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Historical travel writings collection (17th-20th C.)

The core of the collection includes around 800 volumes from the old Cardiff Public Library topography and travel collections, which date from the late 18th-mid 20th century. It includes 19th century Baedeker guides, 20th century tourist writings, various 19th century classics, such as Leake’s Travels in the Morea, and Huc’s Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, and a wealth of other works, a number by women authors, and covers all parts of the world.

A similar size collection is held in the Salisbury Library, of travels in Wales, dating from the early 18th-late 20th century. It is fairly comprehensive for published travels of Wales, and by writers from Wales, from the earliest ‘romantic’ travellers up to 19th-20th century guides to tourist locations.

In other rare books collections are held travel writings from the early great age of explorations from the Tudor period onwards, up to 20th century polar exploration. All of the great names are included, from Captain Cook to Henry Morten Stanley.

A final strand in the collection concerns early modern printed editions of travels in the classical era and later medieval periods, with writers from Greek and Roman sources covered, through to pilgrims in the Crusades era.

Date range: 16th-20th century

Significance: Significant in Wales and the United Kingdom

Strengths: Emigrant guides, women writers, explorations, European Grand Tour, travels in Wales, tourist writings, missionaries writings.

Size: c. 3,000 titles.

Languages:  English, Welsh, German

Keywords: Emigrant guides, women writers, explorations, European Grand Tour, travels in Wales, travel literature, Greece, Rome.

Notes: Also held in the Rare Books Collection are atlases of Britain and Europe, which date from the 17th-19th century. Two sets of diplomatic writings are held from the USA Consul in Cardiff and Swansea for the period 1861-1906. Online resource guides for English language travel books dealing with Wales and Welsh language travel literature are also available.