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Exeter University Library has been collecting manuscripts since before the University College of the South West became incorporated as the University in 1955. Since 1956 it has particularly collected the papers of twentieth century literary individuals from or connected with the South West of England. Currently the Library holds about collections of about 40-50 writers' papers.
Besides literary papers the repository has a number of antiquarian collections relating to the South West, a few photographic collections, including the remainder of the photographic archive of the Imperial Institute, several collections relating to the Middle East, and a small number of collections each related to business, politics, music, astronomy and theatre, mostly connected in some way with the South West. With the exception of one thirteenth century medieval treatise by Albertus Magnus, and a collection of French deeds dating back to the late sixteenth century, all the collections are post-1600. There are about 210 separately identified collections in total, of which at least 120 descriptions should appear described shortly on the Hub.