John Spencer ca.1610-80

From Book Owners Online

John SPENCER ca.1610-80

Biographical Note

Son of Robert Spencer of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, yeoman. Apprenticed to Walter Burre, bookseller in London 1617, freeman of the Stationers Company 1625. He published or co-published a number of books during the 1620s and 30s, but in 1631 he was appointed Librarian of Sion College. After being dismissed in 1634 over problems around the bequest of Nathaniel Torporley he was reinstated in 1640, and remained the College Librarian, with an annual salary of £20, until his death. As well as compiling the first printed catalogue of the Library (Catalogus universalis ... bibliotheca Collegii Sionii, 1650) he also published a collection of aphorisms ([Kaina kai palaia]. Things new and old, 1658).


Spencer is noted as giving over 200 books to Sion College between 1631 and 1658; it is not clear whether these were books personally owned by him, or ones which he channelled into the College from other sources. The Sion College Library records include various catalogues and lists made by him.


  • Aldis, H. G., et al, A dictionary of printers and booksellers ... 1557-1640, London, 1910, 252-3.
  • Pearce, E. Sion College and Library, 1913, ch.XIII.
  • Sion College Library Catalogues.