Thomas Smith 1638-1710

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Thomas SMITH 1638-1710

Biographical Note

Born in London, son of John Smith, a merchant. Matriculated as servitor at Queen’s College, Oxford in 1657. Graduated BA in 1661; proceeded MA and appointed master of Magdalen College in 1663. Worked as Hebrew lecturer at Magdalen College through the 1660s. Made a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford (deprived as a nonjuror 1692). From 1668 to 1671 he lived in Constantinople, working as chaplain to Sir Daniel Harvey, English ambassador. Proceeded BD in 1674. Chaplain to Sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state from 1678 to 1679. Made vice-president of Magdalen College in 1682. Smith was well acquainted with other contemporary orientalists such as Samuel Clarke, Edward Pococke and Thomas Barlow, and was a friend of Sir John Cotton (son of Robert Cotton), a connection which led him to become the unofficial librarian of the Cotton library until Sir John's death in 1702.


Gave oriental manuscripts to the Bodleian, bequeathed manuscripts to Thomas Hearne, on condition that they subsequently passed to the Bodleian.