World War One: Special Collections library resources

Written by Claire Wooldridge, UMASCS Graduate Trainee

4 August 2014 marked the centenary of the day that Britain entered World War One.  Fighting continued until 11 November 1918 and is marked today by Armistice Day.

To celebrate Explore Archives week and to commemorate this year’s centenary, we’ve prepared some resources on finding WW1 material in our collections. As ever the best place to start searching out collections is our online catalogue.  We have also produced web pages with lists of WWI related references within our Special Collections and MERL archive and library collections.  Our holdings relating to WWI are explored in greater depth below.

In order to assist our readers with WWI-related enquiries, our archive colleagues have identified a series of references within our collections which may be useful (including the papers of Nancy Astor and the records of Huntley and Palmers for example).  Although we do not hold a specific WWI collection, these pages are an excellent place to start searching our collections for potential information.

Additionally, we have identified some Special Collections library materials relating to WWI, on topics such as Berkshire in WWI, women in WWI, WWI in the news and literature related to WWI.  A few images from these references are included below.

The War Illustrated, Hammerton, 1914-1919, RESERVE FOLIO 940.49
Nelson’s portfolio of war pictures, 1914-1915, RESERVE FOLIO 940.49 NEL
Berkshire and the war, The Reading Standard pictorial record, 1917-19, RESERVE FOLIO 942.29 BER
Winterburn, Recipes from the Allies Bazaar, 1916, MERL LIBRARY RESERVE 7060 REC

A list has also been compiled of WWI material in the MERL archives and library, which can be seen here.  These relate to collections such as Suttons Seeds, as well as photographic material in the MERL photographic archive.  The WWI MERL library holdings are particularity strong in relation to topics such as food and food supply, alongside statistical information.

Please contact us at or if you have any questions.

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