The Athenae Cantabrigienses was the most ambitious of several large writing projects undertaken by Charles Henry Cooper, a keen historian, successful lawyer and town clerk of Cambridge in the mid-nineteenth century. He enlisted the help of his elder son, Thompson Cooper, for this book, a collection of carefully researched biographies of distinguished figures with Cambridge connections, inspired by Anthony Wood's Athenae Oxonienses (1692). Two volumes were published during Cooper Senior's lifetime, but only 60 pages of the third volume (ending in 1611) appeared in print, and he died leaving an enormous quantity of notes. Even in its incomplete state, the work contains about seven thousand biographies; their subjects include clergymen, military commanders, judges, artists, scholars and benefactors of the University. Volume 1, published in 1858, covers the period 1500-1585. This reissue also includes the original prospectus for the project, which was financed by private subscription.