Our holdings range in date from the 9th to 21st centuries and include, in addition to rare books and manuscripts, prints and printed ephemera, personal and literary archives, drawings and artefacts. Rare and unique materials preserved here are of local, national and international significance, and the library is represented on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
Established as a medieval fellows’ library as part of Henry VI’s original vision for Eton, it is made up of collections reflecting the changing interests of Eton fellows and Old Etonians over nearly 600 years. The earliest acquisitions were mostly theological, and later purchases and gifts added large numbers of classical books and manuscripts, early scientific works, historical and literary texts, and books treasured for their beauty or antiquarian interest.
In more recent times the college has acquired modern and contemporary rare books and manuscripts, notably in the fields of English literature, travel writing, theatre history and fine printing.
What a wealth of material … from sketches of Roman antiquities to the George Orwell collection.Visitor
manuscripts, printed books, artefacts and files of literary and personal papers
- approximately 200 medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, including the Eton Choirbook
- over 200 incunabula (15th-century printed books), including a copy of the Gutenberg Bible
- more than 50,000 printed books of the 16th to 21st centuries, including the only known copies of more than 100 editions
- classical and other schoolbooks
- 17th-century English pamphlets
- early 18th-century drawings after the antique
- important collections of materials by and relating to Thomas Hardy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning
- literary and personal archives of the 19th to 21st centuries, compiled by figures including Edward Gordon Craig, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Wilfred Thesiger
- materials relating to the First World War, presented to Eton as a memorial
Latest from the library…
RT @EtonArchives: The Public Schools Act of 1868 prompted many changes at Eton College, including the curriculum! For example, French becam…
Finally, we briefly analyse the binding and provenance of a few schoolbooks which once belonged to the famous 18th-century poet Thomas Gray. But for these stay tuned! Our next exhibition on Eton’s Bard: Thomas Gray and his Elegy is coming soon. #schoolbooks #ThomasGray https://t.co/CSq7ZsxeS8
Good examples of imposition and register were observed in an incunabulum and an 18th-century Armenian publication in unfolded sheets (DDf.8.09: https://t.co/7OLfDfzdzV; Iaa7.3.06: https://t.co/NLkihdbEKB) #printingpress https://t.co/z3pElaHXSc
We then explained the process of papermaking and examined a few examples of paper, white and blue, such as the Marci Manilii Astronomicon printed in Padua by Giuseppe Comino in 1743 on blue paper (Cd.2.4.21: the https://t.co/AIMryuanjA). https://t.co/SKS190Pyli