Cambridge Bibliographical Society


Our next talk will be on Thursday 19th January at 5.00pm in the Milstein Room at the main University Library. Professor Marc Smith, of the École nationale des chartes in Paris, will speak on Searching for Paper in Cambridge: Import, Use and Manufacture (c. 1450-1560).

Paper historians have long considered the circulation and use of paper stocks mainly as clues leading back to places and dates of production, thus largely neglecting Britain where almost no paper was manufactured before the late sixteenth century. A new survey of virtually all paper documents in Cambridge archives to the mid-sixteenth century shows the local market reflecting shifts in the international paper trade, up to the point when a paper mill was established on the outskirts of the town by an entrepreneur from Strasbourg, Remi Guédon. His business lasted only briefly and many questions remain but a fresh look at the documents and at the paper itself, widely used in the 1550s, clarifies and broadens the picture significantly.

The room will be open from 4.45 and there should be a display of related materials for attendees to view. Could you let me know if you plan to attend (email

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