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Special Collections & Archives logo : Printed Books Collection

SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.


Printed Books Collection

The book collections contain more than 100 000 volumes including many of the landmark texts in Classical and English literature, history, architecture, medicine, science and travel.

Shelf of printed books

The book collections include:


The collections include many limited editions and private press books, and examples of Liverpool printers and authors; they are also rich in the publications of nineteenth century printing clubs, particularly the Bannatyne Club of Edinburgh and the Maitland Club of Glasgow, which are a major source for Scottish literature and history, but also the Roxburghe Club of London, the Spenser Society of Manchester, and the Newcastle Typographical Society.

Books with particularly fine bindings and illustrations, or interesting associations, are found throughout the printed collections. Many of these have been given, either individually or as part of a larger library, by generous benefactors of the University, including the outstanding gifts of the Rathbone family, Sir Charles Sydney Jones and the family of Professor Lyon Blease.

More information

Printed books featured in the Special Collections and Archives exhibition The Art of the Book: Rare Printed Books. For more information see the exhibition catalogue page here.

Printed books features frequently on the Special Collections and Archives blog Manuscripts and More, especially within the category Special Collections posts.

 Travels with Byron:  A Journey through Albania cover

Travels with Byron: A Journey through Albania

SPEC Y81.5.155: John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869) travelled in Albania, Greece and Turkey with his friend the poet Lord Byron, who was in the process of writing Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Read more...


 The Ancient Wrasse: Gosse,

The Ancient Wrasse: Gosse, The Aquarium, 1854

SPEC JUV.1384.3: The University's long-established expertise in marine biology is supported by rare books on aquatic life and natural history, many with fine illustrations.


 Views on the Liverpool to Manchester railway

Views on the Liverpool to Manchester railway

SPEC Y83.5.75: 1831 volume with plates engraved from on-the-spot drawings, including the station at Parkside, where Liverpool MP William Huskisson was fatally wounded by George Stephenson's Rocket during the railway's opening ceremony.


 Alpine plants illustrated: holiday souvenirs

Alpine plants illustrated: holiday souvenirs

SPEC NESS QK297.W91: Guide to Alpine plants aimed at amateur gardeners, responding to the fashion for growing at home the species being brought back by plant hunters, or seen on European travels.


Finding and using

See items in Highlights gallery