The University of Dundee holds collections of specialist materials in various subjects. These are kept in secure conditions, separate from the rest of the stock, because of their rarity, age or delicate state.

Items in Special Collections are listed on the Library Search, with their locations and instructions on how to access them.  Access is usually arranged through the Main Library, unless otherwise stated. 

The Brechin Diocesan Library 

This collection of c10,000 books and manuscripts has been on permanent loan from the Episcopal Diocese of Brechin since 1961, and consists largely of theological books, some of great bibliographic interest. All items in the collection are held in Archive Services.

The Nicoll Collection

An art library forming part of the large art collection donated by James Nicoll, a former student. The collection includes art and art history books, including auction catalogues and is held in the Library Store. 

The Leng Collection of Scottish Philosophy

Works of Scottish philosophers of the 18th and early 19th centuries, purchased with money donated by Dr Janet Leng. Held in the Library Store. 

The Thoms Mineralogy Collection

A small collection of rare mineralogy books donated by Alexander Thoms. Held in the Library Store. 

The Kinnear Local Collection

A substantial local collection of around 4600 items, most of which were donated by Catherine M. Kinnear. Held in Archive Services.

The Joan Auld Memorial Collection

A small collection of material on labour and related history. Donated in memory of Joan Auld, former University Archivist. Held in Archive Services

The Allan Ramsay Collection

Catherine Kinnear also specialised in collecting the works of Allan Ramsay, the Scottish poet, and the Library now has one of the finest collections associated with him. A printed catalogue is available. Held in Archive Services.

Law Special Collection

This collection of older Law books is held in Archive Services.

The H, S and U sequences

The University has three sequences of more general material which are of restricted access:

H is a special collection on the History of Medicine and is kept at Robertson Trust Medical Library. For access to this collection you should contact Mr. Andy Jackson, Principal Assistant Librarian at Ninewells, on 01382 740159.

S is a general collection of books which are special or selected for reasons other than age, and are kept in store. If you wish to access this collection, please email Main Library.

U is a general collection of books published before 1831. Held in Archive Services.

The William Lyon Mackenzie Canadiana Collection 

Over a period of twenty years the Canadian High Commission in London and the Provincial Government of Ontario donated money to several Scottish University Libraries to buy Canadian publications in the fields of literature, history, politics and geography. These items are shelved in the Solum Store (Remote Store 1) and most of them can be borrowed in the normal way. William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) was a native of Dundee who emigrated to Canada in 1820 and became a major political figure, and the first mayor of Toronto, in pre-reform Canada. 

Access and Conditions of Use

Due to the nature and fragile condition of much of the Special Collections material, it is generally only available for consultation in secure areas of the Main or Ninewells Libraries, where there are suitable facilities for its handling and safe storage. For this reason, and because items are often held in stores, immediate access is not always possible, so please make requests in advance (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday). 

To request an item from the Special Collections

Unless there are specific instructions for the Collection

Using materials from the Special Collections

  • If you wish to make notes, please bring a pencil, as ink is not permitted near special materials
  • Material may not be photocopied without permission
  • On collecting the item you will be advised on handling and use
  • If you have any questions about Special Collections materials, please email Main Library or contact Archive Services