Military, colonial and diplomatic history and travel

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Manuscript collections

Resources for military, colonial and diplomatic history range from substantial blocks of material in several muniment collections, such as the Bagshawe Muniments (Ireland and India) and the Grey (Stamford) of Dunham Massey Papers (India and Canada), to holdings relating to the British in India (eg. the East India Company Papers, the Jackson Family Papers, the Melville Papers and the Thomas Munro Papers); the Napoleonic Wars (the Clinton Papers); the Crimean and Boer Wars (the Hibbert-Ware Papers and the Bromley Davenport Muniments); the First World War (W.M. Wills's Home Front Diaries, the T.F. Tout Papers, and the Tylecote Papers); and the Second World War.

Material relating to the Second World War includes the Auchinleck and Dorman O'Gowan collections, several holdings relating to Orde Wingate and the Chindits, papers of the military historian Roger Parkinson, and confidential dispatches to the Manchester Guardian. The Guardian archive itself is a massive resource for the events of the 19th and 20th centuries, and includes a wide range of correspondence covering many subject areas.

Diplomatic and colonial history is documented in the Bowring Papers (relating to Hong Kong and China); the Carrington Papers (Ceylon/Sri Lanka); the 18th-century consular correspondence of Viscount Mount Stuart (France, Spain and Italy); the Spring Rice Collection (Irish affairs in the 1840s, Foreign Office administration, and diplomatic service in several countries); the Stapleton Manuscripts (colonial administration and slave plantations in Montserrat and the Leeward Islands, West Indies); the Brooke of Mere Muniments (slave plantations in Antigua, West Indies); and the Tanks Group Archive (Central and East Africa).

Printed resources

Early printed texts relating to the art of war are to be found within the Bullock Collection and the Niccolò Machiavelli Collection, while the English Tract Collection embraces contemporary accounts of the English Civil Wars. The Library also holds numerous printed secondary sources relating to warfare throughout the ages.

The Library's outstanding manuscript holdings relating to India are complemented by the Indian Empire Collection of printed materials, including rare state papers, government reports and publications. The collection is especially valuable for the history of the East India Company and the Warren Hastings affair.

The Voyages and Travels Collection features important atlases and first editions of the published accounts of travellers and explorers such as Hakluyt, De Bry and Cook. There are also many finely illustrated works. The Manchester Geographical Society Collection of atlases and books written by or for travellers and traders documents the 'opening up' of Africa and other areas as part of the Victorian imperialist enterprise, while the Mills and Booker Map Collections contain fine examples of English county maps and French and Dutch maps of Asia and the Far East.