Collection details

The library is mostly arranged in national collections, with a few topical collections such as Military history and International Relations. Each collection includes a section for bibliographies/guides to sources and for periodicals. The remainder of the collection is usually divided by period or topic, with local history in a separate section.

Collections are summarised below, classmarks are shown in brackets.

Asia (A)

As our geographical coverage is Western Europe and its colonial history, the focus of our Asia collection is within this remit. To reflect this the collection is being gradually moved into the Colonial collection.

The collection is strongest for material relating to the early history of the British Empire in India. There is related material in other collections, for example on emigration of people from Asia to other parts of the world. There is also wider material on the subject of global history, International Relations and Military history

The adjacent School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) library holds material on Asian history more generally.

Britain (B)

See British History collection guide.

England local (BC)

See English local history collection guide.

Ireland (BI)

The Irish history collection contains primary sources from medieval to the modern period. The strengths of the collection are for the medieval and Early Modern periods, with some holdings on local history. Nearby LSE library has good holdings for the contemporary history. There is related material on Britain's relationship with Ireland in the British collection.

London (BL)

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 material for many areas of the modern city of London can be found in the England Local Collection.

Scotland (BS)

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.

Wales (BW)

See Welsh History collection guide.

Colonial (C)

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.

General (E)

This collection includes many general historical journals including The American Historical Review, Annales and 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.

Austria (EA)

This a small but significant collection with particular strong holdings of sources for the nineteenth century. It includes a section of material for the history of the provinces and a comprehensive collection of journals. Due to changing boundaries in the region, some material will be found in other European collections.

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).

Scandinavia (ED)

All the Scandinavian countries are represented here by different printed primary sources for example editions of correspondence and records of governments, landownership and taxation. The collection is particular strong for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We subscribe to each country's main historical journals. The collection complements the Scandinavian holdings in UCL.   

France (EF)

See French History collection guide.

Germany (EG)

See German History collection guide.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica (EGM)

MGH is the most significant collection of medieval sources for German and European history. We hold almost the entire collection.

Switzerland (EH)

The collection is small but has significant holdings, especially sources for the history of Geneva, and a comprehensive collection of bibliographies.

Italy (EI)

See Italian History collection guide.

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.

Portugal (EP)

The Portuguese collection covers the history of this country up to the second half of the twentieth century. It includes all aspects of Portuguese history and sources on a wide variety of subjects. Despite its small size, its one of the most extensive collections of primary sources on Portuguese history in Britain. The Brazilian collection forms one of the largest sub-sections of the library's Latin American collection.

Religious History (ER)

See Religious History collection guide.

Spain (ES)

See Spanish History collection guide.

Crusades (EU)

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)

See Jewish History collection guide.

International Relations (IR)

See International Relations collection guide.

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.

A range of sources are included, for example 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 holdings on Latin American History in Europe.

United States (UB, UF, US)

See United States collection guide

Military History (W)

See Military History collection guide.

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