The Texts of the Reformation

The 31st October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, a text that sparked the Reformation. The movement was entwined with the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press, allowing the rapid spread of texts such as pamphlets and vernacular Bibles. As such, it is a historical moment of shift in terms of reading, writing... Continue Reading →

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On This Day – The Laudian Library Opens

25 August 1636: the Opening of the Laudian Library The Laudian Library, St John's College, Oxford To mark the opening of the new Inner Library, now the Laudian Library, Archbishop Laud held a lavish celebration, attended by King Charles I and Queen Henrietta. "my Mathematike Library is in such forwardness" As part of Archbishop William Laud's development... Continue Reading →

Cataloguing A.E. Housman’s Personal Papers

A full and digitised description of the Housman papers at St John’s is in the works. Connie Bettison, St John’s library trainee from 2016-17, writes about her experience beginning the digital cataloguing process. A.E. Housman A.E. Housman (1859-1936) is best known today for his poetry but in his own time he was highly regarded as... Continue Reading →

Scandinavia in the Special Collections

This month, we gather together a number of different items which share a northern theme: twentieth-century cartoons, seventeenth-century astronomy, nineteenth-century literature, sixteenth-century history, eighteenth-century exploration, and a seventeenth-century Bible. Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus [Description of the Northern people], Olaus Magnus (1550) ∑.2.14 Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) was a Swedish writer and Archbishop of Uppsala, and this... Continue Reading →

“excuse the scrawl”: literary letters from St. John’s special collections

Alongside collections of manuscripts and early printed books, St. John’s College’s Special Collections include personal papers of a number of well-known literary figures: Robert Graves, A.E. Housman, Jane Austen, Philip Larkin, Spike Milligan and Professor J.B. Leishman. Included in these papers is a great deal of correspondence, occasionally between other literary figures, or concerning literary... Continue Reading →

Album of Prints, William Hogarth (1756)

One of St John’s treasures from the eighteenth-century is an album of 77 of William Hogarth’s prints, a seemingly unique contemporary collation including a broad range of his works.  William Hogarth (1697-1764) A painter and printmaker who used his art to make satirical commentary on eighteenth-century social issues, Hogarth was an innovator in the field.... Continue Reading →

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

In St John’s College Library’s Special Collections there are four copies of Ortelius’s world atlases. These were the first attempts at mapping the known world in its entirety which demonstrate a balance between striving for accurate cartography and presenting the wondrous elements of the distant world. Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598) From Antwerp, Brussels, Ortelius was part... Continue Reading →

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