Richard Sibbes, The Soules Conflict (1636)

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The Folger Library houses a particularly interesting copy of Richard Sibbes’s The Soules Conflict (1636) with multiple signs of female ownership. (I have reproduced the EEBO version of the title page of the same book held in the Cambridge University Library, since the Folger website does not include a title page.) This book must have been special to its owner Anne Lake, who had it bound by the masterful binder William Nott, also known as the Queen’s binder. Not only did she have a book label (of full page size) pasted on the front of the book, which  includes her name and the date (1638), but the lovely leather binding also displays her initials. Book labels were frequently used by women, either to denote ownership or to include in a book presented as a gift.


Two other owners left their mark on the pastedown: Sir R. Leicester and Mary Griffiths, whose dating shows she owned the book 90 years after Anne Lake acquired it.

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was a fairly moderate Puritan theologian and preacher, active in Cambridge and London. Nothing else is known (yet) of Anne Lake or Mary Griffiths.

Source: EEBO Cambridge University copy of STC (2nd ed.) / 22509. Folger Luna, STC 22510. Reproduced with permission by Creative Commons License.

Further Reading

Brian North Lee, Early Printed Boook Labels: A Catalogue of Dated Personal Labels and Gift Labels Printed in Britain to the Year 1760. Pinner: Private Libraries Association and the Bookplate Society, 1976.

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