Happy Birthday to Us!!!

9781108075299fc3dYes, 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.


Henry VIII

Henry VIII

... and the Letters Patent

… and the Letters Patent


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!

The cake ...

The cake. Photo credit: Robert Drew



This entry was posted in Cambridge, Printing and Publishing History and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Happy Birthday to Us!!!

  1. Happy Birthday CLC! Thank you for bringing so many great books back to life. I’ve got a fair few sitting on my shelves at home. I look forward to more great titles.

    I hope the CLC birthday cake is iced in a suitable yellow, with red, green, and blue candles!

  2. Susi says:

    Happy birthday to CLC from MusicB3! WE look forward to lots more goodies in the next five years!

  3. Pingback: Cake | Cambridge Library Collection Blog

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