Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Archives and Special Collections: Historical Resources

History of the University

Search our archive catalogue and library catalogue for more resources relating to the history of the University, including photographs, minutes and student magazines amongst others.

A selection of photographs from the University Archive are available to browse on our Digital Collections site.

Cinema and Popular Culture

British politics


Historical Maps

Townsend maps

Historical maps of Devon and 9 maps of Exeter tracing the development of the city from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

16th-19th centuries

Constable maps

Historical maps for the British Islands and its counties, Devon and Wales in particular, and also 1540s and 1710s maps of the world

16th-19th centuries, with a particular strength in 17th century maps.

Cartography collection

Maps and atlases, including the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 1" to the mile maps of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset made in 1809-1811, four of Ogilby's linear road maps of the Westcountry of c 1675, and a collection of "escape maps" printed on silk and given to military personnel (mostly airmen) who were shot down or captured during the Second World War to help them escape back to the United Kingdom. 

17th-20th centuries, with a particular strength in 19th and 20th centuries maps. 

Anti-Apartheid movement

Papers relating to national and local Anti-Apartheid campaigns in the UK, 1970s-1990s, including correspondence, minutes, reports, news -cuttings and campaign material [flyers, leaflets, posters, press releases, placards and banners] relating to specific campaigns such as 'Free Nelson Mandela', 'Boycott of South African Goods' and key historical events such as Sharpeville massacre, 1983 General elections, marches and protests. 

Social change



 Search our archive catalogue and library catalogue 

for more historical resources.

Local Studies

Edmund Collection of Local History

The strengths of the Edmund Collection lie in local history. The main emphasis is upon Exeter and East Devon, although there is some material from West Devon (such as Plymouth) and Dorset and Cornwall. There are a few more general books in the collection, covering British history. The majority of the items (which includes books, pamphlets, periodicals and maps) covers various aspects of the west country, notably the history of towns and villages and their residents. Social history is well-represented with material on religion, transport (particularly railways), education and local myths and legends.

The collection is fully catalogued and entries appear on the University Library's online catalogue.


Theo Brown personal and research papers

Theo [Theodora] Brown (1914-1993) was an important figure in twentieth-century folklore, who documented the arcane tales and traditions of her native Devon through first-hand accounts. In 1952 she was appointed recorder of folklore for the Devonshire Association, and continued researching folklore for the rest of her life. She was elected to the Council of the Folklore Society in 1957. In 1983, she was awarded the Coote Lake Medal by the Folklore Society for outstanding research and scholarship.

The collection contains Brown’s research notes, manuscripts and correspondence letters addressed to Brown about her research. The Theo Brown personal and research papers are available to browse on our online archives catalouge. 



Including, amongst others, archives relating to the First and Second World Wars and books published at the time.

The History of Slavery and British involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade


British Empire and Colonialism


Search our archive catalogue and library catalogue for more resources.

Searching for printed Historical resources

You can browse titles from our book collections on the Library's classic catalogue by performing a 'local classmark' search. Select 'Local classmark' from the drop down list then enter the name of the collection in the search box.


You can then choose to arrange the results by year by selecting this option from the dropdown list beside the search button.


Search the library catalogue for keywords, authors or titles and select the 'catalogue' tab. Refine your results using menu on the left - for example select publish date. You can also select a specific location: tick 'Special Collections' to see what we hold here in our repository. 

To browse additional resources from an item record, click 'see all' 

Click 'call no' to browse other titles shelved nearby

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Contact Us