Henley Parish Library
A parish library collection from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, searchable via the catalogue. The collection was bequeathed to the parish by Dr Charles Aldrich (1681-1737), Rector of Henley-on-Thames. Miscellaneous additions were made thereafter.
All but three of the books were published before 1851, though some are imperfect and unidentified. Only half of the works are of theological, devotional or biblical subject matter. The rest are about geography, history and voyages (including De Bry, India orientalis, 1598-1612); science and mathematics (including Archimedes, Copernicus, Flamsteed); classics, philosophy, law, literature, art or architecture.
A period of neglect in the second half of the 1800s led to some 250 works being transferred to Christ Church, Oxford in 1909, for safe keeping, and a further 9, in 1942. Many of Aldrich’s books were originally Christ Church ‘duplicates’ obtained under the provisions of the will of his uncle Dean Henry Aldrich (see P Morgan, Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian (1972), p. 30-1). The residue of about 475 volumes, many in poor condition, was transferred to Reading University Library in 1957 on permanent deposit. The collection has been extensively restored with the help of a grant from an anonymous donor.
- There is also a manuscript catalogue of the collection available at Special Collections, MS 411.
- A. Edwards, ‘Manuscript catalogue of Henley Parish Library’, Library history, 1, no 6 (Autumn 1969), p. 216-7.
- Directory of parochial libraries: England and Wales. Bibliographical Society, 2004
- Read Featured Item articles on items from this collection: on Adrea Pozzo’s Rules and examples of perspective proper for painters and architects, Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia universalis (1650), and Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus (1566).