Birth of Sir Thomas Bodley

Posted in Anniversary, Institutions, Literature on Saturday, 19 February 2011

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2 March marks the anniversary of the birth of diplomat and bibliophile Sir Thomas Bodley in 1545.

picture, Sir Thomas Bodley, Bodleian Library, portrait

A portrait of Sir Thomas Bodley, after whom the Bodleian Library is named

Born in Exeter, he was educated in Europe and at Magdalen College, Oxford, and became a lecturer in Ancient Greek at Merton College, Oxford. After touring abroad, he became an MP and diplomat.

His greatest achievement, however, was the founding of the Bodleian Library. An earlier library gifted to the university had been stripped and abandoned during the Reformation. One of Bodley’s innovations was an agreement with the Stationer’s Company to send the library a copy of every book entered in their Register – the beginning of the legal deposit libraries system.

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