Libraries

University College London

UCL

University College London (UCL) was founded in 1826 as the University of London. It was established
to open up education in England to students of any race or religion for the first time. The university
library dates from 1829, and was reliant on benefactions for much of the nineteenth century. Several of the
most important collections, such as the unrivalled Graves Library on the History of Mathematics and
the Rotton Collection, a gentleman’s library of some 7000 books, were donated by ex-students and
professors.
Over time, UCL amassed an outstanding collection of rare books, manuscripts and archives. The ca.
150,000 printed books, pamphlets and periodicals date from the fifteenth century to the present day.
These collections were built up largely through donation and bequest, as well as deposits by several
learned societies, including the Huguenot Society, the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and the
Folklore Society.
The main strengths of the printed Special Collections are in twentieth and twenty-first-century small-press
publishing, politics and social policy (especially nineteenth-century reform movements), the history of
science, the history of mathematics, Hebraica and Judaica, the history of London, and language,
literature and poetry (in particular Dante, James Joyce and George Orwell).