A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3, the City and University of Cambridge. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1959.
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THE SCHOOLS AND THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
The University began to build 'schools', or in modern parlance lecture rooms, for its own use at the end of the 14th century, and, from very early times, the University Library was housed in the same buildings. Gradually, as the collection of books grew, the Library swallowed up the whole of the schools' area until it was removed to a new site across the river in 1934. After that date the 'Old Schools', as they are now called, returned to general university purposes, and contain, among other things, the central administrative offices. (fn. 1)
In the 15th century the area to the west of Great St. Mary's Church was covered with shops, dwellinghouses, and schools, and was intersected diagonally by a street called School Street. The University had acquired property between this street and the Old Court of King's College, part of which had been given before 1278, and the remainder of which was bought from various owners in the 15th century. (fn. 2) On this site the University built its schools quadrangle. The north range, containing the divinity school and the regent house, or commencement house, was finished in 1400. The western range, with a canon law school below and a library above, was in existence in 1438, and the southern, containing another library with a civil law school below it, was built between 1458 and 1470 or 1471. The eastern front, facing upon School Street, was built between 1470 and 1473. It contained, on the ground floor, two rooms used as court-rooms and for other official purposes, and above them another library, and was constructed at the cost of Thomas Rotherham, Chancellor of the University, Bishop of Lincoln (1472–80) and Archbishop of York (1480– 1500). (fn. 3) This quadrangle remained much the same, both in appearance and in arrangement, from the latter part of the 15th century until the early eighteenth. (fn. 4)
The earliest public libraries in Cambridge were college libraries; of the books owned by private individuals, a record remains in the lists of those deposited as cautions for the due performance of acts or as pledges for loans made from the chests. (fn. 5) In 1535 a grace was passed that useless books in the chests should be sold, and that the more useful ones, which were being eaten up by worms, should be placed in the University Library. (fn. 6) In the early part of the 15th century several gifts of books to the University are recorded. The earliest catalogue of the University Library is probably earlier than 1424 and was continued down to about 1440; it contains the names of 122 volumes. Henry Bradshaw believed that it might have been an account of the various benefactions received before the Library was ready to receive the books, and that the Library may have been opened in 1444. (fn. 7) It is also mentioned in a peti- tion from the University and in royal letters patent of 1438. (fn. 8) The room on the first floor of the west side of the quadrangle had been built as a library, and was used as such. However, when the south side was finished, the first-floor room in this range was fitted up as a library in its place. (fn. 9) A catalogue of the books made in 1473 enumerates 330; the largest classes were theology and canon law, but civil law and moral and natural philosophy were all represented. (fn. 10) The collection was greatly enlarged at this period through the gifts of Archbishop Rotherham, which were continued during many years. In 1475 he was enrolled among the principal benefactors of the University, the statute reciting that he had 'perfected the schools and new library above with polished stone, sumptuous splendour and suitable buildings . . . and having ornamented it with everything proper, has enriched it with many and valuable books'. (fn. 11) He is said to have given at least 200 volumes, but most of them were lost in the storms of the 16th century. (fn. 12) Another early benefactor was Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall (1528), who gave the Library its first Greek texts, a gift reflecting the new direction of university studies in the age of Erasmus. (fn. 13) His books probably increased the contents of the Library to 500 or 600 volumes. (fn. 14)
Quite a lot is known about the organization of the Library in these early days. The two library rooms, Rotherham's (or the east) and the south, were approached by a common stairway in the corner of the quadrangle. The south room contained the general library; the east room contained Rotherham's books and later Tunstall's, and formed a private library of the more valuable books to which access was restricted. (fn. 15) The care of the Library was one of the duties of the university chaplain; Thomas Stoyle, who was chaplain when the first grace book begins in 1454, was a life-long friend of Rotherham's and himself a donor to the Library. (fn. 16) The many references in the grace books to the maintenance and repair of the Library suggest that it was well looked after in its early days. An early documentary reference is the statute of 1471–2, restricting admission. It was decreed that no one who was not a graduate should enter the Library except in the company of a graduate, and that no graduate, not being a gremial, should come in except in academical dress. (fn. 17) In 1500 this statute was relaxed in favour of monks studying in the University. (fn. 18)
The Reformation period was a time of disturbance and decline in Cambridge, and the Library suffered even more severely than the rest of the University. (fn. 19) In all libraries books were purged or destroyed by rival parties, and even more serious was the neglect resulting from the fear that the Colleges might go the way of the monasteries. (fn. 20) The existence of pilfering from the University Library is suggested by a grace of 1533–4 that the door at the head of the stair be locked and that only graduates or gremials should have the key. (fn. 21) The precaution cannot have been effective, because in 1547 the common library was turned into a school for the regius professor of divinity since it was of no use in its existing state. (fn. 22) The remaining books were presumably collected in Rotherham's library. A catalogue of 1556–7 records only 175 volumes, though some of the manuscripts may have been removed for safety in the forties and fifties by Andrew Perne, of whom more will be said later. (fn. 23) John Caius, in his history of Cambridge (1574), mentioned that many books had been stolen; (fn. 24) one of the two catalogues made in 1573–4 speaks of chains without books and records 'most part of all these books be of vellum and parchment but very sore cut and mangled for the limned letters and pictures'. (fn. 25) However, these catalogues do mark the beginning of a great effort by Perne, the scholarly Master of Peterhouse and friend of the scholarly Archbishop Parker, to restore the Library to something like its position at the beginning of the troubles. (fn. 26) In February 1574 he was writing from Lambeth to ask for the dimensions of the stalls and a list of the books which they contained, and he expressed the hope of getting from the archbishop 'a store of notable books'. (fn. 27) His hopes were fulfilled. Parker himself gave generously, as did the Lord Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, and Bishops Horne of Winchester and Pilkington of Durham. (fn. 28) In 1582 the Library contained 451 books, (fn. 29) and Perne himself gave, partly in 1584 and partly on his death in 1589, manuscripts numbering about a hundred. (fn. 30) In 1581 Theodore Beza presented the codex of the four gospels, named after him Codex Bezae, which is still the Library's greatest treasure. (fn. 31) Considerable efforts were also made to improve the organization and arrangements of the Library. In 1577 a stipend of £10 was voted for a librarian, the old office of university chaplain having lapsed, the first holder of the post being William James of Peterhouse. (fn. 32) In 1582 regulations were issued, (fn. 33) and four years later a grace was passed, restoring the old common library in the south range of the schools to its original use, though it appears to have been used for lectures as well. (fn. 34) The losses which have here been recorded were not, of course, peculiar to Cambridge They were the common fate of all libraries at this time, and, in fact, the Cambridge library fared much better than the Bodleian. The Oxford library has no books which it possessed before the time of Sir Thomas Bodley (d. 1613), except a few which have been recovered subsequently. The Cambridge library has about 130 books which it has had since 1556, including nineteen which it has had since 1473 and three which it has had since about 1420—a very remarkable record.
The earlier 17th century was uneventful. Thomas James's Ecloga Oxonio-Cantabrigiensis (1600) gives the manuscripts as 259 in number. (fn. 35) King James I presented a copy of his own works in 1620, and Francis Bacon gave his Novum Organum and De Augmentis. (fn. 36) Much thought was given to a plan for building a new library, perhaps in imitation of Sir Thomas Bodley's benefaction at Oxford, and the Duke of Buckingham showed much interest in the scheme, which continued to be seriously considered even after his assassination. (fn. 37) Though he had not succeeded in leaving a new library as a memorial of his chancellorship, the oriental manuscripts of Erpenius, which he had purchased, came through the gift of his widow in 1632. (fn. 38) The Library fared well through the troubled years of civil war and usurpation, chiefly because of the work of two successive competent and scholarly librarians, Abraham Wheelock (1629–53) and William Moore (1653–9). (fn. 39) In 1647 Parliament granted to the University the books which Archbishop Bancroft had bequeathed to the see of Canterbury, and to which, since episcopacy had been abolished, the University had a claim under Bancroft's will. The whole collection of about 11,000 volumes arrived in 1649. The Lambeth manuscripts and some printed books were placed in the east room. The remaining Lambeth printed books were placed with the Cambridge books in new bookcases, erected at the expense of Sir John Woollaston, in the south room. (fn. 40) A year earlier Parliament, at the instigation of John Selden, had purchased from George Thomason a collection of Hebrew books belonging to Rabbi Isaac Pragi and had presented it to the University, thus laying the foundation of its Hebrew library. (fn. 41) Another important acquisition of these years was the collection of Waldensian manuscripts given by Samuel Morland (1658); the rediscovery of many of these, which had been mislaid, was, two centuries later, one of the early achievements of Cambridge's greatest librarian, Henry Bradshaw. (fn. 42)
Considerable trouble was taken to catalogue the Lambeth library, but it was not to remain long in Cambridge. After the Restoration both Archbishops Juxon and Sheldon claimed the Lambeth books back, a claim which the University admitted, though it was to receive instead another very important benefaction, which was interconnected with the Bancroft library. In 1649 Richard Holdsworth, the dispossessed Master of Emmanuel, (fn. 43) had left his books to the University 'provided that it please God within five years to make a settlement of the Church, and that they do restore the Lambeth library which they had from thence to the see of Canterbury: which if it should not be done, I would then have it bestowed upon Emmanuel College in Cambridge . . .'. Clearly the passage of events had made the exact fulfilment of Holdsworth's wishes impossible, and there was quite naturally scope for litigation between university and college. Though there is no proof that the return of the Lambeth books was dependent on the acquisition of the Holdsworth collection in their place, there is probably a connexion between the two. In 1663 Emmanuel claimed the books, and next year the adjudicators found for the University, who were to pay the College £200. The Holdsworth books numbered 10,095, though two of its greatest rarities were lost in the bad years of the 18th century. (fn. 44) They made good the loss of the Lambeth library, and the university collection was considerably enriched in other ways. In 1664 Henry Lucas bequeathed 4,000 volumes, and another 1,000 followed in 1670 from Bishop Hacket of Lichfield. In 1667 Tobias Rustat gave £1,000, the income of which was to be used in buying books, a sum which formed the first endowment of the Library. (fn. 45)
The project of building a new library was again brought forward after the Restoration. Bishop Cosin of Durham promised money for it in 1669, and about ten years later plans were prepared by Sir Christopher Wren, but again nothing was done. (fn. 46) The temporary Licensing Act of 1662 gave the University the privilege of receiving one copy of every book newly printed or reprinted with additions, a privilege which was repeated in the Copyright Act of 1709. (fn. 47) In the late 17th century the University made, from time to time, strenuous efforts to enforce its rights, but the booksellers were recalcitrant. Nor did the University buy many books. (fn. 48) In fact the Library soon fell away from the high standards of the days of Wheelock and Moore. A grace of December 1667 ordered the librarian to class and arrange the books, the resulting catalogue showing a library of 16,000 volumes. The rearrangement was unfortunate because it ignored the ancient distinction between the outer or public and the inner or select libraries and may thus have made easier the wholesale depredations which were to occur during the next century. (fn. 49) One peculiar difficulty in running the Cambridge Library has always been that, unique among great libraries, it permits its readers free access to the shelves and allows the books to be borrowed. In January 1684 so many books were missing that a grace was passed, ordering all books to be returned, a measure which was immediately followed by the resignation of Librarian Peachey. (fn. 50) A new set of rules was made, but the disorder was not remedied. (fn. 51) Von Uffenbach's description, (fn. 52) at the beginning of the 18th century, is not favourable. He found the Library moderate in size and very badly arranged; on one of his visits there he saw a codex of Josephus which was torn at the end, so the library-keeper gave him a loose leaf as a curiosity! (fn. 53) The college libraries were even worse; a typical case was Peterhouse where the manuscripts were so dirty that the librarian had 'to send for a towel . . . that I might not dirty myself too much'. (fn. 54)
The 18th century opened well with two important gifts. By the will of William Worts (1709) the Library was to receive the residue of his estate, after other charitable bequests had been made, though it did not in fact benefit for over a century. (fn. 55) In 1715 King George I, through the instigation of Lord Townshend, presented the library of John Moore, Bishop of Ely, who had died in 1714. (fn. 56) The king's munificent present, amounting, according to the antiquary, Thomas Baker of St. John's, to 28,965 printed volumes and 1,790 manuscripts, (fn. 57) more than doubled the size of the Library, and thus raised acute problems of space. The law school on the first floor of the western range of the quadrangle was taken over and its windows reconstructed to take bookcases; a room, later called the dome room, was built in the angle between the west and south ranges and over the porter's lodge of the Old Court of King's College. This work was completed by 1719, (fn. 58) but it did not provide nearly enough room. As Baker wrote to Bishop Kennett:
We are now come to a resolution of taking in the regent house, or whole square, to make room for his Majesty's books. A new regent house is spoken of, and, I am told, our new Vice-Chancellor is now at London, solliciting that affair, having had encouragement from our Chancellor and others. The necessity of this might have been foreseen at first, for, by the best computation I can make, the law schools, now almost filled up, will not receive much more than half of the books; and, if I am not out in my computation, we can hardly have the use of the books these two years yet at soonest. (fn. 59)
In 1719 a syndicate was appointed to buy up property on the north side of the Regent Walk as a site for the new senate house, which was completed in 1730. (fn. 60) The old senate house, or regent house, was then fitted up for the reception of the books, its original staircase and vestibule, abutting on the west range, pulled down, and two new bays built in their place. These alterations, by which the whole of the first floor of the schools was turned over to the University Library, were finished by 1734. The manuscripts did not finally find a home in the dome room until 1752. (fn. 61) The printed books were carefully arranged and, although Luard believed that very little trouble was taken to shelve the manuscripts properly, (fn. 62) this seems unlikely since very carefully compiled class-lists were made, each entry being annotated as a royal or a pre-royal manuscript. Certainly it took a long time to find a permanent home for the royal library.
During this period there was serious neglect. The royal books lay about in heaps for some years without adequate supervision, (fn. 63) in consequence of which there was a great deal of pillage, some of it on the grand scale. A draft petition of 1736 from the University to the Lord Chancellor referred to several cartloads of books, to the value of over £2,000, which had come into the possession of one offender. He does not seem to have been prosecuted, though others were. (fn. 64) 'The pillage', wrote Bradshaw, 'was so unlimited, that the only wonder is we have any valuable books left.' (fn. 65) Nothing was really done to tackle the problem until the librarianship of the Greek scholar, John Taylor (1732–4), (fn. 66) who brought the confusion to an end and who may have removed the more valuable royal books into the muniment room in the divinity school for safe keeping. (fn. 67) Valuable as his reforms may have been, however, they did not bring the thefts to an end. Serious losses were reported at the inspections of 1748 and of 1772; among books which were lost at this time were 'the Cicero de Officiis printed in 1465 on vellum, a Salisbury breviary printed in 1483 on vellum (the only known copy of the first edition), the Salisbury Directorium Sacerdotium printed by Caxton (the only known copy)'. Even manuscripts were lent on ordinary tickets until a grace was passed in 1809, requiring that no manuscript should be borrowed without the permission of the Senate and after a bond had been given. (fn. 68)
The development of the university buildings during the 18th century must now be described in more detail. The architect of the new senate house, James Gibbs, had also prepared a scheme for a registry and printing house to the south of and parallel with it, and for a new library building to the east of the schools quadrangle. The whole design would have formed an open court facing Great St. Mary's Church. Of this project only the senate house was completed, since Sir Thomas Gooch, Master of Caius, obtained an injunction in 1727, alleging that the buildings would approach too near to his College and would close up the public way leading thence to the schools. Although the Court of Chancery finally refused the plaintiff relief, Gibbs's scheme was never reopened. Other plans for the use of the site were from time to time put forward during the latter years of the century. The only one which was carried out was the rebuilding of Rotherham's library. A design for this was produced in 1752 by Sir James Burrough, but, through the influence of the Chancellor, the Duke of Newcastle, the scheme was carried out according to the design of another architect, Stephen Wright (1754–8). (fn. 69) This new east room was fitted up with bookcases in 1787–90. (fn. 70) In the decades immediately following its completion, the area to the south of the senate house was gradually cleared of houses, but the south side of the proposed court was never built. A wall was built between the property of the University and of King's College in 1789, and in 1792 the area of the modern Senate House Yard was turfed and paved. (fn. 71)
The growth of the Library between the time of King George I's gift and the end of the century was very slow. The Copyright Act was not very fruitful, because the printers did not register many of their more valuable works at Stationers' Hall, and thus evaded a large part of their liability to deposit books in the privileged libraries, since only registered books were handed over. (fn. 72) Few very considerable gifts were made, though the presentation of Persian manuscripts by George Lewis, Archdeacon of Meath (1726), (fn. 73) the bequest by Thomas Baker of 19 volumes of his historical collections (1740), and the bequest of £500 for the purchase of theological books by Dr. John Newcome, Master of St. John's (1765), should be noted. (fn. 74) A number of manuscripts, including many in Greek, were purchased in 1785 at Dr. Askew's sale, (fn. 75) and in 1798 James Nasmith completed a catalogue of the manuscripts, though this was not published. (fn. 76) In 1721 the new office of protobibliothecarius or principal librarian was created, and Conyers Middleton, the opponent of Richard Bentley, was appointed, though this was rather an act dictated by the desire of Bentley's enemies to reward one of their own number, than one bearing directly on the welfare of the Library. (fn. 77) Several of those who followed Middleton in this office were also distinguished men. He was succeeded in 1750 by Francis Sawyer Parris, who made a catalogue of the reserved books and manuscripts which were moved to the dome room in 1752. (fn. 78) Later holders of the office included the theologian Edmund Law (1760– 9), (fn. 79) Richard Farmer (1778–97) the bibliophile and friend of Johnson, (fn. 80) and the antiquarian and miniature painter Thomas Kerrich (1797–1828). (fn. 81) A revised code of 'orders for the Public Library' was made in 1748. Only members of the Senate and bachelors of law and physic were to be permitted to use the Library; rules were made for the borrowing and the return of books, and it was decreed that there should be an annual inspection of the Library after commencement. The care of the Library was to be in the hands of a syndicate consisting of the heads, doctors, and professors, together with the orator, the proctors, the taxors, and the scrutators. (fn. 82) The Library Syndicate in this form was a very unwieldy body, but its composition was not altered for a century. (fn. 83)
A number of descriptions of the Library in the
18th and early 19th centuries have survived, and all
of them show that it was both a great repository of
books and a kind of university museum. They mention 'mummies', 'a Chinese idol of alabaster', deathmasks of Pitt, Fox, and of Charles XII 'with the
hole in the forehead where the bullet entered at the
siege of Friedrickshall', and the statue of Ceres from
Eleusis put up in the vestibule in 1803. (fn. 84) All these
curiosities were removed in the 19th century to the
Fitzwilliam Museum and other institutions. A description of the schools quadrangle published in
1763 gives a very clear idea of the disposition of the
buildings at that time,
. . . the schools being upon the ground-floor, and the Library over them, surrounding a small court; on the west side whereof, are the philosophy schools, where disputations are held in term-time: on the north, or right hand of the court, is the divinity school: and on the left or south end, of the court, is the school where the doctors of law and physic perform their exercise for their degrees: at the north end of the philosophy school, is the room where Dr. Woodward's fossils, a vast quantity of ores, minerals and, shells, with other curiosities well worth the viewing, are deposited.
The old library, consisting of eighteen classes, is situate at the south end of the court, over the law school. That part of the library given to the University by King George . . . takes up the galleries on the west and north sides of the court, over the philosophy and divinity schools, containing twenty-six large beautiful classes. The east gallery has been lately rebuilt in an elegant manner. . . . (fn. 85)
In the first years of the 19th century few books came in as a result of the Copyright Act; it is said that only some 6 per cent. of the books published in London about 1803 were ever sent. (fn. 86) The privileged libraries had generally acquiesced in the view that the printers were bound to deliver to them only those books which had been registered, until Edward Christian, the first Downing Professor of the Laws of England, took up the question in 1807, arguing that the libraries were entitled to copies of all works published. Acting on his advice, the University of Cambridge decided to test the matter at law, and in 1812 sued a printer named Bryer for not delivering a book. The Court of King's Bench decided, in accordance with Christian's view, that the books must be deposited whether the work had been registered or not. The rights of the privileged libraries to receive copies of all newly printed books on demand were reaffirmed by the Copyright Act of 1814. After the passing of this act the numbers of books deposited increased considerably and more foreign books were also bought. (fn. 87) In 1818 a new catalogue was begun, which was finished in 1825. (fn. 88) In that year too a grace was passed, imposing a tax of 1s. 6d. a quarter on all members of the University for the support of the Library. (fn. 89)
The prospect was also opened of a great extension of the site through the purchase of the old buildings of King's, which lay to the west of the schools quadrangle, and which were acquired by the University in 1829. (fn. 90) The original intention had been to erect a great new quadrangle to replace all the ancient buildings, which would contain, on the ground-floor, lecture-rooms, museums for natural science, and rooms for university business, with a library on the first floor above. In the course of the ensuing eight years keen controversy raged over these proposals. Several syndicates were set up to consider what action should be taken, until in 1837 the northern wing of the new courtyard, designed by C. R. Cockerell, was finally begun. This was completed in 1842, and contained a library upstairs and accommodation in the ground-floor and basement for the Woodwardian Museum of Geology and for mineralogy. (fn. 91) No further steps were taken to complete the proposed new quadrangle, and by 1860 the problem of space was again becoming acute, even though the old divinity school under the catalogue room (the ancient regent house) had been added to the Library in 1856–7. In 1862 the anual report of the Syndicate pointed out that, in three or four years time, it would be impossible for find room for new books. (fn. 92) The Old Court of King's had been pulled down, except for the gateway, in the thirties, (fn. 93) and in 1862 G. G. (later Sir Gilbert) Scott produced plans for an extension on its site. A new southern range was built as far as the lane opposite Clare College, and a new story added above the old south room of the Library. This was completed in 1867, and it formed a new western court with an open side facing Clare and Trinity Hall. The ground-floor rooms in the new wing were handed over for general university purposes, however, and continued for many years to be so used. (fn. 94) The ground-floor schools in the old or eastern quadrangle were also gradually absorbed. In 1880 the divinity lecture-room under the east room was acquired, and in 1886 the law school on the south side of the quadrangle. (fn. 95)
In general the first half of the 19th century was uneventful in library history. In 1828, on the death of Kerrich, John Lodge was elected sole librarian, and the office of protobibliothecarius lapsed. That office and the librarianship were finally consolidated in 1845. (fn. 96) In 1829 John Manistre, fellow of King's, bequeathed £5,000 for the purchase of books, and this accession of funds probably explains the large purchases of books and pamphlets made at the Van de Velde and Heber sales of 1833 and 1835. (fn. 97) Between 1842 and 1848 the Fitzwilliam pictures and books were housed in the east room, apparently to the considerable detriment of the Library; classes were broken up, confusion caused in the catalogue, and serious arrears of work accumulated. (fn. 98) Very soon after the Fitzwilliam collection had gone, the Library, like all other university institutions, came under the scrutiny of the Royal Commission of 1850. The Commissioners made two principal recommendations about the Library in their report. They thought that it possessed neither the funds nor the space to make proper use of the copyright privilege, and proposed that this should be commuted for a money payment which would enable the Library to preserve books of permanent value, without cluttering it up with ephemeral literature. The librarian, Joseph Power (1845–64), was strongly against such commutation, and thought that the University would lose heavily by it for the future. Both he and the commissioners thought that a reading-room, to which undergraduates might be admitted, was very desirable. (fn. 99) Power gave the number of printed books as 170,000 and of manuscripts as 3,163; the average annual additions under the Copyright Acts during the previous seven years had been: complete works, 2,983; periodicals, &c., 3,967; music, 526. The library tax brought in a gross income of £2,050, and the income of the different funds was as follows: Rustat, £250, Worts, £700, Manistre, £150. (fn. 100)
Librarian Power's evidence, and other contempo- raneous sources, make clear the many difficulties under which the Library suffered at this time. The imposition of the library tax had greatly increased the number of books, but the staff was very small, and, since the librarian and his assistants were alike elected by the Senate, they were not under his effective control, unity of direction was lacking and the whole organization suffered. Power wanted more money to extend the buildings, to increase the staff, and to provide a store-room and a business-room. He explained that the books had been better arranged during recent years, but there was obviously still much to do. It seems that there was not enough supervision, and that valuable books were lost or mutilated, or became a prey to dust and damp. In 1859 a letter to the Syndicate complained that 'in many cases the dust has got into the leaves [of the manuscripts] and seriously injured them. The bindings of the greater portion of the manuscripts are in the most disgraceful condition. . . . Many leaves are often misplaced by the carelessness of the binder, and parts of the same treatise are sometimes bound in two separate volumes, and placed on separate shelves.' (fn. 101) Another difficulty arose from the fact that the Library seems to have been regarded by some of its users as a mere circulating library. Librarian Mayor complained that some M.A.s, by giving their signatures very freely, had made strangers free of it; even 'infants came to us for spelling-books'. (fn. 102)
In 1854 the Library Syndicate was reorganized; it ceased to be a purely ex officio body and thenceforward consisted of sixteen members, four going off every year. (fn. 103) In 1856 the first volume of the catalogue of manuscripts was published, the whole series being completed by 1867. (fn. 104) In 1859 J. P. Baumgartner presented his collection of the manuscripts of Strype and Patrick. (fn. 105) The reconstituted Syndicate had from the first been interested in compiling a new catalogue; at first the titles were written on slips, but in 1861 the printing of the titles of new accessions was introduced. (fn. 106) The number of books received under the Copyright Acts was increasing considerably. Mayor, writing in 1865, said that the number of volumes had grown by about one-third in some twenty years. (fn. 107) In the previous year he had succeeded to the librarianship. Had the Library possessed an adequate staff, an adequate catalogue, a tradition of good management, he wrote, he would never have accepted office. 'The wants of the Library drew me to it. I thought I saw the way to bring things straight, and I felt bound to try. Nothing could be done by evading responsibility.' (fn. 108) Mayor held office for three years only, but in that short time he brought a new vigour into the management of the place, even though not everything he attempted was either wise or practicable. (fn. 109) The annual reports of the Syndicate during his librarianship show a new activity in cataloguing and arranging the books, including the Heber tracts, which had remained uncatalogued since their purchase 30 years before. Much of the work was done by Mayor himself; he claimed in 1866 that he and one assistant had written titles for a twentieth of the whole number of the books. (fn. 110) One important event of his period of office was the replacement in 1866 of the library tax by a grant of £2,500 per annum from the university chest to be paid out of a general capitation tax. This grant was subsequently increased from time to time until in 1913 it stood at £7,000. (fn. 111)
When Mayor resigned in 1867 he was succeeded by Henry Bradshaw (1867–86) who had since 1859 been in charge of the manuscripts and rare books. (fn. 112) One of his early bibliographical achievements, the rediscovery of the lost Waldensian manuscripts, has already been mentioned. (fn. 113) He is the University's greatest librarian. He was himself a scholar rather than an administrator, and his practical management was not above criticism, though he had many difficulties to face. The staff was too small, the space available too restricted, and he was unable to delegate his work. (fn. 114) His great interest lay in his desire to build up a museum of typography, which he arranged on the first floor of Scott's new building, and his great memorial is the large collection of early printed books which he built up, largely through purchases at sales abroad. During his librarianship over 600 incunabula (books printed before 1501) were bought and over 100 received as gifts. (fn. 115) He wrote but little, but his influence in the University and the learned world was great, not least through the personal impression which he made on younger men, like his eventual successor, Francis Jenkinson. (fn. 116) 'As a librarian', the Vice-Chancellor said after his death, 'he was almost unrivalled: he knew the contents of our collection better than anyone living. . . .' (fn. 117)
Bradshaw himself was a considerable donor. He gave his early printed books, his books and papers relating to Ireland, and his early service books, which were being handed over when he died. (fn. 118) The greatest benefactor of the Library at the end of the 19th century was Samuel Sandars, whose gifts continued over many years. In 1892 he presented some very rare early printed books, and, on his death in 1894, he bequeathed nearly 1,600 books, a sum of £500 to buy books, and an endowment for a readership in bibliography. (fn. 119) In 1888 John Venn presented books on logic, (fn. 120) and in 1892 John Couch Adams bequeathed 1,500 books printed before 1700. (fn. 121) In 1897 Frank Chance bequeathed books on philology and biblical criticism. (fn. 122) Important additions were made to the oriental collections through the bequests of William Robertson Smith (1894) and of E. B. Cowell (1903), (fn. 123) and through the gift of the library of R. L. Bensly (1894, 1895). (fn. 124) In 1898 the Taylor-Schechter collection of Hebrew manuscripts from Old Cairo was given. (fn. 125) The far eastern library was founded in 1886 by the gift of Sir T. F. Wade's Chinese books, (fn. 126) and, in the years immediately before 1914, many Japanese books were also acquired by gift and purchase. (fn. 127) A major accession of quite a different sort was the presentation in 1902, by John Morley, of the library of Lord Acton, lately Regius Professor of Modern History, which had been collected as the material for a history of liberty. The books, some 60,000 in number, came to Cambridge in 1903, though they were not finally arranged and classified until the end of 1912, the University having provided some £8,000 for the purpose. (fn. 128) Another important bequest was that of the registrary, J. W. Clark (1910), who left his collection of Cambridge books. (fn. 129)
The rapid growth of the Library created great problems of accommodation. In 1878 the Syndicate reported that in many places the books were overrunning into the windows so that there was no room for new books except by removing old ones. (fn. 130) In the same year they represented to the Statutory Commissioners that the difficulty might be met by taking in the rooms in the two quadrangles which were used for other purposes, by completing the western side of the western quadrangle, and by roofing over one or both of the quadrangles with iron and glass so as to construct a reading-room. (fn. 131) In May 1879 the Syndicate reported in favour of the construction of such a reading-room in the eastern quadrangle as soon as there was money enough. (fn. 132) The completion of the western quadrangle was soon achieved through a bequest from E. G. Hancock (1884). A building, designed by J. L. Pearson, which connected the Scott with the Cockerell buildings and incorporated the ancient King's gateway, was begun in 1887 and finished in 1890. (fn. 133) The reading-room was, in fact, never to be created while the Library remained on its ancient site. In 1898 the Syndicate again put forward the plan of roofing in the eastern quadrangle, and plans were prepared and discussed. (fn. 134) The scheme was approved in principle in January 1901, but the grace for accepting tenders for the work was rejected in November of the same year after very keen controversy. (fn. 135) Very soon after this the Library finally gained possession of the whole of the two quadrangles. At the end of 1902 the ground-floor rooms in Scott's building which had been used for university business were vacated. In 1903 the Arts school was acquired, and in the same year the Woodwardian museum moved out of the ground-floor and basements of Cockerell's building to the Downing site. (fn. 136)
After the short reign of William Robertson Smith (fn. 137) came the long librarianship of F. J. H. Jenkinson (1889–1923), a scholar in the Bradshaw tradition. He marked his tenure of the Sandars readership in bibliography by presenting his own collection of early printed books (1908). (fn. 138) The proper use of the extra space acquired in 1902 and 1903 confronted him and the Syndicate with many problems. In May 1904 the Senate passed graces for the construction of a new entrance in the east front of Cockerell's building with a staircase to neighbouring parts of the Library, and for the adaptation of the newly vacated rooms to hold books. (fn. 139) Such extensive plans would need money, and in 1905 an appeal was issued to cover the cost of repairs and alterations, and to permit of greater expenditure on staff, maintenance, and the purchase of books (including the expense of classifying the Acton library). The main promoter of the appeal was the registrary, J. W. Clark, and it raised about £20,000. (fn. 140) The new entrance and staircase were in use in 1905. Work on the structural adaptation of and the new fittings for Cockerell's building was made possible through the gift of £5,000 from the Goldsmiths' Company of London (1906), and the alterations were completed in 1908. (fn. 141) There would be no further possibilities of expansion on the existing site. A few other events in library history in the early 20th century deserve a mention. The growing complexity of the organization had made the appointment of a secretary necessary in 1899. (fn. 142) In 1911 a new Copyright Act had been passed without any reduction in the privileges of the University, though a cut in the period within which books might be claimed, as well as other limitations, had been threatened. (fn. 143) During the war years (1914– 18) there was considerable financial stringency and the library grant was severely reduced. (fn. 144) Jenkinson exerted himself during those years to make as comprehensive a collection as possible of war literature. (fn. 145)
The great event in the history of the Library since 1918 has been the move to the new site west of the river. By the end of the war the problem of space had again become urgent. In April 1919 the Syndicate reported in favour of building underground bookstores beneath the east and west courts and a reading-room in the east court, (fn. 146) but the cost of these plans was found to be disproportionate to the accommodation provided. The Syndicate then reported in favour of a building on the south side of Senate House Yard and of a public appeal for subscriptions towards the cost. (fn. 147) This report, after it had been discussed and considerable difference of opinion shown, was referred back by the Council of the Senate to the Library Syndicate, which recommended that a special syndicate be set up to deal with the whole matter, which was done in June 1920. (fn. 148) When the special syndicate reported, it recommended a move to a new site, the cricket ground and garden of Corpus Christi College in Sidgwick Avenue being suggested. (fn. 149) The two chief promoters of the plan were the biologist C. ForsterCooper and Hugh Anderson, the Master of Caius. (fn. 150) The necessary grace passed the Senate, by 121 votes to 73, in May 1921. (fn. 151) The same syndicate reported in the following year that both the Corpus ground and the King's–Clare grounds between West Road and Burrell's Walk had been valued. They recommended the purchase of the latter and the preparation of sketch plans, which were put into the hands of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, though the land was not actually bought until 1924. (fn. 152) Meanwhile the problem of congestion in the old Library was getting steadily worse, and external book-stores had to be used. (fn. 153) In February 1928 the Council of the Senate reported that the University could finance half the cost (£500,000) of the new Library, £65,000 of the sum available coming from the bequest of J. H. Ellis and £25,000 from the Local Examinations Syndicate, (fn. 154) but the whole situation was transformed by the munificent Rockefeller gift in the autumn of the same year. (fn. 155) The new Library at last became an immediate possibility.
The original design had been considerably modified, chiefly through the provision of a tower and also through changes designed to give more light internally. In December 1929 a model of the new Library was put on view, and in February 1930 the syndicate report, asking for general approval of the plans and permission to obtain tenders, was approved. (fn. 156) The Cambridge Review, in an article on the model, though critical of the tower and, to a lesser extent, of the lighting of the ground-floor rooms, concluded with approval that the University would possess in the new Library 'a building which will hold its own against the best examples elsewhere; and one moreover which will belong quite unmistakably to the period in which it was built'. (fn. 157) A fresh syndicate was then appointed to supervise the construction work. (fn. 158) In September 1931 pile-driving for the foundations began; this was complete in the following summer, (fn. 159) and two years later the new building was in use. It consists of two courts with a reading-room extending along the whole of one outer side, book-stacks on the remaining outer sides, and a catalogue room dividing off the two courts internally. Provision was also made for smaller reading-rooms for periodicals and for reserved books, the last being named the Anderson Room, after Sir Hugh Anderson who had done so much to bring the new Library into being. (fn. 160)
Arrangements had been made to move the 1,142,000 books in the Long Vacation of 1934. (fn. 161) The story of the great exodus is best told in the words of the annual report of the Library Syndicate for that year.
At 4 o'clock on 31 May 1934 the last reader left, and at 8 o'clock on the following morning the move was begun. The books were packed by the staff, working in groups of three and distributed in different parts of the Library, into boxes of a standard size made specially by the Papworth Industries; as soon as a number of boxes were ready, they were wheeled away to the nearest loading point and deposited upon a lorry. There were six such points: a lorry would collect between thirty and three dozen boxes from two or three points and then convey them to the new Library. A system of coloured labels showed at which door the various boxes were to be delivered, and to which part of the building. Arrived there the boxes were unpacked by other groups of assistants and arranged upon the shelves. Messrs. Eaden Lilley and Co. had undertaken to transport books, furniture and other moveable equipment and personal belongings, and for this purpose they used horse-drawn lorries in preference to motor vehicles. If this method be thought slow, it has to be borne in mind that greater speed would have ended in a congestion of filled boxes at one end and a shortage of empty ones at the other. The problem was to keep an even balance.
The library staff and Lilley's porters worked daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. They handled 23,725 boxes, which were delivered in 689 loads. There were besides 45 motor van loads of 'elephant folios'. The move was completed on the afternoon of 26 July 1934, that is in exactly eight weeks to a day. (fn. 162)
The final cost of the new Library, including the move, was about £350,000, leaving about £150,000 of the sum originally set aside as a capital figure for maintenance and endowment. (fn. 163) It was opened officially by King George V and Queen Mary on 22 October 1934. The story of the adaptation of the Old Schools, as the old Library is now called, to other university purposes has been told elsewhere. (fn. 164)
Librarian Jenkinson, after a reign of 34 years, died in 1923. (fn. 165) His successor, A. F. Scholfield, held office until 1949, when he was succeeded by H. R. Creswick. The year after Jenkinson's own death came the death of one of the leading members of his staff, C. E. Sayle, author of Early English Printed Books in the University Library, Cambridge (1475 to 1540), 4 vols. (1900–7). (fn. 166) The Library, like all other university institutions, has benefited greatly, since the First World War, from steadily growing government grants. (fn. 167) In 1952–3 the Library's allocation from the University had risen to £60,665. (fn. 168) It has also received, during the same period, large private benefactions. Money has been left by, among others, W. Aldis Wright (1915), E. G. Duff (1924), W. W. Rouse Ball (1926), E. G. Browne (1927), whose oriental books and manuscripts also came to the Library in 1936, A. B. Wilson-Barkworth (1929), Sir P. M. Laurence (1930), A. A. Bevan (1934), and W. E. Heitland (1935). (fn. 169) There have been many generous donors of books, many of their gifts, such as those of John Charrington and Sir Stephen Gaselee, spread over many years. When Charrington died in 1939, his gifts to the Library had included nearly 200 early printed books from little-known presses, his most remarkable gift being that of the 'Costerian' Doctrinale on vellum (1913), of which hitherto only fragments had been known. (fn. 170) Gaselee presented books in many languages and on many topics. In 1934 he gave over 300 incunabula and in 1940 over 270 post-incunabula, his special interest being in books from out-of-the-way towns and printing centres; 'one book in every fifteen in the Bradshaw Room', says J. C. T. Oates, 'is his gift. Only a monarch gave more.' (fn. 171) In 1933 and 1934 A. W. Young gave a very fine collection of bibles, printed and manuscript, including a copy of Gutenberg's 42-line bible. (fn. 172) In 1946 R. E. Hart bequeathed some very rare block-books. (fn. 173) The collections have grown, in recent decades, in many different fields. The gift of the papers of the firm of Jardine, Matheson of Hong Kong, practically complete since 1819, provided the Library in 1936 with its first set of business records. (fn. 174) Among the papers of public men which have been acquired since 1945 are those of Lord Baldwin, of the 1st Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, and of the 6th Earl of Mayo. (fn. 175) Several collections relating to great Cambridge scientists have also been acquired, among them papers and manuscripts of Charles Darwin (1942); the Portsmouth collection of the papers of Isaac Newton had been presented to the University in 1872 and had come to the Library in 1902. (fn. 176) Outstanding progress has been made by the oriental department; in 1951 it was claimed that 'the University now possesses the greatest collection of Chinese and Japanese books in Europe'. (fn. 177)
The general history of the Library since 1945 has been uneventful. In 1950–1 the Library, like the University in general, faced a difficult financial situation, but the threat of serious cuts was averted by a special grant from the Financial Board and generous donations from King's and Trinity Colleges. (fn. 178) In 1954 the Syndicate decided to remove the books of George I's royal library from open shelves, on which they had stood for two centuries, since a few of the books had been seriously mutilated. (fn. 179) The main problem, once again, has been that of insufficient space. In June 1951 the Syndicate reported that, when the Library had been built, it had been expected that it would meet all requirements for about 50 years, whereas its capacity would in fact be used up in little more than half this time. They proposed therefore to extend the north and south wings of the building westward and to build a bookstack for reserved books between them. (fn. 180) Preliminary drawings have been prepared by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, but nothing more has been done. In their report for 1956 the Syndicate stressed that available space was being rapidly used up, and that by 1960 the users of the Library would begin to be inconvenienced by insufficient storage space. (fn. 181)