Tag Archives: Rare Books

Bradvent Calendar, part 1

We’re counting down to Christmas!  Follow @100objectsbrad on Twitter to see a new seasonal object daily. From exquisite illustrations to 1930s Christmas cards to 1980s student humour, there’s always more to discover in Special Collections.  Here’s a round-up of the first twelve.

Day 1


Ice is nice!  The Universal Glaciarium, 184 Lord Street, Southport, Holden Papers.

Day 2


Season’s Greetings from the Co-op, Bradford Pioneer, 1935.

Day 3


In the bleak midwinter … snow on the “Amp”, University of Bradford, December 2009

Day 4


Our Book Tree, 2015

Day 5


Our 2015 book tree was so popular we did another in 2016!

Day 6


Pretty poinsettia Christmas card, Mitrinovic Archive

Day 7


Brrr!  Cyclists on Kex Gill, photographed by Fred Robinson Butterfield

Day 8


Christmas has been too much for this sheep!  Fleece, number 11, December 1983

Day 9


Revenge of the Turkeys!  Shep, number 2, December 1988

Day 10


Common Ivy, from Beautiful Leaved Plants, one of our favourite books!

Day 11


Holly, from Flowering Plants of Great Britain, 1855

Day 12


Star sticker, Women for Life on Earth STAR marches, 1983, Annie Tunnicliffe Archive

Do Words give you the Creeps?

Rat!  Vomit!  Slippery!  Squab!  Moist!

Do certain words give you the creeps?  The One Show on Friday 16 January 2015, filmed in locations around Bradford, explored the strange phenomenon of “word aversion”.

one show

You can see the programme on BBC IPlayer until 15 February (feature runs from 02:21-06:27 minutes).


Watch out for Special Collections books (backgr0und of interview), our students and catering staff, and some great shots of Centenary Square.

Sharing our Gems: talk at Senate House, 15 January

I’ll be introducing our wonderful Special Collections to the Friends of Senate House Library this Wednesday, 15 January 2014.  My talk, From Hidden Gems to Greatest Treasures, is at 6pm.  All are welcome!  Here’s the poster: BradfordJan2014 (2).

And here’s the website for the Friends, featuring several other talks for fans of archives and rare books.


Season’s Greetings from Special Collections

merry christmas 1BLP31Poinsettia crfrom 1Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Alison and Martin, Special Collections, University of Bradford.

We are closed for the festive break 23 December-3 January inclusive.  Sorry for any inconvenience.  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to working with all our readers, colleagues, friends and supporters in the New Year.

Credit: Poinsettia picture from one of our favourite printed books: Beautiful Leaved Plants: being a description of the most beautiful leaved plants in cultivation in this country / by E.J. Lowe and W. Howard.  3rd ed. Nimmo, 1891.

Welcome Emily

A quick welcome to a new colleague.  Emily Corley is this year’s graduate trainee for the J.B. Priestley Library, spending time in various sections of the Library to gain experience for librarianship career.  She’ll be with us for a short time in January and a longer chunk later on.  We look forward to introducing her to the wonderful world of Special Collections!

Rare but not Old

I am one of the organisers of the 2010 CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group conference, Rare but not Old.  It will help curators of all kinds of modern materials to deal with complex legal and preservation issues, and to share ideas about bringing the materials to wider audiences.  I will be talking about our successful recent project to do just that with our peace-related archives, the PaxCat Project.

2010 Conference Programme updated Jul 2010, updated July 2010

Rare Books Group Conference 2010 Booking form

Gems on COPAC

Some of our hidden gems are having their chance to shine! Special Collections includes many rare books, journals, and maps e.g. a huge collection of J.B. Priestley’s works, thousands of rare volumes on radical politics, philosophy and esoterica collected by Dimitrije Mitrinovic, maps and rare books concerning Yorkshire, mining and Quakers gathered by Arthur Raistrick.

Illustrations of gems

From “The cabinet of gems” / S. Batchelor. Knaresborough, 1840.

Now, thousands of our catalogue records have been added to COPAC, where they join 32 million other records from UK national, university and special libraries. COPAC, which is free to users, will raise awareness of our printed and map collections among academics, students, librarians and other interested people (it records over 500,000 search sessions per month).

Thanks to the Challenge Fund which enabled us to join COPAC, and to Bethan Ruddock at COPAC and Polly Dawes in the J.B. Priestley Library who have made it happen!

COPAC’s blog entry for this news.

Rare at Clare

Recently I attended CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group Conference, held at Clare College Cambridge, 9-11 September.  This was a very enjoyable and thought-provoking conference, in a beautiful and convenient location.  The conference was about the links between the antiquarian bookselling trade and rare books librarians.   Libraries are the source of many of the books circulating in the trade, legally as withdrawn stock, or illegally if stolen.  We discussed how we can work together to improve security, and the ethics of withdrawing stock, particularly the thinking behind certain high profile deaccessions.  The conference will be written up more fully in the Group’s newsletter in due course!

Double helpings of news

The Summer 2009 issue of our e-newsletter, Special Collections News, is now available, including Willie Riley, Bradfinder, and Priestley’s readership. You can be kept informed of new issues and lots of other news by joining the Special Collections Mailing List.

Also now available: the first issue of PaxCat Project Newsletter, keeping up to date with progress on cataloguing the Commonweal Archives.

Collection of the Month October 2008:”Bones, bodies and disease”

Calvin Wells (1908-1978) is often referred to as the father of palaeopathology: he used his medical training to shed light on the diseases and physical problems found in skeletal remains. Special Collections holds his archive and his library of over 800 books. The title of his well-known work, “Bones, bodies and disease”, sums up many of the books e.g. 17th and 18th century medical texts, particularly on gynaecology and obstetrics, by authors such as Thomas Sydenham, Francois Mauriceau and William Smellie.

This illustration depicts “Emblems of Immortality”, caterpillar to butterfly and acorn to oak, from “Philosophy of medicine” by Robert Thornton, published 1799-1800.

Emblems of Immortality

Emblems of Immortality

The collection also includes modern works on archaeology and anthropology, practical medical and nursing works, and books on exotic travels. A few recurring themes: ear, nose and throat medicine, the archaeology of Norfolk, where the Wellses lived in later life, ancient tribes such as the Aztecs, and medical biography, whether of doctors or of famous individuals. All these books appear on the Library Catalogue, and can be easily found using keyword search and limiting by Special Collections.

Web page for the Calvin Wells Archive and Book collection