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Archives and Special Collections

Welcome to the Digital Resources guide

This resource guide provides a simple overview of digitised material available online from the University of Exeter Heritage Collections. Each box below describes a different collection or online exhibition and contains links through which you can access the digitised material. Further images from our collections can be found by visiting us on Twitter or on our Blog.   

Please note that digital copies of University of Exeter Special Collections material are for educational purposes only and are subject to copyright. They may not be reproduced without the permission of the relevant copyright holder and the University of Exeter Special Collections. If you are interested in reproducing any images from our collections, please send an enquiry to libspc@exeter.ac.uk. More information about this process can be found on our webpages

Which collection are you most interested in using online?

We would love to know! You can also send any feedback or comments to our Special Collections team at libspc@exeter.ac.uk.
al-Falaj al-Malki: 0 votes (0%)
Bill Douglas Cinema Museum collections: 0 votes (0%)
Jack Clemo literary and personal papers: 0 votes (0%)
Ronald Duncan Collection: 0 votes (0%)
Japanese propaganda cartoons: 0 votes (0%)
Letters of John Jarmain: 0 votes (0%)
Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer papers: 0 votes (0%)
Syon Abbey Collection: 1 votes (25%)
University of Exeter Photograph Archive: 3 votes (75%)
Charles Woolf Slide Collection: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 4

Online Exhibitions

Exhibition: Syon Abbey Collection - Discovering Sister Catherine 'Kitty' Witham

In the course of Syon Abbey's 596 years of existence (1415-2011), hundreds of women entered the monastery. Each of these women contributed to the continuation of Syon Abbey's tradition and their lives are woven into the fabric of the community's history. This exhibition focuses on one particular Syon nun - Sister Catherine 'Kitty' Witham - and what an exploration of the monastery's archive, manuscripts and books can reveal about her.

Visit the online exhibition

Exhibition: Ronald Duncan - Writer, Poet and Librettist

Ronald Duncan (1914-1982) was a productive West Country author whose literary career encompassed journalism, fiction, poetry, libretti, film scripts and plays. This exhibition helps shed light on this often overlooked writer and the treasures held within the Ronald Duncan Collection.

Visit the online exhibition

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Exhibitions by Penryn Campus Archives & Special Collection

  • Out and About with Mr Woolf
  • Cornwall's Maritime Churches
  • Kneehigh@40: A celebration in posters
  • In Celebration of Nick Darke and Joseph Emidy: 20 Years on from 'In Quest of Joseph Emidy

Visit the online exhibitions

Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer correspondence and research papers

The collection includes the personal correspondence and some of the research papers of Sir Norman Lockyer. The so-called 'Marconi telegram' is also included, notifying Sir Norman Lockyer of the first Atlantic transmission using Ether waves, sent from Marconi at Mullion, Cornwall, to Sir Norman Lockyer of the Solar Physics Observatory, South Kensington, London, 12 January 1903, with copy telegram on reverse to Marconi from Norman Lockyer confirming receipt.

Amongst the research papers are two boxes of eclipse notebooks 1870-1911, lecture notes 1870-1898, notes about articles, an early but mostly empty observation book, papers relating to the Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction 1871-1877, papers relating to the transfer of the Solar Physics Laboratory to Cambridge 1911-1912, and other papers relating to education, lectures and addresses. Other personal papers include those arising from his being awarded honorary degrees and his attendance at public functions.

The papers of Astronomer, Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer are now available to consult online as part of Wiley Digital Archive’s British Association for the Advancement of Science Database (Collections on the History of Science: 1830-1970). Students at University of Exeter (and other institutions with the relevant subscription) can access the digitised material through their institutional login. A free trial subscription is also available at https://www.wileydigitalarchives.com/british-association-for-the-advancement-of-science/. More information can be found on the Special Collections Blog.

View digital copies of all items on Wiley Digital Archives (institutional access or sign up for a free trial)

University of Exeter Photograph Archive

The University of Exeter photograph archive (EUL UA/P) comprises photographs of the University of Exeter and its predecessor institutions including the Exeter Technical and University Extension College, Royal Albert Memorial College, University College of the South West and St. Luke's College.

A selection of photographs from this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Digital Collections website of the University of Exeter Special Collections.

View digital copies of items from this collection

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Letters of John Jarmain

The Letters of John Jarmain (EUL MS 413) comprise 120 manuscript letters from the poet John Jarmain, which were sent to his wife Beryl Jarmain whilst he was serving with the 51st Highland Division in North Africa and South Italy during the Second World War (June 1942 to November 1943). The collection also includes a copy of a letter sent by John Jarmain from France the night before he was killed at Saint Honorine la Chardonne on 26 June 1944. Some of the letters include drafts of the poems, which provide an insight into his poetry and the context which inspired it.

All 120 letters have been digitised and are available to browse via the Special Collections Digital Collections website or via JSTOR (institutional access only).

View digital copies of all items on the Digital Collections website

View digital copies of all items on JSTOR (institutional access only)

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Charles Woolf Slide Collection (Penryn Campus Archives & Special Collections)

This Collection of 13,500 35mm colour slides documents many aspects of Cornish life 1953-1981. In addition to his everyday work as studio and portrait photographer Charles Woolf and his colleague Joyce Greenham used their photographic skills in their spare time to document all things Cornish: local festivals and events, changes to the built and natural environment, local industry and agriculture, wild flowers, the weather, people, archaeology, architecture and much more.

View digital copies of all items on JSTOR (institutional access only)

Ronald Duncan Collection

The  Ronald Duncan Collection (EUL MS 397) is the largest source of Duncan documentation in existence. It provides a resource for research on mid 1900's literary culture, the cultural heritage of the South West, including Duncan's farming experiments, the establishment of the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, the composition of opera, modernist poetry, artistic connections, literary criticism and literary/artistic relationships. It consists of manuscripts, librettos, letters, artworks and personal papers, including photographs and diaries.

A selection of items from this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Digital Collections website of the University of Exeter Special Collections.

View digital copies of items from this collection

Syon Abbey Collection

The Syon Abbey Collection is formed of the Syon Abbey archive (EUL MS 389), the Syon Abbey Medieval and Modern Manuscript Collection (EUL MS 262), and the Syon Abbey Library Collection, as well as several smaller collections relating to Syon Abbey. This collection provides a unique and invaluable resource for research into six centuries of the monastic community's history.

A selection of items from this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Digital Collections website of the University of Exeter Special Collections.

View digital copies of items from this collection

In 2015, the Syon at 600 project took place at the University of Exeter, led by Professor Eddie Jones (Head of English). A small number of items from the Syon Abbey Archive and Manuscript Collection relating to the community's exile in Lisbon were digitised and are available to view on the project website. Please note that these items were digitised prior to cataloguing and the reference numbers have since changed. The new reference numbers can be identified by copying the reference number given by the website into the 'Alt Ref No' field on the Advanced Search page of our online archives catalogue.

View digital copies of items from this collection on the Syon At 600 project website

Japanese propaganda cartoons (Second World War)

The Japanese propaganda cartoons EUL MS 33 comprise five printed items of Japanese propaganda, presumably designed to incite Anti-British feeling in India during the Second World War.

All items in this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Digital Collections website of the University of Exeter Special Collections.

View digital copies of all items in this collection

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al-Falaj al-Malki (Izki, Oman)

The Al-Falaj al-Malki manuscript notebook (EUL MS 119/4/1) relates to water and tribal settlement in Izki, Oman. It records the names and holdings of the owners of the water shares over a period of approximately 50 years (c 1825-1875). The pages include a few marginal notes by J. C. Wilkinson.

This notebook is part of the Research papers and Omani manuscripts of John Craven Wilkinson relating to Oman. The notebook has been fully digitised and is available to browse via the Digital Collections website of the University of Exeter Special Collections.

View a full digital copy of the Falaj Malki manuscript 

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Jack Clemo literary and personal papers

The Jack Clemo literary and personal papers (EUL MS 68) is the complete literary and personal archive of the Cornish poet Jack Clemo. Included are all his manuscript notebooks and typescripts for prose work as well as poetry. The collection also includes personal letters, diaries, photographs, reviews, newcuttings and files of correspondence with readers, together with a small library of his printed books.

A selection of items from this archive have been digitised and are available to browse via the Open Research Exeter Portal

View digital copies of items from this collection

Bill Douglas Cinema Museum

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is both a public museum and an academic research centre, housing one of Britain's largest public collections of books, prints, artefacts and ephemera relating to the long history of screen practice. There are over 80,000 items in the collection. Holdings include many examples of nineteenth-century panoramas, dioramas, magic lanterns, stereoscopes, peepshows, optical illusions, and early cinema handbills. Artefacts are complemented by printed works relating to nineteenth-century science, technology, domestic leisure and popular entertainment.

The website of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum features a selection of digital images of items from the collections, as well as news and blogssound clips and animations from optical toys. 

Visit the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum website to explore the collections

Imperial Institute Archive

The Imperial Institute was an educational and cultural organisation founded in London in 1887, which promoted and collected information about industrial and commercial developments in the British Empire. The archive comprises glass plate negatives and photographs from the Library of the Imperial Institute (EUL MS 41) and sets of photographic cards and leaflets (EUL MS 61 add. 1).

A small selection of items from this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Open Research Exeter Portal.

View digital copies of items from this collection

Gale and Morant Family Papers

The Gale and Morant Family Papers relating to enslavement on plantations in Jamaica (EUL MS 44; EUL MS 44 add. 1; EUL MS 130)

The Gale and Morant Family Papers include correspondence, accounts and other papers (1731-1939) relating to the management of family-owned sugar plantations in Jamaica at the height of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Both sides of the family acquired sugar plantations that used the forced labour of enslaved people of African and Caribbean descent. Many of these papers relate to enslavement, which include lists of enslaved people; documents recording their births and deaths; account books containing details of income and expenditure, including payments for enslaved people, their provisions and healthcare; and correspondence that provides insight into the living and working conditions on the plantations, as well as notes of revolts, escapes and liberations.

Content warning: Papers within this collection contain offensive terms or terms that have changed meaning over time.

Find out more about this collection on the online catalogue under the reference numbers EUL MS 44EUL MS 44 add. 1EUL MS 130.

A selection of items from this collection have been digitised and are available to browse via the Open Research Exeter Portal

Click here to view digital copies of items from this collection  - please note that the current descriptions for these images contain offensive terms or terms that have changed meaning over time

Periodicals (post-1800)

The Chris Brooks Collection and John Betjeman Library include periodicals (19th-20th century) containing articles relating to a variety of themes and subjects.

A selection of pages from these periodicals have been digitised and are available to browse via the Open Research Exeter Portal. Please note that the periodicals were digitised in 2009 and digitsation was not undertaken by the Special Collections team. As a result, in some cases important metadata - such as titles and reference numbers - is missing or is not clearly visible. If you require more information about the source of an image, please contact the Special Collections team at libspc@exeter.ac.uk.

View digital images according to periodical title: Black and WhiteThe Captain: A Magazine for Boys & 'Old Boys'The English Illustrated Magazine, The Family Herald, The Girl's Own PaperThe GraphicThe Harmsworth London Magazine, Household Words, Illustrated London News, The Ladies' TreasuryLeisure HourThe Penny MagazinePunch, or The London Charivari, The New Penny Magazine, The Mothers' TreasurySunday at Home, The Queen, The Quiver, The Woman at Home, The Young Ladies Journal

View digital images relating to the Great Exhibition from all periodicals

View digital images from all periodicals

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Printed Books (post-1800)

Content warning: Items within this collection contain offensive terms or images or terms that have changed meaning over time

Rare printed books (19th-20th century) in the Chris Brooks Collection and John Betjeman Library can be used as a starting point to explore Victorian and Edwardian attitudes towards animals, childhood, class, colonialism, commercialisation, the environment, gender (including gender stereotypes and the role of women, especially in the domestic space), globalisation, the Great Exhibition, indigenous peoples, medicine, militarism, music, race (including racial stereotypes and racism), religion, science, travel, and technology. 

A selection of covers and pages of books have been digitised and are available to browse via the Open Research Exeter Portal. Please note that the books were digitised in 2009 and digitsation was not undertaken by the Special Collections team. As a result, in some cases important metadata - such as authors, titles and reference numbers - is missing or is not clearly visible. If you require more information about the source of an image, please contact the Special Collections team at libspc@exeter.ac.uk.

View digital images from the rare books collections

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Requesting digital copies of Special Collections material

If you require digital copies of material that is not currently available to access online, please contact the Special Collections team at libspc@exeter.ac.uk. Requests for copies of Special Collections material are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and are dependent on the condition of the item and copyright restrictions. Please note that we are a small team and it may not be possible to accommodate urgent requests, but we will always try to assist you as best we can. More information on requesting digital copies of Special Collections material can be found on our webpages

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