Showcase

Some of our most significant collections

Church Missionary Society

The collection is a rich source of information not only for ecclesiastical history and missiology but for the secular history and anthropology of the many countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, in which the Society has operated since its foundation in 1799. It contains some of the earliest recorded documents from pioneering explorations into Africa and Asia and first hand accounts of medical work during the tremendous advances in tropical medicine in the first half of the 20th century.

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Mingana Collection

This collection consists mainly of Arabic and Syriac Middle Eastern manuscripts with some Persian, Turkish, Armenian Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, dating from the 6th to the 20th centuries. It has particular strengths in illustrated manuscripts, and early Islamic and Syriac materials (including one of the oldest Qur'ans in existence).

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Records of Mason Science College

Part of the extensive institutional archive of the University of Birmingham, these records document the establishment, governance, and operations of the University's predecessor institution, from its foundation in 1870 to its incorporation into the new University of Birmingham in 1900. The papers and photographs provide information about the college's management, student recruitment and finances, the development of the curriculum and academic life in the 1880s and 1890s, and the facilities available in the building in Birmingham city centre. The records include material relating to the campaign to secure university status for the college, led by Joseph Chamberlain between 1898 and 1900.

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Save The Children

This large collection comprises material dating from the foundation of the charity by sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton in 1919. Originally set up to help children in Austria in the aftermath of World War I, its archive includes minutes and papers of its various committees, programme files relating to relief and aid work both in the UK and in over 100 countries overseas, publicity and fund-raising material, papers of individual field workers and an extensive collection of photographs and slides. The archive is of great significance in documenting work in child welfare, education and health, children's rights and the wider response to humanitarian relief over nearly 100 years. The archive is in the course of being sorted and catalogued.

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Harriet Martineau Papers

Correspondence, literary manuscripts and other papers of Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), writer. The letters document her activities and contributions as a social and political commentator, journalist and literary writer and as a feminist intellectual.

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Papers of Neville Chamberlain

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister 1937-1940, remains the most famous member of his family because of the still controversial policy he pursued as prime minister to keep Europe from plunging into another war: the policy known as "appeasement". His collected letters and papers provide the best means to understand his motives in attempting to reach an understanding with Hitler.

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Youth Hostels Association

The archive of the YHA dates back to its foundation in 1930 when it pioneered the provision of holidays for people of limited means and also played a major role in providing access to the countryside as a form of social recreation. The collection includes the records of the national body and its regional structure as well as papers of individuals such as wardens and youth hostellers and is an important resource for 20th century social history.

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Young Men's Christian Association

This collection comprises the extensive historical records of the National Council of YMCAs, which was founded in 1882, together with some records of its regional structure and of local associations which date back to the 1850s. The archive charts the organisation's changing provision of religious, social, educational, physical and other activities and programmes for young men and boys over more than 150 years, including its civilian welfare work for troops during the world wars, involvement in assisted emigration, provision of hostels and holidays and training schemes such as the British Boys for British Farms.

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Avon Papers (Anthony Eden)

Personal and political papers of Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, and Prime Minister, 1955-1957, including material on the Suez Crisis. The political and official papers include material relating to the offices he held: Secretary of State for the Dominions, Secretary of State for War, Foreign Secretary, and Prime Minister 1955-1957. The collection also includes private, political and general correspondence, political diaries and notebooks, constituency correspondence, papers relating to elections, and texts of his speeches.

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Joseph Chamberlain Collection

Official and personal papers of the Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914). A hugely influential figure in later nineteenth century political life both in Birmingham and nationally, Joseph Chamberlain was also the first Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.

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Oswald Mosley papers (Nicholas Mosley deposit)

Personal and political papers of Oswald Mosley, and of his first wife, Cynthia Mosley (nee Curzon) and personal papers of his mother, Katherine Maud Mosley. The papers consist of correspondence; press cuttings; draft and published writings; policy documents and reports relating to Oswald Mosley's political movements the New Party, the British Union of Fascists and the Union Movement; photographs; diaries; notebooks and financial papers.

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Oswald Mosley papers, principally deposited by Lady Diana Mosley

The collection comprises personal and political papers of Sir Oswald Mosley, including some papers of his second wife, Lady Diana Mosley (formerly Guinness, née Mitford). The papers largely date 1940s-1980s. They shed light on Oswald Mosley's political ideologies after the war, particularly his ideas of 'Europe a Nation' and his political activities as leader of the Union Movement, established in 1948. Also includes material related to the British Union of Fascists and Union Movement.

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British Organ Archive

This is a substantial collection accumulated by the British Institute of Organ Studies relating to the history of organs and organ building. It comprises the business records of a significant number of 19th and 20th century organ builders as well as including personal papers of antiquaries, scholars, organists and others relating to their interests in organs.

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Noel Coward Collection

Noel Coward (1899-1973), has been described as the best all-rounder of the theatrical, literary and musical worlds of the 20th century. His collection consists of plays, films, short stories, songs, music and lyrics, photographs, audio and visual recordings, correspondence, and transcripts of diaries and journals. It also includes press and magazine cuttings of reviews of Coward's plays, his publications, and his performances as an actor.

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Toc H Collection

Records of Toc H, an international Christian movement which developed from a soldiers' rest and recreation centre named Talbot House founded in Poperinge, near Ypres or Ieper, in Belgium during December 1915. Comprises administrative papers, membership records, photographs, publications and artefacts. The collection is a valuable resource for exploring the history of charitable initiatives, the development of community work, as well as wider issues relating to health and wellbeing.

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