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    Advisory boards

  • Phase 2, 2010–14: Hal Cook, Anthony Grafton, Rob Iliffe, Mark Jenner, Ludmilla Jordanova, Margaret Pelling, Richard Smith, John Harley Warner
  • Phase 3, 2014–19: Gina Czarnecki (2014–15), Alexandra Franklin, Vanessa Harding, Tim Hitchcock, Rob Iliffe
  • Casebooks exhibition curatorial advisory committee: Alanna Heiss (Chair), Katharine Heron, Natalie Kaoukji, Lauren Kassell, Sam Thorne, David Thorp


Lauren Kassell is Professor of History of Science and Medicine in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. She conceived the Casebooks Project, was responsible for its design and management, and oversaw the editing, website, and other outputs. Her acclaimed study of Simon Forman was published in 2005, and she has written on other aspects of the histories of medicine, gender, astrology, alchemy, and magic in early modern England. She is a co-editor of Reproduction: Antiquity to the Present Day (2018), in which her chapter on ‘Fruitful Bodies and Astrological Medicine’ uses Forman’s and Napier’s casebooks to explore how questions about pregnancy, fertility, and women’s health defined the dynamics of early modern medical encounters. She chairs the Casebooks Editorial Committee.

Technical Director

Michael Hawkins has been part of the project since its inception. During its funded phases, he was responsible for all its technical aspects, including the establishment of the encoding policies, the development of the search function, the design of the website, and the management of digital assets. With Lauren Kassell, Robert Ralley, and John Young, he wrote the pages on this site that constitute the Casebooks critical introduction. He completed his PhD on Thomas Willis’s neurocartography of the passions in 2004 at the Centre for History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College, London. He has served as Technical Director of numerous digital humanities projects, including the Darwin Correspondence Project (Cambridge University Library), the Newton Project (University of Oxford), the Cambridge Platonism Sourcebook (Cambridge University), Livingstone Online (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL), and the British Living Standards Project (University of Sussex). He was also the Project Manager of Windows on Genius (University of Sussex, Cambridge University Library). He is currently a Senior Developer in the Digital Innovation and Development team at the Cambridge University Library. He is a member of the Casebooks Editorial Committee.

Senior Editors

Robert Ralley joined the Casebooks Project when it was piloted in 2008. As a Senior Editor, in tandem with John Young he transcribed and edited the casebooks. He independently transcribed and edited Forman’s major guide to astrology and supplied it with a critical introduction. He wrote a PhD dissertation on clerical physicians in fifteenth-century England (Cambridge, 2005), held a Wellcome Research Fellowship focussing on ‘Medical Times in Late Medieval England’, and has published on the history of medicine, astrology, and magic. He transcribed Forman vols. 1, 3, 5, and 6; Napier vols. 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, and 19; three volumes of assorted papers; and numerous supplementary manuscripts. He checked Forman vols. 2 and 4; Napier vols. 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, half of 13, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, half of 41, 42, 45, 47, 50, 51, and 54; and Sir Richard Napier’s vols. 1 and 2. He linked the names for the full corpus. With Lauren Kassell, Mike Hawkins, and John Young, he wrote the pages on this site that constitute the Casebooks critical introduction. He is currently a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded project Unlocking Digital Texts: Towards an Interoperable Text Framework, which will use the Casebooks files as a case study. He is a member of the Casebooks Editorial Committee.

John Young joined the project as a Senior Editor when it was launched in 2010. He and Robert Ralley shared responsibility for transcribing and editing the casebooks, and Young was principal author of the project’s Editorial and tagging guidelines. He took a PhD in history at Sheffield University, where he worked as a transcriber on the Hartlib Papers and John Foxe projects. From 2000 to 2010 he was Transcription and Tagging Manager for the Newton Project, on which he afterwards retained a role as consultant. He was the author of Faith, Medical Alchemy and Natural Philosophy: Johann Moriaen, Reformed Intelligencer, and the Hartlib Circle (1998) and co-compiler of the Newton Manuscripts Catalogue. For Casebooks, he transcribed Forman vols. 2 and 4 and Napier vols. 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 20, 21, 34, 36, and 39. He checked Forman vols. 1, 3, 5, and 6; Napier vols. 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, half of 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 31, 33, 37, half of 41, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 52, and 53; and three volumes of assorted papers. He translated all of the Latin in this edition. With Lauren Kassell, Mike Hawkins, and Robert Ralley, he wrote the pages on this site that constitute the Casebooks critical introduction. He was a member of the Casebooks Editorial Committee until his death in May 2022. His obituary was published in the Guardian. Philippa Carter remembered his work on Casebooks in a poem. When we look at the files of code that underly the edition John is in there among the tags, in numberless comments expressing his amusement, exasperation and sometimes bafflement at the scholarly (and personal) habits of Forman and Napier. Sometimes when updating a file we still find ourselves replying to him.

Assistant Editors

Joanne Edge was an Assistant Editor from 2014 to 2018. She holds a BA in History from Goldsmiths and an MA in Medieval Studies from UCL. She completed a PhD on late medieval divination at Royal Holloway in 2014. While completing her doctorate, she held a Scouloudi pre-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research (2013–14) and worked on the online medieval manuscripts catalogue at the Wellcome Library. For Casebooks, she transcribed half of Napier vol. 13 and Napier vols. 16, 23, 24, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 37, half of 41, 43, 44, 46, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, and half of 54; and Sir Richard Napier vols. 1 and 2. She checked the original manuscripts to supply words lost in the bindings for several thousand cases. She helped to produce the project’s Twitter feed and maintained the project’s Facebook page. On completion of the project, she worked at the University of Manchester, first as Latin Manuscripts Cataloguer at the John Rylands Library, and then as a Lecturer in Late Medieval History. She then became a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on Alice Thornton’s Books at the University of Edinburgh. Her first book, on name-number divination in late medieval English manuscripts, is forthcoming with Boydell and Brewer.

Janet Yvonne Martin-Portugues was an Assistant Editor from 2014 to 2018. She holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of London. Before joining Casebooks, she worked for Universal Pictures International managing digital assets, for Amnesty International as liaison officer between the International Secretariat in London and the section offices worldwide, and for the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex as a research assistant. From 2004, she was a freelance transcriber and encoder for the Newton Project and was the project manager for the Enlightening Science Project. She transcribed half of Napier vol. 13 and Napier vols. 22, 25, 26, 28, 30, 35, 38, 40, half of 41, 42, 45, 47, 51, and half of 54. She encoded and checked the notes on the non-case materials in the casebooks. She provided occasional administrative and organisational assistance to the project’s director.

Research Fellows

Boyd Brogan joined the project in 2014, funded by the Isaac Newton Trust, and then in 2015 secured a Wellcome Research Fellowship for a project on the links between sexual abstinence and illness in early modern medicine. Napier’s casebooks are a key source for his work. In 2018 he took up a research fellowship at the Centre for Future Health at the University of York, where he is developing a project on the relationship between epilepsy and hysteria in the nineteenth century. He is the author of our ‘Meet the patients’ page on the Egertons.

Natalie Kaoukji was part of Casebooks from 2014 to 2018. Before this, she wrote a PhD thesis on early modern flight and held a Wellcome Research Fellowship for a project on writing and the prolongation of life. With Lauren Kassell, she led the collaboration with artists culminating in the Casebooks exhibition at Ambika P3 and authored the accompanying book. She conceived and designed our twitter feed and produced Selected cases in full, a themed selection of several hundred full-text transcriptions.

Cite this as: Lauren Kassell, Michael Hawkins, Robert Ralley, and John Young, ‘Staff’, A Critical Introduction to the Casebooks of Simon Forman and Richard Napier, 1596–1634,, accessed 6 December 2023.