Ralph Perkins 1658-1751

From Book Owners Online

Ralph PERKINS 1658-1751

Biographical Note

Born in London; BA Queens' College, Cambridge 1678, fellow and MA 1681, LL.D 1693. Rector of Stretham, Cambridgeshire 1696-1727, prebendary of Ely 1715.


Perkins amassed a large library; in 1732, he retired to London and divided his books between Ely Cathedral and Queens' College, Cambridge. The size of these benefactions is not known, but many hundreds of books were received by each. He evidently continued to acquire books (or, kept some back); in his will, he directed that his books be given to Thomas and William Hawys, according to their selection. Any remaining books were to be given to the Associates of the Thomas Bray libraries, for the benefit of parochial libraries as they saw fit (the books could be retained, or sold for benefit). Perkins also left £100 to the Associates, to purchase books for parish libraries. Examples: many in Queens' College, Cambridge.

Characteristic Markings

The books given to Ely, and to Queens', were marked with a printed book label, noting the date of the gift. Many hundreds of his books survive in Queens' today, often in straightforward contemporary Cambridge bindings of the time. Perkins seems not to have regularly inscribed or annotated his books, but commonly noted lists of contents on the flyleaves of the many pamphlet volumes which he had bound up.