Highlighting our Special Collections

The Special Collections at the University of Newcastle, Australia

At present, Cultural Collections at the University of Newcastle houses more than 32,000 volumes, many of which are very valuable and unique to Australian libraries. The existence of these Collections is largely due to the generosity of a number of benefactors as most of the items have been acquired by donation, or purchased from bequest funds. Collectively, they not only form a major resource in their own right, but also enrich our capacity to support a multitude of research programs. Some of the collections are:

  • The Bishop’s Library is a collection of books dating from 1584 and was established by the second Bishop of Maitland, Dr. James Murray (1865-1909) and substantially augmented by his successor, Dr. P.V. Dwyer (1909-1931).
  • The Cornell Collection is a collection of French works, part of the personal libraryof the late Emeritus Professor James Gladstone Cornell, M.A., Dip.Ed. (Melbourne), L.es L.(Paris), F.A.C.E., Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, who was Professor of French at the University of Adelaide for some twenty-five years (1944-1969).
  • The Hartley Collection, comprising some 600 books donated to the Library by Professor Kelver Hartley, Foundation Professor of French. Kelver Hayward Hartley (1909-1988) was Foundation Professor of French in the University of Newcastle, holding the Chair from 1965 until his retirement at the beginning of 1969.
  • The James Joyce Collection is perhaps the strongest in Australia. It was begun in the 1960s at the behest of the internationally distinguished James Joyce scholar, Professor Clive Hart.
  • The Light Collection comprises 130 items purchased with Light funding. Most are first editions printed in the nineteenth century and many of the items are very rare.
  • The Morpeth Collection is a collection of some 2,700 volumes from St. John’s College Morpeth, generously donated by the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, and includes editions of major theological and philosophical works printed in the 16th-18th centuries.
  • Norman Talbot’s William Morris Collection was donated in November 2004 by Dr Jean Talbot  in memory of her husband who died earlier in the year. Norman Talbot was very much a scholar of the life and work of William Morris (1834-1896). William Morris was an author, poet, artist, manufacturer, and founder of the arts and crafts movement. The Collection consists of around two to three shelves of books, the substantial portion being two complete sets of William Morris’ Collected Works; a limited edition set published between 1910 -1915 of The Collected Works of William Morris. With introductions by his daughter May Morris. London: Longmans Green and Company, 1910-1915. Limited to 1,050 numbered copies (of which 1,000 only are for sale) in twenty-four octavo volumes, and the 1966 edition.
  • The Renaissance Collection consists of volumes drawn in part from the Morpeth Collection and from the existing Auchmuty Library collections, but the majority were purchased through the Reta Light Trust Fund.
  • The Sparke Collection comprises family books principally of Edward Sparke (1831-1902) and his family from Maitland, including a Bible and accountancy reference aids.
  • The Tanner Library is the personal collection of some 6,000 works belonging to the late Professor Godfrey Tanner (1927-2002). Containing works on texts and commentaries on Latin and Greek classics, the Classical Tradition, the Christian tradition in antiquity, histories of the ancient world, its literature and ideas – religious, philosophical, social, political – studies in the form and development of ancient languages, commentaries on texts and so on in English, French and German and much more.
  • The Tomson Collection is the private library of Brian Tomson who died in 1986. He was a lecturer in the English Department teaching in the fields of Old and Middle English studies as well as being a fine chess player.

A full list of the collections is also available.

These works are not for loan, but may be viewed in our reading room. Please contact us if you are interested in using any of these works.

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