Rare books guide

As well as our general holdings of printed books from 1471 (including Scripta philosophica by Marcus Tulliusto Cicero), 1850 (now being extended to 1900), we have many collections of books which gain additional value by their having been grouped in the past.

We have categorised our major collections of rare books: 

Parish library collections

These collections were formed to support the theological and pastoral work of English parish churches. Find out about our parish library collections.

Fine printing and private press collection

This collection holds examples of fine printing and private press books. Find out about our fine printing and private press collection.

The Boulton D.H. Lawrence collection

A collection of over 300 book was acquired to support the work of Professor JT Boulton in his role of editor of Lawrence's letters and as general editor of the D.H. Lawrence at the Cambridge University Press. Find out more about our Boulton D.H. Lawrence collection.

The Havelock Ellis collection

This collection consists of approximately 85 of the personal copies of books published by Henry Havelock Ellis (1859 - 1939), writer and sexologist. Many of the items are inscribed and some are annotated. Find out more about our Henry Havelock Ellis collection.

The Hensleigh Wedgwood collection

The collection comprises about 550 books from the library of Hensleigh Wedgwood (1803-1891), an important philologist, grandson of Josiah Wedgwood and cousin and brother-in-law of Charles Darwin. Find out more about our Hensleigh Wedgwood collection.

New and withdrawn items 

If you would like to access specific items in our collections, please ensure that you check our new and withdrawn items listings to avoid disappointment.