It is now possible to search the online James Catalogue by donor. Around 100 donors are named. The earliest significant bequests to the Library came at the beginning of the 17th century from four people: John Whitgift, Master of the College and later Archbishop of Canterbury; Sir Edward Stanhope (a former fellow who also left money in his will of 1603 to support a Librarian and sub-Librarian); Thomas Nevile, another clergyman and Master of the College between 1593 and 1615; and George Wilmer (died 1626). Together they presented about 300 high quality manuscripts and these form the basis of the fine collection Trinity holds today. Many of these manuscripts were saved from monastic libraries at the time of the dissolution; another new facility allows users to search the catalogue by religious house.
Other significant donors to the collection were Thomas and Roger Gale. Thomas Gale amassed a large collection which was presented to the College by his son Roger in 1738. Their bequest constitutes the manuscripts classified under O. Later donors include the poet John Dryden, a former fellow, who bequeathed ten volumes and Sir Henry Puckering whose donation included the famous Milton manuscript (R.3.4).
More about donors to the Library can be found in James’ prefaces to his Catalogue.