A cabinet of curiosities : Ole Worm’s ‘Museum Wormianum’ (1655)

Written by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian The history of public museums is also a history of private collectors and collecting, as many of the world’s oldest museums began as the personal collections of wealthy individuals and families. Some of these collections took the form of ‘cabinets of curiosities’ (also known in German as wunderkammer or wonder-rooms), […]

Street Fights and Radishes: the notebooks of Leslie Daiken

Written by Xander Ryan, graduate student in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. Amongst the rich holdings of the Samuel Beckett Collection archives are the notebooks of Leslie Daiken. He was born Leslie Herbert Yodaiken in 1912 to Irish-Russian parents, part of the Jewish community centred around the ‘Little Jerusalem’ area of […]

Baskerville’s marbled papers

by Anna Murdoch, Graduate Trainee Library Assistant. The Department of Typography & Graphic Communications’ teaching sessions always involve a swath of fascinating material from early medical texts to astronomy. One day I was setting up a large volume on some foam rests for students to peruse. Upon opening it up, I saw an endpaper quite unlike […]

Aubrey Beardsley, the author: ‘Under the Hill’

Written by Fiona Melhuish, UMASCS Librarian. Aubrey Beardsley, who died on this day in 1898, is well known as one of the most talented, and most daring, of the artists of the 1890s, with his exquisite, highly imaginative, and frequently risqué, black and white drawings. However, Beardsley also aspired to be a ‘man of letters’, […]

Cat sketches and cataloguing: Final thoughts of our Archive Graduate Trainee

Special Collections offer year long graduate trainee schemes in both the Archive and Library. In this month’s blog, our departing Archives Graduate Trainee Timothy Jerrome looks back on his year with us.  Now that I am coming to the end of my year’s archive traineeship at Special Collections and the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), I feel […]

Sex, Scandals and Censorship: Mirabeau’s Errotika Biblion

Written by Erika Delbecque, Special Collections Librarian Inconspicuous amongst the venerable old tomes on the shelves of our rare book store, an unassuming binding contains one of the most infamous texts of the Ancient Regime: Errotika Biblion, Ancient Greek for The Erotic Book, by Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, Count of Mirabeau. On the occasion of Valentine’s Day, we […]

Iris Murdoch’s The Flight from the Enchanter: from manuscript to marketplace

The publishing archives of Chatto and Windus provide a fascinating insight into the process which brings a new book to its readers, allowing us to see the interplay between the literary and commercial worlds. I decided to follow The Flight from the Enchanter, Iris Murdoch’s second novel, from the submission of the manuscript to the […]

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 […]

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 […]