Vane Ivanovic Library

Scope and Content

The Vane Ivanovic Library is a collection of c. 5000 books collected by Ivanovic, who was an athlete, shipping merchant, diplomat and campaigner for a United Yugoslavia. The strength of the library is books on 20th Century Balkan history and books on the Second World War, although there are books on a number of other subjects including the history of the Olympic Games and Spear-fishing. There are also a small number of books pre-dating 1900, going back to the 1490s. The vast majority of books are in English, although a small number are in other Western European languages or Serbo-Croat.

Administrative / Biographical History

Vane Ivanovic was born into a family of shipping merchants. He studied at the University of Cambridge and later went on to become an Athlete, competing in the Berlin 1936 and London 1948 Olympics Games. He would later become an expert in spear-fishing. Taking over his family shipping firm, Ivanovic was instrumental in acquiring the Yugoslavian fleet for use by the allies during the Second World War. During the war he also acted for the Special Operations Executive. After the war he took up permanent residence in the UK and held some political and diplomatic posts, such as Ambassador to Monaco. He also actively campaigned for a united Yugoslavia. Ivanovic was greatly interested in the history of the Balkans, particularly during the 20th Century, and collected a large amount of books on the subject.


Books have been arranged using the Dewey Decimal numbering system, with the exception of the books in Serbo-Croat which have their own numbering system at the end of the run (they are ordered roughly alphabetically by surname of author).

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers by appointment- please email Appointments typically offered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am - 4.30pm. For more information on Kingston University Archives and Special Collections please see our website at

Other Finding Aids

Also see our archives catalogue here

Books in the library have item listings on our library catalogue.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Some books in the collection of fragile and require careful handling. Researchers will be advised of any special requirements when they make their appointment to view the books.

Conditions Governing Use

Some items in the collection can not be copied from due to their physical condition or copyright law. Please send all copying enquiries to the Archive at