The 2019 Oxford Traherne summer studentships in early printed books

      The Oxford Traherne summer studentships in early printed books

We have unfortunately not been able to offer the studentships in 2020-22, because of Covid-19, but we hope to run this popular scheme again in 2023.

Our two summer students in 2019 were Isla Dawson (Jesus College, Oxford) and Lewis Roberts (Magdalen College, Oxford), both second-year undergraduates. They completed a highly successful programme of practical activities and research designed to introduce them to the many skills and disciplines involved in the study, care, and conservation of early printed books. Some of their comments on their experience can be found below.


Lewis Roberts writes:

Taking part in the Oxford Traherne Studentship has taught me a great deal both about early-modern books and about research generally. I particularly enjoyed spending time in the college libraries, searching out hidden treasures and speaking to the librarians about documents which are not catalogued and which often go unnoticed. The structure of the studentship meant that I never felt out of my depth and a new skill learnt in the morning was often put into practice the same afternoon as my research progressed. Simultaneously undertaking an independent research project and a taught course of study meant that I learnt as much from my own mistakes as I did from the brilliant people who were teaching us.


My research project centred on book prices in the late 17th century. I enjoyed being able to combine quantitative research and my literary interests to produce some really interesting findings. The most rewarding element of the Studentship was being able to move from what I now realise was a rather sparse knowledge of early-printed books to having produced my own research paper which forms a real contribution to the Oxford Traherne project. All the staff we worked with were brilliant and couldn’t have been more helpful or happy to answer questions. There were a huge range of activities from creating our own hand-pressed engravings to exploring my own college’s special collections. It has been a very enjoyable and educational experience which I will be able to use for my dissertation and further study. I would recommend the Studentship heartily.


Isla Dawson writes:

The Traherne studentship has given me so much practical knowledge of early printed books that I can apply to my degree work, as well as being the 3-week highlight of my summer. Every library team has been immensely friendly and instructive in allowing us to use Oxford’s special collections libraries, and I am grateful to be able to contribute something to the Traherne foundation in the form of my research project.


The Oxford Traherne is grateful to the following organizations for their support of the scheme in 2019:

The Bodleian LibrariesCentre for the Study of the Book and Rare Books staff; Balliol College LibraryThe Oxford Conservation ConsortiumThe Queen’s College LibraryThe Strawberry PressVisual Geometry Group, Engineering ScienceWorcester College Library