The collection was formed by Walter Llewellyn Bullock, first in Chicago and later in Manchester, where he was Professor of Italian Studies from 1935 until his death in 1944. It illustrates the literature and social life of Italy, with over 2,600 items dating from the 16th century.
The major Italian authors are, of course, represented, but the greatest strength of the collection lies in the large number of works by minor and obscure authors which it contains.
Authors like Lodovico Dolce, Lodovico Domenichi, Giovanni Battista Gelli, Giovanni Battista Giraldi, Girolamo Muzio and Francesco Sansovino are represented by between five and 50 items each.
There are over 100 16th-century comedies and 50 tragedies together with over 200 works of literary theory.
Other subjects for which a substantial number of items is available in the collection are medicine, religion, education, law, letter writing, travel and the art of war.
- Recorded in general printed-book catalogue.
- See also Walter L. Bullock, 'A Collection of Cinquecento Books', Italica, vol. 8, no. 4 (1931), pp. 112-117.
- The collection now contains only 16th- and 17th-century items.
- Most post-1640 works were integrated into the main stock of the University Library, from which pre-1801 material was subsequently removed to the general Special Collections stock.