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A Library and a Legacy: Celebrating 100 years of the Brotherton Collection

In February 1922 Lord Brotherton bought the rare book of poetry that was to become the first volume in the Brotherton Collection. This year we are celebrating the man and his extraordinary legacy. 

The Brotherton Collection of rare books and manuscripts is one of the most important and extensive to be established in England during the first half of the twentieth century.

Born in 1856, Lord Brotherton was the owner of one of the most successful chemical manufacturing businesses of his time. He served as Mayor and Member of Parliament for Wakefield and was also Lord Mayor of Leeds. What piqued his interest in rare books at such a late stage in his life? And what were his long-term plans for the collection?

Lord Brotherton made sure his library contained fine examples of everything from medieval illuminated manuscripts and early printed books to tiny items handwritten by the Brontës. He even achieved the "holy grail of book collecting" - the four seventeenth-century Shakespeare folios.

Throughout 2022 Special Collections and Galleries will be celebrating the Brotherton Collection and the centenary of its foundation. Key items will be on display in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery all through the year. Plan your visit now.

An exciting programme of events and activities is also being scheduled, and you can explore our new online feature telling the Brotherton story and showcasing highlights from the collection.