Books were first printed at Cambridge in 1521–2 by John Siberch (John Lair of Siegburg), a friend of Erasmus. A charter was granted to the University by Henry VIII in 1534 authorizing the printing of books there, but not until 1583 was the first university Printer, Thomas Thomas, appointed. The activity of the Press was developed under the influence of R. Bentley (1662–1742) when the present system of control by a Syndicate, or committee of senior academics, was instituted. With a history of continuous activity since 1584, the Press claims to be the oldest printer‐publisher in England, perhaps in the world. The Press has been a notable scientific publisher from I. Newton and Ray to the present day, and its wide range of publications include editions of classical authors, works by C. S. Lewis and F. R. Leavis and the great range of collaborative histories first planned by Acton. The principle of large‐scale collaborative history has also been applied to English literature, and a history of American literature is planned.