Durham University Library Additional Manuscripts

Scope and Content

In subject matter the collection is extremely wide-ranging, including literary, theological, political, historical, legal, educational, military and scientific material, maps, plans, and drawings and sketches of people and places. There is a strong concentration of material relating particularly to the North-East of England, Co. Durham, Durham City, and the University of Durham. The collection includes several medieval book manuscripts and a few medieval documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

This artificial collection comprises many miscellaneous small accessions of manuscripts and papers received by the University Library from about 1930 onwards, and not preserved as separate collections. Similar small accessions received prior to 1930 are largely located in the Old University MSS, but a few miscellaneous manuscripts acquired before 1930 and not known by Old University MSS citation numbers have been absorbed into the the Add. MSS class. Small accessions of manuscripts of oriental interest are located in the Oriental MSS class. Small accessions of papers received by the University's Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic (from 1990 merged in the University Library's Archives & Special Collections department) were placed in its SGD (Small Gifts and Deposits) class, and that class continues to be used for small archival accessions, whereas the emphasis in making additions to the Add. MSS class is now more distinctly on manuscripts and single documents. In some cases material placed in this sequence has subsequently been removed to a more appropriate collection: this is recorded in the catalogue.


The main sequence is arranged in order of Add. MS number (arbitrarily assigned as cataloguing progresses), except for a few items shelved out of sequence because of their physical form or size, and some others which are bound with printed books and located with them in the printed book collections. Recent accessions not yet catalogued are recorded in the accession register, which gives their temporary location until an Add. MS number is assigned.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by gift and purchase at different times from many different sources. Where known, provenance is recorded with each accession. Additions are still being made to the collection.

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available at online catalogue. This revises, corrects and continues the published list by David Ramage, Summary list of the Additional Manuscripts accessioned and listed between September 1945 and September 1961(Durham, 1963).

Larger groups of material within the sequence have their own cataogues: links to these are provided from the main online catalogue. Printed items within the collection are also catalogued in the Library's main catalogue http://library.dur.ac.uk/search/c?SEARCH=add.ms&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.


Additions continue to be made frequently, both of new material and from backlogged accessions.

Corporate Names