What is Ashmole 782?

Aside from being the name of this fan site and the catalyst for Diana and Matthew’s adventures in the “All Soul’s Trilogy,” Ashmole 782 is actually a real book… and is really missing.

18481-bodleian-library-oxford-courtyard

In the courtyard of the Bodleian Library. Photo © Holly Hayes.

Soon after the Bodleian Library was opened to scholars in 1602, benefactor Sir Thomas Bodley arranged with London’s Stationers’ Company to deposit a copy of every book printed in England there. These were securely housed in the library, and not allowed to circulate to borrowers.

One of the library’s early donors was Elias Ashmole (1617-1692), a great bibliophile and collector. He was also a serious student of alchemy. When Ashmole died, he bequeathed funds to Oxford University to establish a library  and museum. Into this museum went his collections of natural objects, ancient coins and pottery, along with hundreds of books and manuscripts.

In 1858, the contents of Ashmole’s library were offered to the Bodleian. The books were catalogued, and the manuscripts were numbered and given the designation “Ashmole manuscripts.”

The main entrance to the Bodleian Library. Photo: Holly Hayes.

The main entrance to the Bodleian Library. Photo: Holly Hayes.

A manuscript with the description “Anthropologia, or a treatis containing a short description of Man in two parts: the first Anatomical, the second Psychological” was tagged as Ashmole Manuscript 782. Its contents, and current whereabouts, are unknown.

What happened to Ashmole 782? It could have been miscatalogued, shelved in the wrong part of the library or inadvertently sent to a different library altogether.

Intrigued? Read more about the Bodleian Library at Sacred Destinations.

The upper reading room in the Bodleian Library. Photo: Holly Hayes

The upper reading room in the Bodleian Library. Photo: Holly Hayes

The Bodleian Library. Photo: Greg Smolonski

The Bodleian Library. Photo: Greg Smolonski

Leave a Reply