Leeds University Library

About Special Collections

Brotherton Gallery in Special Collections


New accessions July 2014

July saw the arrival of some beautiful and fascinating manuscripts. Ripon Cathedral has deposited two letters patent with us from the reign of James I. The earliest, dating from 2 August 1604, is a...


What we have What we do Who we work with How you can help

What we have

Over 200,000 rare books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts and archives.

Designated status for outstanding national and international collections.

Conservation studio expertly preserving rare books and manuscripts.

Home to the Institutional Archive of the University.

Generous benefactions that continue to strengthen our collections.

Strong partnerships with other important organisations in Yorkshire.

What we do

Special Collections blog

Find out what the team is currently working on.

Special features

Items from the collections are put in the spotlight.


Items from Special Collections are often exhibited at the University and further afield: 

Online highlights and exhibitions
Past exhibitions


Examples of research and other work that was carried out using material from Special Collections.

Who we work with


Special Collections hosts the archives of several organisations:

Feminist Archive North

Ripon Cathedral Collections

Quaker (Society of Friends) Archives

Related archives on campus

There are other archives on the University campus that can complement your research:

Marks & Spencer

ULITA (University of Leeds International Textile Archive)

How you can help


Help us protect our collections by adopting a book. Adopt-a-Book at Leeds helps fund conservation work to ensure our precious, fragile books can still be read in 100 years' time. Contact us for more details.


If you want to donate material to Special Collections or the University Archive contact us in the first instance to discuss the offer with a member of staff.


Depending on our current plan of work and the projects being undertaken, there are volunteer opportunities at Special Collections. Volunteers help with conservation and collection description areas of the service.  Placements can be arranged for condensed periods of time, lasting up to two weeks, or can be a few hours a week over a longer period of time.  Preference is given to students and those associated with the University of Leeds, either seeking work experience or having specialist skills that strengthen the work of the service.

If you would like more information about the opportunities currently available contact us providing your CV, area of work interest and availability.