Trinity College and the Library Company

Katherine Ibbett, a short-term fellow visiting the Library Company from Britain, spent May here reading about the French explorations of the Mississippi. But on her last afternoon, she turned to something closer to home: the sermon preached at the consecration of the chapel of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1694. This fall Katherine takes up a new job at Trinity, as Professor of French and Tutorial Fellow, and she read through the sermon to get her in the mood for the transition. The copy came to the Library Company as part of the Preston bequest, and it is a great example of early modern fundraising: the preface, addressed to the College President Ralph Bathurst, acknowledges the bounty of those who sent money for the chapel’s construction, and the strategic choices of the President who encouraged such giving. (The sermon itself is a somewhat embarrassing theological defense of riches.) Katherine would like to acknowledge the bounty of those donors who support fellowships at the Library Company and the strategy of the librarians who helped her navigate her project. The chapel is still a perfect example of the English baroque, and she will enjoy thinking of the Library Company each time she passes it.