Nicholson’s Circulating Library


Booklabel of Nicholson’s Circulating Library on front paste-down of Joseph Harris, The Description and use of the Globes and Orrery. … The Sixth Edition. London: Printed for Thomas Wright, mathematical instrument-maker, at the Orrery near Water-Lane, and E. Chushee, globe-maker, at the Globe and Sun, between St. Dunstan’s Church and Chancery Lane, both in Fleet-Street. 1745.

Instructions on front endpaper for titling the spine-label.

❧ “The principal Circulating Library in Cambridge, is Nicholson’s in Trumpington street. This Literary Repository has been established above fifty years, and may now be considered as one of the first in the kingdom: it is upon a different plan from any other extant ; consisting principally of classical and mathematical books, adapted to the lectures and studies of the University. The immense number of volumes, contained in this Library, is astonishing; for it possess three, four, and even five hundred copies of many publications, some of which are extremely scarce and of great value. The University and town are also accommodated here, with books of amusement and universal instruction: viz. Divinity, Law, Physic, History, Biography, Voyages, Travels, Novels, Romances, ‘Poetry, Plays, &c. &c, &c. in all languages: affording a Library adapted either for the study of the learned, or the instruction and amusement of the public in general. The terms of this Library are: subscriptions 7s. 6d. per quarter; for which sum each subscriber is allowed Fifteen Books at once, to be changed as often as agreeable. Books are also let out, on very moderate terms, by the volume or set, for any length of time. This Circulating Library has received the greatest encouragement from the members of the University, who in general become subscribers on their arrival at college. The number of subscribers in the University, (independent of the town and county) during term, generally exceeds five hundred.” — New Cambridge Guide; Or, A Description of the University, Town, and County of Cambridge (Cambridge: Printed for and sold by J. Nicholson, Trumpington-Street and F. and C. Rivington, St. Paul’s Church-yard, London. 1804) p. 97.

[For the portrait of bookseller and circulating library proprietor John Nicholson (1730–1796), see and for particulars about his nickname “Maps” see]


Inserted before page 35: Trade advertisement for Thomas Wright and Richard Cushee (d. 1732). Publisher of this 1745 edition, E. Cushee, succeeded Richard Cushee.

Rare Book Division. Call number: (Ex) Item 6813092