Birkbeck Library > Using the Library > Archives and Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections

Birkbeck Library holds a diverse range of archives and special collections. See below for a brief description of each and links to more information:

Photograph of David Bohm

The David Bohm Papers
David Joseph Bohm FRS (1917-1992) was Professor of Theoretical Physics at Birkbeck from 1961 to 1987. He has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century and he contributed innovative and unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind.

Some material on open access, other material available to view by appointment.
More information.

Photograph of Sir Bernard  Crick

The Professor Sir Bernard Crick Archive
The papers of Professor Sir Bernard Rowland Crick, British political theorist and foundation professor of politics at Birkbeck from 1971-1984.

Material available to view by appointment.
More information.

Image from Mrs Birkbeck's Album

The Album of Mrs Birkbeck
A complete digitisation of Anna Birkbeck's 250 page album, rediscovered in the Birkbeck College archives, which spans the years 1825 to c1862, and contains contributions from noted intellects of the day, including an unpublished poem by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, entitled The Death of Love. The Conservation of the Album of Mrs Birkbeck shows photos of conservation work carried out. Here the individual pages of Anna Birkbeck's album have been catalogued to make it easier to search.

Open access.

Image from Nrs Birkbeck's Scrapbook

The Scrapbook of Mrs Birkbeck
A digitisation of Anna Birkbeck's scrapbook, rediscovered in the Birkbeck College archives. Here the individual pages of Anna Birkbeck's scrapbook have been catalogued to make it easier to search.

Open access.

Birkbeck History

Birkbeck History
Images relating to the buildings, staff, students and important events in the history of Birkbeck College.

Open access.

Tim O'Shea

Officers of Birkbeck College
This is an online collection of portraits of the (past and present) Presidents, Principals, Masters and Secretaries of Birkbeck, University of London.

Open access.


Medieval Books

Birkbeck college owns four medieval books (three manuscripts and one incunabulum). Dr. Giacomo Giudici wrote descriptions of these books in June 2017. You can see Dr Giudici's work by clicking on the titles of the books below.

The Birkbeck Hours (sine numero): A beautiful small book of hours, from northern France (c. 1400). This book was given to the College, in 1977, by the widow of Dr Charles Fox, a lecturer at Birkbeck who later became a distinguished mathematician at Concordia University in Montreal.

Ordinances of Siena’s Lay Fraternity of St. Jerome and St. Francis: The rules and customs of the Capitoli della Compagnia di S. Girolamo of Siena, dated to the early fifteenth century. This book was purchased by the College in the 1950s, probably to be used as a teaching aid.

Sententiae Sapientiae: A manuscript of the Sententaie Sapientiae, attributed to Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, and Seneca, which once belonged to the Monastery of St Zeno, Verona (c.1450).

Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius (sine numero): A skin-bound volume. History of the Trojan War, printed at Venice, 1499.

Watch a video about the rediscovery of these rare books here.

 Open access. 

London Architecture Online sample image

London Architecture Online
Over 5500 images of London Architecture and urban spaces from the 16th to 21st centuries. Most images contained in the collection constitute digitised slides from the former Central Slide Library at Birkbeck.

Access London Architecture Online within College.
Access London Architecture Online from outside College (Birkbeck login required.)

Image from Garden History Online

Garden History Online
Over 1350 images of historical and contemporary gardens and parks around the world. All images contained in the collection constitute digitised slides from the former Central Slide Library at Birkbeck.

Access Garden History Online within College.
Access Garden History Online from outside College (Birkbeck login required)

wellcome image collectionCC BY 4.0

Welcome Images

CC BY 4.0

Tom Hoffman's Bibliography on The Guilds

Tom Hoffman is a Member of the City of London's Court of Common Council. He was a Governor of Birkbeck, University of London from 2003 to 2011 and is an Honorary Fellow of the College. He has had a longstanding interest in the history of the Guilds and has compiled an extensive bibliography on the guilds and related organisations in Great Britain and Ireland.