UCL Library Special Collections is one of the foremost university collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK.
A Limited Re-opening
Please go to our Visiting Us page for up to date information concerning our limited re-opening of our reading rooms.
Our enquiry service is open and with staff still largely working from home, we recommend that you contact us by email.
Where possible, we will be working to support your research and teaching online, and making our schools and outreach programme available virtually.
Our Digital Collections and our catalogues remain online and available for your use. We’ve also created a Primary Sources reading list of digitised books, manuscripts and archives available from other institutions.
Please contact us with any enquiries.
- You can search for rare books and other printed material on Explore.
- Archives and manuscripts are found on the Archives Catalogue.
- Search for digitised and digital content on Digital Collections.
For more information and video tutorials on how to use these resources to find material held by UCL Special Collections, learn about Our Collections.
News from our blog
French translations of Beatrix Potter, English testimonies to the Holocaust and women of the South Asian Diaspora – these were just some of the collecting themes amongst the applications for this year’s Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize, which is open to all students at London-based universities. The prize, which is generously funded by Anthony Davis, aims to encourage collectors who are at an early stage of collecting books, printed materials or manuscripts.
Colin Penman, Head of UCL Records, writes about the internal documents that sheds light on the history of LGBTQI+ student life at UCL.
In March 1972, Jamie Gardiner, a PhD student in the UCL Department of Mathematics, now a lawyer and human rights activist in Australia, founded the Homophile Society, or Gaysoc at UCL. As far as we know, this was the first gaysoc to be founded in a UK university and affiliated to its student union.
Kaladlit Okalluktualliait (Greenlandic Folktales): Contentious histories of preserving indigenous oral traditions
This blog post was written by UCL student Sae Matsuno (MA Library & Information Studies) as part of a two-week work placement at UCL Special Collections. Sae’s Twitter handle is @O_Aspirations.
The Outreach team at UCL Special Collections have been working hard on a new community collaboration with Newham Heritage Month – The New Curators Project. This project set out to provide 10 young people from East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector. Successful applicants would receive a bursary, training from industry experts and they would create an exhibition and online event for a real-life audience as part of Newham Heritage Month in May 2021.
Dishes you would expect to find in a book entitled Jewish Cookery Book probably do not include jam roly-poly, shepherd’s pie and Cornish pasties. Yet, these traditional British recipes are all listed in this curious cookery book, which was recently acquired for UCL Special Collections.
The Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize is an opportunity to celebrate student collectors and the diverse collections they build and nurture. Last year we wrote about how you can be a student book collector without even realising it. But what is the difference between a book collector and someone who just owns a lot of books? For us, and the judges on the Book Collecting Prize panel, the difference is collecting with intention.
The 2020 winner of the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize, Alexandra Plane, has written about her book collection: ‘Books that built a zoo.’
Calling all budding book collectors studying at London universities! Would you like to win a £600 cash prize to grow your collection, a chance to present your collection to an international online audience and the opportunity to work with library and archive staff to select an item for UCL Special Collections?
The New Curators Project is a new programme by UCL Special Collections and Newham Heritage Month. It will offer 10 young people in East London the chance to develop the skills and experience needed to start a career in the cultural heritage sector.