Describes collections which are associated with a particular person (e.g. a previous owner). Most are not identified as 'part of a collection' in Explore the British Library.
The purpose of this Directory is to complement the Library’s catalogues by providing a different perspective on its collections of books, periodicals, pamphlets and printed ephemera from the Western World. The list identifies ‘named collections’, that is groups of items associated with a particular person or institution, usually the collector or previous owner. These collections can range from entire libraries to single bound volumes of handbills or newspaper clippings. Provenance notes were not routinely added to individual catalogue records until the beginning of the 21st century; the shelfmark information provided in this Directory may therefore help with the interpretion of catalogue search results.
Beside outlining the scope and history of a collection, the Directory aims to established whether the materials were shelved together at point of receipt or whether they were dispersed (e.g. by interfiling them with existing holdings according to subject). Details of significant catalogues, handlists or published literature about each collection are given.
The Directory focuses on British, European and American collections. Further collections undoubtedly exist, particularly in the Map Library, the Music Library, and the Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections. A separate listing on the BL Website describes Named Collections of Manuscripts and Archives.
For further information about named collections of printed materials in the British Library see:
- A History of the British Museum Library, 1753-1973, by P R Harris (London, 1998)
- Libraries within the Library: the origins of the British Library’s printed collections, edited by G Mandelbrote and B Taylor (London, 2009)
- the entry for 'British Library' in an edition of the CILIP (earlier, Library Association) Directory of Rare Books and Special Collections in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (London, 1985, 1997 and 2015).
Printed Heritage Collections
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