Elliott Collection

Scope and Content

A collection of approximately 80 works on cryptography, together with a small number of seminal scientific works.

Despite its small size the cryptography section of the collection offers a good conspectus of major works on the subject published from the 16th to the 19th century. It includes Trithemius's Polygraphiae Libri Sex (1518) with the rare Clavis, the 1st edition of G.B. della Porta's De Furtivis Literarum Notis (1563), and B. de Vigenère's Traicté des Chiffres (1586). Among the early scientific works are Leonard Digges' A Geometrical Practise, named Pantometria (1571), and the first edition of Robert Hooke's Micrographia (1665). The collection also includes a complete set of the publications of Dr. Elliott, its founder, a distinguished pathologist who was a graduate of the university.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Ball Elliott (1918-1994) was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, and graduated in medicine from the University of Durham in 1940. A distinguished pathologist, he spent most of his career in Canada, first in Winnipeg, then as Director of Clinical Laboratories at Calgary General Hospital 1953-1964, Chief of Surgical Pathology at Vancouver General Hospital 1964-1973, and Clinical Pathology Research Associate at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria BC, 1973-1985. A man of immense energy and wide interests, he was the author of almost ninety articles on medical topics, and also published a number of papers on the diverse researches on antiquities and historical topics which engaged his interest in retirement. He was an enthusiastic collector of books and manuscripts, with a particular interest in cryptography and ciphers.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is in the main catalogue. To restrict the search to the Elliott Collection, do a shelfmark search on shelfmark "Elliott" - or use the following URL http://library.dur.ac.uk/search/c?SEARCH=Elliott&SUBMIT=Search.

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.

Related Material

Elliott Manuscripts