Household Books Published in Britain: V1 - 1475-1700 (LH)


Entries take the form of headings, titles, imprints, description, locations, notes, and citations. In each of these the information is laid out in a way discussed below.


Headings usually consist of the name of the writer and are listed in alphabetical order. Where no writer's name, actual or assumed, can be found the work is entered under the title. Such title entries consist of the short-title, omitting the article if there is one, and are included in the same alphabetical sequence as the writers' names.

  1. The author's name is normally taken from the title-page or a signed preface.
  2. When a work is published under an author's initials, and the full name of the author is not known, the initials are used for the main heading.
  3. If a writer wrote under a pseudonym, or pseudonyms, the entries are placed under the actual name if this is more commonly known, and the initiating writer is noted, where possible, in the Notes. For example, for Macer's Herbal: Sourced from BLC. [Macer: pseudo. ie Odo a Physician]
  4. If the actual name is not known or is conjectured, the entry is under the pseudonym and the heading is followed by a reference to the initiating writer's name. J., W. (Gent) [Elizabeth Grey]
  5. If a writer's name is not cited on the title-page or in the book, but there is scholarly evidence to indicate a particular writer, the book is cited under the title of the book with the writer's name following in square brackets. Natura Exenterata [Alethea Talbot]
  6. A translated work is listed under the translating writer's name, where possible.
  7. The main heading for works written either in conjunction or in clearly defined parts by two or more writers is listed alphabetically under the first actual name to be cited on the title-page, unless the work was commonly known under the name of one of the other writers.
  8. If a work has two or more writers but the first cited name on the title-page is an anonymous person or institutional body, the main entry occurs under the first-cited actual name.


Transcriptions of titles are provided for all editions that have been seen. Sometimes the bibliographer has given a title transcription for an edition she has not seen, which may derive from another bibliographic source. In these cases the source is cited in the Notes section.

All first editions or first entries of a work, whether transcriptions or not, are full-out across the page. All subsequent editions are preceded by a dash.

Titles are transcribed from the title-page, maintaining the original spelling and punctuation. The publisher's differentiation between upper and lower case has not usually been preserved. Instead, transcriptions are given in the lower case, except for the initial word of the title, proper and place names, and titles of other books within the transcription. These last have all their main words capitalised in order to make the title stand out clearly, and not be confused with the text of surrounding transcription. Line endings are indicated by a single vertical bar. Additional material on the title-page such as a quotation, is not usually included, but may be noted in the comments.

  1. If a title is the same as that of a preceding edition, reference to that edition is noted within square brackets:
    [title as 1656]
    [Title as second edition]
  2. If a title of a book is the same as that of a preceding edition except for the addition of a small number of words those words are placed in square brackets with the date of the preceding edition]. A Choice Manual [as 1656…] Eleventh edition
  3. Where the complete title of a book has not been found, titles are indicated as found in source information, and the source is cited in the Notes. These occur in the following forms.
    1. when sources provide a transcription, that transcription is rendered as the title.
    2. when sources indicate that the work is different from other editions, but there is no further definite information about the edition number or date: Another edition
    3. when sources indicate that the work is a specific edition: Another edition, second
    4. when sources indicate that the work was published in a specific year: Another edition, 1561


Imprint information consists of four fields. The first is a recording that represents rather than transcribes the information on the title-page or colophon, the second records the publisher, the third records the printer, and the fourth records the date of printing where known.

  1. The first field of Imprint information begins with the place of publication, or if this is not indicated, with the place of printing, and is followed by the publisher and the date of publication in arabic numerals. At London / Printed by I.R. for Edward White, and are / to be solde at his shoppe, at the little North doore of / Paules Church, at the signe of the Gunne / 1598.
  2. When two or more places of publication occur on the title-page, both or all are provided.
  3. The second field of Imprint information is the Publisher: Publisher information, for example 'Edward White', is derived primarily from the title-page imprint or the colophon, and sometimes from alternative sources.
  4. If a work is 'printed for the author' and there is no other printer or publisher, the author is taken as the publisher.
  5. The third field of Imprint information is the Printer: Printer information, for example 'I.R.', is derived primarily from the title-page imprint or the colophon, and sometimes from alternative sources.
  6. The fourth field of Imprint information is the Date:
    1. If the date appears in the imprint information it is also included in the Date field.
    2. If sources indicate a series of other dated editions, this is recorded in the Notes field: Other editions: 1584: L; 1591: Bod; 1594: BL; 1587: L
    3. If the only book to have been found is not the first edition, the first known date of publication is indication with the date of the described edition following in brackets: 1594 [1653]
    4. If no date appears on the title-page but has been found elsewhere in the volume, the date is placed in brackets: [1651]
    5. If the date of an edition has been conjectured, it is followed by a question mark and enclosed in brackets: [1651?]
    6. If the date of an edition is known to have been around a specific date, this is indicated: c 1652


The description section includes bibliographic information which follows the pattern: collation, measurement, pagination. The information is presented in an abbreviated manner using the signs and symbols identified in 'Abbreviations' (see below). Collation: Books that have been seen have, wherever possible (and with Library and/or owner permission) been examined to determine the format of the sheets, and the sequence of gatherings.

Measurement: Width of the leaves is the first recorded dimension, and is followed by the height of the leaves. The measurements are given to the nearest half centimetre, but this can only be a rough guide. Since the dimensions are determined by the extent to which the leaves have been trimmed (at times through successive bindings), the leaves of any one volume may have been trimmed unevenly and different copies of the same edition may vary in size. It should also be noted that paper is a hydroscopic material which will expand or contract depending upon the relative humidity of the environment.

Pagination: The first page of a book is considered to be the recto side of the first leaf with any print on either side. The last page of the book is considered to be the last printed page of the book.

  1. In general the listing of pagination follows the printer's enumeration, and where necessary commas are inserted into the pagination for clarity.
  2. Publisher's advertisements are included in the pagination, being followed by 'publ ads'. This abbreviation occurs at the end of a run of numbers and refer to all the numbers within that run which have been marked off by commas.
  3. Those parts of the work without pagination are noted in square brackets. In most cases the numbers in square brackets follow the pattern set by the publisher. If there is no established scheme, that is if the entire book or whole sections of it are unpaginated, the unnumbered pages are enumerated according to the general plan of text in arabic and opening and closing material in small roman.


The library holding the copy which was examined for the bibliographic information and from which the title-page transcription was taken, is denoted within the location line. Any notes in the comments section refer to the copy in the asterisked library unless the bibliographer indicates otherwise.

The abbreviations for British libraries have been devised according to the rules followed by Symbols of American libraries for libraries within the United States, and are listed in 'Abbreviations'. Within the location line these libraries are recorded in the alphabetical order of their abbreviations. For the United States, the primary source of locations is the National union catalog, whose abbreviations are taken from Symbols of American libraries, which is also the source for abbreviations for libraries not included in the National union catalog.

If a book listed in a library catalogue was not found on the shelf, 'missing' follows the library abbreviation. In the case of a book recorded in the British Museum catalogue but now destroyed (many books were lost during World War II), 'destroyed' follows 'LB' for British Library. Microfilm copies of books are indicated by 'micro' in the Notes. If the location of the original book from which the microfilm was made is known, the abbreviation for that location follows 'micro'; for example, 'LB micro OB' indicates that the British Library holds a microfilm of a book in the Bodleian Library.


The Notes section compiles several kinds of information that may be of interest to the reader. First comes the Source, if any material is taken from a source that has not been seen by the bibliographer. The source named is wherever possible followed by the medium in which the book if found, if that medium is not a printed book.

  1. Sourced from: Sourced from World CAT This may be followed by additional information from the Source: World CAT note: 1534 [i.e. Anno. M.D. XXXIX [1539]]
  2. The Notes section often provides information about the Contents to the book:
    1. Contents: An early example of the Sanitatis genre.
    2. Table: Table on Bb vi has been hand paginated and numbers written in.
    3. Address [to the Patron, Printer, Buyer, Reader]: [A4v] Address: Preface to the reader, this edition purged of 'missounding termes' I. R.
    4. Dedication: [A3] Dedication: to Maister Henry Jackman (I.R. 1598).
    5. Quotation: From F5: A breve or shorte monyction or counseyle of the care and gouernance of a householde / accor= dying unto policy. Taken out of a pystle of a greate lerned man / called Bernade Sylvestre / & put among the workes of Saint Barnarde for because that many done … and thynke it was his owne werke. Set forther by the same brother.
  3. The Notes section also provides information about Illustration and Typography, that use the Abbreviations extensively. For example, 'frontis' = frontispiece.
    1. Has frontis + tailpiece woodcut + one woodcut to Galien.
    2. Typography in black letter; has been described with 'woodcuts of wonderful animals, mermaids, serpents, birds, quadrepeda with men's and women's heads, a stork with its neck tied in a knot.'
  4. The Notes section also includes sundry pieces of information from research resources relating to Date, or other editions, or initiating writer/ translator, and occasionally to price and/or current binding.
    1. Dated: (5th Mat; 1542). Dedicated to Lord Thomas Cardinal of York, therefore written pre 1533?
    2. (3 editions pre 1560 by William Copland, according to Michael Best & Frank Brightman, eds. of edition 1973, Ox: Claredon; Series of studies in Tudor & Stuart Literature.
    3. This book is a translation form the Dutch, of a book by Jerome Braunschweig, see 1561, Hollbush.

A sample Notes section:

For example, from Leonard Mascall's A booke of the arte and maner

	Tp wood engraved ornament of man grafting trees.
	Table starts at P2 — alphabetical to number of page.
	[A1v]: The booke unto the Reader
	[A2] Dedication: to Sir John Pawlet
	[A4v] Address: To the reader with comments on how farm work is now disdained, 
	      specifically to furtherers of commonwealth
	[B1v]: Table related to number of pages
	Mascall translates from the French of Davy Brossard. Reprinted under his name in 1640.
	Contains a few recipes for wine and the preserving of fruit and nuts. 
	First edition (?) 1569, printed by H. Bynneman for J. Wright. BL: 966.i.22. (1.) 4o 
	Other editions — 1575, 1582. %


The Citations field attempts to record citations to the unique copy of the book present in the main bibliographies relating to the book history of the period: see Wing, and Pollard and Redgrave under 'Frequently Cited Works' and to the libraries with significant holdings of this kind of book from this period, especially the British Library.