John Dee’s Library Catalogue

John Dee, Trinity College Add.P.435

John Dee (1527-1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary, and model for Shakespeare’s Prospero, owned one of the most significant private libraries in Elizabethan England. A fine facsimile of the Trinity College, Cambridge manuscript O.4.20 – John Dee’s Library Catalogue – was originally published by the Bibliographical Society in 1990 and edited by Julian Roberts and Andrew G. Watson. Unfortunately, this edition, which also included a complete list of Dee’s printed books, has been out of print for some years. In 2009 Roberts and Watson published their latest update online via the Bibliographical Society’s website. It describes the current location of further items included in Dee’s catalogue with additional useful interpretation.

As part of its ongoing manuscript digitization project, and in the hope of further assisting researchers interested in Dee, Trinity has made a virtual manuscript of John Dee’s library catalogue publicly available.

O.4.20, p.100-101

Furthermore, a major exhibition of books owned by John Dee is planned by the Library of the Royal College of Physicians, London, during the first half of 2016.


3 thoughts on “John Dee’s Library Catalogue

  1. I agree with Ed and would find it very helpful to have a digital copy of the Roberts’ catalogue online for searching purposes. We’ve recently discovered another Dee-owned book in Middle Temple Library- Poetica Horatiana, by G.B. Pigna, 1561.

  2. deathsigil

    Last year I was at the Folger Shakespeare Library and Dee’s copy of the Ficino edition of De Mysteriis was only listed in the card catalogue and not their digital one. The one in the on-line catalogue was a later edition. This gave rise to some confusion as I brought it to their attention. Subsequently, they have rectified the matter and they may be digitizing the book in its entirety now. This matter was discovered due in part to my having consulted Robert’s and Watson’s Catalogue. I do agree, it would be immensely helpful to have a digital version of it available in order to facilitate speedy access and cross-referencing not just for individual researches but for institutions.

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