Thomas Bodley is well known for his bibliographical activities and his benefaction of the Bodleian Library, Oxford, but his prior career as a diplomat has been largely overlooked, despite being celebrated by his contemporaries. A large and comprehensive corpus of letters survives from the twelve years he was on diplomatic business, during initial extraordinary missions as a special envoy to various European sovereigns between 1585-88, and then his long residence in The Hague during his post as English representative on the Council of State for the United Provinces (Netherlands) from 1588-97. These letters, previously unedited and unpublished, are a valuable interdisciplinary resource to scholars of religious, social, cultural, geographical, military and political history. The letters also offer an important understanding of the information networks and patronage structures between official and semi-official diplomatic agents and their patrons in the later sixteenth-century.
The letters of Thomas Bodley relating to his diplomatic activity between 1585-97 will be released in chronological sections.