Finzi Book Room

Reference: FINZI BOOK ROOMDate: 1600s to 1900sExtent: About 6,000 printed volumes

The Finzi Book Room Collection consists of the literature collection of the English composer Gerald Finzi (1901-1956). English poetry, especially that written during the collector’s lifetime, is a particular strength of the collection. Book collecting was a lifelong activity for Finzi, secondary to but parallel with his composition, in which choral works and settings of poetry are significant.

The following authors are well represented: Edmund Blunden, W H Davies, Walter De la Mare, John Masefield, Robert Graves, John Drinkwater and Siegfried Sassoon. Many modern books retain their dust wrappers and contain cuttings. Several copies were presented by those authors the Finzi’s counted among their friends and associates.

The collection was deposited in the University Library by his family in 1974, and was housed in a separate room on the 5th floor of the Library for over 30 years. The collection is now stored at Special Collections.

More information

  • Nearly half the collection is catalogued and is searchable via the catalogue. The entire collection can be searched via two PDF catalogues:
  • Pauline Dingley The Finzi Book Room at the University of Reading : a catalogue. Reading, University of Reading, 1981.
    • Part 1: Introduction & Catalogue: Anglo-Saxon to 1800
    • Part 2: Catalogue: 19th and 20th centuries and Index.
  • `Quiet composure : the Finzi Book Room, Reading University’, Country life, 181:29, 16 July 1987, p. 118-119.
  • Read Featured Item articles on items from this collection: on the Portraits of Joy Finzi, and Thomas Hardy’s holograph manuscript poem ‘We field-women’.

Associated Collections

  • Papers of Gerald and Joy Finzi (MS 1399)