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Salisbury rare books collection (16th-19th C.)

The nucleus of the large and heterogeneous Salisbury Library collection was founded by Enoch Robert Gibbon Salisbury (1819-1890, native of Flintshire), a businessman who was briefly Member of Parliament for Chester. Enoch Salisbury was a keen bibliophile, and during his life he accumulated a collection of about 13,000 books in Welsh, or related to Wales and the Border Counties, together with valuable albums of maps and prints. Among them were rare books printed from the early 16th century onwards. In 1886, Salisbury was forced to sell his collection, due to financial difficulties. Thanks to the negotiations led by Cardiff University Professor Thomas Powel and the University Registrar, Ivor James, Salisbury’s books were acquired by the University College of South Wales, in Cardiff, as the founding collection of a University Library. Since that date, many Welsh and Celtic books have been added to the collection (including rare books and periodical collections, and a collection of Welsh broadside ballads from the 18th and 19th centuries), so that today the Salisbury Collection is one of the major collections of its kind, with information covering historical, literary, religious, social, and linguistics studies. It includes many sub-collections, such as - Early Rare Books, Welsh Ballads, Welsh Tracts, Almanacs, Bibles, Hymnology, Anglo-Welsh Literature, Celtic Studies, Border Counties, Local Acts, 19th century journals, Richard Baxter collection, and theses related to Welsh linguistics and Welsh language studies etc.

Date range: 16th century to present.

Significance: Of international significance.

Strengths: Wales, Border counties / Marches, Celtic studies.

Size: c. 60,000 printed items (including c. 30,000 pre-1900 books), plus 10,000 archival items, and 10,000 maps.

Languages: Welsh, English, Latin, etc.

Keywords: Wales, Border Counties, history, literature, religion, linguistics, politics, social studies, Welsh, Celtic.

Notes: The 20th century additions to the Salisbury Library, available on the open shelves of the Arts and Social Studies Library, constitutes c. 30,000 volumes, covering an equally broad range of subjects relating to Wales. It is also supplemented by a wide range of Welsh collections on microfilm, added over the last two decades, considerably deepening its coverage of topics such as Ballads, Medieval Welsh literature, 19th C. newspapers, and more. See also, Enoch Salisbury's archive of personal papers and Welsh prints and engravings.