Andrew Pettegree

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Andrew Pettegree is a British historian and one of the leading experts on Europe during the Reformation. He currently holds a professorship at St Andrews University where he is the director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue Project. He is also the founding director of the St Andrews Reformation Studies Institute.[1]

Educated at Oxford, Pettegree held Research Fellowships at the Universities of Hamburg and Cambridge before moving to St Andrews in 1986. In 1991 he was named the founding director of the St Andrews Reformation Studies Institute, which has since become recognised as a leading centre for research in the field.

His early work was mostly concentrated on the subject of sixteenth century immigrant communities, with two books, Foreign Protestant Communities in Sixteenth Century London (1986) and Emden and the Dutch Revolt (1992). The most influential book of this phase of his career is probably Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (2005), a study of the process by which Reformation ideas were communicated, through the media of publications, pictures, theatre and song.

Since the publication of this work, his work has turned increasingly in a new direction, centred on the history of communication and particularly documenting the early history of print. Ten years of field work in French libraries, for which he gathered a sizable research group, culminated in 2007 with the publication of French Vernacular Books, of a complete listing of all French books published in the first age of print, 1450-1600 (co-authored with Malcolm Walsby and Alexander Wilkinson). This project was subsequently expanded into a survey of early print covering the whole of Europe, the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC). This free access resource was made available on-line in 2011. In 2016 it will be expanded to encompass books published in the period 1601-1650, doubling the size of the resource.

In 2010 he published an interpretative work reassessing the early impact of the printing press, The Book in the Renaissance. Drawing heavily on the data gathered for the USTC, this suggests that to understand the impact of print we must look beyond the most notable and celebrated books of the day, and consider the more mundane projects that underpinned the economics of the print era - the 'cheap print' of pamphlets and broadsheets, many of which are documented for the first time in the Universal Short Title Catalogue. Widely praised by reviewers, The Book in the Renaissance was nominated one of the New York Times notable books of 2010,[2] and won the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan book prize of the Renaissance Society of America.[3]

In March 2014, he published his latest book The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself (Yale University Press), to widespread acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. [4][5] [6] This groundbreaking study charts the development of a commercial culture of news in ten countries over the five centuries before the daily newspaper emerged as the dominant form of news delivery at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The book demonstrates that this was, like our own, a rich, multi-media environment of manuscript and print, correspondence and conversation, gossip and song. It shows in particular that newspapers were in some respects the least functional part of this system. Indeed, it would be two centuries after their invention in 1605 before newspapers became a firmly-established fixture of the ecology of news.

In 2015 The Invention of News won Harvard University’s prestigious Goldsmith Prize. This prize, awarded annually by the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, honours the book that best fulfils the objective of improving democratic governance through an examination of the intersection between the media, politics and public policy.

Andrew Pettegree has held visiting fellowships at All Souls College, Oxford, the Scaliger Institute in Leiden, and at the Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Research at the University of Toronto. He is currently a Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society. His next project will be a study of Martin Luther's use and mastery of the printed media. This book, Brand Luther: 1517, Printing and the making of the Reformation will be published by Penguin USA on 27 October 2015.


  • The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself (Yale University Press, 2014)
  • The Book in the Renaissance (Yale University Press, 2010)
  • Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Europe in the Sixteenth Century (Blackwell, 2002)
  • Emden and the Dutch Revolt: Exile and the Development of Reformed Protestantism (Oxford University Press, 1992)
  • Foreign Protestant communities in sixteenth-century London, (Oxford University Press, 1986)
  • The Early Reformation in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 1992)
  • (edited with A Duke and Gillian Lewis) Calvinism in Europe, 1540-1610: A Collection of Documents (Manchester University Press, 1992)
  • (edited with A Duke and Gillian Lewis) Calvinism in Europe, 1540-1620 (Cambridge University Press, 1994)
  • Marian Protestantism: Six Studies (St Andrews Studies in Reformation History, 1995, 1996)
  • The Reformation World (ed.) (Routledge, 2000)


  • Andrew Pettegree, Malcolm Walsby & Alexander Wilkinson (eds.), French Vernacular Books. Books Published in the French Language before 1601, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2007)
  • Andrew Pettegree & Malcolm Walsby (eds.), Netherlandish Books. Books Published in the Low Countries and Dutch Books Printed Abroad before 1601, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2011)
  • Andrew Pettegree & Malcolm Walsby (eds.), French Books III & IV. Books published in France before 1601 in Latin and Languages other than French, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 2011)