The Cardiff Rare Books Collection
History: towards a national archive
The recent acquisition by Cardiff University of the Cardiff Rare Books Collection presents a significant opportunity for research into English literature spanning the 15th to the 20th centuries. Totalling around 14,000 items, the collection was assembled by Cardiff public library from the late 19th century from donations, purchases and bequests when it had aspirations to become the home of the National Library of Wales. Accumulated as part of Cardiff’s heritage, these books reflect all of the major stages in book production from the earliest printed works to modern fine bindings, and engage with many of the cultural and literary trends in Europe over the last 500 years.
Representing core English and Continental works from the municipal collection, the Cardiff Rare Books were acquired by the University in 2010, with the assistance of the Welsh Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. The acquisition of a collection of this size, depth and quality will enable Cardiff University to move into the senior league of humanities research collections and to create opportunities for collaborative research across Wales, the UK and internationally.
The collection is now permanently housed in Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR), in the Arts and Social Studies Library, which is located just inside the University’s Colum Drive campus, near the junction of Corbett Road, Park Place and Colum Road.