Important Works for the Study of Early Modern English Libraries
Bibliography of Early Modern English Library Catalogues
Alphabetical List of Private Book-Owners and Institutional Collections

Early Modern English Library Catalogues:

A Working Bibliography

The purpose of this bibliography is to provide, in an online format, a cross-referenced and fully searchable list of library catalogues from early modern England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (roughly 1500-1700). The list is particularly oriented toward the libraries of writers and scholars, and it also includes bibliographical references to the collections of many continental figures, several of whom (e.g., Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Desiderius Erasmus, Michel de Montaigne) were influential in English letters. Some of the entries represent manuscript or printed catalogues compiled when these libraries still existed; some represent sale catalogues or probate inventories prepared after a library owner had died; some furnish information about specific libraries without offering a detailed list of books; still others represent modern reconstructions of Renaissance libraries. I include occasional references to institutional as well as to individual collections (e.g., cathedral, college, or Inns-of-Court catalogues), and I also list articles and books which provide contextual material for the study of early modern libraries. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor does it supersede any number of important compilations prepared by scholars whose expertise far exceeds my own. My hope is simply that this bibliography may serve as a useful point of entry for anyone investigating early modern habits of reading, the transmission of textual culture, the reception and dissemination of books, and the classification of knowledge. I encourage scholars and librarians to send me corrections, suggestions, and additional citations; I will update the bibliography on a regular basis and maintain a list of contributors.

Web site established: 8 June 2006

Last updated: 5 April 2009


Hamlin, William M., comp. Early Modern English Library Catalogues: A Working Bibliography. Hosted by the Department of English at Washington State University.

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