Henry Bradshaw was born in London on 2nd February 1831. Soon after his birth, the Bradshaw family moved to Hornsey. He was educated at Temple Grove and at Eton, and was admitted to King's on 1st February 1850. He was elected a Fellow of the College in 1853, and took a second class degree in the Classical Tripos, graduating in 1854. Bradshaw inherited his father's collection of Irish books in 1845, and began his own collection of rare books while he was at Eton.
After graduation, Bradshaw spent two years in Ireland as a schoolmaster, returning to Cambridge in 1856 to take up the post of Principal Assistant at the University Library. He resigned from this post in 1858, but soon after was re-employed to work on the rare books collections. During this process he rediscovered many lost books, including the Book of Deer. From 1867 Bradshaw was the University Librarian. He was also Dean of King's College from 1857-8 and from 1863-5.
He died suddenly in his rooms in College on 11 February 1886, and was buried in the Chapel. His private collection of books was donated to the University Library. The Henry Bradshaw Society (founded in 1890 to publish editions and facsimiles of rare liturgical texts) was named in his honour.
For further biographical details of Henry Bradshaw, the reader is referred to the following published work:
G. W. Prothero 'A memoir of Henry Bradshaw' (London: Kegan Paul, Trench and Co., 1888).
Throughout this catalogue Henry Bradshaw is referred to as HB.
This collection contains mainly correspondence, with a few papers relating to Bradshaw's work at the University Library and King's College, and a small handful of family papers.
The papers of Henry Bradshaw were presented to King's College in 1889 by his biographer G.W. Prothero and comprise sections BRA/1-4 (except where noted on particular documents). In 1959, Bradshaw's letters to Frederick Ellis, 1863 - 85, were purchased from Sotheby's.