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Book Rarities Collections
Book Rarities Collections
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The library holds around 30 incunabula (i.e. printed prior to 1501), large numbers of books from the 16th and 17th centuries and several thousand other items defined as book rarities which were published prior to 1850. These include a copy of the Codex Justinianus from the 13th century, 2 copies of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) a 15th-century Book Of Hours and a copy of the Second Folio edition of Shakespeare's Collected Works (1632).The book rarities are arranged into several sequences according to where they were stored in the old Central Library and then by size. The rarest books, including many manuscript items, were stored in the Greenwood Grille (in Stack 3) and the Strong Room (in the Basement). Because these items were originally classed as book rarities, their Dewey numbers have the BR (or MS) prefix. There were also many books dating from before 1850 that were stored in the main stack sequences and were extracted prior to the Central Library refurbishment to form separate sequences. These books are classed as being in the Book Rarities Collection, but their Dewey numbers do not have the BR prefix. The old Manchester Free Public Libraries catalogues from the 1860s list many pre-1850 books alphabetically and by subject. Each book has a five-digit accession number. Use the 'old catalogue cards' in the side-room off the Document Reception Room to link these accession numbers to an MPL Dewey number on the shelves.Also in the Book Rarities Collection are many music items, which are in the separate music sequences, and a substantial number of Local Studies books, which are in the Local Studies sequence or else in the Greenwood Grille or Strong Room sequences. Manuscript Local Studies items were transferred to the Archive when it was set up in the 1960s and these are listed in the archives catalogue. Collections of manuscripts - such as the Women's Suffrage Collection and the papers of William Farrer - were re-catalogued and re-numbered as archive collections, but individual bound manuscript items retained their Dewey numbers.
Book Rarities Collections
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