The William H. Prescott Collection

Frances Bacon

Originally assembled to support research on the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy, the Prescott Collection comprises the College Library's most valuable comprehensive collection of 16th and 17th century literature. The original library belonged to Dr. William H. Prescott who collaborated closely with Dr. Orville Owen, in working out a complicated system for decoding hidden meanings in the works of Shakespeare and other 17th century English authors that would prove that Sir Francis Bacon (1562-1626) was indeed the author of Shakespeare's plays. The fact that the theories of Owen, Prescott, and other "Baconists" have been universally debunked, does not diminish the passion and fervor with which these highly intelligent but misguided scholars pursued their fruitless quest, nor does it impact the extraordinary value of Prescott's library, equally as fascinating for its Baconian curiosities as for the rare 17th century literary masterpieces, acquired in that pursuit.


In 1992, the Prescott Collection was given to Special Collections by William H. Prescott, Class of 1967. Prescott is the grandson of William H, Prescott, the collector, and one of the dedicatees of his grandmother book Reminiscences of a Baconian.