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Unitarian College Printed Collection

Date range: 16th-20th centuries

Medium: Printed

Number of items: 25,500 items

The Unitarian College, Manchester, began transferring books to the John Rylands Library in the 1970s. Although the earliest books and pamphlets derive from the 1520s, the vast majority were printed between the 1640s and the early 1970s. The majority of the material is in English but other languages are represented, particularly French, German and Latin.

There is good coverage of Puritanism and of all the Old Dissenting denominations, including the Quakers, but the real strength of the collection lies in material for the study of Presbyterianism and Unitarianism in England, Scotland, Ireland and America. As it was built up as the working library of a theological college, many non-religious works are also represented.

Writers represented by 100 or so editions and critical works include Theophilus Lindsey (1723-1808), Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), Thomas Belsham (1750-1829), William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), James Martineau (1805-1900) and Alexander Gordon (1841-1931). Unitarian hymn-books, liturgies and local histories also abound.

The majority of the Collection is held at the Main University Library (Oxford Road), with only the pre-1801 items (approximately 13 per cent of the total) housed in the John Rylands Library, Deansgate.

See also:

Further information:

  • Recorded in Library Search.
  • Card catalogues available via the Special Collections reading rooms.
  • Clive D. Field, 'Sources for the Study of Protestant Nonconformity in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 71, no. 2 (1989), pp. 111-17.


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