The University’s archives and special collections are held in Augustine House. Nineteenth century literature is a particular strength with literary gems such as the Mary Braddon Archive, the Sarah Grand Collection, the Gaskell Collection and the Historical Children’s Fiction Collection. In addition, the university’s own archive of its history along with a small selection of eclectic historic books complete the collection. You can request to see items at the Library Point (ground floor of Augustine House).
Mary Braddon Archive
Mary Elizabeth Braddon was a prolific writer of sensational fiction in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, producing more than 80 novels. The Mary Braddon archive contains unpublished material, correspondence and notebooks, as well as material relating to her children, including the artist and writer W.B. Maxwell and Gerald Maxwell. The archive is on loan to the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers and you can find out more about it here.
Sarah Grand Collection
The Sarah Grand collection contains letters and personal effects of the Irish feminist writer, who was active from 1873 to 1922 and was President of the Tunbridge Wells National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society. Her work explored the ‘New Woman’ ideal, contagious diseases and failure in marriage. Mark Twain wrote of her book The Heavenly Twins “A cat could do better literature than this.” You can read more about the collection here.
The Gaskell collection was established in the 1980s to provide English literature students with a comprehensive collection of critical works related to one author which would illustrate changing viewpoints and methods of literary criticism. The collection consists of over 200 books including 19 volumes of the ‘Cornhill magazine’ and 29 volumes of ‘Household words’, 13 reels of microfilm – “Elizabeth Gaskell and nineteenth century literature: manuscripts from John Rylands Library, Manchester and copies of the Gaskell Society Journal. To find out more about the content of the collection, you can read an article about it in the Gaskell Society Journal*. Note: The University no longer actively adds to this collection.
*Hodgson, J. (1989) 'A Gaskell Collection at Canterbury', The Gaskell Society Journal, 3, pp. 42-45.
Historical Children’s Fiction Collection
The Historical Children’s Fiction Collection contains over one hundred titles published between 1871 and 1900. Many are beautifully illustrated. You can find out more about the collection here.
This rather vague name refers to a collection of books for and about education that were mainly published during the 19th century. According to the first librarian the collection was intended to be: “an historical appendix to the main Teaching Practice collection of the library”.
It was to be made up of both text books relevant to subjects taught in college and books on teaching method. To find out more about it visit the blog.
The Canterbury Christ Church University Archive
There are three parts to the University Archives, The Governors’ Records, The Unofficial Archive and the College of Guidance Studies Archive. Find more about them on the library blog.