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Archives of Cambridge University Press, 1586 - 2021

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/PRESS

Scope and Contents

These administrative records include Press Syndicate minutes, accounts, production records of the printing operation, papers of senior managers, photographs, building plans, files relating to Bible printing, and authors' correspondence.

'Printing' represents the manufacturing process, 'publishing' represents the editorial input, design and dissemination of the printed material. Until the late 20th century, the most senior employee of the Press was known as the 'Secretary to the Press Syndicate' and he liaised with the 'University Printer'. The most senior figure at the Press is now the Chief Executive.

It should be noted that records relating to the establishment of the Press, and papers created before the first Curators (later Syndics) in 1696, will be found in the University Archives rather than the Press Archive. For example, the Letters Patent of 26 Henry VIII (20 Jul. 1534) granting to the University the right to appoint three stationers within the University, and to print 'all manner of books,' is found in UA/Luard 162.

The Press Archivist is currently working to complete the catalogue of the Press Archive and will make further record descriptions available as soon as possible. Please use references found under the heading 'Former / Other Reference' to request the items currently available to researchers.


  • Creation: 1586 - 2021


Conditions Governing Access

Scholarly access to this material may be restricted if it contains information exempted from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, 2000. Please apply in advance to the Cambridge University Press Archivist.

Biographical / Historical

The Press was established as the University's own printing house in 1696, although the University had been chartered to licence printers since 1534. The Press has been the Queen’s Printers since 1989.


78.75 cubic metre(s) (78.75 cubic metres) : Paper, vellum, glass and film negatives

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Hard copy lists for some Press records are available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room of Cambridge University Library. See also the following introductory articles by E. Leedham-Green: 'A guide to the archives of Cambridge University Press' (Chadwyck-Healey Ltd: Bishops Stortford, 1973); 'University Press records in the University Archives: an account and a check list' in Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society VIII, 1984, pp.398-418.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Press records have been transferred to the University Archives on permanent loan at various dates from 1957 onwards.

Related Materials

For further Press records, see class UA Min.VI.1*; CUR 33.1-8; Press accounts and vouchers; Char.II.13; U.Ac.2-3; Lett.9, 17; D.I.2; VCCorr.I.1.

For records of printers and designers associated with the Press, and their private presses, see catalogues held in Cambridge University Library Department of Manuscripts: MS Add.9812 Papers of Stanley Morison (archive covers 1841-1990) MS Add.9815 Papers of John Dreyfus (archive covers 1935-2002) MS Add.9816 Rampant Lions Press Archive (archive covers 1924-2009) MS Add.9818 Edward Johnston papers on his type-designs for the Cranach Press. (archive covers1904-1972) MS Add.9929 Papers of John Peters MS Add.9861 Vine Press Archive (archive covers 1956-1971).

Cambridge University Press catalogues (also known as ‘Seasonal Lists’ or ‘Sales Catalogues’): Cam.c.11.52.22- for catalogues 1945-1983; Cam.b.11.41.1- for catalogues from 1984 onwards.

Cambridge University Press Annual Reports can be found in 'The Reporter' (available in the West Room) and in the Rare Books Reading Room by requesting classmark Cam.b.11.72.


A History of Cambridge University Press, by D. J. McKitterick: Volume I: Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge, 1534-1698, 1992; Volume 2: Scholarship and Commerce, 1698-1872, 1998; Volume 3: New Worlds for Learning, 1873-1972 (2004) Cambridge University Press 1584-1984, by M. H. Black (1984) A Short History of Cambridge University Press, by M. H. Black (1992; second edition, 2000) Printing and Publishing for the University of Cambridge: Three Hundred Years of the Press Syndicate, by Gordon Johnson (1999) The Cambridge University Press 1696-1712: A Bibliographic Study by D.F. McKenzie: Volume 1: Organisation an Policy of the Cambridge University Press; Volume 2 (1966) A List of Books Printed in Cambridge at the University Press 1521-1800 (1935 Compiled by G.R. Barnes) The Emblem the Arms and the Motto of the University of Cambridge: Notes on their use by University Printers by the Rev. H.P. Stokes Litt.D  (no date, but printed by Walter Lewis) Chadwyck-Healey Microfilm (CUL MS m/film) See also: Press/5/1-2. Secondary sources Cambridge University Press web site at


Cambridge University Press

Finding aid date

2010-11-19 17:08:13+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom