Thomas Smith - Queens' Old Library

Thomas Smith

Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577) was an Elizabethan politician who rose from humble beginnings in a farming family to become Secretary of State and England’s Ambassador to France. Upon his death in 1577 he bequeathed his Greek and Latin books, numbering around seventy, to the College where he had been student and fellow. Sixty-five books remain, many of them filled with marginalia from annotations and translations to doodles and portraits. Smith received a humanist education at Queens’ and remained a humanist scholar throughout his life, and accordingly many of his books are early modern printed editions of classical texts. In addition, the Old Library houses Smith’s own hand-made globe, believed to be the oldest celestial globe in England. Smith was the subject of a recent exhibition in Queens’ Old Library.

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