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Early printed materials at the British Library

The collections of Western printed books dating from the 15th to 19th centuries have their origins in the foundation collections of the British Museum Library. These include the private libraries of such great collectors as Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), King George III (ruled 1760-1820), Charles Burney (1757-1817), Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), and Thomas Grenville (1755-1846). To these have been added other materials received through legal deposit, purchase, donation, and international exchange.

Besides books, these collections include periodicals and pre-1801 London newspapers, fine bindings, decorated papers, early original photographs, single-sheet ballads, playbills and theatre posters, and many other kinds of printed ephemera.

Collections by Language & Period

Special Named Collections

Special Categories of Material

Collections in Context


Printed Heritage Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7564
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7691


PDF files

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