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Minor Collections

Rare Books & Special Collections also holds a number of minor collections which have been kept together because of their provenance, research interest or format.  These include:


1877 Collection Uniformly bound in sheepskin, this collection of some 500 volumes represents the Library's first recorded collection as listed in the 1878 University Calendar. Largely purchased from London bookseller Henry S. King, the collection also includes gifts and exchanges from societies. Learn more

Andrew Watson Rural China Collection Reflecting a lifetime spent in Chinese studies, Andrew Watson's collection comprises rare research material related to China's rural development and economic history. Many of the items were acquired by Andrew during his employment by the Chinese government in the 1960s. Learn more

Brailsford Robertson Collection (in process) The brilliant researcher Thorburn Brailsford Robertson was appointed the University's first Professor of Biochemistry and General Physiology in 1919. The collection reflects his interests in experimental physiology, insulin manufacture, protein chemistry and animal nutrition. Learn more

Burden Collection (in process) The Burden Collection consists largely of 18th century play texts, opera librettos and other print resources used by Michael Burden as research material for his published works about the stage music of Purcell and also on opera, dance and theatre in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Learn more

Choate Cowboy Fiction Collection Approximately 200 titles of popular cowboy fiction collected and read by Bill Choate, rancher of Hawk Springs, Wyoming, donated to the Library in 2014 by the University Librarian Ray Choate.  Prominent authors include Max Brand, Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey. Learn more

Colin Crisp Collection This rich collection of books and films donated by Colin Crisp, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Griffith University, reflects his life-long study of classic French cinema from the 1930s to 1960s. The films feature performers such as Edith Piaf and Fernandel. Learn more

Cornell Collection Professor James Cornell's collection reflects his research in French language and literature and includes extensively annotated medieval romance and poetry, as well as works by Villon and influential French Renaissance writers Rabelais and Montaigne. Learn more

Crime Fiction Collection A popular collection with titles dating from the 1950s to the 1960s, the crime fiction books, with their distinctive and often lurid paperback covers, were purchased in response to Dr Michael Tolley's teaching and research at the University. Learn more

Cultural Revolution Collection Comprising pamphlets, ephemeral material and publications of the Foreign Language Press, this collection provides the historical context for the Cultural Revolution, launched in 1966 by Mao Zedong in an attempt to reassert his authority over the Chinese Government. Learn more

Fisher Collection R. A. Fisher's extraordinary contribution to statistical theory, experimental design, scientific inference, evolutionary biology and genetics are reflected in this collection of his own publications, his scholarship prize books and volumes selected from his personal library. Learn more

Hague Collection Law graduate, Ralph Hague, gifted the Library more than 30,000 books over his lifetime. Many of them have been brought together to form this fascinating collection of books about books, including the buying, selling, printing, collecting and cataloguing of books. Learn more

John Jenkin/Bragg Collection  Donated by John Jenkin, this collection features books related to William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg, who were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 2015 for introducing and developing the science of X-ray crystallography. Learn more

Liberal Men's Education Association Collection Founded in 1922 as a sub-group of the South Australian Liberal Union (later the Liberal Federation), The Liberal Men's Education Association was active in the 1920s and 1930s as an educational and social body for the promotion of conservative politics. Learn more

Miniatures Collection Comprising almost five hundred volumes, this collection includes works of less than 14cm in height. A range of disciplines are covered and the publication dates span more than 400 years, the earliest being a 1561 edition of the meditations of St. Augustine. Learn more

McSweeney's Collection Donated by former University Librarian, Ray Choate, the McSweeney's collection of literary journals and books reflects the independent publisher's penchant for creative, often quirky, stories and essays which other publishers might overlook. Learn more


Munro Collection Supplementing the Pacific Collection, Doug Munro's collection includes his own published works and supporting research material, specialising in Pacific biography and including works on J. C. Beaglehole and J. W. Davidson. Learn more

Simpson Collection The small but diverse Simpson Collection, purchased at auction in 2007, contains books dated from 1533 to 1887. Many of the works relate to the family of Pearson Simpson, including a 1714 Book of Common Prayer with family genealogies. Learn more

Way/Larkin Collection This valuable collection on Australiana, voyages and discovery was purchased in 1895 by Sir Samuel Way from the Australiana bibliographer E. A. Petherick, who had originally compiled the collection for the fraudulent financial dealer Matthias Larkin. Learn more

Wilson/Bonython Collection Works selected from the family library of solicitor and politician, Ian Wilson, representative of the reading habits of the wealthy and cultured Wilson and Bonython families, including many signed copies sent to editor John Bonython for review by The Advertiser. Learn more

Rare Books & Special Collections

The University of Adelaide
Rare Books & Special Collections
Level 1, Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224