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The Elizabethan New Year's Gift Exchanges, 1559-1603

ISBN: 9780197265260 | 019726526X
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 3/22/2013

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The records of Queen Elizabeth's New Year's gift exchanges convey a wealth of information about the late Tudor court. Records of twenty-four exchanges survive from the forty-five years of Elizabeth's reign, naming more than 1,200 participants. The vellum rolls record what was given to the Queen and what she gave in return. The gift rolls convey important information on a broad range of topics, including Elizabethan biography, language, and social and economic conditions, as well as the age's costume, jewelry, and plate, yet they remain largely unstudied by scholars in the many disciplines that would benefit from such evidence. A. Jeffries Collins, the first scholar to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the rolls, lamented more than a half-century ago how little use had been made of them by professional historians. Elizabethan studies rarely cite the substantial and varied information found in these documents, and even that use has been almost wholly restricted to the seven New Year's rolls edited in whole or part to date. This edition opens up their use to scholars by providing complete transcriptions of the extant rolls. They are complemented by five appendices which include biographical sketches of participants with cross references to their titles, a table of court offices with details of participants' offices and occupations, a listing of gift terms and descriptors, and a glossary of unusual or obsolete words found on the rolls.


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