Jessica Grace Purdy

Jessica Grace Purdy


  • KY16 9AR

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


I received my PhD in Early Modern Book History from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2021 for a thesis entitled 'Parish Libraries and their Readers, 1558-1709'. My research examined the creation and composition of early modern parish libraries in England and analysed the thematic reading interests of readers through extant marginalia. 

Before joining the School of History at the University of St Andrews as Associate Lecturer in Early Modern History, 1500-1700 in August 2022, I was Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Manchester Metropolitan University.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and I also hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. 

Research overview

My research focuses on library history, the history of reading, and identity. I am particularly interested in why libraries were founded in early modern England and Scotland and the educational purposes that they served. I am also interested in the books people read in the early modern period and how these readings impacted their identity and the their understanding of the world around them. 

More broadly, I am interested in the cultural and social history of the Tudor and Stuart courts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and I can often be found critiquing films and TV shows on these topics in my classes.

In 2021, I co-edited a volume of essays entitled Communities of Print: Books and their Readers in Early Modern Europe with Dr Rosamund Oates at Manchester Metropolitan University. In 2023, my first monograph, Reading Between the Lines: Parish Libraries and their Readers in Early Modern England, 1558-1709, was published.

Teaching activity


- MO2008: Scotland, Britain and Empire, 1500-2000 (module coordinator, 2023-2024)


- MO3040: From Cradle to Grave: Living and Dying in Early Modern England, 1500-1800 (module coordinator)

- MO3047: The Tudors: Power and Piety in the Sixteenth Century (module coordinator)

- MO4967: Elizabethan England (module coordinator)

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Parish Libraries and their Readers, 1558-1709, Manchester Metropolitan University

Award Date: 27 Oct 2021


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