Library Services


Ogden Library


Language, communication, semantics, cryptography, translation, literature.


Circa 5000 volumes.

Scope and content

Charles Kay Ogden (1889-1957) once described his book collecting interests as "semantics, meaning, word magic, supplemented by subsections of sign systems, symbol systems and non-verbal notations (including cryptography and shorthand), universal language, translation and simplification". This substantial rare books collection ranges from the 15th to 20th centuries (including 24 incunabula and 394 STC items) and is broadly built around language. Notable names represented in the Ogden Library (first editions, association copies and/or manuscripts, letters, diaries, related source material) include Francis Bacon, John Milton, John Dee, Samuel Coleridge, Robert Boyle, Ben Jonson, William Shakespeare, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Emile Zola, Dante Rossetti, John Bright, Joseph Conrad, André Gide and Arnold Bennett. 


Ogden was a voracious collector of books. In 1953, UCL purchased his library with the help of a generous grant from the Nuffield Foundation to encourage research in the field of communications. 


The collection is partly catalogued. To browse the records, conduct a search for OGDENCOLLECTION, without spaces, on Explore.

Diagram of showing prepositions from 'An essay towards a real character, and a philosophical language' by John Wilkins. Shelfmark: STRONG ROOM QUARTO 596 b

Image: John Wilkins, An essay towards a real character, and a philosophical language (STRONG ROOM QUARTO 596 b)