Special Collections

'In a summer season when soft was the sun': Piers Plowman on display

Folio 4 recto of SL V/17, showing the beginning of the second passus of Piers Plowman For two more weeks there is a rare opportunity to see a Senate House Library treasure in the flesh: one of our manuscripts of William Langland's Piers Plowman is currently on loan to the National Poetry Library for their exhibition, A Fair Field Full of Folk,  celebrating the poem.
23 Jun 2017
Tansy Barton

The Elzeviers: 1617-2017

On 4 February 1617, Louis Elzevier died. He had founded a family firm which was to be prominent in printing, publishing and bookselling in the Netherlands throughout the seventeenth century; whose books were to spread throughout Europe; and whose output would become highly collectable. Senate House Library celebrates the anniversary, and its Elzevier Collection—Britain's only dedicated Elzevier Collection—here.

19 Jun 2017
Dr Karen Attar

Feature of the Month: Byrom's Shorthand

June's Feature of the Month celebrates the 300th anniversary of the publication of John Byrom's groundbreaking system of shorthand, represented in Senate House Library's internationally significant Carlton Shorthand Collection.

30 May 2017
Dr Karen Attar

New Special Collections acquisitions: Joan Brossa, and book from ‘one of the crackedest men of his time’, private presses, Houdini and magic

Senate House Library’s Special Collections are made up of rare and early material and specialist research collections that have been deemed to be of particular value (in many senses).  Some of the collections continue to grow and develop through new acquisitions from our trust funds , set up by donors to enrich, develop and enhance the Library’s holdings. Below are some highlights from purchases from the first part of this year. Any of the items can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room by request.
17 May 2017
Tansy Barton

Feature of the month: Englands Bane

With Lent beginning on 1 March 2017 and alcohol a popular item for renunciation during the penitential period, a booklet on drunkenness, published exactly 400 years ago, seems an extremely apt choice for our March Feature of the Month.

1 Mar 2017
Dr Karen Attar

Radical Voices: Mechanics' Institution Libraries

On 3rd March 2017, as part of its ‘Radical Voices’ season, Senate House Library is hosting a conference entitled ‘Radical Collections: Radicalism and Libraries and Archives’. With this in mind, this blog post looks at an almost 200-year-old attempt to increase access to literature and science for the working class, via the libraries of the Mechanics’ Institutions.
27 Feb 2017
Leila Kassir

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