Early Printed Books

Numbering well over 80,000 items, the early printed books and pamphlets collections make Christ Church one of the largest and richest libraries for research material in England. There has been a steady flow of donations from new graduates and old members since the 1560s onwards. All of these are particularly interesting because here they have remained in their historical context in a building which was originally designed to house them. Many books are unique because Christ Church holds the only copy left, or because they have extensive early annotations by scholars, among whom are John Dee, William Wake, Robert Burton and Michel de Montaigne. We aim to digitize all unique early printed books.


MS 323 (printed bifolium) - A new-years gift for the female sex: : being a mournful sermon ...

The codex in which this pamphlet was found is an autograph manuscript by Archbishop William Wake (1657-1737). The title of the volume (in the Archbishop's handwriting) is Syllabus Authorum qui de Historia Britannia scripserunt. The printed pamphlet was disbound, and its constituent bifolia A2.3 and A1.4 placed between pages 18-19 and pages 22-23 of the codex (in the third run of pagination). The New-Years Gift has been digitized first as it is the only reported copy. For detailed descriptions, please consult the record in SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online).


Wake Arch.Sup.D7 - The Imperial Calendar of the Twenty-Fifth Year of the Yongli Emperor of the Great Ming, the year of Xinhai

Calendar of the Southern Ming dynasty made by the anti-Manchu loyalist regime led by Coxinga and his heirs. This is one of the earliest examples of printing in Taiwan. Currently bound in 18th century Western bindings, the book could have been part of the 50 copies of the same title sent by Zheng Jing as a gift to Henry Dacres, the East India Company's agent in Bantam. The calendars were objects of fascination for European intellectuals such as Elias Ashmole and Robert Boyle, who vaguely realised the books' connection to astrology. For more information, see David Helliwell (Bodleian Library Curator of Chinese Collections) on the Southern Ming calendars. See also 17th Century Chinese Book Identified in Christ Church Library Collections.