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Thomas Read Commonplace Book

A description of the item at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Jan 1997

Biographical History

Thomas Read was a student at Oxford University's Magdalen College in 1624. He may have been that Thomas Read (1606-1669) who was appointed Latin secretary to the crown in 1620; he was later (1649) ordained a Catholic priest and allowed to return to London following the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660. However, this cannot be established for certain.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Compiled ca. 1624 by a young Oxford student at Magdalen College, the Thomas Read Commonplace Book bears the characterization, "a not-booke of divinity and honor military and civill." Among other selections, the notebook contains 37 poems by Jesuit priest Robert Southwell (1561-1595), martyred during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and later (1970) elevated to sainthood. Read's notebook includes three Southwell poems which apparently had not been published before donors George and Lena Arents incorporated them into their 1949 holiday greeting card.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single volume, 186 leaves.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Read, Thomas (fl. 1624)
Southwell, Robert, Saint, 1561?-1595.


English poetry -- Early modern, 1500-1700.
Honor -- Quotations, maxims, etc.
Religion -- Quotations, maxims, etc.

Genres and Forms

Commonplace books.


Scholars -- England.
Students -- England.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Thomas Read Commonplace Book,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of George and Lena Arents.

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