Overview & description
Discover remarkable and unique items from collections recognised as nationally and internationally significant. Amongst these treasures is a rare copy of the first folio containing the plays of William Shakespeare. Other gems include a Tudor cookery book printed in the time of Elizabeth I and a map and compass used by the first prisoner to escape back to Britain from Germany in the First World War.
Explore the history of writing from hand to print. Follow the journey from unique medieval illuminated manuscripts to the artistry of beautiful books from the Kelmscott Press of William Morris.
Gain insight into the imagination and creativity of acclaimed authors and poets. See handwritten materials by the Brontës and Oscar Wilde, alongside manuscripts by the finest contemporary writers.
Join explorers and pioneers in political, medical and social history through their notebooks, pamphlets and posters.
Special Collections at the University of Leeds is the only institution to have as many as five collections Designated by Arts Council England as nationally or internationally significant. They are all shown in the gallery:
English Literature Collection
Leeds Russian Archive