Printed Special Collections

Early printed books

The Library’s collections include c.5-7,000 early printed books mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as a large number of collected tracts from around the English Civil War period. A small number of incunabula are also in the collection. Many of the books were received as individual donations from students and fellows when they became members of the college, or when they left, but the most notable tranches of early printed books were the bequests of the book collector and college benefactor, Sir Thomas Wendy in 1677, that of Nicholas Crouch, student and fellow of the college from 1632 to his death in 1690, and the bequest of the clergyman and antiquary George Coningesby, in 1766.

All enquiries about early printed books should be addressed to the Acting Librarian, James Howarth, at library@balliol.ox.ac.uk.

Online exhibitions

You can explore our collections through our early printed books site.

Admissions

Photographic identification, proof of signature and proof of address will be required when you consult our early printed books; passport or driving licence are preferred forms of identification.