Henry Paman originally entered Emmanuel College to study medicine, but migrated to St John's in 1646, where he graduated and gained his MA. He later became senior proctor, graduated MD, and became public orator for the University. Paman's lifelong friend William Sancroft was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 1677 and Paman went to live in Lambeth Palace. He gained further distinction in his career, becoming professor of medicine at Gresham College, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and LLD at Cambridge, before being appointed master of the faculties there. His loyalty to Sancroft was shown when he resigned his professorship after Sancroft refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the newly installed William III. He spent his final days in Covent Garden.
As well as gifts to Emmanuel College and the Royal College of Physicians, Paman left the books remaining at his death to St John's, with £50 to buy more. These include works on subjects as diverse as psychology (Robert Burton's Anatomy of melancholy, 6th ed. 1652), intestinal medicine (Thomas Willis's Diatribæ duæ medico-philosophicæ, quarum prior agit de fermentatione siue de motu intestino particularum in quovis corpore, 2nd ed. 1660), haematology (Jacques Chaillou's Questions de ce temps sur l'origine et le mouvement du sang, 1664), and materia medica (Jean Prevost's Medicina pauperum, cum censu venenorum & alexipharmacorum, 1644). Some of the more notable items include Famiana Strada's De bello Belgico (1632), with its interesting frontispiece bearing a map of the Low Countries in the form of a lion, Inigo Jones's The most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Stone-Heng on Salisbury plain (1655), and John Stow's early Survey of London (1633). Other volumes given by Paman have interesting provenances, with binding stamps of both the politican and antiquary Sir Peter Manwood, and the privateer, colonialist and parliamentarian admiral, Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick.
The books left by Paman bear a manuscript book label. Translated it reads:
With this and many other choice books of no small value, of medicine as well as of polite literature, did the most illustrious Henry Paman, late Senior Fellow of this College, Master of Arts and Doctor of Laws, and worthy of both titles, and once a most deserving Public Orator of Cambridge University, enrich the library of the College of St John the Evangelist.