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Archives and Special Collections: Rare and Early Printed Books: Home

Please note

This guide is a work-in-progress. If you need information about a collection and you are unable to find it here, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. Apologies for any inconvience or delay this may cause.


Printer's device of a man standing beside a treeFrom Saint Augustine's De civitate dei (the City of God) printed before 1468 to books published in the last few years, rare and early printed books form an important part of our archives and special collections.

In this guide, you will find information about our book collections organised by subject. We will also include some resources to help you study rare and early printed books.

There is much more to be discovered in our rare and early printed book collections than we can describe here, so if you are unable to find the information you need in this guide, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

Specific information about our music and literature collections can be found in this guide to Music, Literature and the Arts. It is also worth checking the guides to Local and Family History and Churches and Religion

Each academic department has its own subject guide and the most relevant ones are listed elsewhere on this page. These contain a summary of our collections by academic subject and give you a different way to access archives and special collections.


Click on the linked image below to open the search interface for all our library, archive and museum collections.  Further guidance for searching the archives and special collections is available on our website.

discover interface for book collections


About our collections

Rare and Early Printed Books
Churches and Religion
Sudan Archive
Medieval Manuscripts
Local and Family History
Durham University Records
Durham Cathedral Collections
International Sources
Digitised Collections Online
Music, Literature and the Arts
Other Collections and Subjects

Subject guides

The collections mentioned in this guide could be useful for a range of academic subjects taught at Durham University. The guides listed below also have information about other relevant resources.

Collection highlights

Archivist filmed with medieval deed in Palace Green Library

Archives and Special Collections podcasts and films

Online exhibitions (archive, library, museum and art collections)

Durham University Library and Collections blog

Archives and Special Collections Item of the Month

Durham Priory Library project blog

Binchester Exposed (Archaeology exhibition)