He was the younger brother of T. Rawlinson and a close friend of the antiquary Hearne. Both relationships influenced his collecting: he reacquired many of the works from his brother's library that were posthumously sold at book auctions; and Hearne shaped his antiquarian and historical interests. ‘I collect and I preserve’ was Rawlinson’s episcopal motto, and it is reflected most strikingly in the more than 5,000 MSS he bequeathed to the Bodleian, together with many of his printed books. A few books went to St John's College, Oxford, and the rest—nearly 10,000—were sold at auction in 1756.
From The Oxford Companion to the Book in Oxford Reference.