There are various sources for lists of benefactors, particularly early benefactors.

One such source is a printed Form of Service for the Commemoration of Benefactors (anonymous, undated, probably late 18th century, after 1777), which lists the principal deceased benefactors from the foundation of the college up until the date of printing.

Details of the nature of the earliest benefactions, and the use to which they were put, are hard to come by, partly because the college account books were started only after the death of Andrew Dokett, the first President, in 1484.

A much more extensive list is available in A Form for the Commemoration of Benefactors, to be used in the Chapel of the College of St Margaret and St Bernard, commonly called Queens’ College, Cambridge, edited by George Cornelius Gorham, 1823 (OCLC 55861566 & 644106478). This serves as a catalogue of benefactors’ names from the earliest times, with details of the benefaction given for the more recent ones. Once again, only deceased benefactors are listed for commemoration. [This work also contains the earliest known appearance in print of the name of the college spelled with the apostrophe after the final ‘s’].

For further details and corrections to the above, see two copies bound together, the first interleaved, with MS. notes by the editor & W.G. Searle, the second with notes by Searle only, in the Cambridge University Library as Adv.b.94.2 (OCLC 55863359).

The Memorials of Cambridge, by Charles Henry Cooper, 1860, pp. 297–304, provides more details of the actual benefactions than the post-1777 list above, and extends the list of names into the 19th century. His list might be partly based on the 1823 list by Gorham.

To extend the formal list of benefactors beyond 1823 would represent quite a challenge, as benefactions have not been systematically recorded in a single place. Some very recent benefactions are recorded in Philanthropic News.

Historical references

In 1574, John Caius published a short list of benefactors, ending it with:

… cum multis alijs et nobilibus et illustribus viris plus quàm 147, quorum nomina nisi longum esset hic adscripsissem.
[Historiæ Cantabrigiensis Academiæ ab urbe condita, by John Caius, Liber primus, p. 71]

In 1622, Richard Parker rendered that as:

Longum esset omnium Catalogum attexere, qui alios centum quinquaginta quatuor plus minus Benefactores, eosque omnes Magnates, Milites, Armigeros connumerat.
[Σκελετός Cantabrigiensis, by Richard Parker 1622, in Leland’s Collecteana, Vol. V, ed. Thomas Hearne, p. 226]

It would be tedious to insert the whole Catalogue of Benefactors, amounting to about 150, within four over or under, all of them Peers, Knights and Esquires.
[Σκελετός Cantabrigiensis, in The History and Antiquities of the University of Cambridge, pub. Thomas Warner, p. 111]

This latter claim was widely plagiarised in later histories, such as Carter, without any verification.

In 1655, Thomas Fuller wrote:

The catalogue of benefactors to this college presents only the principal, not all in that kind, who in the days of Dr Caius (writing eight[y] years since) amounted to more than an hundred forty and seven. Much increased at this day: indeed no house for the quantity is endowed with better land of manors and farms, and less of impropriations belonging thereunto.
[The History of the University of Cambridge, by Thomas Fuller, Section V, ¶35, p. 81;
as quoted in the edition by Marmaduke Prickett and Thomas Wright, p. 164.]

Around 1837–​42 Le Keux’s Memorials of Cambridge asserted:

Queen’s College received its greatest benefactions during the period between its foundation and the beginning of the sixteenth century. Since that time benefactors have been more numerous than rich.
[Le Keux’s Memorials of Cambridge, by Thomas Wright and Harry Longueville Jones, p. 270]