Cambridge University Library’s Special Collections include the oldest and most valuable materials in the Library, in manuscript, printed and artefact form, as well as modern maps and music. The oldest inscribed item in the collection is a Sumerian clay tablet with lines of text in cuneiform script, dated to ca 2200 BCE.
The Library is committed to using its Special Collections to support research and teaching, and to developing digital services to make the collections accessible to the widest possible audience in new and innovative ways. At the same time, it recognises the enduring importance of the physical collections, and the need to preserve this unique cultural heritage for future generations.
Items from the Special Collections can be viewed by all as part of the Library’s exhibitions programme or online as part of the Cambridge Digital Library. Talks and visits are frequently arranged by the Friends of Cambridge University Library and the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, and as part of the University’s Science Festival and Festival of Ideas.
The Head of Special Collections is Dr Jill Whitelock. For further information on the collections and how to use them, please visit the webpage of the relevant department where full contact details are given.
Special Collections comprises the following departments, projects and collections. For further information on the collections and how to use them, please visit the webpage of the relevant department.
- Bible Society
- Darwin Correspondence Project
- Royal Commonwealth Society
- Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit