University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections

Rare Books

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Reserve Collection

Images of the Reserve Collection

The Reserve Collections are the general rare book collections which are not part of other named collections. These collections are divided into two distinct categories, by date, and have two separate prefixes: r17 and r.

Prefix: r17

The “r17” collection is comprised of all 17th century, non-British books not found in other named collections. It also includes all British books (except for Scottish) printed after 1641 not found in other named collections. At close to 5,000 books, a large proportion of these books have been part of the University Library’s collection since they were purchased in the 17th and 18th century, with subject strengths in Divinity, Natural Philosophy and Classical Literature. All European languages, Latin, Greek and Hebrew are well represented. About a quarter of this collection is available via the online catalogue. 

Prefix: r

The “r” collection includes all post-1700 books and periodicals not found in other named collections. Numbering over 10,000 books, much of the stock from this collection has been transferred from the main library and includes 18th and 19th century works, such as the first edition of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Also included in this collection are modern first editions and important or seminal works which are deemed too valuable or important to be in the general circulation collections, including the first edition of Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Two stories, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson's On growth and form and the limited edition of Robert Crawford and Caroline Saltzwedel's Impossibility

General reserve books are available here via the online catalogue.

Reproductions

Find out how you can get copies of books, manuscripts or photographs held within Special Collections.

Collection development policy

Discover how the Special Collections Division makes decisions on the development of its rare book collections.

Current projects

Read about the exciting collection projects the Rare Books team is currently working on, and those that have recently been completed.