn of Scriptura on large-format photographic equipment. Although perfect for research and online content, this cannot give the reader experience of thumbing through the original. In consultation with College Librarian Owen McKnight, it was decided that the facsimile should provide the same layered and dynamic impression that made the original so charming.

Lawrence had stuck and hinged into the thesis photographs, drawings, and outline plans, sometimes directly onto the pages and sometimes on roughly scissor-cut stub guards that were part of the textblock’s construction. The cheap and basic construction of the original binding was also part of the story: it was an undergraduate thesis rather than a fine binding, and we felt that this should be replicated as far as possible.

Printing of the textblock by Colin was preceded by decisions both practical and technical. A suitably thin stock was sourced through specialist paper suppliers R.K. Burt & Company. The digital images were prepared for print, and tests were run to ensure a very close colour match to the original. The differences in the spectral properties of the materials of the original and the facsimile meant that a change of light source could result in the copy appearing markedly different from the original; for this reason, the lighting conditions in the Fellows’ Library were used to establish the match.

Once the facsimile textblock was printed, the first stage in the binding process was to attach the stub guards both to create sections for sewing through and to provide compensation for the extra material that would be hinged in to mirror the original. This extra width has the advantage of enabling the wonderful marginalia to be seen without having to force the binding.

Lawrence's marginalia

No puttees! Humour and character typical in Lawrence’s annotations and manuscript marginalia. (photo: Victoria Stevens; published by kind permission of Jesus College)

The guards were pasted onto the verso of the facsimile pages with an overlap of no more than 2 mm, matching the chain lines and colour (the tone of the paper in the original pages varies considerably).

The facsimile textblock (1)

The facsimile textblock: with stub guards attached (photo: Victoria Stevens)

The facsimile textblock (2)

The facsimile textblock: after making into sections (photo: Victoria Stevens)

After folding the guards and making up the sections, the next stage was to sew the textblock. Thin linen tapes were used for the sewing supports, to replicate the original sewing structure and give greater strength and flexibility.

Sewing the textblock (1)

Sewing the textblock: controlling swell with a consolidation stick (photo: Victoria Stevens)

Sewing the textblock (2)

Sewing the textblock: the finished sewing (photo: Victoria Stevens)

Departing from the original thesis binding structure, the boards were laced on to increase the strength of the binding attachment and help the finished facsimile withstand the handling it was likely to receive. This involved driving an awl at two points through the depth of the board for each support, fraying out the ends of the sewing supports, known as slips, and lacing these through the boards. The slips are fixed both mechanically – the board around the awl puncture is hammered down into place like a rivet – and by adhesion, applying paste to the slips before they are laced on.

The spine was lined with a linen textile to provide support to the sewing structure and add strength. As old starch-filled cloth stock was to be used to replicate the original look and texture of the cloth case, it was important to increase the fold resistance of the covering cloth through this sturdier linen layer. The linen liner was extended onto the outer face of the board, and the laced-in slips and liner were covered with a thin card to provide a smooth surface finish. As cloth was being used as a covering material, a hollow was made off the book and attached to the spine with paste. The binding ready for covering can be seen in the image below.

Beneath the cloth

Beneath the cloth: the in-boards textblock waiting to be covered. (photo: Victoria Stevens)

Covering using old cloth stock is a nerve-wracking business. Modern bookcloths often have a coating that prevents staining to the outer surface through adhesive or accidental contact with damp fingertips, an event not unknown when one uses an aqueous adhesive such as paste. Such convenience was sacrificed for appearance when the cloth was chosen for the facsimile, as a modern cloth would have looked very much at odds with what I was hoping to achieve in terms of close fidelity to the original binding.

Stage one of the covering

Stage one of the covering: the cloth is adhered to the spine and the boards and is ready to be turned in, head and tail first and then fore-edge. (photo: Victoria Stevens)

The last stage of covering was pasting down the endleaves. The inner faces of the boards were infilled with thin conservation-grade card up to the depth of the covering cloth to provide a smooth finish to the faithfully reproduced pastedowns, complete with printed bookplate and original adhesive browning to the flyleaves.

Real or facsimile? (1)

Real or facsimile? The left pastedown and endleaves. (photo: Victoria Stevens)

Real or facsimile? (2)

Real or facsimile? The right pastedown and endleaves. (photo: Victoria Stevens)

The final task was to reattach the loose items, which are so important to the character of the original thesis and the impact of the facsimile copy. The inserts were reproduced identically from the digital image, painstakingly cut out exactly to shape by Colin, and hinged into the textblock in the same position as in the original either by tipping onto the guards or by attaching them to the pages with small tabs of strong but thin Japanese paper pasted onto the verso of the insert. This hinging allows them to be lifted to reveal the text below and creates the same movement in the facsimile textblock as in the thesis.

The bound and complete facsimile copy was provided with a drop-spine cloth-covered box made by Bridget Mitchell of Arca Preservation, constructed to grip the fore-edge of the book to prevent any changes in the board profile due to possible variations in environmental conditions while in storage.

The end result is an attractive, functional and faithful reproduction, with a textblock which looks and feels almost identical to the original, and a binding that bears more than a passing resemblance to it. As a handling copy, it maintains all the hand-made and tactile qualities that make Lawrence’s thesis so interesting and delightful to read.

Victoria Stevens ACR has worked as a library and archive conservator for almost 20 years, mainly in the central library and college collections of the University of Oxford. She now manages a conservation practice and preservation consultancy from her studio in Reading, with a customer base across the UK.

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New staff: Oliver Miller

Several college libraries in Oxford take part in the Bodleian’s training scheme for graduates (of any university) intending to become professional librarians. The fifth trainee at Jesus College is Oliver Miller, who wrote the following piece for the Oxford Libraries Graduate Trainees blog.

Hi, I’m Oliver and I am the Graduate Library Trainee at Jesus College. I have just completed my MSc in Security Studies, having previously studied Ancient History (both at UCL) and I am one of three trainees to have made the transfer from working for Buckinghamshire County Council’s libraries to Oxford (all of us somehow unaware at the time that we were simultaneously applying to become trainees). After working briefly for a public library, I decided that a career in librarianship would afford me the chance to interact with many different people with varied and interesting requests, and felt that the Oxford Libraries Trainee Scheme would be the perfect place to start such a career. I managed to convince Jesus College that I could be trusted to help run their libraries, and am now preparing to help all the new and returning students and researchers.

Second Quad

The Second Quad of Jesus College

Jesus College has three libraries: the Meyricke, the Celtic and the Fellows’ Libraries. As Jesus has historically been the ‘Welsh college’ in Oxford, it consequently has a unique Celtic Library that houses a collection covering (perhaps obviously) Celtic languages, culture and history. As I come from a family with strong Welsh and Scottish ancestry, the college’s heritage particularly appeals to me (and is a source of considerable pride to my Welsh grandfather). However, years of holidays in Pembrokeshire and the Brecon Beacons seemingly did little to improve my Welsh, and I am forced to rely on Google Translate when attempting to classify books with titles such as ‘Pwy fydd yma ‘mhen can mlynedd?

Perhaps the most ostensibly impressive of my duties is helping to look after the Fellows’ Library. The library, dating from 1676–77 and having been refurbished to its full glory in 2008, houses the college’s antiquarian books, and each morning I conduct a small patrol to check that the library is in good order and that no leaks have suddenly sprung from the roof. I have been taught how to handle the collection properly, with every care being taken to ensure the books will both be preserved for future generations, but also still be of use to scholars studying them in the present day. Regardless I still feel slightly nervous when handling some of the collection; it’s not every day that you find yourself carrying a Greek Bible from 1545 signed by Philip Melanchthon!

Fellows' Library

The inside of the Fellows’ Library (© Jorge Royan, Creative Commons)

Most of my time is spent looking after the Meyricke Library, which is the main library for students at the college. Often this involves reshelving books, tidying desks at the beginning and end of the day, processing new books for the library, and numerous other small jobs that are essential to the library’s day-to-day running. I have also used my first month here to create a new signage system for the library, in the hope that new (and perhaps even old) students will be able to find books more easily. Later this week the new students will receive their library inductions, so we will soon find out whether I have helped ease their task or simply sent them on wild goose chases around the library!

Oliver Miller (Graduate Library Trainee, 2017–18)


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