Our collections are a superb resource for the study of history; they span over 2000 years of human activity and cover a wide range of subjects. This page provides:

Researchers are also advised to see other subject pages relevant to their area of interest, for example, law, medicine, politics, social history, war.

Tips for locating relevant material


  • To search across all our collections, by name or keyword, please use the rare books search (for printed material) and the manuscripts search (for unpublished material including notebooks, papers, photographs and drawings)
  • Try different keywords, synonyms and alternative spellings. For example, historical material relating to medicine may use archaic terms such as 'physic' or 'phisick' in their titles
  • Subject index on the reference shelves in the Special Collections reading room. (NB: no longer updated but worth checking in addition to online catalogue search)
  • Use the search our site option to locate resources including web exhibitions which may feature material relevant to your research
  • Another useful starting point is to consult reference works, bibliographies and databases and then search our collections for suggested authors and titles. In the University of Glasgow Library, many printed historical bibliographies are found under the classification History Bibliog  




  • Hunterian: includes many books relating to European exploration and settlement of the Americas, from the 16th century onwards 
  • Euing: includes books on Americana
  • Spencer: books and documents relating to the attempt to found a Scots trading colony at Darien in the isthmus of Panama in the 17th century
  • Brogan: 20th century books on American political history

See also these web exhibitions:

  • Americana: describes many relevant books in the Hunterian collection
  • Diego Muñoz Camargo: Historia de Tlaxcala, including the Spanish conquest of the region, Mexico: 1585 (Book of the Month: January 2003) 
  • The Darien Scheme, late 17th to early 18th centuries, (Collection Highlight)




  • Waddell: includes many publications on Asian history (published late 18th to early 20th century)




  • Ogilvie: some 1,500 pamphlets printed during the period of the civil war in the 17th century

See also these web exhibitions:




  • Brogan: 20th century books on French political history
  • Caricatures: political caricatures (mainly lithographs) covering the Franco-Prussian War, the Paris Commune of 1871 and the later years of the 1870s
  • Farmer: includes material on the Paris Commune
  • Gautherin: small collection of books on Vichy France




  • Bf sequence of rare books: many books of Scottish historical interest, including Jacobite and Union of Scotland pamphlets
  • George Chalmers Papers: 179 original letters from correspondents in Scotland to the antiquary, George Chalmers (1742-1825), written during the 1790s
  • Ephemera: mainly relating to 19th-century Glasgow
  • Euing: includes works on Scottish history
  • Christina Hunter Lawson Papers: correspondence that provides a snapshot of Edinburgh life from 1910-1963
  • MacCallum Scott Papers: including material on the history of Clydesdale and on student life in Glasgow in the early 1890s
  • Murray: outstanding regional history collection with a wealth of 17th and 18th century Glasgow imprints; 19th century material relating to the economic and social development of the West of Scotland (for example, works on banking, railways, canals and ports) and publications relating to the administration of the city of Glasgow and its University
  • George Neilson Papers: papers of a lawyer and historian (1858-1923) which include two 16th century documents, one relating to Mary, Queen of Scots and another to Mary of Guise
  • Spencer: books and documents relating to the attempt to found a Scots trading colony at Darien in the isthmus of Panama in the 17th century
  • Stirling Maxwell: includes some 300 18th century pamphlets, mainly of Scottish interest
  • John Stirling Papers: correspondence dating from 1684 to 1726, mainly to John Stirling (Principal of the University of Glasgow), dealing with university matters and Scottish affairs
  • Stone Library: 19th century publications including books on Scottish history
  • Wylie: almost 1,000 volumes relating to the history and topography of Glasgow and surrounding area from the 18th century to the early 1900s.

See the following web exhibitions, book of the month articles and course material pages:


Victorian Studies


  • Victorian Resources: highlights a selection from thousands of items we have relating to the Victorian era, concentrating on the themes of art and design, literature, social history, politics and government, science and natural history
  • 19th century novels: a large collection of literary works which can provide insights into "contemporary" Victorian life
  • Photography: our collections include images of people and places from the 1840s onwards. A number of 19th century albums have been digitised and the images are available online.

See the following book of the month articles: