- Asia (A)
- Britain (B)
- England local (BC)
- Ireland (BI)
- London (BL)
- Scotland (BS)
- Wales (BW)
- Colonial (C)
- General (E)
- Austria (EA)
- East European and Balkan (EB/EM)
- Scandinavia (ED)
- France (EF)
- Germany (EG)
- Monumenta Germaniae Historica (EGM)
- Switzerland (EH)
- Italy (EI)
- Low Countries (EN)
- Portugal (EP)
- Religious History (ER)
- Spain (ES)
- Crusades (EU)
- Byzantine Empire (EV)
- Jewish History (EY)
- International Relations (IR)
- Latin America (LA)
- United States (UB, UF, US)
- Military History (W)
The library is mostly arranged in national collections, with a few topical collections such as Military history and International Relations. Each collection starts with bibliographies and guides to sources at the start of the classmark sequence and has periodicals at the end. The remainder of the collection tends to be divided by period, with local history in a separate section.
Collections are summarised below, classmarks are shown in brackets.
The Asia collection contains material relating to British colonial history, and links in with the Colonial collection. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) holds material on Asian history more generally. The collection covers the whole of Asia but most of the material is sources relating to the early history of the British Empire in India.
England local (BC)
The library's material in this section contains primary sources of Ireland’s history from St. Patrick to modern developments in Northern Ireland. Also included in the collection are works on local Irish history, covering all Irish counties and many cities and towns.
Much of this collection is concerned with the history of London’s three oldest municipal centres; the City, Westminster and Southwark, with the emphasis on the City of London itself. The library endeavours to collect sources on every aspect of life in London, with a particular strength being the history of the various livery companies operating within the City. Many of the suburbs that are now considered part of London are also included within this collection, for example the East End to Bethnal Green, but visitors may want to note that some relevant material for many areas of the modern city of London can be found in the England Local Collection.
Many sources of general and local Scottish historical interest are found in this collection, including a large selection of the records of Scottish government dating from the medieval period to the end of the seventeenth century, and collection of biographical reference works.
The colonial collection covers general exploration and European colonisation and includes a significant number of travel journals. Sources for Dutch colonial history are included in the Low Countries collection. The collection of sources for the colonial history of North America is one of the best in the UK. Post-Independence North-American history is in the US collections. Most Latin American history is in the Latin America collection.
This collection includes many general historical journals including The American Historical Review, Annales, The Journal of Medieval History. There is a large collection of bibliographies, archives guides and library catalogues as well as a selection of reference works and monographs. Other features of note in this collection includes the works on general historiography and historical methodology, sources on the Holy Roman Empire and works on European university history.
This is one of the smaller but significant collections. It includes a section of sources for the history of the provinces and a comprehensive selection of journals.
East European & Balkan (EB/EM)
These two small collections include works detailing the history of Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. There is a general emphasis throughout these collections on Latin sources dating from the medieval period. This area is outside our remit, and material on the Ottoman Empire will be found locally at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and material on Russia and the more recent history of the area at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
All the Scandinavian languages and countries are represented by periodicals and by different printed primary sources such as records of governments, landownership and taxation.
Monumenta Germaniae Historica (EGM)
MGH is the most significant collection of medieval sources for German and European history. We hold almost the entire collection.
This collection is basic but especially sources for the history of Geneva are significant, and the selection of bibliographies is comprehensive.
Low Countries (EN)
The Low Countries collection gives researchers access to the most comprehensive array of historical resources for the history of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg outside the Netherlands. As well as having extensive holdings of primary sources, including series such as the Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën and those published by the Academie Royale de Belgique, the collection has an assortment of archival guides and bibliographies. Also included within the collection is material on the Dutch empire and an expanding range of local Dutch and Belgian historical sources.
The Portuguese collection covers the history of this country up to the second half of the 20th century. It includes all aspects of Portuguese history and sources on a wide variety of subjects.
Religious History (ER)
The Spanish collection is unique in Britain in the breadth and depth of its collection of sources and reference works. It includes regional and local as well as national material and has Castilian, Catalan, Galician, Basque and Arabic language works, reflecting the diverse history of the country and the different sources generated.
The collection includes material on the history of the Muslims and Jews in Spain, as well as covering the political and religious history of all the kingdoms of Medieval, Early Modern and Modern Spain. The material is particularly extensive on the Age of Expansion and 20th century Spain, especially the Civil War.
This collection contains sources, bibliographical guides and reference works pertaining to the Crusades in the Middle East and the subsequent history of the Latin Christian territories established there. Understandably the bulk of this collection concentrates on the main and initial period of the Crusades from 1095 to the fall of Acre in 1291. There is also material on the later Crusades of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Material on other important campaigns dubbed a ‘crusade’, such as the Northern Crusades and the Albigensian Crusade can be found in the library’s German and French collections.
Byzantine Empire (EV)
This small, but heavily-used collection contains bibliographical aids, reference works and primary sources relating to many aspects of the Byzantine Empire from the seventh century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. There is an emphasis on political developments throughout the empire’s long history, although sources for other areas, such as the ecclesiastical history of the Byzantine Church, are also collected. Other IHR collections that may be of interest to Byzantine historians are the Crusades and Latin East where sources on the Fourth Crusade are kept and the Ecclesiastical History collection where there are some works on the relations between the Eastern and Western Churches.
Jewish History (EY)
International Relations (IR)
Latin America (LA)
The IHR library's sources for Latin America cover the history from the period of European colonisation to the twentieth century. The collection is particularly strong in the period up to the mid-nineteenth century. The history of independent Mexico is also well covered. The collection doesn't contain contemporary history as this is held within the Senate House Library.
The sources include baptismal registers, reports on domains and autobiographies. We have a particularly rich collection of travel reports including, for example, Jesuits travelling in the Amazonas district and a German business man in Colombia.
Additionally we hold guides to Latin American material held in Spanish and Portuguese archives, valuable to researchers wanting in-depth information on the holding on Latin American History in Europe.
United States (UB, UF, US)
This is significant collection of printed primary sources covering the United States from Independence. It is most extensive for the nineteenth century including personal narratives of the Civil war; recent acquisitions have added to the accounts from women. Sources for the Civil war as experienced from the home-front is a particular expanding part of the collection, for example Wanted, correspondence : women's letters to a Union soldier. Material for the colonial period will be found in the Colonial Collection.