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Special Collections hold a large and varied number of collections comprising unique and rare material to support teaching and research for multiple subjects. The links below provide profiles of these collections and links to finding aids and related resources where available.

You can also search for items to consult across all of our collections


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17th Century Collection

A small collection of 60 volumes which are a good reflection of this period as a time of rebellions, intrigues and conspiracies; hierarchical power; and strong religious views.

18th Century Collection

Covers subjects including the penal system, education and the constitution. Highlights include the famous treatise by the enlightenment thinker John Locke.

19th Century Collection

Broad in subject, including works by R. Browning, A. Tennyson, and C. Dickens. Features first editions of Lewis Carroll's last novel for children, Sylvia and Bruno.

19th Century Novels

Largely works of more obscure writers, such as Rosa Carey and Alexander Grant. Features lesser-known works by famous authors, such as Benjamin Disraeli's Sybil.

20th Century Collection

Includes significant amount of material relating to World War II, literature by Siegfried Sassoon and local history in the form of H. C. Pawson's Cockle Park Farm.

20th Century Pamphlets

Collection of short publications on world affairs. Includes titles I Was A Franco Soldier and The Hydrogen Bomb And You, and authors Kropotkin and Liu Shao-Chi.

21st Century Collection

Chiefly books by private presses, in limited print-runs, or with interesting provenance. Includes Q. Bajac's Q. L'Image R�v�l�e: L'Invention De La Photoggraphie.

Alderson (Brian) Collection

Children's book collection donated by Brian Alderson, respected author, editor, translator and curator of children's books.

Alnwick Corn Exchange Archive

Correspondence, accounts and other administrative papers relating to the Alnwick Corn Exchange 1862 - 1880.

Alnwick Union Workhouse Archive

A report, evidence and witness statements related to charges of corruption and misappropriation brought against the Master of the Alnwick Union Workhouse (1851 - 1859).

Alvi (Moniza) Archive

Poet Moniza Alvi’s notebooks of poetical drafts, manuscript drafts, annotated typescripts, research, and correspondence - both personal and professional.

Arts Council Poetry Collection

Poetry books from the Arts Council England.

Bainbrigg Library/Appleby Grammar School Collection

Historical portion of the Library of Appleby Grammar School in Cumbria. Mostly classical, theological, literary and historical works dating back to the 15th century.

Baker Brown (Thomas) Archive

Material relating to Thomas Baker Brown, a soldier who fought in World War I and was taken prisoner of war in Germany in 1918.

Barlow (David) Archives

Musical manuscripts of the twentieth-century British composer David Barlow (1927-1975), former lecturer in the Department of Music at Newcastle University.

Bell (Gertrude) Archive

Consists of correspondence, photos, diaries and miscellaneous. Particularly interesting for scholars of the archaeology and history of the Near and Middle East.

Bell (Gertrude) Collection

2,000 books on Arabic and Persian languages, and on the history and antiquities of Arabia, Iraq and the Near East that formed part of Gertrude Bell's working library.

Bell (John and Thomas) Archive

Printed and manuscript items collected by John (1783-1864) and Thomas (1785-1860) Bell. This collection is a good resource for local history.

Bell (Maurice) Collection

Around 500 books, mainly relating to economics and industry, particularly coal-mining, railways and chemistry but also including iron, steel, explosives and oyster fisheries.

Bell-White Collection

Printed and manuscript items collected by John (1783-1864) and Thomas (1785-1860) Bell. Focuses on local history and is a good resource for local political history.

Bennet (Peter) Archive

Consists of the working papers and correspondence of the poet Peter Bennet.

Bloodaxe Books Archive

Original typescripts, editorial work, correspondence and examples of marketing, business and financial records dating from the 1970’s to the present day.

Bloodaxe Books Collection

Books published by Bloodaxe Books including poetry, prose, translations and critical work. 

Booktrust Collection

Children’s book collection including new titles, reprints, existing books in new formats and books in translation.

Bosanquet (Bernard and Helen) Archive

Material relating to Bernard Bosanquet, the idealist philosopher (1848-1923), and his wife, Helen Bosanquet (1860-1926), a member of the 1909 Poor Law Commission.

Bradshaw Collection

Notable for its English Revolution tracts, some illustrated, describing local events such as A Terrible and bloudy fight at Tinmouth Castle on Fryday last ... (1648).

Bradshaw-Bewick Collection

Works by and relating to engraver Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). Includes material on the natural world, popular fables and small moral instruction books.

Brewis (William) Diaries

Fascinating diaries of William Brewis (1778-1850), farmer of Throphill Farm, Mitford, written 1833-1850, discussing farming matters and the local community.

Burman-Alnwick Collection

Chiefly a local history collection, containing books, pamphlets, broadsides and other material printed in Alnwick 1700-1917, such as The Alnwick Mercury.

Burnett (Mark) Collection

Children's literature collection of books and annuals published in the early to mid-20th century. Includes Timothy's Quest (1900) and Girl's Fun Annual (1952).

Burns Dick (Robert) Archive

Photographs, papers and documents relating to architect Robert Burns Dick (1868-1954) who had sizable influence in the North-East of England.

Butler (Joan) Collection

Children's literature collection including 18th century pamphlets, books by the likes of Daniel Defoe and J.M. Barrie and titles illustrated by Randolph Caldecott.

Chaplin (Michael) Archive

Papers of local writer Michael Chaplin, son of Sid Chaplin. Includes draft manuscripts, publicity material, correspondence and personal items.

Chaplin (Sid) Archive

Papers of local writer Sid Chaplin covering 1930-1990. Highlights include typescripts for 4 full-length novels, as well as for his first publication The Leaping Lad.

Chorley (Sarah) Collection

Children's literature chiefly from the 19th century. Includes Kate Greenaway's Almanack for 1884, R.M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island and the work of Randolph Caldecott.

Clarke (Edwin) General Archive

Cuttings, illustrations, and historic documents collected by Edwin Clarke. Subjects range from Victorian 'freakshow' acts to portraits of Charlotte Bronte.

Clarke (Edwin) Local Collection

Local history collection, featuring documents such as 19th century poll books, which is strong in the literature of the region too with titles like T. Wilson's The Pitman's Pay.

Clarke (Edwin) Medical Collection

Chiefly historical medical texts, along with some archival material which was formerly owned by the neurologist and medical historian, Edwin Clarke (1919-1996).

Clarke (Edwin) Miscellaneous Collection

Largely 20th century material but featuring items dating back to 1655. A collection with a strong bias towards the occult, ritual and folklore.

Common (Jack) Archive

The papers of Jack Common (1900-1968) are a rich resource for those interested in the history of this talented Tyneside-born writer.

Cookson (Catherine) Archive

Donated by Dame Catherine Cookson (1906-1998), collection includes the manuscripts, an interview and examples of the dictaphone tapes she used to create her books.

Cookson (Catherine) Collection

Donated by Dame Catherine Cookson (1906-1998), collection contains most of her published works. Although some are English titles, most are translations.

Cowen (Joseph) Tracts

Almost two thousand pamphlets owned by local, radical M.P. Joseph Cowen (1829-1900). Tracts discuss social, educational, political and economic issues of the day.

Crawhall (Joseph II) Archive

A diverse and visual collection of material by and relating to local businessman, artist and patron of the arts, Joseph Crawhall II (1821-1896).

Crawhall (Joseph II) Collection

A diverse collection of material by and relating to local businessman, artist and patron of the arts, Joseph Crawhall II (1821-1896).


Some of the first-known photographic images of Niagara Falls and the Clifton Hotel, taken in 1840 by metallurgical chemist and industrialist, Hugh Lee Pattinson.

Daysh (Professor Henry) Papers

Administrative material generated by the North East Industrial and Development Association, including correspondence, cuttings, reports and papers.

Dickinson (Peter) Archive

Draft manuscripts and correspondence relating to the work of science fiction author Peter Dickinson.

Donaldson (Sir Liam) Archive

Comprises published and unpublished material relating to the career and personal life of the 15th Chief Medical Officer for England and Chancellor of Newcastle University.

Duff (Professor John Wight) Diaries

This comprehensive run of diaries offers a fascinating insight into life in late 19th and early 20th Century Britain.

Eagle Press Collection

Eagle Press was a publisher ran by Newcastle University. Collection contains printing manuals dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, together with the press' publications.

Entomology Collection

Books on insects from the 18th and 19th Centuries, some with hand-coloured illustrations. For the most part written in English, French or German, with some in Latin.

Faulkner-Brown (Harry) Papers

A collection of books and a small collection of papers belonging to Harry Faulkner-Brown - the Consultant Architect responsible for designing the Philip Robinson Library at Newcastle University.

Flambard Press Archive

Archive of a North East-based independent press which published a range of poetry and fiction, as well as some non-fiction and visual-art books.

Flambard Press Collection

Books published by Flambard Press including poetry and prose.

Fletcher (G.B.A) Collection

Books by Professor G.B.A. Fletcher of the Department of Classics, containing antiquarian editions of classical texts, written in Latin, Ancient Greek and English.

Friends Collection

Rare books such as Robert Boyle's Tracts (1874) various pamphlets by Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke, Newcastle songsters and other local material.

Gibb (Charles) Archive

Papers relating to the early career of Dr. Charles John Gibb (1824-1916), a local doctor who worked at the Newcastle Infirmary before setting up a private practice.

Gibson (George) Archive

Predominantly a literary archive including poems, with some material which may be considered pertinent to the history of education in the form of a ciphering book.

Gilchrist (Douglas) Collection

Collection of early works on agriculture, rich in 18th and 19th-century reports on farming in many parts of Great Britain from the library of Professor D.A. Gilchrist.

Gillray (James) Prints

Hand coloured and uncoloured "Bohn Edition" Prints by satirical cartoonist James Gillray (1756 - 1815).

Grey (2nd Earl) Tracts

Pamphlets covering a broad range of historical, social and economic subjects owned by the 2nd Earl Grey (1764-1845).

Hair (Thomas) Illustrations

A small collection of black and white photographic reproductions of Thomas Hair’s watercolours, depicting the mining industry in the North East. The collection consists of 41 illustrations.

Havelock (Thomas) Archive

A small collection of papers of Thomas Henry Havelock (1877-1968), who was at one time Professor of Mathematics in Newcastle University.

Heslop (Richard) Collection of Dictionaries and Papers

Collection comprising dictionaries, glossaries and works on place names, phonetics, etymology, dialect, grammar from the 16th century.

Heslop Harrison (John) Notebooks and Albums

Chiefly notes on plant biology, pollination and plant genetics all belong to former Professor of Botany, John William Heslop Harrison, at Newcastle University.

Heversham Grammar School Collection

Largely editions of classical and theological works, around half printed before 1700. Includes authors George Farquhar and John Dryden alongside Tacitus and Seneca.

Hill (Selima) Archive

The working papers and correspondence of the poet Selima Hill.

Hodgkin (Thomas) (Historian) Archive

The personal archive of historian Thomas Hodgkin (b.1831 - d.1913).

Hodgkin (Thomas) (Physician) Archive

The personal archive of physician Thomas Hodgkin (b. 1798 – d. 1866).

Hospital Archives of Newcastle Royal Infirmary (RVI)

Administrative items relating to the Newcastle Infirmary, the Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Newcastle Dispensary, as well as local medical societies.


Comprises books which were produced in the infancy of printing, and specifically before 1500, including the first printed book on architecture.

Indian Tracts

Chiefly a collection of 19th century pamphlets on a range of Indian subjects, such as education, politics, transport, economics, the trade of opium, religion and war.

IRON Press Archive

IRON Press is a North East-based independent press which publishes poetry, fiction and drama from the region and elsewhere, with a particular focus on publishing new authors.

IRON Press Collection

Books published by independent publisher IRON Press based in Cullercoats.

Isaac (Professor Peter) Collection

Contains material relating to private printing presses (including Newcastle University Library�s Eagle Press) collected by author and historian Peter Isaac.

Joicey Coal Mining Archive

Material relating to the James Joicey mining company, and its successor bodies, which operated several collieries in the West Durham coalfield.

Jubilee 2000 Archive

Printed material, recordings and petitions associated with Jubilee 2000, the coalition which spearheaded the campaign to cancel the debts of the world's poorest countries.

Kepier Grammar School Collection

Consists mainly of 17th and 18th century works on classics and theology from the library of Kepier Grammar School, some bearing the bookplate of Thomas Griffith.

Local Illustrations

Collection dates from the 18th and 19th Centuries, depicting a variety of local scenes and structures, such as schools, hospitals, residences, castles and churches.

Loebl (Herbert) Archive

This archive contains the business and personal records of local industrialist Herbert Loebl.

MacSweeney (Barry) Archive

Personal papers, including manuscripts, correspondence and photographs, of local poet Barry MacSweeney, who was an important figure in the Modern Poetry Revival.

Makaris Collection

Editions of the Makaris poetry broadsheet as published by Durham University Literary Society between 1965 and 1971.

Manuscript Album

Letters by people of local significance like Thomas Bewick, Richard Grainger, and George Stephenson, as well as household names like A.E. Houseman and Horatio Nelson.

Mapanje (Jack) Archive

The personal papers of the Malawian writer and poet, Jack Mapanje.


Includes Ordnance Survey 1st edition 1-inch maps of England and 6-inch maps of Northumberland, plus a number of historic maps of Newcastle, the North East of England and other areas.

Marine Technology Special Collection

Marine technical documents from British shipbuilding including company documents, technical publication and a 'British Shipbuilding Database'.

Meade (L.T.) Collection

Around 180 books by L.T.Meade which were published between 1878 and 2003. Titles include: The Autocrat Of The Nursery, Kitty O'Donovan and The Scamp Family.

Mediaeval Manuscripts

Highlights include Petrus Lombardus' Sententiae from the 13th Century, and an early-15th-century Sarum Missal decorated with penwork flourishing, and border ornaments.

Medical Collection

Over 2000 volumes and hundreds of pamphlets, covering the history of medicine and a broad range of medical subjects, rich in 17th, 18th and 19th-century works.

Merz (John Theodore) Collection

The mathematical library of John Theodore Merz, including books amassed by him during the writing of his work The History Of European Thought In The Nineteenth Century.

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Highlights include local history items relating to 19th-century bonds and deeds and to the coal trade as well as a collection of recipes, compiled in the years 1684-5.

Moorman (Mary) Archive

The papers, mainly correspondence, of Mary Caroline Moorman (1905-1994), historian, biographer and daughter of the historian G.M. Trevelyan, covering the years 1872-1992.

Morden Tower Prints

Limited edition prints of posters relating to poetry readings at Morden Tower, Newcastle.

Napoleon Collection

Books written in French as well as English, relating to Napoleon, the Napoleonic Wars and to the French empire, including notes and reminiscences as well as histories.

Nicholson Archive

Comprises political and religious publications; periodicals, letters, postcards, pamphlets and photographs, relating to Spain, Ethiopia, Britain, and Italy.

Northumberland Handicrafts Guild Archive

Comprises annual reports of the Northumberland Handicrafts Guild 1900 - 1937, constitutional and accounting material, committee minutes, press cuttings and material related to its members.

O'Brien (Sean) Archive

Personal archive of poet Sean O'Brien

Pattinson (Sir Lawrence) Archive

Comprises the personal correspondence of a Royal Air Force pilot during the First and Second World Wars describes his training, daily tasks and accounts of air combat.

Plowden (Lady Bridget) Archive

Papers of the distinguished civil servant Lady Bridget Plowden, covering in particular her roles within education reform and television broadcasting.

Pollard Collection

Focuses on the work of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and includes examples of his writing from his early years, as well as his many collections of short stories, novels and poems in various editions and formats.


Contains English and foreign books printed 1501-1640, including works by John Stow, John Speed, and Torquato Tasso, as well as Robert Burton's The Anatomy Of Melancholy.

Pybus (Professor Frederick) Archive

The personal papers of Professor Pybus containing a large amount of correspondence on the subjects of book-collecting, atmospheric pollution and cancer.

Pybus (Professor Frederick) Collection

A collection rich in material relating to the history of medicine, chiefly some 2000 classics with particular reference to anatomy, surgery and medical illustration.

Randell (Professor Brian) Archive

This archive relates to Professor Randell's professional and academic associations in the field of computing science throughout his career.

Rare Books

Strong in literature and local history, items date from the mid-16th Century to the present day including a German propaganda sheet and herbals by Elizabeth Blackwell.

Ritchie (Rear Admiral George) Collection

A collection of books, pamphlets, atlases and charts relating to the history of Hydrography, representing the personal library of Rear Admiral George Stephen Ritchie.

Robinson (Marjorie and Philip) Collection

Comprises incunabula, medieval manuscripts and books dating from the 14th - 19th century. Includes early editions of works by Dante, and is a good resource for travel literature.

Runciman (Walter) Archive

The papers of Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford (1870-1949), relating chiefly to his political career, but also concerning his personal and professional life.

Sandes Library

A valuable example of the kind of material found in a school library of the 17th to 19th Centuries, and includes some notable examples of early printing and binding.

Sharp (Thomas) Archive

A notable archive relating to Thomas Sharp (1901-1978), a major figure in town planning, documenting the issues underpinning the planning commission process at the time.

Sopwith (Thomas) Diaries

The diaries of Thomas Sopwith (1803-1879) mining engineer, land surveyor and philanthropist in the North-East of England, covering the period 1828-1879.

Spence Watson (Robert) Collection

Volumes on English literature, largely publications of literary societies such as the Shakespeare Society, the Spenser Society, the Ballad Society and the Chaucer Society.

Spence Watson/Weiss Archive

Papers relating to local politician, co-founder of Armstrong College and social and educational reformer Robert Spence Watson (1837-1911) and his wife Elizabeth.

St. Bees School Library

Comprises mostly classical literature and theology, highlights being items from the 16th Century with titles in Latin and Ancient Greek, and Martin Luther's sermons.

Stanford (Charles Villiers) Archive

Musical manuscripts of Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), including autograph manuscripts as well as transcripts of letters, essays and articles.

Tonks (Rosemary) Archive

Digital copies of the personal diaries of the poet Rosemary Tonks.

Trevelyan (Charles Edward) Archive

The personal archive of Charles Edward Trevelyan (1807-1886).

Trevelyan (Charles Philips) Archive

The personal archive of Charles Philips Trevelyan (1870-1958).

Trevelyan (George Otto) Archive

The personal archive of George Otto Trevelyan (1838-1928).

Trevelyan (Walter Calverley) Archive

The personal archive of Walter Calverley Trevelyan (1797-1870).

Tyneside Campaign for Homosexual Equality (Tyneside CHE) Archive

Correspondence, research and campaign materials produced by the Tyneside Campaign for Homosexual Equality (Tynesdie CHE), 1970s - 1990s.

University Archives

Contains material published by Newcastle University and its predecessors, including Annual Reports, Senate and Council minutes and departmental publications.

Ure (Peter) Collection

An Anglo-Irish literature collection with a particular emphasis on the work of W.B. Yeats. Includes titles published by Yeats' Cuala Press, established in 1904.

Vernon (Hugh) Collection

Printed music and books about music dating from the 18th and early-19th Centuries. Includes An Account Of The Musical Performances In Westminster-Abbey And The Pantheon: 1784.

Wallis (Peter) Collection

Contains books on mathematics and maths education, including works by Robert Record (the man who introduced the = symbol), such as The Grounde Of Artes (1582).

Wallis (Ruth and Peter) Archive

Contains research material and correspondence relating to Peter and Ruth Wallis' research on mathematics education and libraries.

Walmsley (Anne) Archive

Caribbean literature and black British literature.

White (Robert) Archive

The Robert White Papers contain assorted manuscripts and printed ephemera, as well as White's correspondence.

White (Robert) Collection

A rich source of literature as well as being strong in ecclesiastical and local history such as James Raine's writings on local history and antiquities.

Whyte (Frederic) Archive

The literary archive of Frederic Whyte (1867-1941) with articles and draft translations, which also includes a large amount of professional correspondence.

Wilcox (Edwin) Archive

The papers of Edwin Wilcox, a newspaper correspondent in Russia during the 1917 Revolution and civil war, mainly consisting of typescripts and published articles.

Williams (Ethel) Archive

Ethel Williams was Newcastle's first female doctor, a suffragist and a pacifist. Her collection includes correspondence, photographs and objects related to her medical practice and the suffrage movement.