Wilson Collection

Scope and Content

Bequest from the library of Professor Dudley Wilson (1923-95), largely 16th and 17th century books but also including a number of modern private press books and literary first editions (notably W.H. Auden, Max Beerbohm, T.S. Eliot and Aldous Huxley). The collection contains over 200 titles, and reflects the collector's interests in Renaissance and 17th century literature and thought, particularly in France, and his love of fine typography and book illustration. Among the private press books the Eragny Press is particularly well represented. Also included is the collection of images of the monstrous (photographs and photocopies of 16th to 18th century illustrations) and other working materials which Professor Wilson assembled for his book Signs and portents (1993) on monstrous births.

Administrative / Biographical History

Educated at Manchester Grammar School, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he studied French and German, and the Sorbonne, where he obtained his doctorate in 1952 on Ronsard. He lectured in French at Aberdeen and in 1953 joined Durham University, where he became a Professor in 1980. He retired in 1988. There is a bibliography of his works in The Wilson Collection ....

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed to Durham University Library by Professor Wilson.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Wilson, Dudley, The Wilson Collection: a Catalogue of Part of a Small Private Library (Durham, 1996)

Corporate Names