Yes, the Cambridge Library Collection is five years old today! After a nine-month gestation period, the infant CLC was launched upon the world on 29 July 2009, with 475 titles. Both the date and the number were dictated by Cambridge University Press’s history: it was 475 years since Henry VIII granted Letters Patent to the university to print ‘all manner of books’ in July 1534.
The baby soon grew, talked (a lot) and walked, and on hitting its fifth birthday has published more than 6,000 titles. [That’s enough infantile analogies.] The books are ‘of enduring scholarly value’, ‘classic paperbacks for modern readers’, or ‘heritage books, selected by scholars and carefully restored for readers worldwide’, depending on which of our straplines you prefer – I like the first (and oldest) one best. They range (as we like to boast) from aesthetics to zoology, via breadfruit, Christianity, Dirichlet, Egyptology, fossils, gardening, history, India, Japan, kitchens, Labrador, mammoths, Napoleon, operations, plague, ratios, queens, Shakespeare, travels, volcanoes, waterways, xenoglossia, and Yuletide, to name but a few.
So, what does the future hold? Just to tantalise you, here are a few upcoming titles:
Hakluytus Posthumus or, Purchas His Pilgrimes, in 20 volumes (the 1906 edition)
A clutch of books on Assyriology, by authors such as Rawlinson, Sayce, Botta and Smith
Palgrave’s three-volume Dictionary of Political Economy (1894–9)
Dickens’s Child’s History of England
Schindler’s Life of Beethoven
Stein’s Ruins of Desert Cathay
Jane Loudon’s Botany for Ladies
And if you don’t fancy any of those, how about the four volumes of Pitra’s Spicilegium solesmense complectens sanctorum patrum scriptorumque ecclesiasticorum anecdota hactenus opera, selecta e graecis orientalibusque et latinis codicibus? Don’t say we don’t cater to all tastes – and here’s to the next five years!
PS, by popular demand (well, sort of – see below), here is the exquisitely crafted and presented birthday cake!