University of Rochester Library Bulletin: Book Provision and Libraries at the Medieval University of Oxford, The Robert F. Metzdorf Memorial Lecture 19877

Volume XXXX • 1987-88
Book Provision and Libraries at the Medieval University of Oxford: The Robert F. Metzdorf Memorial Lecture 1987

At a medieval university most undergraduates would not normally require books, since at lectures in the Faculty of Arts the master read out a text sentence by sentence, explaining and commenting on each one as he went along. Books would have been required by graduates and masters, hence the highest proportion of surviving books contain works of Theology, Canon Law, and, less frequently, Civil Law and Medicine. For the most part scholars were expected to provide their own books, and they acquired them in the three most obvious ways: some were able to borrow books from elsewhere, from the libraries of monasteries or cathedrals in their home areas, but most scholars bought their books either new or secondhand, or copied them for themselves.

From the mid-thirteenth century onwards we find evidence of the activities of stationers, and this evidence indicates that they dealt more in secondhand books than in new ones. Then, as now, it was doubtless cheaper to buy a secondhand copy than to order a new one, and Oxford must have offered the opportunities for a better selection of secondhand learned books than anywhere else in the country. In 1359 Mrôlewis de Charlton bought a thirteenth-century copy of Petrus Comestor, Historia scholastica (New Coll. 101) from Richard Lynne "stacionario universitatis Oxon." ; the book has cauciones (or pledge notes) of 1355 and 1356 recording that it was deposited as a pledge for loans by members of the University, and Lynne may well have been disposing of an unredeemed pledge. Between 1442 and 1447 Mr Thomas Wyche bought five books from John More, stationer at Oxford, of which three at least were secondhand. However, transactions concerning the purchase and exchange of books by members of the University were not confined to dealings with members of the Oxford book trade. Wyche, as well as buying books from the stationer John More, bought one book from another member of the University and another from Richard Bond, a chaplain at London, in 1457. Mr Richard Bernard owned two manuscripts, one of which he sold to Thomas Chaundler, the Warden of his College. The University statute of 1373 against unlicensed booksellers may well have been intended to limit the possible abuses and dangers arising from such transactions.

Some, especially students, copied books for themselves so that they could annotate them whilst attending lectures. At the end of the twelfth century Emo from Friesland studied at Oxford with his brother Addo: Oxford...they copied, heard lectures upon and glossed the Decreta, Decretales, Liber pauperum, and also other books of canon law...

Oxonie etiam Decreta, Decretales, Librum pauperum, nec non et alios libros canonici iuris et legalis, vigiliis dividendo scripserunt, audierunt et glossaverunt.

At the end of the thirteenth century, London, British Library, MS Royal 12 G ii (a collection of Aristotle "De naturalibus" ) was produced by Henry de Renham, as an inscription in the manuscript attests:

Henry de Renham wrote this book and heard it lectured on in the schools at Oxford, and emended and glossed it whilst listening to the lectures.

quem librum scripsit Henruicus de Renham et audiuit in scolis Oxonie et emendauit et glossauit audiendo

The copying of books was not confined to students. In the mid-fourteenth century John Wyliot, Fellow of Merton and Chancellor of the University in 1349, copied part of a manuscript containing works by Albertus Magnus, whereas John Malberthorpe, Fellow of Lincoln College c.1436-45, copied no less than six surviving books.

The first signs of organization or corporate enterprise in the provision of books for the purposes of study at Oxford are to be found in the activities of the friars. The Dominican priory at Oxford became a studium generaleby 1261, and at about this time the Minister General of the Order, Humbert of Romans, prescribed the duties of the librarius (the obedientiary who was responsible for the care and use of a convent's books) in considerable detail. More importantly, Humbert envisaged that the collection of books could be used in two ways: some books—such as the Bible with and without glosses, Concordances, and the Decreta and Decretales—were to be kept in an appropriate and silent place for all to consult; others could be circulated among the individual friars.

As the Order grew in numbers, the system of book provision grew beyond the scope of the local organization envisaged by Humbert of Romans. Among the Franciscans too the organization of studies and the provision of books developed during the course of the thirteenth century and came to resemble that of the Dominicans. In both orders books were assigned to individual friars not only on a short-term basis within the convent but on a more permanent basis as well, and a friar professor usually kept his books for life. The possession of books by an individual on such terms was not regarded as contrary to the vows of poverty nor to the principle of the common life. The books moved around the province as the friar did; after his death they were at the disposal of his superiors. The books would eventually revert to his convent or his provincial; and could then be assigned to another friar either of the same house or the same province. The community or the Order retained the ownership of the books whereas the friar had the possession and the use of the books.

Apart from the stock of books which was set apart for consultation by all the members of the convent, some of the other books must have come to Oxford and left Oxford with individual friars. This constant traffic in books doubtless made the range of works available to friars in Oxford appear even richer than the modern concept of a "library" might suggest, and may account for some of the zeal for copying books displayed by foreign friars whilst they were studying at Oxford.

The monastic orders soon followed the example of the friars in promoting higher studies among their members, and three Benedictine houses of study were established in Oxford between 1268 and 1361. Suitable candidates were sent to Oxford, and doubtless brought books with them from the rich collections of the parent house by an extension of the practice described in monastic customaries of allocating books to individual members of the convent for a period of time. Furthermore, with the resources of the monasteries behind them many of the monks acquired books for their own use at Oxford, and annotated them and pledged them like other scholars. The new houses of study doubtless purchased books too: some time about 1300 Thomas de Wyniston, a monk of Durham, purchased twenty books in Oxford, presumably for Durham College. Durham Priory seems to have sent volumes to Oxford to serve as exemplars for new copies: Durham Cathedral, B II 23 and B II 24, are two fourteenth-century copies made from the same eleventh-century Durham book, Durham Cathedral, B II 22, a copy of Augustine's De civitate Dei.

The carefully planned and regulated book services which supported the educational systems of the friars became the envy of the secular masters. As a result, the new Colleges sought to establish collections of books for the use of their fellows, and the practices of administering these college collections were derived ultimately from those of the friars. The Injunctions to the Fellows of Merton, which contain specific recommendations for the maintenance of the books of the community (libri communitatis), were drawn up in 1276 by Archbishop Kilwardby, himself a Dominican friar.

Kilwardby assumed that individual Fellows would bring books of their own with them to the College, and that they would acquire further books of their own during the period when they were in residence. Kilwardby stipulated that every Fellow was expected to leave his books to the College at his death, or if he entered a religious order. A Fellow who had left to take a living or service elsewhere was expected to leave his books or aiusta cornpensatio at his death. The books at Merton College constitute the sum of the collections assembled by individual Fellows, which had been surrendered to the College in fulfilment of this statutory obligation. The analogy with the practice of the friars, whereby the individual had the possession and use of the books but the community had the ownership, is a very close one. The books were to be regarded as a common stock from which individual Fellows could borrow on deposit of a pledge which was itself another book or books.

However, the analogy can be pursued further. In 1284 Archbishop Pecham (another friar) required the College to obtain three books of a reference nature to be placed super honestam mensam where they could be consulted conveniently by all the Fellows. The 1292 statutes of University College envisage one stock of books to be set apart for reference purposes, and another from which books could be made available to individual Fellows, either against the security of a pledge, or gratis to those who were opponents in theology, lecturers on the Sentences, or regents who lectured on a regular basis. The terms of the statutes are more in line with the practices of the friars than with those of the Sorbonne, which, in any case, were not established before 1289-92. In the 1329 Statutes of Oriel College we find the first clear account of the practice of distributing books from the common stock (communes libri) among all the Fellows on a regular basis. Every year on 2 November each Fellow could choose (eligere) one book in order of his seniority; if there were more books available than Fellows, then the Fellows could make a second choice, again in order of their seniority. The chance survival of a document indicates that this system of elecciones was practised at Merton by 1339.

The adoption of this system of elecciones librorum in a number of colleges represents the second clear analogy with the practices of the friars, that of separating the books of the community into two categories: those to be kept in an appropriate and silent place for all the members to consult, and those which could be assigned to the individual members for their personal use. In a college like Oriel, at least in the early stages of its history, the stock of books was sufficiently small to require that redistribution should take place annually. In the case of a college like Merton, where the stock of books was built up rapidly as Kilwardby's ordinances began to take effect, it would seem that the books available for distribution among the Fellows were sufficiently numerous to permit more generous terms.

Benefactions and the fulfilment of statutory obligations ensured a steady build up in the collections of books in the existing colleges. The distribution of college books was much more restricted than in the case of books belonging to the religious orders. Colleges were smaller communities, and their "working" members (regents and graduates) were confined to Oxford. This restriction ensured that colleges kept their books until the sixteenth century, and some survive in the colleges to this day. With the increase in the numbers of books came changes in the way in which the collections were kept. At Merton the word libraria first appears in College records of 1338 and 1339, and about this time also an ex dono inscription in Merton Coll. 317 prescribes that the book be chained in loco communi; the wording of the inscription suggests that this was something of an innovation. The first Oxford or Cambridge college in which a purpose-built library room was part of the original plan was New College, founded by William of Wykeham in 1379. The library was completed in 1386.

William of Wykeham provided his new foundation with a total of 246 books over a period of several years, and laid down careful regulations concerning the preservation, housing and use of books in his statutes. This set the pattern for later founders: Chichele gave about 370 volumes to All Souls' College, and Waynflete is credited with giving 800 volumes to Magdalen College; Richard and Robert Flemmyng gave about 89 volumes to Lincoln College in 1474, when they virtually refounded the College. Robert Flemmyng was a bibliophile, but the founders of the colleges gave books primarily to indicate the nature of their foundations, and to give impetus to the fulfilment of their specific academic rôle in higher education.

Wykeham's special attention to the regulation of the library at New College seems to have stimulated an astonishing reaction from William Rede. In 1374 Rede (a former Fellow, Bursar and Subwarden of Merton-and as Subwarden responsible for the elecciones of the philosophical books) had given 99 books to Merton. By his will in 1385 he left not only another 100 books to Merton but also 100 books to New College, 20 to Exeter College, and 10 each to Balliol College, Oriel College, and Queen's College. He also left sums of money to Exeter, Queen's, Oriel, and Balliol to ensure that these books were chained in their libraries, partly for reasons of security but primarily to emphasize corporate ownership; if a book were chained it would require the consent of the whole fellowship to remove it. The number of books involved, the range of interests covered by the contents of these books, and above all the fact that in several instances there were two copies of the same work, suggest that the books given to the colleges represent not merely the personal collection of one man, nor (since they were to be chained) the desire to provide portable capital, but a deliberate intention to provide books for the use of graduates of these institutions. As a young man Rede had enjoyed the enlightened patronage of Nicholas of Sandwich who provided him with books and the money to buy books, and Rede may have felt obliged to extend similar patronage to others. Although he made his gifts to the colleges rather than to the University, there is an impartial quality about the way in which he distributed his patronage among the different colleges (the exception was University College). He seems to have shared the same enthusiasm for the rôle of the college system, both in providing opportunities for higher studies and in providing repositories for what he regarded as the moral and religious ideals of the society of his time, as did the administrators who founded the new colleges.

What rôle did the University play in the provision of books? From the beginning of the thirteenth century, apart from matters relating to graces and degrees, the principal concern of its legislation seems to have been to protect its members from exploitation by predatory commercial practices employed by townsmen or by some of its own members.

Since most scholars provided their own books, did the University assist them to do so by operating a "peciasystem" which would enable them to secure "pieces" of copies from "approved" exemplars of works used in the higher faculties—Canon Law and Theology?

Modern scholars like Destrez and Pollard have regarded the pecia system as an arrangement whereby the stationers at certain medieval universities speeded up the supply of texts. At Paris—according to Destrez—exemplars were required to be kept in the custody of University stationers, persons who had sworn to obey the University Statutes. They could be fined for errors, and were taxed on their books. These exemplars were divided into numbered portions—or peciae—which were hired out for copying by commercial scribes and others. Copies made from these particular peciae are said to be identifiable by numbers in the side margins—usually in roman figures—opposite a break in the transcription of the text indicated by a change of hand, ink, or spacing. The numbers refer to the portions of exemplar copied.

The existence of such a system in Oxford has been inferred from the existence of pecia numbers or "pecianotes" in thirteen books associated with Oxford, and with the higher faculties by reason of their contents. The thirteen manuscripts comprise six copies of commentaries on Scripture, two copies of Aquinas on the "Sentences," one copy of Aquinas's Secunda secundae, four copies of works on Canon Law, and one copy of the Sermons of Guy d'Evreux. (The attribution of Oxford origin for some of these manuscripts has been disproved, but not their Oxford associations.) The status of an exemplar is supposed to have been guaranteed, or authenticated in some way, by reference to a "model" kept in the custody of the University, and deposited in a chest known as the Cista exemplariorum. By further inference the hiring of peciae derived from this model was carried out under the auspices of the University itself, by the stationers acting as agents.

First let us examine the evidence of the term pecia and of the "pecia notes." The process of copying a text by distributing quires of an exemplar among different scribes is at least as old as the eighth and ninth centuries (it can be observed in the Codex Amiatinus, the "Vatican Livy," and in Cambridge, Pembroke College, 308), and is probably as old as the codex format itself. From the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries the term "pecia" can be found used as an alternative to "quaternus" to indicate a quire of a manuscript. The unit by which a commercial scribe was paid in the Middle Ages was the quire and the most obvious interpretation of pecia notes is that they indicate that the scribe was paid by the portion (quire) of the exemplar rather than by the quire of his copy. In such cases the "pecia notes" added in the margins of a copy would record such a unit for purposes of payment without making any statement about the status of the exemplar itself. (This explanation would certainly fit better the case of the copy of the Sermons of Guy d'Evreux [Lincoln College, lat. 113] in Destrez's list, and could also explain most of the other Oxford manuscripts in both Destrez's and Pollard's lists.)

Secondly, let us examine the rôle of the stacionarii who are frequently regarded by modern scholars as having been the agents of the University for the hiring and circulation of peciae. The evidence indicates that stationers certainly dealt in books, but their activities were not confined exclusively to the sale or disposal of books. The "four stationers" were the holders of University positions (hence the term "stacionarius"?), whose principal rôle was to assess the value of pledges or sequestered goods, and, if they were not redeemed, to put them on the market. The pledges were usually books but could be anything as long as it was not perishable. In 1443 the sequestered goods of a contumacious scholar were turned over to the stationer to be sold in order to pay the fine imposed, but the inventory does not contain a single book.

Thirdly, the hiring of exemplars was not restricted to stationers: in 1339 or thereabouts the University passed a Statute which required that stationers and whosoever else hires out exemplars of books shall maintain them for inspection whole, complete, correct and faithful, under pain of the confiscation of the same, or under such graver penalty as the University may impose.

. . . stationarii et alii quicumque, qui exemplaria librorum locant, teneantur, sub pena amissionis eorundem aut sub pena graviori per universitatem taxanda, integra, completa, correcta ac fidelis exhibere.

The words "whosoever else" indicate that not all those who hired exemplaria were University officers or sworn persons, although the latest use of the term exemplarius which Pollard found in records was in 1324, fifteen years before the date of the Statute. When so many scholars acquired their books from sources outside Oxford, and when those who copied their own books could just as easily have obtained their exemplars from elsewhere, it is difficult to see how any restrictions placed on local tradesmen could affect the quality of the texts. Like so many other regulations of the University this one was probably intended to restrict the exploitation of its members by local tradesmen.

Fourthly, what was the function of the University's Cista exemplariorum? I have not found any evidence that it was the repository for authorized exemplars of texts from which the peciae were derived other than an inference from the name itself. The term exemplarium is ambiguous: it can refer to a copy of a text from which other copies are made, or it can refer to an original, model, or precedent. The use of the phrases exemplaria librorumin the statute of 1339, and of libros et exemplaria in a statute of 1347, seems to imply some kind of distinction between an exemplarium and a book. If we are to draw one inference from the name Cista exemplariorum, then the ambiguity of the term allows us to draw another: that the Chest had been a repository of "original" documents or precedents until 1347, when it was ordered that munimenta et carta should be kept in a new chest which became known as the Cista quattuor clavium. When a second inference from the name is possible, the first cannot carry weight in an argument for the existence of a "pecia system."

It seems to me that the surviving evidence for the existence of a "pecia system" for disseminating copies of texts for the higher faculties in Oxford under the control of the University is inconclusive. There is no doubt that learned books were just as likely to be copied from distributed quires as any other book that was needed urgently; the cost of five scribes was no greater than for one when the unit of payment was the quire whether of exemplar or copy. There is no evidence that the University exercised any licensing powers over exemplars, other than those imposed upon it in 1409. The use of the term pecia was not restricted exclusively to describe gatherings in books from which copies were produced for members of the higher faculties to use in the course of any academic exercise. The hiring of exemplars was not confined to stationers, and there is no conclusive evidence that the University kept exemplaria librorum in a chest set aside exclusively for the purpose. Perhaps the strongest argument against the operation of a pecia system administered by the University at Oxford is that, whereas Destrez reported that he had identified thirty exemplars and nearly a thousand manuscripts with pecianotes, a total of only thirteen of those with pecia notes can be associated with Oxford. The notion of a "peciasystem" at Oxford is derived from Destrez's interpretation of the Paris evidence, which has itself recently been called into question.

However, it may well be that the Dominican and Franciscan convents in Oxford kept a standard copy of a work for use as an exemplar, and divided it into numbered peciae to facilitate copying. Balliol College, MS 62, contains a copy of Richard Rufus (OFM), Lecturae Oxoniensis super libros i-iii sententiarum: the quires are described as "peciae," and numbered in three separate series which correspond with the division of the contents according to three books of the sentences. Oxford, Lincoln College, MS lat. 113, containing the Sermons of Guy d'Evreux (OP), was copied in Oxford, and is one of the very few surviving manuscripts of that text in pecia. Copying from friars' manuscripts was not confined to members of those orders. In the mid-fourteenth century John of Beverley (of Durham College) deposited a Durham book (now Durham Cathedral, C I 20)-a copy of Hugutio, with the Oxford Franciscans as a pledge for the loan of a copy of the Expositio super Apocalipsim of Abbot Joachim. Since the Hugutio is now back at Durham it is likely that the Joachim was borrowed for copying. Merton College, MS 205 (Tabula septem custodiarum), has a note of s.xiv/xv to the effect that the copy had been corrected against the "originale" in the Franciscan convent at Oxford.

R. H. Rouse has recently pointed to evidence of the very close connexion between the Dominicans of St. Jacques in Paris with the stationers' shop of the Sens family close to the Convent in the rue St. Jacques, to evidence which connects some of the earliest pecia copies from Paris with that shop, and to the predominance of Dominican texts among the earliest pecia copies. He suggests that the Dominicans may have played a major rôle in the initial development of the pecia system. Manuscripts associated with Oxford which have pecia notes include commentaries of Hugh of St. Cher (OP), Thomas Aquinas (OP), Nicholas Gorran (OFM) and Guy d'Evreux (OP). One of these manuscripts is particularly interesting. New College MS 116 (Aquinas, in i sententiarum) s.xiv in., was copied on Oxford parchment by two scribes (one of whom wrote in a foreign hand) and was decorated by Oxford artists. A study of the text by Edward Booth has revealed that the manuscript was produced by thepecia method from an exemplar in forty-one peciae apparently produced by the pecia system in Paris, and that this exemplar was also the source of the whole "English Tradition" of this text. It is not impossible that New College MS 116 was copied from this "Paris" exemplar in or for the Oxford convent, and that the foreign scribe was a member of the order from overseas who was studying at the convent. It is certainly tempting to speculate that, whereas the Dominicans may have influenced initial developments of the pecia system in Paris, if they introduced the pecia system into Oxford, for some reason it never caught on.

What provision did the University make for those who wished to borrow or consult books? Without adequate funds at its disposal the University took no initiative to provide access to books for its members until its interest in such a possibility was aroused by events. In 1320 Thomas de Cobham, bishop of Worcester, a former member of the University, who had been one of the conservators of the privileges of the Orders of Friars Minor and Friars Preachers in England, provided money for the erection of a congregation house for the University, with a room above it on the north side of St. Mary's Church. He intended that his books should pass to the University at his death, and that they should be chained on desks in this upper room, available for consultation by scholars of the University under certain specified conditions.

Unfortunately, at his death in 1327 his intentions could not be realized. The building had not been completed, and the books were sold by his executors to Adam de Brome in order to meet their expenses. Brome was rector of St. Mary's, and provost of Oriel College which he had founded the year before in 1326. Brome agreed that the scholars of his new college would say the prayers requested by the executors for the bishop's soul, and had the books brought to Oxford and installed in the College. This aroused strong opposition in the University. According to the account written by a later provost of Oriel, William de Daventre, in 1337 or thereabouts the Proctor accompanied by a great crowd removed the books from Oriel College by force in the name of the University. In 1367 the University decreed that the books should be installed as Cobham had intended in the room that he had planned for them, and that scholars might have access to them at appropriate times. The dispute between the University and the College was not settled until 1410, when Archbishop Arundel paid to Oriel (his old College) the sum of £50 from his own pocket to redeem the amount which Brome had paid for the books 83 years previously. The College relinquished all its claims, and the library was opened two years later. It remained in use until it was replaced by the present Duke Humfrey's Library in 1487.

Once the institution had been established the University exerted itself to attract donations. By far the most important gifts, and those with the most far-reaching consequences, were those of Humfrey Duke of Gloucester: 9 books in 1435, 120 books in 1439, 10 in 1441, and 135 in 1443-44.

Such donations inevitably led to some reorganization of the University's collection. After the Duke's second gift in 1439 the University decreed that a new register be made and deposited in the Chest of the Five Keys. In 1453-54 other books in the library were being chained, and a new desk was provided at the University's expense. In 1458 the keys to the desks were in the hands of a Proctor while books were being rearranged or transferred. At some stage the books were labelled and allocated a press-mark.

Not all the books were "confined to the library." In 1439 the University also decreed that all books on the seven liberal sciences and the three philosophies should be kept in a chest of that name in the custody of the guardian of the library, and might be borrowed by masters of arts actually lecturing on those subjects, and that principals of halls might borrow them for the convenience of their pupils if no one was lecturing. However, Duke Humfrey's gifts attracted considerable attention, and "throngs" of readers consulted them in the library. In 1451 the University's Registrar, John Mannyngham, was given permission to have an undergraduate copy for him "certain necessary matter" in the library. In order to protect the books from the studencium pluralitas importuna the University had ruled that no one should be admitted to the library until they had completed eight years of study.

Without Bishop Cobham's gift of a congregation house which gave the University a place of its own with accommodation for books on a central site, it could not be expected to provide them for the use of its members. (It was only after the completion of the Congregation House that this University was able to accommodate the various loan chests, and the chests containing its muniments on a site of its own. Prior to 1327 the chests had been kept at St. Frideswide's.) Unlike the members of the orders of friars who were expected to move around the province, the members of the University were concentrated in Oxford, but unlike those of a college, they were scattered about the town and there were more of them. The University needed to have its books chained (as a sign of corporate ownership) on desks in a common place (in communi libraria universitatis) where individuals could consult them, and to have a custodian in attendance, who could supervise access and administer the collection. In order to provide a book service the University had to adopt a principle different from that which had been introduced into Oxford by the friars, and which had dominated the managment of the colleges' collections. Whereas the friars had distinguished between corporate ownership on the one hand and possession and use by individuals on the other, the University had to maintain both corporate ownership and corporate possession, and to use its corporate legislative power to limit the rights of individuals to access and use.

In some ways the time was opportune for this change. During the second half of the fourteenth century the number of scholars at Oxford began to decline seriously, and in the fifteenth century there were at times surprisingly few regents (in 1456-57 only twenty-seven men incepted as masters of arts, whereas the number of volumes available, both old and new, increased. The new facility could operate better with more books and fewer readers, and it is easier to legislate for small numbers than for large ones, and to discipline them. In the fifteenth century individuals were beginning to regard libraries as charitable objects worthy of attention, although, to judge from the wording of the University's letters of thanks, the size and scope of Duke Humfrey's gifts must have come as something of a surprise. This benefaction gave new impetus to the University's efforts to maintain and enrich its collection, and its special relationship with the donor whom it regarded as its principal protector promoted initiatives in the development of library management and security.

The adoption of the principle of corporate ownership and corporate possession with access for readers also produced problems of accommodation familiar to librarians ever since-space for books as the collections grew, and space for the increasing number of readers who wanted to use them. There was considerable pressure on the accommodation afforded by Bishop Cobham's Library as readers crowded each other at the desks, and got in each other's way, and the University proposed to Duke Humfrey that the collection be housed in the building of the new Divinity School then under construction in a library to be named after him. However, the Duke died in 1447 before the new building was much further advanced. The University mounted a most strenuous fundraising campaign which ultimately succeeded in attracting large benefactions. The Divinity School and Duke Humfrey's Library were completed in 1487, and the Library was open to readers almost exactly five hundred years ago, in May 1488. In these developments we can see the beginnings of book provision for scholars in the sense in which we understand it today.


A note on select printed sources

This lecture is extracted from a chapter intended for the forthcoming second volume of The History of the University of Oxford, edited by J. I. Catto (the first volume, which appeared in 1984, deals with the early Oxford schools to 1400).

The principal source for the history of the University's members is A. B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to AD 1500 (Oxford, 1957-59), and the source for its constitution and legislation is Statuta universitatis Oxoniensis, ed. S. Gibson (Oxford, 1931) (replacing Munimenta academica, ed. H. Anstey, Rolls Series [London, 1868]). A valuable, entertaining and well-informed introduction is W. A. Pantin, Oxford Life in Oxford Archives (Oxford, 1972). On the book trade in Oxford see Graham Pollard, "The University and the Book Trade in Medieval Oxford, "Beiträge zum Berufsbewusstsein des mittelalterlichen MenschenMiscellanea Mediaevalia, iii (1968), 336-44; idem, Appendix III to The Register of Congregation 1448-1463, ed. W. A. Pantin and W. T. Mitchell, Oxford Historical Soc., New series, xxii (1972), 419-20. Humbert of Romans's account of the duties of the librarius is printed in Humberti de Romanis opera de vita regulari, ed. J. J. Berthier (Rome, 1889), ii, 263-66; and is discussed together with the history of book provision in the order by W. A. Hinnebusch, The History of the Dominican Order, ii (New York, 1973), esp. 191-230. The classic accounts of the pecia system are by J. Destrez, La Pecia (Paris, 1935) with facsimiles of MSS Lincoln Coll. lat. 113 and New Coll. 116, and Graham Pollard, "The Pecia System in the Medieval Universities," in Medieval ScribesManuscripts & Libraries, Essays presented to N. R. Ker, ed. M. B. Parkes and A. G. Watson (London, 1978), pp. 145-61; but revision is needed in the light of a forthcoming article by R. H. Rouse. Fundamental studies by N. R. Ker of the College and University libraries are reprinted in N. R. Ker, Books, Collectors and Libraries, Studies in the Medieval Heritage, ed. A. G. Watson (London, [1985]); other important sources are to be found in E M. Powicke, The Medieval Books ofMerton College (Oxford, 1931); Merton College, Injunctions of Archbishop Kilwardby, [ed. H. W. Garrod] (Oxford, 1929); R. W. Hunt, "The Manuscript Collections of University College, Oxford, origins and growth,"Bodleian Library Record, iii (1950), 13-34; idem, "The Medieval Library" in New College Oxford1379-1979, ed. J. Buxton and P. Williams (Oxford, 1979), pp. 317-45. On the early University Library see F Madan, "Bishop Cobham's Library," Bodleian Quarterly Record, vi (1929), 50-51; T. G. Jackson, The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Oxford (Oxford, 1897). Daventre's account of the dispute between Oriel College and the University over Bishop Cobham's books is printed in Oriel College Records, ed. C. L. Shadwell and H. E. Salter, Oxford Historical Soc., lxxxv (1926). The University's correspondence concerning Duke Humfrey's gifts, and the appeal leading to the foundation of the new library which bears his name is printed in Epistolae academicae Oxoniensis, ed. H. Anstey, Oxford Historical Soc., xxxvi (1898). On the building and furnishing of Duke Humfrey's Library in 1488 see J. N. L. Myres, "Recent Discoveries in the Bodleian Library," Archaeologia, ci (1967), 151-68.

*©M. B. Parkes. The University of Rochester Library Bulletin affirms that the author, not the Bulletin, retains the copyright on this essay.


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