UofG Gems: Archives and Special Collections

This is a guest post written by Rosalind Ryan-Mills who is the University Story Assistant and knows all there is to know about the Universities unique collection of Archive and Special Collections.

Chaucer The Romaunt of the Rose England. c.1440-1450 MS Hunter 409

The University of Glasgow’s Archives and Special Collections (ASC) hold a rich array of collections which are accessible for free to all PGR researchers, both from the University of Glasgow and other institutions. The ASC provides an environment for researchers across many disciplines including art, literature, history and medicine.  The collections are split across two sites, with each location containing its own reading room in which to view the material. Here is a brief summary of the types of things you can discover…

Archive Services

The main search room is located at 13 Thurso Street, just off Dumbarton Road. The archives are the central place of deposit for records created and accumulated by the University since its foundation in 1451. The archive includes collections deposited by former students and staff, such as the physicians Alexander Haddow and Thomas Ferguson Rodger. It also includes records of associated organisations such as Queen Margaret College. In addition to the University records, the archive also holds records relating to Scotland’s varied business and industrial history, dating back to the 18th century. Records from companies such as House of Fraser and James Finlay & Co provide a valuable insight into the industrial past. You can discover more of our collections through Archiveshub.

Special Collections

The reading room for the Special Collections in located on Level 12 of the University Library. The University’s Special Collections have built up since the formation of the University, with material spanning over 2000 years of human activity. Holding over 200,000 manuscript items and around 200,000 printed works, the collections include a variety of medieval and renaissance manuscripts of international importance. Many valuable treasures can be found here, such as the 12th century Hunterian Psalter, Chaucer’s Romaunt of the Rose and a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio, published in 1623. Alongside notable manuscripts, other major collections include the records of the artist James McNeill Whistler and the psychiatrist and author R.D. Laing. Special Collections also houses the Scottish Theatre Archive, which contains the records of the Citizens’ Theatre, Scottish Ballet and the BBC Script collection. A list of further collections is viewable here.

DC157/18/72 Student Handbook 1932-33

In previous years post-graduate researchers have used the diverse collections available within ASC and The Hunterian to undertake their own research projects and public engagement activities through the Hunterian Associates Programme. These projects allow researchers to engage with collections in new and innovative ways, developing the range of skills outlined in the Researcher Development Framework  (blog post). If this type of project sounds like something of potential interest to you, please contact Ruth Fletcher, Student Engagement Officer at The Hunterian, (Ruth.Fletcher@glasgow.ac.uk ).

ASC welcomes enquiries and visits from PGR researchers who want to find out more about our unique collections. Access and opening hours vary slightly across the two sites, details for Archive Services can be found here and details for Special Collections can be found here. If you would like to find out more about our collections and how ASC can support your research interests, please contact us: library-asc@glasgow.ac.uk. And, don’t forget to follow us at @UofGlasgowASC. Alternatively, take a well-deserved study break and colour our collections!

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