11 MARCH 1922, Page 20


Da. JOHN VENN, the President of Gonville and Caius, and Mr. J. A. Venn have been for many year engaged in the formidable task of compiling "a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office" at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to the year 1900. The first part of the work, Alumni Cantabrigienses, extends to the year 1751, and is to fill four volumes ; the first of these has just appeared, in an edition of only 500 copies (Cambridge University Press : 150s. net), and deserves unqualified praise. Historians, biographers and genealogists will find it indispensable. The volume deals with the names from John Abbas, a. sizes of Trinity in Elizabeth's day, to William Cutts, perhaps a member of the same family as the celebrated John Cutts, himself a Cambridge man, who fought at the Boyne and at Blenheim. This portion of the alphabet fills 437 double-column pages of small, but very clear, type, including, we should estimate, well over 15,000 names ; indeed, the four volumes will, it is said, contain in all 76,000 names. The compilers explain in the preface that, while Mr. Joseph Foster's Alumni Oxonienses is based on the University matriculation records, they have found it necessary to work through all the Cambridge College registers because many students in the early days failed to matriculate. Thus, between 1544 and 1659 they discovered the names of 3000 students who were unrecognized by the University. Oliver Cromwell himself was admitted a fellow-commoner at Sidney Sussex in April, 1616, and resided for a year, but he did not matriculate. The compilers further explain that, unlike Mr. Foster, they have not limited their work to the students admitted since 1500; their earliest students date from the year 1261. The compact biographical notes mention, wherever possible, the subject's parentage and relationship to others of the same name, his school, his ecclesiastical or legal or Parliamentary record, and the date of his death, with a reference, where necessary, to the Dictionary of National Biography, and other works where fuller particulars may be found. Mr. J. Gardner Bartlett, of Boston, has supplied biographies of about a hundred Cambridge men who emigrated to New England before 1650. The pages are, of course, studded with famous names, but it is for the lesser names that the book will be most often used. We congratulate the compilers on their great work and trust that it may soon be completed.