Sir Thomas Browne



The Prose of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Norman Endicott (New York & London, 1968).


The Works of Sir Thomas Browne, ed. Geoffrey Keynes [1st edition, 6 vols, London, 1928-31], 2nd edition, 4 vols (London, 1964).

Keynes, Bibliography

Sir Geoffrey Keynes, A Bibliography of Sir Thomas Browne, Kt. M.D. [1st edition, Cambridge, 1924], 2nd edition (Oxford, 1968).


Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici and other Works, ed. L. C. Martin (Oxford, 1964).


Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, ed. Robin Robbins, 2 vols (Oxford, 1981).


Sir Thomas Browne's Works including his Life and Correspondence, ed. Simon Wilkin, 4 vols (London & Norwich, 1835-6).


Sir Thomas Browne — physician, master of ‘curious Learning’ and incomparable Baroque prose stylist — has left behind no autograph manuscripts of those works on which his fame chiefly depends. He has, however, left a substantial collection of notebooks and miscellaneous draft writings, some of which contain passages relating to certain of his main works. He has left drafts of later works such as A Letter to a Friend, Brampton Urns, Repertorium and Certain Miscellany Tracts, which were not published until after his death. A number of printed exempla of his works contain his autograph corrections and revisions. Also much of his correspondence with his family and contemporary scholars survives. Other manuscripts of his immediate family are known and a number of contemporary copies bear witness to a limited circulation in manuscripts of at least one of his works during his lifetime: see Kathryn Murphy, ‘“A man of excellent parts”: The manuscript readers of Thomas Browne's Religio Medici’, TLS (4 July 2008), 14-15.

Browne's Papers and their Dispersal

After his death on 19 October 1682 and following the death of his wife and sole executrix, Lady Dorothy Browne, on 24 February 1684/5, Browne's papers and library passed to his eldest surviving son, Dr Edward Browne (1644-1708). Following the latter's death, they passed to Sir Thomas's grandson, Dr Thomas Browne, who died in 1710. Certain members of the Browne family then took the decision to sell off the collections by auction in 1710. Certainly a portion of Sir Thomas's papers fell into the hands of the publisher Edmund Curll (1675-1747) and were used for the edition of Browne's Posthumous Works (comprising Repertorium, Brampton Urns, correspondence with Dugdale and Miscellanies) which Curll hurried through the press in 1712. Curll printed the main work in that edition, Repertorium, from an autograph manuscript of Browne's supplied to him (in place of an inferior copy) by Sir Thomas's grandson by marriage, Owen Brigstocke (1679-1746), who married Edward Browne's sixth daughter, Anne. Curll implies in his preface that this was where he had obtained all of Sir Thomas's ‘remains’ although, in fact, there is evidence that he may have obtained at least some of the manuscripts from his friend Richard Rawlinson (1690-1755). Rawlinson acquired at some time his own collection of Browne papers, some of which (not used by Curll) are still preserved in the Rawlinson collections in the Bodleian. These papers include a list of Browne's manuscripts made c.1711 (see further below), a list which was copied in part in a manuscript among collections of the Norfolk antiquary Peter Le Neve (1661-1729), also in the Bodleian (MS Rawl. D. 888, f. 34v). According to Dr Thomas Tanner, Le Neve himself had ‘great collections that way’ (viz. of Browne's papers), but if so, nothing more is known of them (they do not feature in the catalogue of the Le Neve sale at John Wilcox's, London, on 22 February-19 March 1730/1, nor are they among Le Neve manuscripts in the British Library).

A boxful of yet other papers of Browne was apparently lent by Lady Dorothy and Dr Edward Browne in 1682-3 to Thomas (later Archbishop) Tenison (1636-1715). Some of these papers were mislaid for some years but were recovered shortly before Tenison's death. From them Tenison edited Certain Miscellany Tracts (1683) and he had custody of the manuscript of Christian Morals which was afterwards published in 1716 under the auspices of Sir Thomas's daughter, Elizabeth Lyttleton. These manuscripts too, however, have since disappeared, as has the original manuscript of A Letter to a Friend which Dr Edward Browne edited in 1690. Finally, what may perhaps have been the bulk of Sir Thomas's papers was acquired by the great physician Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). They are now preserved in the Sloane papers in the British Library and constitute the major surviving collection of Browne manuscripts (see further below).

Browne's Library

As for Sir Thomas's library, over 2,300 lots (amounting to nearly 2,900 volumes, in various languages) ‘Of the Libraries of the Learned Sir Thomas Brown, and Dr. Edward Brown, his Son’ were offered for sale by the London bookseller Thomas Ballard in an auction beginning on 8 January 1710/11. Sloane's exemplum of the (now extremely are) sale catalogue is in the British Library (S.C. 354). A facsimile of the exemplum at Yale has been published in facsimile, edited by Jeremiah S. Finch, in Leiden, 1986. A discussion of the earlier manuscript catalogues of the library also appears in Jeremiah S. Finch, ‘Sir Thomas Browne's Library’, ELN, 19/4 (June 1982), 360-70.

Since Sir Thomas seems not to have been in the habit of signing his books, none of them sold in 1711 can be identified today, although Jeremiah Finch has speculated, quite plausibly, that some of them may well have been acquired by Sloane and may now be sitting unrecognized (and unrecognizable) on the shelves of the British Library. As Finch has noted, yet another curious avenue of possibility presents itself with the knowledge that the second day of the sale may conceivably have been attended by Jonathan Swift and his friend Charles Ford, who went on that day ‘into the city to buy books’ (Journal to Stella, ed. Harold Williams (Oxford, 1948), I, 161). ‘A selected portion of the Blaenpant Library’ formed by Browne's grandson by marriage Owen Brigstocke was sold at Sotheby's on 21 December 1921 (lots 561-645) and included a total of five items specifically associated with the Browne family, viz:

Lot 573, J. Leland's Cygnea Cantio (1658) with the ‘autograph signature of Dr. Browne in two places’, sold to Dobell. Later acquired by Sir Geoffrey Keynes (his Bibliotheca Bibliographici No. 1333, now among Keynes's books in Cambridge University Library). It ‘bears the signature of Edward Browne and beneath this…the title of the book…written in his father's hand’ (Keynes, Bibliography, pp. 165-6).

Lot 612, Brigstocke's exemplum of Edward Browne's A Brief Account of some Travels in divers Parts of Europe (1685), sold to G. R. Brigstocke.

Lot 621, P. Della Valle's Travels into East-India and Arabia Deserta (1665) with the ‘armorial bookplate of Edward Browne, 1701, pasted on the back of the title’, sold to Thorp.

Lot 640, M. de Scudery's Celia (1678) with ‘on the fly-leaf the autograph signature of Thomas Browne, 1699, grandson of Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich’ sold to G. Brigstocke. Later acquired by Sir Geoffrey Keynes (Bibliotheca Bibliographici No. 1334), and now in Cambridge University Library. It contains no evidence of Sir Thomas's ownership.

Lot 641, Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia (11th edition, 1662) with ‘the autograph signature of Anne Brigstocke (grand-daughter of Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich), on the title’, sold to Winter.

In his Bibliography, p. 166, Keynes also mentions an exemplum of Edward Topsell's The Reward of Religion (1601) which was reported by Fleming Patrick in 1920 to contain ‘the autograph of Sir Thomas Browne when a young man at college’. In addition, an exemplum of M. Carter's Analysis of Honour and Armory (1660) ‘with autograph and some MS. notes by Sir Thomas Browne’ was offered for sale at Sotheby's, 18 June 1861 (the Rev T. P. White sale), lot 509 (apparently unsold). Nothing is known, however, about the authenticity of these signatures. Apart from certain exempla of Browne's own works (discussed below), only one other book is recorded by Keynes as having been associated with Browne: namely, the exemplum of John Evelyn's Sculptura (1662) which the author gave to Browne, with his presentation inscription, and which is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library (7700).

For a more extensive discussion of the dispersal of Browne's library and papers, see Jeremiah S. Finch's articles, ‘Sir Hans Sloane's Printed Books’, The Library, 4th Ser. 22 (1941-2), 67-72; ‘Sir Thomas Browne: Early Biographical Notices, and the Disposition of his Library and Manuscripts’, Studies in Bibliography, 2 (1949-50), 196-201; and ‘Sir Thomas Browne's Library’, English Language Notes, 19 (1982), 360-70, as well as Keynes, Bibliography, pp. 109-10, 163-8, and Martin, pp. 258-60.

The Catalogue of Browne's Manuscripts and his Editor Simon Wilkin

‘A Catalogue of manuscripts. written by and in the possession of Sir Thomas Browne, M.D. late of Norwich, and of his Son, Dr. Edward Browne, late President of the College of Physicians, London’ — a list possibly drawn up shortly before the library sale in 1711 — is among the Rawlinson collections in the Bodleian (MS Rawl. D. 390, ff. 73r-6r) and is edited in Wilkin, IV, 466-76. Of the 112 items listed there (viz. 20 in folio, 55 in quarto and 26 in octavo, plus eleven sets of ‘miscellaneous’ papers), all but thirteen were conjecturally identified by Wilkin with manuscripts in the Sloane and Rawlinson collections, so that, in 1835, he was able confidently to assure his readers that he had fully accounted for the complete extant writings of Sir Thomas Browne, if not for all the manuscripts once owned by him. A few of those manuscripts which Wilkin failed to locate can be identified (see BrT 18, *BrT 27 and *BrT 55), while Miscellaneous Papers No. 8 (‘A Journey from Genoa to Bordeaux’, which was actually written by Browne's grandson, Dr Thomas Browne) is now Bodleian, MS Rawl. D. 125. One might also wonder whether his Quarto item 22, a copy of ‘A Game at Chesse…by Tho. Middleton, an. 1620’, corresponds to any of the six manuscripts of that play known today (see MiT 14-19).

Nevertheless, Wilkin's pioneering survey has never yet been superseded. Subsequent scholars have largely been deterred from making a systematic, as opposed to exploratory, investigation of the Browne manuscripts both on account of their anomalous nature and perhaps because of the lingering uncertainty that they have all been properly identified. The main collection is not preserved as a clearly defined series but has been scattered throughout the Sloane manuscripts in the British Library; moreover, Sir Thomas's papers are intermingled with those of his son, Dr Edward Browne, which in turn are sometimes bound up with manuscripts simply owned by them or even perhaps with other wholly unrelated papers. Confusion is compounded by the belief occasionally expressed that the hands of the two men are very similar and difficult to distinguish from one another — a belief supported, for instance, by the facsimile examples given in The Sloane Herbarium, ed. J.E. Dandy (London, 1958), Nos 24 and 25, where an example of Sir Thomas's hand and of Lady Dorothy Browne's hand (Sloane MS 4066, f. 275) is followed by an illustration of a letter by Edward Browne (Sloane MS 1861, f. 36) which, unbeknown to the editor, is also in Sir Thomas's hand, for it is one of his transcripts of his son's letters. Sir Thomas's handwriting is, in fact, quite distinctive, being for the most part a heavily accentuated and sometimes scarcely legible cursive, whereas Edward's hand, although degenerating over the years, is basically a conventional, neat, rounded late-seventeenth-century script with a certain tendency towards loops and curls quite alien to his father.

Remains and Collectanea

In the ‘Remains and Collectanea’ entries (BrT 20-55), all those manuscripts in the Sloane and other collections containing any discernible trace of Sir Thomas's handwriting, in addition to certain copies of his writings, have been given separate entries. The only exceptions are original letters and documents by him which he sent to his correspondents and which are discussed hereafter. A further fifteen manuscripts in the British Library can be distinguished at present as containing examples of Dr Edward Browne's handwriting or of writings or compilations clearly produced by him: namely, Add. MS 5266 and Sloane MSS 1797, 1865, 1868, 1878, 1886, 1892, 1895, 1905-6, 1908, 1914, 1915A & B, 1922. These manuscripts include Edward's (largely autograph) travel journals, notebooks, lecture notes, medical papers, drawings, prescription books, correspondence and other writings and collections. Some of these (including those relating to Plutarch and to Cossacks) clearly relate to Edward Browne's own publications and certain of them have been edited in Wilkin and in Geoffrey Keynes' edition of A Journal of a Visit to Paris in the year 1664 (London, 1923).

Other documents relating to Edward Browne exist elsewhere in the British Library and in such repositories as the Natural History Museum, the Royal Society, and the Royal College of Physicians, of which he was President the last four years of his life. Journals by Sir Thomas Browne's second son, Lieutenant Thomas Browne (d.c.1667), are in Sloane MSS 1831 and 1900 (edited in Wilkin, I, 22-42, 119-28, and see also *BrT 28), while a number of writings by Sir Thomas's grandson, Dr Thomas Browne (1672-1710), are also found among the Sloane manuscripts (including MSS 1845-6 and 1899) and have been partly edited in Wilkin. A further fifty-one manuscripts are classified in the printed index of the Sloane manuscripts as once owned by Sir Thomas and Edward Browne: namely, Sloane MSS 1825-6, 1828, 1834, 1836-8, 1842, 1844, 1851-4, 1856-7, 1859, 1863-4, 1867, 1870, 1872-3, 1876-7, 1880-1, 1883-4, 1887-91, 1893-4, 1896-8, 1901-4, 1907, 1909, 1916-21, 1923. These manuscripts — by a variety of writers in various languages and ranging from medieval poems to 17th-century political tracts — bear no clearly discernible traces of Browne ownership and the British Library's classification of them is presumably based on Wilkin's conjectural identification of items in the Rawlinson ‘Catalogue’ noted above.

The autograph remains of Sir Thomas himself comprise a series of miscellaneous notes and draft writings on a wide range of scientific, historical, philosophical and theological subjects. Sometimes in notebooks, at other times on loose leaves or sheaves of paper of different sizes bound up together later, Sir Thomas was generally accustomed to write on leaves on the rectos only, initially leaving the versos blank for subsequent additions and revisions. Besides containing a mine of random observations from which Browne could quarry material for recasting in lengthier works, his notes and drafts contain many passages written out two, three or even more times, indicating the process by which, as his biographer John Whitefoot wrote in 1712, he was wont to reorganize and refine his compositions ‘after the Fashion of Great and Curious Wits’. Many of the observations (including a lengthy Latin oration which he drafted out several times: see *BrT 22) were written for the use or instruction of his son Edward, who was evidently much beholden to his father. Sir Thomas also copied out for his own interest not only many of Edward's letters written from abroad but also whole passages from the accounts of his European travels (based on those letters) which Edward published in 1673 and 1677 and in which Sir Thomas took an editorial interest (see Arno Löffler, ‘Sir Thomas Browne als Redaktor von Edward Brownes Travels’, Anglia, 88 (1970), 337-40). Other drafts among the manuscripts were composed as communications to other scholarly correspondents such as Dr Christopher Merrett. It was among these and similar ‘disordered papers’ that Thomas Tenison made a selection, disposing them ‘into such a method as they seemed capable of’, in order to publish what he called Certain Miscellany Tracts in 1683. It may or may not be true, as Tenison surmised, that Sir Thomas ‘designed them for public use’, although various of those tracts posthumously published between 1683 and 1716 appear to have reached a fairly polished, if not final, form. Although the dating of certain of the writings is controversial (A Letter to a Friend, for instance, may date from c.1656 or as late as the 1670s: see *BrT 5), it seems likely, from palaeographical as well as other evidence, that the majority of the surviving papers date from his later years, from the 1660s onwards. A notable exception is Sloane MS 1860 (*BrT 39), a Latin notebook written in a relatively neat, compact version of Sir Thomas's hand which has some affinity to his earlier extant letters (such as British Library, Add. MS 46378 (B), f. 1r-v: Keynes, IV, No. 169, dating from 1642). Except for *BrT 6 discussed below, there are no other clearly identifiable early examples of his hand. Thus it seems likely that the drafts and notebooks of his earlier and formative years, including the original manuscripts of his main published works, were disposed of during Sir Thomas's own lifetime when their usefulness to him had been exhausted.

In the 1820s and 1830s, Simon Wilkin undertook the mammoth task of transcribing these remains and selectively arranging the mass of amorphous material into publishable form under appropriate headings. (Collection of his papers relating to his edition are preserved in the Norfolk Record Office and at Harvard, fMS Eng 1017). The task was repeated in the 1920s by Geoffrey Keynes. Despite the scope of these editions, and a few additional passages printed by later editors such as Martin and Endicott, it must not be supposed that Browne's entire autograph writings have yet been printed in full. Where multiple versions exist, editors have also tended, to a greater or lesser degree, to produce conflated texts, while even now it is not readily possible to identify in the manuscripts certain passages for which both Wilkin and Keynes cite incorrect references. There is continuing scope for scholars to establish relationships between passages in the manuscripts and Browne's known writings, as well as to date the various manuscripts and to identify more precisely some of that material that can only be described at present as ‘miscellaneous’. It is to be hoped that the forthcoming multi-volume Oxford edition of Browne's Complete Works will rise to this challenge.

Browne's Principal Works

In so far as they survive in clearly definable manuscript versions, those works by Sir Thomas published in his lifetime or in that of his children (up to 1716) are given entries below in a distinct category (BrT 1-19), with cross-references to related material in the ‘Remains and Collectanea’ section when appropriate. The only important early writing represented here is Browne's most famous work, Religio Medici, which was first published in an unauthorized edition by Andrew Crooke in 1642. In his preface to the first authorized edition in 1643, Browne testified that the work had been composed ‘about seven yeares past’ for his ‘private exercise and satisfaction’ but, after being ‘communicated unto one, it became common unto many, and was by transcription successively corrupted untill it arrived in a most depraved copy at the presse’. Some eight extant contemporary scribal copies of Religio Medici are known at present (BrT 7-14), some containing considerable textual discrepancies. In addition, there survives a fragment of Browne's own copiously annotated exemplum of the unauthorized edition (*BrT 6), a text which probably represents a stage in the preparation of his authorized edition of 1643, and which (as is evident from the repetition of some corrupt readings) was set up not from the author's original manuscript but from some other corrected exemplum of the unauthorized edition

Printed Exempla of Browne's Works with his Autograph Corrections

Some other extant printed exempla of works by Browne have been recorded as containing the author's autograph corrections and, while not given separate entries, may be listed as follows.

An exemplum of a later edition of Religio Medici, that of 1672, in Norwich Central Library (now Norwich Studies Library) was found by Robin Robbins in the 1970s to contain some 29 autograph corrections by Browne. Similarly annotated, with some 35 autograph corrections, is the appended exemplum of the sixth edition of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1672) and these corrections are listed in Robbins, II, 1151-2 (Appendix E). Dr Robbins's own exemplum of the fourth edition of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1658) — an exemplum once owned by Sir Thomas's daughter Elizabeth Lyttleton and acquired at Sotheby's, 14 December 1976, Lot 175 — contains some thirteen autograph corrections by the author, which are listed in Robbins, II, 1150-1 (Appendix D).

By far the largest number of known author-corrected volumes, however, are of Hydriotaphia, Urne-Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus, which were published together in 1658. Relevant examples are discussed by John Carter in his edition of these works (London, 1932; 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1958) and in his articles ‘Browne's Urne Buriall’, TLS (22 August 1935), 528; ‘Sir Thomas Browne's Autograph Corrections’, The Library, 4th Ser. 19 (1938), 492-3; ‘“Urne Buriall”’, TLS (27 February 1943), 108; ‘Browne's Urn Burial’, The Library, 5th Ser. 2 (1947-8), 191-3; ‘Browne's “Hydriotaphia”’, TLS (30 August 1957), 519; and (with five facsimile examples) ‘The Iniquity of Oblivion Foil'd’, The Book Collector, 15 (Autumn 1966), 279-82. Further discussions appear in Jeremiah S. Finch's articles ‘A Newly Discovered Urn Burial’, The Library, 4th Ser. 19 (1938), 347-53, and ‘An Author-Corrected Urne-Buriall’, TLS (16 March 1940), 140, as well as in Keynes, Bibliography, pp. 73-4.

Known exempla of the edition of 1658 bearing the author's autograph corrections (no doubt others will come to light in due course) include volumes in the following repositories:

Alabama State University (45 corrections)

Bodleian, Arch. H. f. 20; once owned by John Carter (43 corrections)

British Library, C. 116. bb. 22) (40 corrections)

Columbia University (77 corrections)

Cornell University (three corrections)

Durham University Library, ELCB. C58B (42 corrections and with Browne's presentation inscription to John Robins)

Indiana University, Lilly Library, PR3327.U9 1658 (17 corrections)

McGill University, Montreal, Osler Library (47 corrections)

Robert S. Pirie, New York (29 corrections, some in another hand, the volume given by Browne to ‘D. Short’, probably Dr Peregrine Short)

Princeton University, 3646.1.348.11 (39 corrections)

Trinity College, Cambridge, C. 11. 159 (44 corrections)

Yale, Ij B818 658 (16 corrections).

An exemplum of the second edition of the two works (also published in 1658) with various autograph corrections is appended to Robin Robbins's exemplum of the fourth edition of Pseudodoxia Epidemica noted above. Another exemplum of the first edition of 1658 containing MS corrections in an unidentified hand, which may conceivably derive from those of the author, is at the University of Adelaide.


Further examples of Browne's hand are found in the surviving correspondence which he conducted not only with his sons but also with such learned contemporaries as Sir William Dugdale, John Aubrey, Henry Oldenburg (Secretary of the Royal Society), John Evelyn, Elias Ashmole, William Lilly, and Christopher Merrett, among others. These letters (many of which are virtually scientific tracts in themselves) probably represent only a fraction of the number once in existence. Some 217 letters by Browne are currently known, as well as a number sent to him by his correspondents. The majority of Browne's letters (of which the bulk date from after 1660 and are addressed to his son Edward) are found in the Rawlinson and Sloane manuscripts (BrT 20-55). They are preserved sometimes in the originals as sent, but more often in his retained autograph drafts or else in family copies.

Some 31 original letters by Browne are preserved elsewhere, in the following repositories:

Bodleian Library, MSS Ashmole 423, f. 166r; 1131, f. 314r; 1788, ff. 151r-5v; Aubrey 12, ff. 51r-4v; Tanner, 41, ff. 119r-21v; Tanner 285, ff. 101r, 130r-1v)

British Library, Add. MSS 4066, ff. 274r-6v; 46378(B), f. 1r-v; 48683, No. 58; Harley MS 4712, ff. 171r-2v; Sloane MS 3515, ff. 60-1)

Clark Library, Los Angeles

University of Glasgow

Harvard, fMS Eng 870 (12)

McGill University, Montreal

Norfolk Record Office

Pembroke College, Oxford

Pierpont Morgan Library

Robert Pirie, New York

Princeton (RT CO1, Box 2, Folders 23 and 24)

Royal Society, B.I. 153-6)

Yale, Osborn Collection.

Of these original letters only one (Keynes, IV, No. 169, noted above) dates from the 1640s, while no more than eleven (Keynes, IV, Nos. 179-80, 185, 187-90, 195, 199, 200, 202) date from the 1650s, the rest being written in the 1660s and later. Almost all of Browne's letters, together with some of those written to him, are edited in Keynes, Vol. IV (and see also Wilkin, Vol. I, and Robbins, II, 1164-76). A few letters that have found new locations since they were edited in Keynes are:

Keynes No. 180 (to Evelyn, 21 January 1659/60, formerly owned by Alfred Morrison and now at Princeton)

Keynes No. 195 (to Dugdale, 27 October 1658, the enclosure) formerly owned by Roger W. Barrett and now in the Pierpont Morgan Library

Keynes No. 197 (to Dugdale, 10 November 1658), edited in Keynes from the retained draft, but the original letter sent is now in the Clark Library, Los Angeles, B 884L 1658 Nov. 10

Keynes No. 200 and enclosure, sold at Sotheby's, 2 March 1965, lots 475 and 476, and now divided between Robert Pirie and Princeton

Keynes No. 235 (to a member of the Coke family, 24 December [no year]), now at Yale (Osborn Files/Browne).

An undated letter to Thomas Knyvett, not recorded in Keynes, is at Princeton, while another addition — a letter to Dugdale, 11 September 1661 (which should come after Keynes's No. 205) — was sold at Sotheby's, 21 July 1831 (William Hamper sale), lot 475, and 6 June 1859 (Dawson Turner sale), lot 577, to Holloway. This is now at Pembroke College, Oxford (Archive 63/1/1).

One of Dugdale's manuscript collections on draining in the Bodleian (MS Dugdale 49) once included several original letters by Browne. When sold as lot 177 in the Thomas Martin sale at Baker and Leigh's, viz. Sotheby's, on 29 April 1773, it allegedly contained ‘15 original Letters from Sir Thom. Brown in 1658’). This collection presumably derived from lot 426 in the Peter Le Neve sale by John Wilcox in London on 22 February 1730/1, 12th day, folio). However, the letters are no longer present and might conceivably be among those letters to Dugdale known and located elsewhere.

Facsimile examples of autograph letters by Browne may be found in Greg, English Literary Autographs, Plate LXXXIX; in Sotheby's sale catalogue, 11 December 1917, lot 129; in Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, sale catalogue, 30 October-1 November 1950, lot 149; in ‘Robert H. Taylor Collection’, Princeton University Library Chronicle, 38 (1977), Plate 13, facing p. 145; in British Literary Autographs, Series I, ed. Verlyn Klinkenborg et al. (New York, 1981), No. 38; and in Maggs's sale catalogue No. 1272 (1999), item 27.


A few other autograph documents by Browne, not given entries, may also be mentioned as follows:

Two autograph certificates signed by Browne on behalf of Anthony Sparrow, Bishop of Norwich, dated 10 May 1679 and 22 October 1680, are in the Bodleian, MSS Tanner 38, f. 23r, and 47, f. 181r, and are edited in Keynes, IV, 399-400.

A draft of the second of these certificates is also in the British Library, Sloane MS 1848, f. 271r (see *BrT 36).

A similar certificate written by Browne on behalf of Robert Wenman of Norwich, 17 May 1670, is in the National Archives, Kew, SP 29/275/145.

For Browne's will see *BrT 61.


Scraps of verse occur periodically in Browne's notebooks (in BrT 20-55), as well as in Religio Medici, and are selectively edited in Keynes (III, 234-8). The principal items, including Upon a Tempest at Sea written ‘at the Crowe Inne in Chester at his Coming from Ireland’, and his most widely circulated poem, his Colloquy beginning ‘The night is come like to the day’, are given entries (BrT 0.3-0.100).


A few other items not given separate entries may be mentioned briefly.

A few medical prescriptions by Sir Thomas Browne found in the Harbord Household Book at Gunton Park, Norfolk, are printed in R.W. Ketton-Cremer, ‘Sir Thomas Browne Prescribes’, TLS (2 November 1951), 700, and are thence reprinted in Keynes, III, 463-5.

A free Latin translation by Dr Walter Charleton of Certain Miscellany Tracts No. XIII (‘Musaeum Clausum’) is in the British Library (Sloane MS 3413, ff. 22-36) and is discussed by Jeremiah S. Finch in TLS (13 November 1937), p. 871.

Various printed exempla of Browne's works have notable readers' annotations, including, for instance:

A printed exemplum of Christian Morals (Cambridge, 1716), inscribed, dated (‘Dec: 9. 1715’) and annotated by Browne's friend, the rector John Jeffrey (1647-1720). In the possession of Thomas Willard, who discusses it in ‘John Jeffrey's Copy of Christian Morals’, PBSA, 92/1 (March 1998), 81-4.

Browne's presentation exemplum of the second edition of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1650) to Francis Le Cros, with the latter's inscription ‘Frances Le Gros: This booke given mee by the worthy Authour my Honor'd freinde, when I was one of his family, and most happy in beinge so: 1650’ (Once owned by the Trumbull family, later Marquesses of Downshire. Hodgson's, 11 June 1926, lot 380. Sotheby's, 19 July 1990, lot 30, to Maggs)

Exemplum of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646) annotated by Dr Christopher Wren, Dean of Windsor (Bodleian, O. 2. 26 Art. Seld.)

Exemplum of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646) annotated by George Daniel (1616-57) of Beswick (Christie's, 13 June 1979 (Arthur A. Houghton, Jr sale, Part I), lot 56, to Howell).

Exemplum of Religio Medici (1642), together with Digby's Observations on Religio Medici (1644), annotated by Dr Christopher Wren, Dean of Windsor (‘Chr: Wren ex dono Rdi. Patris 1643’) (Cardiff Central Library, MS 1. 160)

An exemplum of Religio Medici (1643) annotated by Thomas Keck of the Temple in preparation for his edition of the work in 1656 (Bodleian, 8° Rawl. 675)

John Evelyn's annotated exemplum of Certain Miscellany Tracts (1683) (Norwich Central Library, L 234905).

Hester Lynch Thrale, Mrs Piozzi's annotated exemplum of the fifth edition of Pseudodoxia Epidemica (together with Hydriotaphia and The Garden of Cyrus, 1669) at the University of Virginia. This volume is discussed in Majl Ewing, ‘Mrs. Piozzi peruses Dr. Thomas Browne’, PQ, 22 (1943), 111-18).

Items that have, however, been given entries are contemporary manuscripts of a notable early critique of Browne's Religio Medici by Sir Kenelm Digby (BrT 57-61) and some nineteenth- and twentieth-century editorial papers (BrT 62-64).

Peter Beal