Mum’s gone to Iceland

Famous for its harsh landscapes and heroic sagas, Iceland was a source of endless fascination for 19th century travellers. Many were sent on geological, botanical or other scientific expeditions. Ida Pfeiffer was different. Born in Vienna in 1797, she was bitten by the travel bug aged 5 when she accompanied her parents to Palestine and Egypt. Her father …

Kate Greenaway’s Album

In 1879, Kate Greenaway’s first book ‘Under the Window’ was published to immediate commercial and critical success. Her drawings of cherubic children in smock-frocks and bonnets playing in sunny English gardens have continued to charm audiences for 140 years and she remains one of the most popular and influential children’s illustrators. Originally she began her …

From Rags to Witches: the grim tale of children’s stories

Once upon a time, fairy tales were not for children – and some were even banned by the church as a threat to faith or morality. Using original archives and rare books from the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts & Special Collections, From Rags to Witches: the Grim Tale of Children’s Stories will explore a range …

The Cotton Research Corporation Library

The Cotton Research Corporation’s papers and library of printed materials came to the University of Nottingham Library in the 1970s. During its institutional history the Corporation increasingly abandoned direct involvement in cotton growing projects and directed its attention toward research, building up a library of printed materials. Now in the process of being catalogued, the …

Smallpox

It has wiped out armies, killed Kings and Pharaohs, and devastated civilisations for at least 3000 (and possibly up to 10,000) years, yet the first written records mentioning smallpox only date back to 4th century China. Trade links and the expansion of empires probably brought the disease to Europe in the 7th century, and Europeans …

Lady Chatterley’s Lover wears Paul Smith

The D. H. Lawrence Collection acquired  a jacket by designer Sir Paul Smith last month. It is a timeless classic for all seasons, but is unlikely to be gracing the catwalk at London Fashion Week this week. We believe it is a stunning addition to what is designated as an outstanding collection of national and …

A spoonful of spermaceti helps the medicine go down

It’s that time of year when coughs, colds and flu are doing the rounds.  But how did our ancestors cope with ill-health, before the days of ready-prepared pills and potions from the local shop? Manuscripts and Special Collections holds a number of works with useful recipes to be made at home – some possibly more efficacious …

Pirates!

Ahoy there readers! No, this is not a post about digital piracy or illegal file sharing, but the sea-faring pirates of old, to mark that most frivolous of parody holidays, International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Originally started in America as an in-joke between friends, it has become an annual charity fundraising day, where participants …

Happy birthday KMC!

Happy 10th birthday to us! Ten years ago today, the Reading Room at The University of Nottingham’s then-newest campus at King’s Meadow welcomed its first visitors. The Basement     Since 1973, Manuscripts & Special Collections had been based in the lower level of Hallward Library on University Park Campus. The lack of space had been a …

Top 10 Tips: Visiting Manuscripts & Special Collections (pt 2)

Exams are over; the next semester doesn’t start for several months; and the sun is shining (possibly). For final-year dissertation students and academics it can only mean one thing: it’s time to start planning summer research trips to the archive. Hopefully these Top Tips will help first-time visitors to Manuscripts & Special Collections, although some of …