The Country House Library
On 22 February, Mark Purcell delivered this term’s Arrol Adam lecture, on ‘The Country House Library’.
Mark Purcell, Deputy Director of the Research Collections at Cambridge University Library and a Bye-Fellow of Pembroke College, explored the rise and heyday of country house book collections, with many illustrations from his 2016 book The Country House Library (Yale University Press).
These libraries were not merely for show, and many of them were profoundly scholarly, assembled with meticulous care, and frequently used for intellectual pursuits. His talk explained the personalities of the owners and librarians who created and maintained these collections, the nature and form of the acquisition process, the design of library architecture, and the care (and neglect) of collections.
The Arrol Adam Lectures
The Arrol Adam Lectures were set up in memory of William Arrol Adam, who read Chemistry at Fitzwilliam House in 1905 and died in 1939. It was the stated intention of the bequest, made in 1962 by his widow Jane Wylie Adam, to disseminate knowledge, promote discussion of issues of general interest and concern and to foster the use of plain and simple English.