Prof. Carol Ann Johnston

Author: caffrepa

Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue: Audience

For any readers just joining me, this is my third and final blog post about Ralph Brooke’s 1619 Catalogue. My first is a general introduction, and my second combines analysis of the book’s origins and afterlife. Here, I turn to the book’s provenance.

When Dickinson acquired the Catalogue, any papers establishing its provenance did not come along with it. While we do have some of the receipts from Edwin Willoughby’s purchases between 1943 and 1949, none of these documents mention the Catalogue. That has made the job of reconstructing the book’s provenance rather difficult. What follows is my best attempt; I have had to make several key inferences even to get to this point.

I think I have gained two writers for the price of one. In an earlier post, I identified the inscription on the title page (fig. 1) as a single name, “Sir Samwell Thomas Newman,” but this mystery knight seemed not to exist. Recently, though, I noticed that the ink, the alignment, and the letterforms appear to differ subtly but significantly between the phrases “Sir Samwell” and “Thomas Newman his booke 1640.” While I have received conflicting second opinions about bifurcating “Sir Samwell Thomas Newman,” I think it is worthwhile to entertain the possibility that the two parts of this inscription refer to two separate people, and I have chosen, not without evidence, to treat them as such for the purposes of this post.

Fig. 1: the inscription on the title page.

Christopher John Edwin Newman, a modern-day member of the family, has made a website cataloguing the family history of the Newmans of Fifehead in Dorset, and when we consider the possibility that there are two inscriptions, first by Thomas in 1640 and then later by Sir Samwell, a coherent timeline of family ownership emerges. Two Thomas Newmans, in fact, were alive in 1640, one who died in 1649, and the other, his son, who died in 1668 (C. Newman). Our Thomas Newman could be either; regardless, the timeline works. Sir Samwell Newman, on the other hand, lived from about 1696 to 1747 (C. Newman). His first name, Samwell, is his mother’s last name, and the Samwells and Newmans had not intermarried before then, so it is very unlikely indeed that a yet-unrecorded Samwell Newman even could have existed in 1640. His title “Sir” only makes the possibility of some shadowy 17th century Samwell more unlikely: the Newmans were only granted a baronetcy under the real Sir Samwell’s father, Richard, in 1699 (C. Newman).

The binding also offers clues. Both the front and back covers have been blind-stamped with the letters “TN,” who (if these are initials) very easily could be one of the two Thomas Newmans I have already mentioned (fig. 2). Thomas Newman was certainly not averse to marking up his books. Since the Newman Family Tree’s catalogue only lists two Thomases under the first initial T, identifying TN as Thomas Newman would conclusively date the binding to the seventeenth century. This timeline also raises a major question, though: why are the many annotations throughout the text cut off by the edge of the page? There are, I think, two possibilities. First: the book may have already been annotated by a prior owner in a cheaper binding before it came secondhand into Newman’s possession. Second, Newman could have annotated it himself prior to sending it to a bookbinder. My examination of the book yielded none of the telltale holes that stab-stitching leaves, but these can be difficult or impossible to find in a book that has been rebound.

Fig. 2: The back cover, blind-stamped with “TN.”

This book’s binding has also helped me fill in the gap after the Newman family and before Edwin Willoughby. At some point in the mid-nineteenth century, and certainly after 1831, our book came into the possession of Robert Dundas Duncan, 1st Earl of Camperdown, whose gilded armorial stamp can clearly be seen on the front cover (fig 3). How this book made its way from the West Country to Scotland eludes me, and any efforts to establish whether the Newmans and the Duncans intermarried have been unsuccessful. While my dating of the binding to the seventeenth century is tenuous without expert opinion, the presence of the Camperdown stamp on the front cover definitively dates the binding to the mid-nineteenth century or before.

Fig. 3: The front cover, stamped both with “TN” and with the seal of the Earl of Camperdown.

I mischaracterized Edwin E. Willoughby as a mere collector in my previous posts. Dickinson’s archive possesses many of his private documents and his publications, and these make it immensely clear that he had far more than a passing interest in the Catalogue. Willoughby, in fact, returned to the Catalogue several times in his publications, particularly because the Brooke-Jaggard dispute affected the schedule of the printing of the First Folio. In 1928, in graduate school, he wrote a five-page piece entitled “An Interruption in the Printing of the First Folio,” where he tracks the delays in the production of the Folio; a relevant section concerns the delay that Brooke caused (fig. 4). Four years later, Willoughby wrote The Printing of the First Folio of Shakespeare, which expands on the themes in “An Interruption” and discusses the difficulties between Jaggard and Brooke (fig. 5). Finally, in 1934, he published a biography of William Jaggard entitled A Printer of Shakespeare: The Books and Times of William Jaggard. I have had the opportunity to study both his handwritten drafts (fig. 6) and a printed copy (fig. 7).

Fig. 4: The section of “An Interruption” covering the Jaggard-Brooke conflict.

Fig. 5: A mention of Brooke in The Printing.

Fig. 6: Willoughby’s handwritten draft of the beginning of Chapter 13 of A Printer.

Fig. 7: The printed first page of Chapter 13 of A Printer.

Brooke’s Catalogue was clearly relevant to Edwin Willoughby’s research interests, and that is evidently why he owned it. What remains unknown to me, however, is when the Catalogue actually came into Willoughby’s personal possession. While it seems possible that he purchased it to aid his research while working on one of his pieces written during the 1920s and 1930s, I’ve noticed an inscription in in the back of the book: “F. 11.1.43” (fig. 8). To me, that indicates a date: either 1 November or 11 January 1943. Inscriptions of this type or in this hand are nowhere in all other Willoughby books that Special Collections Librarian Malinda Triller-Doran and I checked in the archive, which leads me to believe that Willoughby may not be the writer; he would have purchased the book, then, at some point during or after 1943. We do have a book order from November 1943, addressed to Willoughby from The Export Book Company in Preston, Lancashire, but this mentions only two Bibles from the turn of the 17th century (fig. 9).

Fig. 8: The mysterious 20th-century writing in the back of the Catalogue.

Fig. 9: An invoice from the Export Book Company to Willoughby regarding two Early Modern bibles.

Edwin Willoughby died in 1959, having never married. His sister, Cmdr. Frances Willoughby—an extraordinary figure in her own right, whose achievements included becoming the first woman to permanently achieve the rank of commander in the United States military—donated many of his books and papers to Dickinson after his death (fig. 10), and the College held an exhibition of his collection in his honor. The book has remained in our archives since then. I hope that some of its yet elusive mysteries are eventually solved, but I am grateful to have filled the amount of missing information I have.

Fig. 10: A letter from Charles Coleman Sellers, Librarian of Dickinson College, to Frances Willoughby.

Works Cited

Brooke, Ralph. A CATALOGVE and Succeſsion of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marqueſſes, Earles, and Viſcounts of this Realme of England, ſince the Norman Conqueſt, to this preſent yeare, 1619. London, William Jaggard, 1619.

“Duncan, Robert Dundas, 1st Earl of Camperdown (1785 -1859).” British Armorial Bindings, University of Toronto Libraries,

“Edwin Eliott Willoughby (1899-1959).” Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, 2005,

“Frances Lois Willloughby (1906-1984).” Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, 2005,

Newman, Christopher John Edwin. Newman Family Tree, 25 Dec. 2022,

Sellers, Charles Coleman. Letter to Commander Frances Willoughby. 28 December 1959. Edwin E. Willoughby file. Archives and Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library, Carlisle, PA.

The Export Book Company. Invoice to Edwin Willoughby. 2 November 1943. Box 4, folder 12. Edwin E. Willoughby papers. Archives and Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library, Carlisle, PA.

Willoughby, Edwin E. A Printer of Shakespeare: The Books and Times of William Jaggard. London: Philip Allan & Co., 1934.

—. Handwritten draft of A Printer of Shakespeare. Box 1, folder 3. Edwin E. Willoughby papers. Archives and Special Collections, Waidner-Spahr Library, Carlisle, PA.

—. The Printing of the First Folio of Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1932.

Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue: Origins and Afterlife

For those readers just joining me now, this is the second in a series of three blog posts about Dickinson College’s 1619 copy of the Catalogue and Succession of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, and Viscounts of England. (I’ve had to abridge the rather unwieldy title, which can be found in part one.) My first post was a general overview of the material book, and here I turn to the origins and the afterlife of this deceptively straightforward text. 

The existence of the Catalogue is inextricably linked to one man: Ralph Brooke. Brooke rose from the son of a shoemaker to York Herald in the College of Arms, where his combined desire to fight corruption in the College and his short temper regularly put him at odds with other heralds—and made him no stranger to fines and suspensions. The story of Brooke’s personality and career shines through best in the following anecdote: in 1602, he formally challenged (among 22 others) the heraldry that Garter King of Arms William Dethick had granted to John Shakespeare, the father of William Shakespeare, on the basis both of low social rank and of similarity to those of another lord (fig. 1). Brooke soon found his challenge defeated, though, by a group which included his arch-nemesis (and coworker) William Camden. Brooke’s general discontent with the College’s output, particularly Camden’s survey of the British Isles, Britannia, led him to author his own Catalogue and Succession to correct the perceived errors made by his colleagues. 

Fig. 1: The arms challenged by Ralph Brooke. Shakespeare’s arms can be seen in the top row, second to the right.

He chose William Jaggard to print it. A former apprentice of the great Henry Denham, Jaggard had by 1619 become a leading London printer and bookseller with a Crown commission for copies of the Ten Commandments. But he was hardly a paragon of honest business, and coincidentally, his own dealings with Shakespeare best establish his complicated personality. In 1599 Jaggard printed a collection of poems called The Passionate Pilgrim. The second edition, published the same year, is attributed to “W. Shakespeare”—who had written only five short poems in the entire twenty-poem volume. Jaggard also credited the 1612 expanded edition solely to Shakespeare though the only new additions were poems by Thomas Heywood; it took Heywood’s publication of his (and Shakespeare’s) disapproval to get Jaggard to remove “By W. Shakespeare” from the title page (fig. 2 depicts the title page of Heywood’s “Apology for actors”). In 1619, Jaggard falsified the dates of several Shakespeare plays so it appeared he had the rights to them; the resultant compilation has become known as the False Folio. But even after a long career spent wading in the muck of unethical business, Jaggard also printed the legitimate First Folio. William Jaggard’s dealings with Shakespeare thus reveal something of a Janus with a print shop: a man simultaneously reputable and prone to unethical action in order to make money. 

Fig. 2: The title page of Heywood’s Apology for Actors.

A conflict between the personalities of Brooke and Jaggard seems almost inevitable. Dickinson’s copy, which is a mess, bears the scars of the two men’s conflict. In order to determine this book’s physical origins, particularly its fraught printing process, one must consider its afterlife. We must look to the published words of Brooke and Jaggard. 

Two editions of this book exist: the 1619 edition and a corrected 1622 edition in which Ralph Brooke appears more incensed than before. The title page, while it does contain much the same text as in 1619, also features this addition: “Collected by RALPH BROOKE, Eſquire, Yorke Herauld, and by him inlarged, with amendment of diuers faults, committed by the Printer, in the time of the Authors ſickneſſe” (Brooke). No printer’s name appears, but according to the catalogue entry from Duke University, Brooke has jettisoned Jaggard and enlisted the services of William Stansby, printer of Ben Jonson’s 1616 Workes. 

Brooke explains the “faults committed by the Printer” in a letter addressed directly to the reader. While most of the letter accuses other heralds of enviously trying to defame him, Brooke states in the opening paragraph that he has fixed “many eſcapes, and miſtakings, committed by the Printer, whilſt my ſickneſſe abſented me from the Preſſe, at the first publication” (Brooke). He styles himself as someone who intended to regularly check in on his book during its printing, seeking a significant level of control over Jaggard’s press, and whose illness is what let the printer freely make errors. Our York Herald is not content to air his grievances in prose alone: he also includes a poem in heroic couplets. (Below this extended diatribe William Stansby chooses to include his own errata list.) 

It must be noted: the comic potential of Ralph Brooke’s characteristic irritability did not escape his contemporaries. In 1622, Brooke’s coworker Augustine Vincent published A discouerie of errours in the first edition of the Catalogue of nobility, published by Raphe Brooke, Yorke Herald, 1619. This book satirizes Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue and includes testimony from numerous individuals with connections to the York Herald. One of these individuals, it happens, is the printer of Vincent’s book: William Jaggard. 

In his own scathing letter, Jaggard pushes back against Brooke’s assertion that he is to blame for the errors in the 1619 edition of the Catalogue. Drawing on the original errata list, Jaggard argues that the errors are self-evidently the result of Brooke’s own mistakes in scholarship. Even the workmen at his shop “will at no hand yeelde themſelues to be fathers of those ſyllabical faults”; they too believe Brooke to be to blame (Jaggard). Here Jaggard turns Brooke’s watchfulness on its head: if he was watching the printing process so carefully, then the errors must be his, especially given that during his much-mentioned illness, “though hee came not in perſon to ouer-looke the Preſſe, yet the Proofe and Reviews duly attended him, and he peruſed them… in the maner he did before” (Jaggard). Jaggard finishes his letter pointedly with the word FAREWELL in capitals. 

What emerges from the discourse between the 1619 Catalogue, the 1622 Catalogue, and Augustine Vincent’s Discoverie is a decidedly combative printing process. One wonders whether Brooke’s meddling is why most of the engravings are missing in the 1619 edition, why the page numbers are messy, and why the title page has been glued in. It must be said, of course: the biographies of Brooke and Jaggard alike give legitimate reason to distrust both their accounts, for one was prone to bad-faith criticism, the other repeatedly conducted dishonest business, and both were openly keen to preserve their reputations. Their conflict, though, is self-evident, and the book seems to have been the main casualty. 

The afterlife of Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue is a quiet one after 1622. Brooke and Jaggard were both dead by the middle of the decade. From the 1640s to 1660, the Civil War and Interregnum resulted in the death or exile of countless nobles and lasting changes to the English governmental structure, rapidly making Brooke’s text—either edition—obsolete. It is telling, I think, that Dickinson’s 1619 edition bears the marks of a single early modern reader, one Sir Samuell Thomas Newman, who annotates it according to the errata list in 1640. (More on him in my upcoming “Audience” post.) The only later marks establish the book as the property of Edwin E. Willoughby and then Dickinson College (fig. 3). When Dickinson acquired the book from his sister Col. Frances Willoughby, the provenance did not come with it, so the text attests only to the ownership of Newman, Willoughby, and Dickinson College. 

Fig. 3: The bookplate in Dickinson’s copy of the Catalogue.

What seems abundantly clear, regardless of how it got from Newman to Willoughby, is that this book was rarely used. Because Brooke failed to acknowledge that his work was collaborative, its quality suffered, and his book gradually faded from memory as anything more than the ranting of an irritable herald whose printer happened to also print the First Folio. Ralph Brooke, were he alive today, would likely hate to hear that William Camden’s Britannia is considered a milestone in English literature, while the Catalogue has become obscure. 

Works Cited 

“Book Descriptions: Glossary of Terms.” Book Addiction UK, 2023, 

Brooke, Ralph. A CATALOGVE and Succeſsion of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marqueſſes, Earles, and Viſcounts of this Realme of England, ſince the Norman Conqueſt, to this preſent yeare, 1619. London, William Jaggard, 1619. 

—. A catalogve and succession of the kings, princes, dukes, marquesses, earles, and viscounts of this realme of England, since the Norman conquest, to this present yeere 1622. London, William Stansby, 1622. <> 

—. The Armes presented vnto her Maiestie with the first [..] par Garter Dethecke. 1602, . 

Bland, Mark. “Stansby, William (bap. 1572, d. 1638), printer and bookseller.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

Herendeen, Wyman H. “Brooke [Brookesmouth], Ralph (c. 1553–1625), herald.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

Heywood, Thomas. An apology for actors. 1612, 

Vincent, Augustine. A discouerie of errours in the first edition of the Catalogue of nobility, published by Raphe Brooke, Yorke Herald, 1619, and printed heerewith word for word, according to that edition. London, William Jaggard, 1622. <> 

Wells, Stanley. “Jaggard, William (c. 1568–1623), printer and bookseller.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. <> 

Ralph Brooke’s Catalogue: An Introduction

My first impression of this book was that it likely would be quite heavy and would perhaps disintegrate in my hands. After all, it was an imposing size and rather old. To my surprise, the book turned out to be lighter than anticipated, and only the front cover feels at all precariously attached. The pages, slightly warped, give a satisfying crinkle as one turns them; they are made of a reasonably thick laid rag paper with horizontal chain lines.

The book measures 7.5 inches (19.5 centimeters) by 11 inches (25 centimeters) by (roughly; the boards have bowed) 1.25 inches (3 centimeters). The binding is a brown, fine leather with some moderate cracking present on the front and back covers, which both have the letters “TN” blind stamped in the center. A gilded design containing a crown, the letter C, and “Camperdown Library” is stamped into the front cover over “TN”; the end edges of the cover are also tooled with a gilded dashed line. A small portion of the spine is missing toward the top, allowing a glimpse at the quires. While I was unable to determine the type of leather, the very fine grain and the smooth, shiny surface seem to make calfskin a possibility. An answer as to when the book was last bound also eludes me, but I suspect that the book has been rebound since 1619, first because the binding is in rather good shape compared to the other books of similar age in the library and also because some annotations made in the margins appear to start or end past the edges of the pages, indicating that the edges may have been trimmed by a bookbinder at a later date. This means that the edges of the pages, which are currently red, would have to have been edge-painted after being trimmed.

The inside of the front cover features a bookplate in memoriam of Edwin Eliott Willoughby ’22, Dickinson alumnus and former chief bibliographer of the Folger Shakespeare Library, whose rare book collection was donated to Dickinson by his sister Frances L. Willoughby ’27 upon Edwin’s death in 1959. The inside of the back cover has been stamped “THIS BOOK MAY NOT BE TAKEN FROM THE LIBRARY.”

The first leaf is blank, and upon turning it one finds the glued-in title page, which is rather wanting in concision (see fig. 1). The full title reads, with capitals and italics rendered as they appear on the page, “A CATALOGVE and Succeſsion of the Kings, Princes, Dukes, Marqueſſes, Earles, and Viſcounts of this Realme of England, ſince the Norman Conqueſt, to this preſent yeare, 1619” (Brooke). Below that is a subtitle: “TOGETHER, With their Armes, Wiues, and Children: the times of their deaths and burials, with many of their memorable Actions” (Brooke). The reader learns below this that Ralph Brooke, the author, intends to “reform” recently published errors in similar catalogues (Brooke). Under that is a Latin inscription, and finally the bottom of the page reveals that William Jaggard is the publisher and that the book was sold in his shop in Barbican, London. Though I will cover them in further detail in a later post, Ralph Brooke and William Jaggard, both of whose names are printed in small capitals (along with, strangely, the word “TOGETHER”), deserve brief descriptions: Brooke was a famously combative member of the College of Arms known for criticizing the quality of other heralds’ work, while Jaggard was a successful London printer and bookseller best known for printing the First Folio.

Fig. 1: The title page.

The front matter first contains a message addressed to James I in which Brooke elaborates on his stated goal of reforming errors in catalogues of the nobility. After this is a second and similar letter to Edward Somerset, fourth earl of Worcester, who served as Lord Privy Seal to James I. Brooke then provides a list of the errors he has identified and is seeking to remedy.

The main numbered body of text is an alphabetical list of the noble titles and the genealogies of those holding the titles. The pages follow a standard formula, listing the holders of that title and their arms and providing a brief summary of their lives and actions. The page numbers 16-17 repeat once, but the content differs, meaning that the book’s final page number of 276 is less than accurate. After this is a table of contents listing the noble titles contained in the preceding pages. The book ends with a dense two-page list of printed errata which are to be corrected manually by the book’s owner (fig. 2); the clear ease with which printed errors could occur in the 16th century would seem to suggest that Brooke’s criticism is made in bad faith.

Fig. 2: The back of the book contains a list of errata.

The font that Jaggard used clearly belongs to the Garamond family, but this is not the only form of text which appears; the letters to James and Somerset begin with elaborate initial capitals. While all catalogue entries I have seen for other copies describe the border as “ornamental,” it appears to be a single large piece with cruder, more varied lines than one would expect from a metal ornament, suggesting perhaps a woodcut. Ornaments, however, do appear on several pages; the table of catalogues is surrounded by an ornamental border, while the letters to James and Somerset feature ornaments at the tops of the pages, as do the entries for the various catalogues of nobles. A particularly ornate ornament appears below the list of errors in the front matter. The only illustrations in this book are heraldic shields, all in black and white. Curiously, visual depictions of the arms are confined to the pages about the kings of England; all the shields on all the pages about the nobility—which make up the entirety of the numbered text, the vast majority of this book—are blank, although the French blazons for each are nonetheless written below. This seems to be the case in all extant copies of which I am aware; it is an especially strange decision to have taken since the extensive title clearly promises “Arms.”

This book has clearly been used, and the question “by whom” finds at least a partial answer on the title page, at the top of which is written “Sir Samuell Thomas Newman his Booke 1640” in a deep reddish ink (Newman). Someone, either Newman or another owner of the book, has also written numerous corrections in the margins of the main text in a similar ink. These follow the errata listed in the back of the book. An annotation to the entry about Robert Dudley, 1st Earl Leicester, for example, supplies the correct date of 1588 for Dudley’s death where Brooke has mistakenly printed 1586 (see fig. 3). In addition to the annotations in ink, one correction made to the life of Edward III appears to have been written in pencil.

Fig. 3: The date of Dudley’s death has been corrected from 1586 to 1588 according to the provided list of errata.

The reader of the Catalogue will observe that the pen of an early owner (possibly Newman) is not the only thing that has marked this book since its creation, nor even the only thing that has marked the title page. The title page has an unrepaired hole to the left of the word “Princes,” and the entry for Edward III, which appears generally more worn than the rest of the book, has a large rip toward the inside edge of the page. There are small rips on several other pages, including the errata page, which is missing a semicircular chunk from the center of its bottom edge. Foxing is present throughout the book, and several stains have penetrated through multiple layers of paper. A particularly strange stain, which takes the form of a series of overlapping squiggles and may be in ink, appears on the top left of page twelve. Most spectacularly of all, though, on the second page of the entry about King John, a fly has been crushed directly over the king’s first name (see fig. 4).

Fig. 4: King John’s name is obscured by a fly.

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