‘Particles of light’: the legacy of Henry Bradshaw

A conference celebrating 150 years since Henry Bradshaw’s appointment as University Librarian at Cambridge

4 December 2017

Milstein Room, Cambridge University Library

‘Books are to me as living organisms, and I can only study them as such; so every particle of light which I can obtain as to their personal history is so much positive gain.’
Henry Bradshaw to J.T. Fowler, 1883, CUL MS Add. 2592/732

Henry Bradshaw was elected University Librarian in March 1867. In his nineteen years in office before his untimely death in 1886 at the age of fifty-five, he transformed Cambridge University Library’s collections and, through his important contributions to scholarship, laid the foundations for modern codicological and bibliographical methods. Above all, he is remembered for giving freely of his knowledge and time to others. This conference celebrates 150 years since Bradshaw’s appointment as University Librarian and the illuminating ‘particles of light’ that his scholarship shone on the study of manuscripts and early printed books.

The conference will be held in the Milstein Room at Cambridge University Library, with lunch in the Saltmarsh Rooms at King’s College (Bradshaw’s rooms). There will be displays of material relating to Bradshaw in both King’s College Library and the University Library.


9:00 Registration

9:30 Welcome
Mark Purcell, Deputy Director (Research Collections)
Dr Jessica Gardner, University Librarian (video)

9:40 Keynote
Professor David McKitterick, ‘Bradshaw as University Librarian’

10:15 Session 1 (Chair: Dr Suzanne Paul)
Dr Arnold Hunt, ‘Commemorating Bradshaw: G.W. Prothero’s  Memoir of Henry Bradshaw(1888)’
Peter Jones, ‘Henry Bradshaw and the manuscripts at King’s’

11:25 Tea/coffee

11:50 Session 2 (Chair: Dr Suzanne Reynolds)
Professor Richard Beadle, ‘Bradshaw’s Chaucer: sources for an estimate’
Dr Lotte Hellinga, ‘Henry Bradshaw and incunabula’

13:00 Lunch at King’s College (Saltmarsh Rooms) and display in King’s College Library

14:40 Session 3 (Chair: Professor Susan Rankin)
Professor Paul Russell, ‘”Something of a more congenial nature”: Bradshaw, Old Breton, and the editing of Celtic glossed texts’
Dr Nicolas Bell, ‘Henry Bradshaw and the study of liturgical books’

15:50 Closing remarks
Professor Richard Beadle

16:00 Tea/coffee; display of books and manuscripts curated by Liam Sims


Booking is now open at http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/university-library/particles-of-light-the-legacy-of-henry-bradshaw/particles-of-light-the-legacy-of-henry-bradshaw.

  • £30 Standard
  • £20 Students

Booking closes 22 November 2017.


Please contact the co-convenors Dr Jill Whitelock (jw330@cam.ac.uk) or Liam Sims (ls457@cam.ac.uk).


The conference is sponsored by Bernard Quaritch Ltd.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.