Cambridge University Library: Supplement to the Manuscripts Catalogue

Scope and Content

'A supplement to the printed catalogue of the manuscripts in the publick library', possibly compiled by T. Parne.

Administrative / Biographical History

Thomas Parne (1694-1751) was educated at Bedford School, before matriculating at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1714, where he became a scholar in 1717, and fellow in 1720 (B.A., 1718; M.A., 1721; B.D., 1729; D.D., 1739). He was University librarian, 1734-1751, and chaplain to King George II, 1744-1751. Parne died on 11 July 1751.

The first home of Cambridge University Library was at the buildings now known as the 'Old Schools', developed during the fifteenth century. In its early years the Library was under the superintendence of the University Chaplain; the first librarian was appointed in 1577, and the first regulations for the Library's administration were drawn up five years later. Until the bequest of Tobias Rustat in 1666, the Library had no income for purchasing books, relying instead on gifts and bequests. The Library was granted the right to claim a copy of every work published in the United Kingdomby the Licensing Acts of 1662-1679 and 1685-1695, and by the Copyright Act of 1709 and successive Acts, although this privilege was not fully exploited until the nineteenth century. The Library moved to the present building, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, in 1934.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

No record of accession.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Thomas Parne in John Venn and J.A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part I, Vol. III (Cambridge University Press, 1924), p. 312.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.