Subject Guide to Special Collections
Our collections offer a network of inter-linked primary and secondary sources relevant to the study of social, political and cultural life from the 19th century to the present. Here you can find overviews of areas where we have particularly strong collections. You can also search for subjects via our various catalogues. Contact Special Collections staff if you need further assistance.
History: Bradford, West Riding, Yorkshire Dales
History: Britain and Ireland
The strengths of Special Collections in this area are in modern history, from the 19th century to the present.
- Ludwig Baruch Internment Archive: Second World War correspondence shedding light on internment, Home Front.
- Rawnsley British Union of Fascists Collection: oral history interviews, a novel and an autobiography.
- Barbara Castle Cabinet Diaries: UK politics as they happened, 1960s and 1970s.
- Papers of Sir Isaac Holden (1807-1897) and Family: correspondence of Bradford wool manufacturer and MP. UK and French history.
- Kennally Northern Ireland Archive: Belfast 1971.
- Davina Miller Archive on the Scott Inquiry: arms exports to Iraq.
- Newspapers in Special Collections: Bradford Pioneer, Citizen, Co-operative News, Reynolds News.
- Peart-Binns Episcopal Biography Archive: Anglican bishops, much involved in social and political life.
- Papers of the Popplewell Inquiry into Crowd Safety: the 1985 Bradford City fire.
Note also that many of the peace-related collections are highly relevant to historians.
Many of the peace-related collections concern international developments and shared campaigns. Following the University's historic research interests and Commonweal's specialisms, we have clusters of collections concerning particular regions:
- Edith Durham Balkan Collection
- Halpern Balkan Archive
- Dimitrije Mitrinovic and New Atlantis Foundation Library and Archive
- Fred Singleton Archive
We would also highlight:
- Harold Blakemore Latin American Archive: Latin American history, especially Chile.
- Papers of Sir Isaac Holden (1807-1897) and Family: letters from France circa 1870.
- Independent Labour Party Russian Tour Material: a visit to the USSR in 1932.
History of the University of Bradford
The Archive of Bradford-born author and broadcaster J.B. Priestley is our most notable and popular literary archive. We are seeing increasing interest in the archive of his wife, Jacquetta Hawkes, archaeologist and poet. Both collections reflect the Priestleys' connections with other literary figures, such as Iris Murdoch and Storm Jameson.
Our other Bradford/Yorkshire literary archives include popular novelist Willie Riley, priest and author John Waddington-Feather, and chronicler of the Dales Bill Mitchell. Our Local and Regional Collection includes extensive collections of writings by local authors.
Other literary archives link to collection strengths in radical politics and ideas of the 20th century, for example: Correspondence of Mairet, McLaughlin, Welton, Peart-Binns Christian Socialist Archive, and the Dimitrije Mitrinovic and New Atlantis Foundation Library and Archive.
Peace, politics and social change
Many of our peace-related collections were created by individuals and groups whose religious beliefs fed into their campaigning and testimony. For example, many of those active at the Molesworth Peace Camp.
We also see the strong influence of non-conformist religion on society and culture of Bradford and the West Riding in the 19th and 20th centuries. Witness local Methodist author W. Riley.
Quakers are particularly well-represented in our collections:
- Quaker activists, including: Arthur Raistrick, Eric Baker, and Colin Hunter.
- Campaigning groups, notably the Quaker Peace Studies Trust.
- We have excellent collections of historic Quaker books.
Note also the many theological and esoteric works in the Mitrinovic Library and the Christian socialist material listed under Literature. We also have some collections concerning Anglicans: bishops and a local priest.
Science, technology and medicine
We have a wide range of historic books on these subjects, thanks to the original interests of the Technical College which became the University. See for instance the Dyeing and Textile History, History of Pharmacy and History of Science and Technology Collections.
Archival collections include:
- Bradford's textile industries: Papers on Anthrax, Holden Papers, Salt's Daybook.
- Industries, wildlife and geology of the Yorkshire Dales: Kearton, Mitchell, Raistrick.
- Nuclear science: many of our peace-related collections and in particular the Rotblat books.
- Photographic technologies: Kearton, Riley.
- Health and well-being aspects of conflict: Craig, MAPW, Allchin, Curle.
- Osteology and palaeopathology: Calvin Wells.