Since its foundation in 1602, the Bodleian Library has acquired manuscripts, printed books, maps, music and ephemera in all languages, from all ages and from all corners of the globe. From this huge collection David Vaisey, former Bodley's Librarian and Keeper of the University Archives, has selected over one hundred treasures that have a story to tell. Many of these treasures are well-loved around the world and include Jane Austen's manuscript for 'The Watsons', Shelley's notebooks, a map of Narnia illustrated by C.S. Lewis and the original 'Wind in the Willows' manuscript. Others are known for their beauty and historical value, such as the thirteenth-century Douce Apocalypse, the Magna Carta and the Gutenberg Bible. Many items hold poignant stories, like the little book hand-written by the eleven-year-old girl who would later become Queen Elizabeth I, given as a New Year present in 1545 to the third of her stepmothers, Katherine Parr. Using a simple and accessible chronological structure, together with detailed illustrations, this bibliophile's delight showcases the beauty and knowledge contained within the Bodleian Library's renowned collections.
David Vaisey CBE was Bodley's Librarian from 1986 to 1996 and formerly Keeper of Western Manuscripts and Keeper of the University Archives. He is an Emeritus Fellow of Exeter College and an Honorary Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford.