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The huge book and periodical collections of the John Rylands University Library are world-famous, and privide our History students with a particularly rich resource for studying medieval history.

Resources & Facilities

Manchester's learning resources are world-famous. The John Rylands University Library, with over 4.5m books and vast archives of historical material and rare volumes, is second to none.

It is a particularly rich resource for graduate medieval history, because of its immense holdings of printed primary medieval sources, due to decades-long purchasing of printed manuscript publications and series from British and continental secular and religious sources (many other fine libraries have long limited themselves to British publications).

Equally, for the early-modernist it has some 12,500 books printed between 1475 and 1640 (including the second-largest collection of books printed by Caxton and the Christie collection of Renaissance texts), some 45,000 printed between 1641 and 1700, whilst eighteenth- and nineteenth-century holdings comprise 160,000 and 400,000 volumes respectively. These holdings are constantly being updated; but now, in addition, the Library offers immediate electronic access to every book published in Britain before 1800; shortly to be advanced to 'before 1850'. Its e-book holdings are the largest of any academic library in the UK.

Worth particular mention for the graduate student among the special collections at Deansgate are: muniment and charter collections, especially Cheshire and Lancashire; Methodist Archives and Collection (the largest in the world); French Revolution Collection; Raymond English Anti-Slavery Collection; Spring-Rice Collection (for mid-Victorian British history); Women's Suffrage Movement Archive; Manchester Guardian Archive; Labour Party Library Collections; Ramsay MacDonald Papers; Trade-union and employer archives, especially in textiles.There are other important papers of prominent scientists and academics; and collections in military, diplomatic, and colonial history.

This allows an astonishing breadth of PhD or MA-level research to be conducted using the University's own resources. Externally we are supplemented by the rich library and archive holdings of Greater Manchester. These include the Central Library - far more than an ordinary city public library especially for nineteenth- to mid twentieth century history and including many old periodical series and government inquiries; Chetham's Library (of particular importance to medieval and early-modern historians; the Working-Class Movement Library with its unrivalled collection of often otherwise unobtainable publications and records of the labour movement; the People's History Museum with its Labour History Archive and Study Centre, the specialist repository for
the political wing of the British labour movement; and the rich archival collections of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MOSI) in the business and history-of-science fields; and the holdings of the Manchester Museum, one of the most precious private collections in the country, and an institution with which the School enjoys special links.