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Early Printed Books

The Library’s historical book collections fall into two categories. Firstly, there is a large collection of research material that the library has accumulated over the last several hundred years. The collection is particularly strong in classics, philosophy, theology and church history, tracts and proclamations, ecclesiastical law, early medicine and British regional history. The majority of these books can be found in the Short Title Catalogue.

The second collection is formed from large benefactions of rare and antique books in many different subjects, including many rare items of bibliographic interest.

As of January 2015, about 90% of our pre-1820 monograph material has been catalogued onto OLIS, the University’s union catalogue. For other material an author-indexed card catalogue in the Library must be searched. Please see below for access details.

Search the online catalogue

Manuscripts

The Library is rich in medieval and post-medieval manuscripts. Those acquired by the mid-19th century are described in H.O. Coxe, Catalogus Codicum MSS Collegii Reginensis (Oxford, 1852), reprinted as Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Oxford Colleges (East Ardesley, 1972). The collection is particularly strong in theology, heraldry, medieval bindings, post-medieval antiquarian collections, and the history of the College and University. All enquires for further information or requests to consult the manuscript collections should be directed to the Librarian amanda.saville@queens.ox.ac.uk as far in advance as possible, due to the fact that facilities for visiting scholars are limited.

A new catalogue of the medieval manuscripts was mounted on this website in early 2004.

Medical Collections

In the eighteenth century the Library was given two significant medical collections that immediately made the Queen’s medical collections among the largest in the University. The interest in both these collections is that they are the individual libraries of particular physicians, Sir John Floyer (1649-1734) and  Theophilus Metcalfe (1690-1757). Floyer’s books are very much the working library of a practising doctor, Metcalfe’s reflect his more academic and bibliophile tastes, but as a combined collection they provide a unique insight into the history of medical practice and training spanning almost 200 years.

The collections, which include some manuscripts as well as printed books, were catalogued in 2003 thanks to a generous grant from the Wellcome Trust.  More information about the project, along with links to the catalogues, is available on the Wellcome Trust Project page.

Peet Library

The Peet Library is a specialist collection of Egyptology material which is maintained and updated by the Queen’s College Library. It was donated by Sir Alan Gardiner (1879–1963) in memory of Professor Thomas Eric Peet (1882–1934), a noted Egyptologist and a Fellow of Queen’s.

The Peet Library is open to all students of Egyptology in the University and anyone else who can prove that access to the collection will be beneficial to their studies. In order to gain access, you must contact the Professor of Egyptology, richard.parkinson@queens.ox.ac.uk.

The library is situated in the Waverley Room in the New Library and, like the main library, is accessed by a card swipe system. Non-Queen’s members will need to be inducted into the New Library and use of the Peet Library before their University cards are activated for entry. Please contact tessa.shaw@queens.ox.ac.uk to arrange an appointment. Non-Queen’s members may use the Peet Library between 7:00 am and 11:45 pm and must report to the Lodge on arrival. Members of Queen’s who have Peet membership can access the library 24 hours a day.

The college has a collection of Egyptian artefacts which were placed in the Ashmolean Museum on long term loan in 1949. Objects from this collection are now on display in the new Peet Library. A catalogue of the items on display is available here.

Access policy for Special Collections

The collections are maintained for the benefit of mankind as a whole as part of the College’s Charitable objectives and operate as a separate facility to the general library facilities available to College members. Access to the library’s Special Collections is strictly monitored and by appointment in advance only. We welcome academics, students of all levels and independent researchers to consult our collections any time we are open.

Please email the Librarian or telephone 01865 279213, regarding requests to view material or for details on photography or microfilming.

1.    Facilities for consulting the Special Collections are limited and all consultations must take place in the designated Historic Collections Reading Room.

2.    All requests for appointments must be made as far in advance as possible.

3.    On arrival at the Library all readers must show photographic ID to the library staff and leave all bags and coats outside the reading room.

4.    Only pencils may be used in the reading room.

5.    All readers will be required to complete and sign a registration form.

6.    Readers may take photographs without a flash for their own research purposes but will be required to complete and sign a form agreeing to ask permission if they subsequently wish to use the images in any form of publication.

Queen’s College members, Fellows and staff

The standard University readers’ card does not grant access to the Special Collections including manuscripts, archive material, rare books or music Special Collections.  All members of the College are welcome to consult the Special Collections but access arrangements and reading room rules are exactly the same as for external readers and appointments must be made in advance with the Librarian.

Conservation

The care of the special collections is a time consuming and labour intensive activity. The College is a member of the Oxford Conservation Consortium, whose skilled staff repair and box damaged or fragile items and offer invaluable advice and guidance on preservation issues. Every three years a book cleaning project in the Upper Library takes place under their supervision.