Lister Manuscripts

Scope and Content

Scientific manuscripts of Lister, including manuscripts on fossils, medicine and shells, with letters, notes and extracts, and copies of works.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr Martin Lister (1638-1712), Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, was physician to Queen Anne, and author of the Historia Conchyliorum (1685-92). He was a considerable benefactor to the Ashmolean Museum. The University of Oxford granted him the degree of Doctor of Medicine by diploma on 5 March 1684, and his name was placed in gold letters over the door of the Library at the Museum as the chief benefactor to it next to Ashmole himself. Details are given in the Dictionary of National Biography.

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Acquisition Information

The collection was transferred to the Library from the Ashmolean Museum in 1860.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, nos. 25229-25274.

Custodial History

Lister bequeathed to the Asmolean Museum all his books and copperplates. Part of his correspondence and perhaps some of his personal papers came to the Museum by the gift of Dr George Fothergill in 1769. In 1694-5 and 1695-6 the Vice-Chancellor's accounts show money paid for the carriage of volumes presented to the Ashmolean by Lister.