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Coleraine Library

Special Collections

There are several collections of material in Coleraine Central Library which are shelved in closed access areas. Most of the material can be used in the library only. Anyone wishing to consult the material in the special collections should enquire in the first instance at the Central Library issue desk.

The main special collections are outlined below:

THE HENRY DAVIS COLLECTION of early and rare printed books from the invention of printing in 1455. The collection consists of some 200 items, of which 80 are from the incunabula period, i.e. printed before 1500. These include the Fust and Schoeffer Latin Bible of 1462, paper and vellum copies of Jenson's Pliny Historia Naturalis (Venice 1472) the first printed editions of the Greek and Latin classics and early editions of Chaucer, Shakespeare and Montaigne. There is a separate printed catalogue of the Henry Davis collection.

THE HENRY MORRIS COLLECTION and THE IRISH COLLECTION both contain material on Irish history, folklore, language and literature in Irish and English. The Morris Collection is especially rich in older material in Irish reflecting the interests of its owner, the folklorist Henry Morris, while more recent material has been added to the Irish Collection. Both collections are fully catalogued, and items appear in the catalogue with the prefixes MOR 4 for Morris Collection, and IRI I for the Irish Collection.

THE HEADLAM-MORLEY COLLECTION is a valuable resource for students of history, containing books about the First World War, the Paris Peace Conference, and the diplomacy of the inter-war period. The collection is catalogued, with the prefix H-M 4 before the shelf number. The library also has a collection of the letters of Sir James Headlam-Morley from the Paris Peace Conference. These are shelved in a separate location . A list is available.

THE LIBRARY OF JOHN HEWlTT the Belfast poet came to the library after his death. Consisting of some 5000 books, the collection reflects Hewitt's career and interests as an art curator, poet and socialist. Of particular note are Hewitt's copies of the works of Ulster's weaver poets. More importantly the collection contains in Hewitt's own notebooks, the manuscripts and drafts of all his own poems.

THE BOOKS AND PAPERS OF FRANCIS STUART, novelist, protege of Yeats, one-time son-in-law of Maud Gonne and broadcaster from Berlin during the Second World War, are a recent addition to the library. The collection consists of Stuart's own copies of the first editions of all his own novels, his diaries, including those for the war years, and correspondence from Iseult Gonne, John McGahern, Frank Ryan and many others. The collection, with the exception of the books, is fully described in a folder available in Central Library.
The Library of  Southern Illinois University at Carbondale also has a collection of Francis Stuart Papers.

DENIS JOHNSTON, playwright, war correspondent and Director of Programmes at the BBC, gave the library a collection of his papers, manuscripts and typescripts, including a large number of broadcast scripts for the BBC, and autobiographical material including his war correspondent's field notebooks. A list is available in Central Library.

THE GEORGE SHIELS COLLECTION of the books and typescripts of this Ballymoney-born playwright were donated to the library by his sister, Mary Shiels. The books are on the catalogue, with the prefix SHI 4, and there is a list of the typescripts of his plays.

STELFOX AND CARROTHERS COLLECTIONS. The collections of A.W. Stelfox and E.N. Carrothers cover natural history with an emphasis on Ireland. The Stelfox books are prefixed STEL 4 in the catalogue.


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