About Us

This Special Collections blog brings you news of the many exciting developments involving our Special Collections: recent acquisitions, cataloguing and collection care projects, promotional activities and the use of the collections in research and learning. We’ll be featuring ‘hidden gems’ as well as more familiar material. We also welcome guest postings by our visitors and readers.

The University of Manchester Library holds one of the finest collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives in the world. The majority are housed in the John Rylands Library, a magnificent neo-Gothic building in the heart of Manchester.

Print collections include almost all the landmarks of printing through five and a half centuries: magnificent illustrated books, examples of fine printing, landmark works in typography, key historical texts and significant bindings.

The Library’s manuscript collections cover more than fifty languages, including all the major European and Middle Eastern languages, and numerous Far Eastern ones. They span five millennia, and are written on virtually every medium ever employed.

The Library holds hundreds of archives of companies, trade unions, charities, social organizations and religious institutions, as well as landed families and individuals. Particular strengths include Nonconformist archives; archives of recent and contemporary literature and drama; the archives of the University of Manchester; and the papers of individual scientists and academics.

Visual materials include a wealth of illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books, historic photographs and photographically-illustrated books, and individual works of art such the famous Grafton portait of Shakespeare (allegedly).

For more information on our Special Collections, and how to access them, visit the Special Collections pages of the Library’s website.

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