Dr Lucy GwynnBack to People

Department: Libraries and Archives
College appointment: College Librarian

Role in College

As College Librarian Lucy is responsible for the management of the libraries which are at the heart of the college’s academic life. Lucy also oversees the curation of Magdalen’s exceptionally rich historic collections (its archives, manuscripts, and rare books), and facilitates and advocates for their use in research and public engagement.


Lucy read Modern History at St John’s College, Oxford before training to be a librarian specialising in the care of manuscripts and early printed books. She has worked at the Huguenot Library, based at UCL, and was Deputy Librarian and Deputy Director of Collections at Eton College before moving to Magdalen. She completed her PhD on the library of Thomas Browne (1604?-1682) at Queen Mary University London in 2016.

Her research interests include:

• The architecture of the library and the arrangement of books as related to systems of knowledge; the cultural significance of the library as place.
• Book collecting and book ownership, especially with reference to Thomas Browne, John Evelyn, Samuel Pepys, Henry Wotton, as a means to understand the individual’s view of themselves and their world.
• The relationship between books and their owners as affected by the ideological shifts of the 17th century, particularly natural philosophy, religious doctrine, classicism and antiquarianism.
• Early modern museums and cabinets of curiosities as they existed with and related to personal libraries.
• Print culture within a broader cultural and political context.

Academic publications:

Sir Thomas Browne and personal library and museum collections in the seventeenth century (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).
‘“A Paradise & Cabinet of rarities”: Thomas Browne, his library, and communities of collecting in seventeenth-century Norfolk’ in A. Bautz; J. R. Gregory (eds), Libraries, Books, and Collectors of Texts, 1600-1900 (London and New York: Routledge, 2018).
‘The design of the English domestic library in the seventeenth century: readers and their book rooms’, Library Trends, 60:1, Summer 2011, pp. 43-53.
‘The architecture of the English domestic library, 1600-1700’, Library & Information History, 26:1, March 2010, pp. 56-69.