Special Collections

Feature of the Month: Horace Walpole's "Fugitive Pieces"

Horace Walpole -- author, politician, and patron of the arts -- was born 300 years ago this year, on 24 September 2017. Senate House Library commemorates him by featuring for the month one of his own works, printed at the private press he founded at his home in Twickenham.

31 Aug 2017
Dr Karen Attar

Timothy Bright, John Foxe, and Apocalyptic Annotations

John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and works by Timothy Bright and John Bale feature in our Reformation exhibition. In this blog post, Dr Mark Rankin, Associate Professor of English at James Madison University, Virginia, discusses an early reader’s annotations preserved within the Senate House Library’s copy of Bright’s abridgement of Foxe’s famous work, with reference to Bale.

14 Aug 2017
Dr Mark Rankin

'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