Dr Toby Burrows' new book launched 10th Oct

Dr Toby Burrows' new book launched 10th Oct

Oxford e-Research Centre Senior Researcher Dr Toby Burrows has edited and contributed two essays to a new book on the individuals who devoted their lives to amassing significant collections of books, manuscripts, artworks and culturally significant objects.

Dr Burrows is a historian and librarian with research interests in medieval studies, the history of cultural heritage collections, and the history of manuscripts.

He directs the Digging into Data project "Mapping Manuscript Migrations", which is being hosted at the Centre from 2017 to 2019. The project is bringing together the records of more than 500,000 European Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts which are spread all over the world in diverse library, museum and gallery collections.

The book, ‘Collecting the Past’, features the latest research on a wide range of significant British collectors from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, including Hans Sloane, Sarah Sophia Banks, Thomas Phillipps, Sydney Cockerell, Alfred Chester Beatty and R. E. Hart, as well as Americans like J. P. Morgan Jr.

Dr Burrows has contributed two chapters, one with co-editor Cynthia Johnston – an introduction to manuscript and book collecting in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries – and another taking a fresh look at Sir Thomas Phillipps, whose collection of 60,000 manuscripts and 50,000 books led to him being described as 'the greatest book collector of modern times'.

“Collectors like Phillipps, and the others discussed in our book, are fascinating”, says Dr Burrows, “because of the way they managed to turn their obsessions into a lasting achievement of great cultural and social significance.”

Published by Routledge, the book should appeal to researchers, academics and postgraduate students engaged in the study of museum studies, book history, manuscript studies, museum history, library history and the history of collecting.

The book was launched on Wednesday 10 October at Senate House in London.