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Additions to the Library of William Dowsing (1596-1668): A Reformation Tract Volume Reassembled

Dunstan Roberts (notes)

Abstract

This article identifies several volumes from the library of the seventeenth-century puritan William Dowsing (1596-1668). Dowsing is primarily known for the campaign of iconoclasm which he conducted in East Anglia between late 1643 and 1644 and for the journal in which he kept a detailed record of these activities. This aspect of his life has been a long-standing object of scholarly interest. More recently, the work of John Morrill has revealed that Dowsing owned a sizeable collection of books and annotated many of them. We find, amongst surviving volumes, evidence of the thoroughness of his reading and the strength of his religious convictions.

This article contributes to this work by identifying three books from Dowsing's library (two of them from the British Library, the other from Balliol College, Oxford) which originally comprised a single volume of tracts and, by using the marginalia contained in these volumes, to identify further texts which were familiar to Dowsing and which he probably owned.

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