Travel Thursday – Frederick de Wit’s Atlas

Written by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian In seventeenth-century Europe, no library would be considered complete without a pair of globes and the provision of up-to-date maps and atlases as a source of information on new discoveries, and at the University of Reading we are lucky to have not only a large map collection at the […]

Adventurous of Mind, Young at Heart: Herbert Leader Hawkins

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian The University of Reading’s Special Collections Service is home to the fascinating papers and unique library of Herbert Leader Hawkins, Professor of Geology at the University from 1920 to 1952.  According to his biographer, Allen (1970), Hawkins was, “Adventurous of mind, kindly, young in heart, vividly imaginative and telling […]

Topsell’s Fantastic Four-Footed Beasts

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian Edward Topsell, a Church of England clergyman, was born in Kent in 1572 and managed the parish of St Botolph in Aldersgate, London from 1604 until his death in 1625 (Lewis, 2004).  Although he wrote several books, his most celebrated work is, ‘The History of Four-footed Beasts and […]

Fragments of medieval manuscripts

Unknown to many members of the public, Special Collections holds an intriguing assortment of medieval manuscript fragments. They are part of the John and Griselda Lewis Collection, a fascinating collection which consists of some 20,000 items illustrating the history of printing and graphic design from the fourteenth century to the present day. I have had the […]

Travel Thursday – The Great New York

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian One of the world’s top tourist destinations, New York has been attracting travellers for many years.  This week’s Travel Thursday looks at the Big Apple from two uniquely different perspectives; that of a poet and that of an artist. Australian born critic and poet, W.J. Turner (1889-1946) moved […]

Ready, Set, Bake: Recipes from the 18th and 19th Century

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian In honour of the return of much loved T.V. show ‘The Great British Bake Off’ we’ve pulled together some wonderful recipes and baking tips from our favourite 18th and 19th century cookbooks.  Despite their popularity and the handy tips provided by the authors, I have to admit, some of […]

National Allotment Week: Top tips for green fingers!

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian It is not uncommon for inexperienced people to be guilty of omissions in providing for the establishment of a garden which strike horticulturists as almost ludicrous. (Wright and Wright, 1909) In honour of National Allotment Week we have dug up some handy horticultural tips from our collections to help […]

Travel Thursday: Thomas Thomson in Sweden

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian This week’s Travel Thursday takes us to Sweden with eminent scientist Thomas Thomson.  As the first teacher of practical chemistry in a British university and an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (Morrell, 2004) it is no surprise that much of Thomson’s travelogue has a scientific […]

New acquisition: a collection of rare agricultural pamphlets

Written by Erika Delbecque, UMASCS Librarian We are delighted to announce the purchase of a collection of twenty-two rare agricultural pamphlets from the mid-19thcentury. These works, which relate to the agricultural innovations and economics of this period, will enhance our existing collection strengths in British agricultural history. The collection includes rare works on early applications […]

Delightes for Ladies

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian Originally published in 1602, ‘Delightes for Ladies’ by Sir Hugh Plat is one of the earliest cookery and household recipe books produced in England.  It contains a fascinating array of recipes, instructions and advice on everything from making almond butter and preserving roast beef to creating candles for ladies […]