The collection: Approximately 3500 items printed in or relating to Spain between the early sixteenth and the early twentieth centuries, with well over half of the printed material from before 1830. Several items represent notable Spanish presses. A large part of the collection relates to the social history of Madrid, including an extensive set of ‘manuales’ and ‘guias de forasteros’ of the eighteenth century. The collection is particularly noteworthy for its evidence of the range of printed books available in Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from treatises on accounting, astronomy, handwriting, and cookery, to books of chivalric romances and love poetry, dictionaries of the Castilian language, and collections of emblems, riddles, and humorous anecdotes. Official documents, maps, manuscripts and prints supplement the books.
The collector: Formed by William Robert Phelips (1846-1919), Deputy Lieutenant, and his son Edward Frederick Phelips (1882-1928) of Montacute, Somerset.
Acquisition: Placed in Senate House Library by the Guildhall Library, Corporation of London (to which it had been bequeathed) on permanent loan in 1950.
Access: Catalogued online 1997-2000. For an overview of the library, do a mixed classmark search on [E.P.].
Related archives: MSS326-79 (manuscripts from the Eliot-Phelips library); Eliot-Phelips Collection accession register (UoL/UL/5/7/1); exhibition catalogue, 1998 (UoL/UL/13/9)
Select publications: Noble, P.E., ‘Edward Phelips and the Eliot-Phelips Collection’, in Grandeurs of Spain: the Eliot-Phelips Collection in the University of London Library. Journal of the Institute of Romance Studies (1999), 13–20.
Highlights: click here.