The Hollis-Collections in Switzerland: An Attempt to Disseminate Political and Religious Freedom through Books in the 18th Century

Urs B. Leu


Thomas Hollis (1720–1774) was not only one of the most important donors of the Harvard College Library, but donated also books to a number of institutions throughout Europe, among them the main libraries in Basle, Berne, Geneva and Zurich. This article shows the motivations behind Hollis’s choice of books and recipients to spread the philosophy of political and religious liberty and demonstrates for the first time the full extent of Hollis’s campaign to influence protestant scholars in Switzerland.


Enlightenment; History of Libraries; History of Books; England; Protestantism; Switzerland; Thomas Hollis; Tolerance; 18th Century

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