Wren Library Collections
Trinity possesses about 1250 western medieval manuscripts, catalogued by M.R. James, many of which are available via the Wren Digital Library. Treasures include the great 12th century Eadwine Psalter from Christ Church Canterbury, the 13th century Anglo-Norman Trinity Apocalypse, the 13th century Romance of Alexander and the 14th century manuscript of Piers Plowman. Also contained in the collection of manuscripts are the Milton manuscript and the notebook of Isaac Newton.
The James Catalogue includes western medieval manuscripts. Non-western manuscripts are also catalogued.
The Wren Library houses 750 incunabula, the Capell collection of Shakespeariana, many books from the library of Sir Isaac Newton including his annotated copy of the Principia Mathematica, the Rothschild collection of 18th-century literature, the Kessler collection of livres d’artistes, and over 70,000 books printed before 1820. The College catalogue includes entries for all printed books.
In 2016 the library received the Crewe bequest of over 7,000 books. Further information on the Crewe Collection.
Trinity College possesses an ever-increasing collection of modern manuscripts ranging from single items such as the manuscript of Bertrand Russell’s The Implications of the H-bomb or of Winnie the Pooh to large personal archives, for example the papers of R.A. Butler or Ludwig Wittgenstein. Most of our collections are now listed, at least in outline, in the Modern Manuscripts Catalogue, which now includes links to images of some items. Some of our finding aids, however, are still in the form of paper catalogues and card indexes, which can only be consulted in the Library. If you would like to consult any of the manuscripts or if you need any further information please contact the archivist.
The college archive comprises records created and received by the college in the course of its business, together with records of the King’s Hall and Michaelhouse, the two medieval colleges whose sites and possessions were transferred to Trinity when Trinity was founded in 1546. The records include, among other things, estate records, domestic accounts, records of governance, and admission records. A detailed list of the estate records is available in the Library, together with summary lists for some other classes of records, but these are not yet available online. The quantity of personal information held about individual students is generally small. In normal circumstances most of this material may be consulted in person in the Library and copies can sometimes be made available. To ask a question about the archives or reserve a reader’s place, please contact the archivist.