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Thomas Raffles Book Collection

Date range: 17th-19th centuries

Number of items: 530 items

The Thomas Raffles Book Collection comprises the remains of Raffles' personal library spanning a wide range of subjects including history, classics and theology. There is no particular Congregational bias, with the majority of items published in the 19th century. The collection includes around 230 titles in over 500 volumes, largely in English with some Latin and Greek works..

Thomas Raffles (1788-1863) was an eminent Congregationalist and autograph collector. Raffles was ordained in 1809 and appointed minister of Newington Chapel, Liverpool, in 1812. His influence within evangelical circles soon spread beyond that city. He was secretary of the Lancashire Congregational Union from 1826 to 1843, and in 1839 served as chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. With George Hadfield he founded Blackburn Academy for the training of ministers in 1816, and he oversaw its transfer to Manchester in 1843 as the Lancashire Independent College; he chaired its education committee from 1839 until his death.

The Raffles Book Collection was received from the Northern Congregational College after 1976, following the acquisition by the John Rylands Library of the College library and a number of Raffles' papers. It is believed that the Collection had been housed at the College since Raffles' death.

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