The Special Collections

The special collections at Worcester College Library consist of early printed books, pamphlets, manuscripts (including the Clarke papers), prints and architectural drawings. Successive gifts have built on the foundational bequest of Dr George Clarke in 1736. The library has particular strengths in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English literature, with over 1,200 plays printed before 1750, the English Civil War, and architectural history.  There are also a large collection of nineteenth-century pamphlets collected by Henry Allison Pottinger (1824-1911) and a comprehensive set of the products of the Daniel Press, operated by C.H.O. Daniel, Provost 1903-1919, together with some of Daniel’s manuscript correspondence.

For further information on the special collections at Worcester, see C.H. Wilkinson, ‘Worcester College Library’, Oxford Bibliographical Society Proceedings & Papers, v. 1, (1927), pp. 263-320; Paul Morgan’s Oxford libraries outside the Bodleian (Oxford : Bodleian Library, 2nd ed., 1980), pp. 151-154; Richard Sayce, ‘Les livres français d’un collectionneur anglais: George Clarke (1661-1736)', Revue française d’histoire du livre, no. 24 (1979); Timothy Clayton, ‘The print collection of George Clarke at Worcester College, Oxford’, Print Quarterly, 9 (1992), pp. 123-141.

A monthly blog on items from the Library and Archives, 'Treasures of Worcester College', can be found at


Please note that only a limited number of the early printed books have been catalogued online onto SOLO.  3517 foreign imprints up to 1800 were catalogued with an RSLP grant, but this does not represent the totality of our holdings of foreign books.  Worcester books printed in the British Isles before 1801 are recorded in the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). The 15,000 pamphlets collected by H.A. Pottinger have been catalogued online as part of the RSLP-funded 19th Century Pamphlets project.

An online catalogue of George Clarke’s print collection is available. Printed catalogues of the drawings have been published.

Certain manuscript and archival holdings are listed in the National Archives’ ARCHON directory.

There are various handwritten catalogues that can be consulted only in the library.