Since the foundation of the College generations of scholars and benefactors have given the College many amazing books and other items from the sixteenth century to the present.
The College has significant holdings in Classics, English literature, British history, religion, science and philosophy.
The earliest printed book we have is Sannazaro’s Archadia de Dignissimo..., 1513.
A 1622 Shakespeare second folio, Ficino’s Theologica Platonica (1559), a rare Lawrence Sterne work, a signed Evelyn Waugh, rare Bibles (a Luther New Testament from 1575 amongst them) and the splendidly illustrated Captain Lyon’s A Narrative of Travels in Northern Africa (1821) are a few examples.
One prominent benefactor was Sophie Picher (1853-1937), governor of Bedford College. She ensured that such works as Woman as Good as the Man (1677), Woman's Rights and Duties(1740), Mary Astell's An Essay in the Defence of the Female Sex (1696), were made available to future generations of students. The pages of The Suffragette report the death of the suffragist and Royal Holloway student Emily Wilding Davison.
These items, due to their rarity or value, may only be viewed by prior appointment under supervision in the Archives reading room.
Contact our archives
Phone: +44 (0)1784 443814
College Archives and Special Collections
Royal Holloway, University of London