Find out about the Petyt Library, one of the cultural wonders of early modern Yorkshire, now housed at the University of York.
Collected by the Yorkshire brothers William and Sylvester Petyt, the Library contains around 2,500 important books, pamphlets and archives. Highlights include 15th-century Bibles, 17th-century atlases, and a 1580s edition of one of the sources for Shakespeare’s history plays.
Join Natasha Glaisyer, Sarah Griffin, Mark Jenner and Helen Smith of the University of York as they introduce the Petyt Library through some of the many fascinating items it contains. Learn how, even though they were successful lawyers in London, the Petyt brothers never forgot their Yorkshire roots and wanted others to have the same opportunities they had. By providing books, they opened up a whole new world to the people of Skipton.
On loan from Skipton Town Council, the Petyt Library moved to a new home at the University of York last year.
About the speakers
Dr Natasha Glaisyer is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department, and a member of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York. Her research interests are in the social, cultural and economic history of 17th and 18th-century Britain. The author of The Culture of Commerce in England, 1660-1720, she is currently writing a book provisionally entitled Venturing Fortunes: A Cultural History of Lotteries in England, 1567-1826.
Sarah Griffin is Rare Books and York Minster Librarian at the University of York. She has worked with unique and distinctive collections for 25 years and her research interests are in the History of the Book, in particular provincial printing.
Dr Mark Jenner is a Reader in the History Department, the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York. Mark is also the University's Research Theme Champion for Culture and Communication. He works on the social and cultural history of early modern England and on the social history of medicine. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Social History of Medicine and Urban History.
Professor Helen Smith is Director of the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at the University of York. Her research interests embrace Renaissance poetry, drama, and prose; history of the book; feminist literary history and theory; conversion; the Bible; the history of reading; and materiality. Her first book, Grossly Material Things: Women and Book Production in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012), was awarded the Roland H. Bainton Literature Prize, awarded by the Sixteenth-Century Society and Conference, and the DeLong Book History Prize, awarded by the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, in 2013.