The Papers of Henry Bradshaw

Scope and Content

This collection contains mainly correspondence, with a few papers relating to Bradshaw's work at the University Library and King's College, and a small handful of family papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Bradshaw was born in London on 2nd February 1831. Soon after his birth, the Bradshaw family moved to Hornsey. He was educated at Temple Grove and at Eton, and was admitted to King's on 1st February 1850. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1853, and took a second class degree in the Classical Tripos, graduating in 1854. Bradshaw inherited his father's collection of Irish books in 1845, and began his own collection of rare books while he was at Eton.

After graduation, Bradshaw spent two years in Ireland as a schoolmaster, returning to Cambridge in 1856 to take up the post of Principal Assistant at the University Library. He resigned from this post in 1858, but soon after was re-employed to work on the rare books collections. During this process he rediscovering many lost books, including the Book of Deer. From 1867 Bradshaw was the University Librarian. He was also Dean of King's College from 1857-8 and from 1963-5.

He died suddenly in College on 11 February 1886, and was buried in the Chapel. His private collection of books was donated to the University Library. The Henry Bradshaw Society (founded in 1890 to publish editions and facsimiles of rare liturgical texts) was named in his honour.

For further biograhical details of Henry Bradshaw, the reader is referred to the folowing published work:

G. W. Prothero 'A memoir of Henry Bradshaw' (London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Co., 1888).

Access Information

These papers are available for consultation at King's College, Cambridge, four days a week most of the year, by appointment only. For further details or to make an appointment please email

Acquisition Information

The papers of Henry Bradshaw were presented to King's College in 1889 by his biographer G. W.Prothero. They were listed very briefly on cards at intervals from the mid 1950s onwards and given references Misc. 2.2, 13-15. In 1959, Bradshaw's letters to Frederick Ellis, 1863 - 85, were purchased from Sotheby's and given the reference Misc. 17.15. This full catalogue replaces the card list and assorted references.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright in the writings of Henry Bradshaw is owned by King's College. Please contact the Archivist for more information, at The Archive Centre, King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST.