Category: Events

Beasts in the University Library

By , 11 April 2014 11:22 am

Guest post by Harriet Hale, Graduate Library Trainee at Trinity College. Cambridge.

One of the great things about a traineeship in Cambridge is that, with the central cluster of departmental and college libraries as well as the public Central Library and main University Library, there always seems to be something book-related going on. For the Science Festival, 10-23rd March 2014, the University Library welcomed festivalgoers for a number of talks examining the more technical side of books, including ‘Beasts in the University Library,’ examining the creation and conservation of parchment. Continue reading 'Beasts in the University Library'»

Special Collections at the Science Festival

By , 7 March 2014 10:49 am

The Cambridge Science Festival takes place from 10-23 March and is bigger than ever before. The University Library is hosting several talks and interactive events organised by staff from the departments of Rare Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Conservation. Here’s a preview: Continue reading 'Special Collections at the Science Festival'»

Cambridge Bibliographical Society talk, 12 February 2014

By , 5 February 2014 4:30 pm

Dr Anke Timmermann (Munby Fellow) will give a paper on ‘Pictorial transformations: alchemy and images in Cambridge manuscripts’.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, 12 February, 5:00 pm in the Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library. Non-members are welcome and there is no admission charge. Tea is served from 4.30 pm.

Details of this year’s programme are available on the CBS website:

Sandars Lectures 2013-14: Professor Nigel Morgan

By , 3 February 2014 9:00 am
CUL MS Add. 4105, f. 157r

A late fifteenth-century Italian Book of Hours bequeathed to the University Library by Samuel Sandars

The Sandars lectures for this year will be given by Professor Nigel Morgan, Emeritus Honorary Professor of the History of Art in the University of Cambridge.

The lectures were instituted in 1895 following a bequest from Samuel Sandars (1837-1894), a great bibliophile and benefactor to several Cambridge institutions. Sandars stipulated that there should be one or more lectures on ‘Bibliography, Palaeography, Typography, Bookbinding, Book Illustration, the science of Books and Manuscripts, and the Arts relating thereto’ and particularly desired these topics to be illustrated by examples from Cambridge libraries. Continue reading 'Sandars Lectures 2013-14: Professor Nigel Morgan'»

Cambridge Bibliographical Society talk, 20 November 2014

By , 13 November 2013 12:01 pm

Professor David McKitterick (Librarian and Vice-Master at Trinity College Cambridge) will give a paper on ‘What is the use of books without pictures? Empty space in early printed books’.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, 20 November, 5:00 pm in the Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library. Non-members are welcome and there is no admission charge. Tea is served from 4.30 pm.

Details of this year’s programme are available on the CBS website:

Festival of Ideas

By , 22 October 2013 5:02 pm

Detail of Burmese fabric map

Special Collections staff are once again taking part in the University’s Festival of Ideas, a public engagement initiative that celebrates the arts, humanities and social sciences by showcasing a diverse mix of inspirational talks, performances, films, exhibitions and other creative displays. The Festival runs from Wednesday 23 October–Sunday 3 November, and the Library’s events include:

Documenting a frontier

Come and view three spectacular hand-painted fabric maps of Burma, dating from c.1860—some of the largest maps in the library’s collection—together with more recent mapping, and an impressive and fascinating collection of late 19th century photographs from the Royal Commonwealth Society’s collection. What do these remarkable records tell us about this frontier region? Why were they created, and by whom?

Saturday 26 October: 1:30pm–2:15pm
Saturday 26 October: 2:30pm–3:15pm
Saturday 26 October: 3:30pm–4:15pm

Suitable for ages 15+: book online

Letterpress printing

Enjoy a tour of the Historical Printing Room. Discover how type is made and pages are composed, and view a demonstration of how a hand press works.

Thursday 24 October: 2:00pm–3:00pm FULLY BOOKED
Thursday 24 October: 3:30pm–4:30pm FULLY BOOKED
Monday 28 October: 2:00pm–3:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Old books crossing old borders

Developments in the digitisation of early printed books mean that today’s researchers are no longer limited by their local library’s stock, but can roam a virtually borderless digital world. At this session, view some of Cambridge University Library’s printed treasures and find out how new technologies have been used to explore their history, answering some questions, whilst raising others.

With Dr Emily Dourish, Rare Books Specialist, Rare Books Department, Cambridge University Library

Thursday 24 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Travellers’ tales

From the birth of printing in the 15th century, tales of voyages and discovery, both real and imaginary, have been a staple output of the press. This session will be an opportunity to view and learn about some of the University Library’s most interesting and unusual travellers’ tales.

With William Hale, Rare Books Specialist, Rare Books Department, Cambridge University Library.

Tuesday 29 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

Typographic travels

Cambridge University Library’s early printed collections contain some of the most iconic books ever printed, books that have charted and broken geographical, historical, cultural and intellectual boundaries for nearly half a millennium. This event will showcase some of these treasures, opening portals to the past and charting Europe’s ever shifting physical, moral and intellectual borders.

With Dr Laura Nuvoloni, Research Associate, Incunabula Cataloguing Project, Cambridge University Library.

Wednesday 30 October: 5:00pm–6:00pm FULLY BOOKED

The Allberry fragments: Manichaean texts rediscovered

By , 9 September 2013 4:33 pm
Allberry fragments

Several of the newly conserved fragments. Ms. Or.2552

A lecture by Professor Nils Arne Pedersen on ‘The Syriac-Manichaean “Allberry fragments”: how they were rediscovered, and what they can tell us’ will be held at 11 am on Saturday 14th September in the Milstein Seminar Rooms at Cambridge University Library.

The lecture is to celebrate the Library’s acquisition of a set of small manuscript fragments written on vellum which date from around the 4th century CE and originated in Middle Egypt.

Keep reading …

Clive Wilmer poetry reading

By , 6 June 2013 9:30 am
Clive Wilmer

Clive Wilmer

On Thursday 20 June the poet Clive Wilmer will give a reading from his work to mark the launch of his Collected Poems from Carcanet Press. The event will take place in the Milstein Seminar Room in Cambridge University Library, West Road, at 5.00 p.m. The reading will be introduced by Carcanet publisher Michael Schmidt, and admission is free with no advance booking required. For further information contact John Wells: 01223 333055 or e-mail <>.

Cambridge Bibliographical Society talk, 15 May 2013

By , 11 May 2013 10:44 am

Professor Alison Sinclair will give a paper on ‘Today we shall go slumming: telling tales in the University Library´s Spanish sueltos collection’.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, 15 May, 5:00 pm in the Milstein Seminar Rooms, Cambridge University Library. Non-members are welcome and there is no admission charge. Tea is served from 4.30 pm.

Peter Scupham at Eighty

By , 25 April 2013 12:39 pm
Draft of Scupham's poem ‘Out of Season’

A draft of Scupham’s poem ‘Out of Season’, from MS Add. 9941.

The new exhibition in the North Front Corridor celebrates the eightieth birthday of the distinguished poet Peter Scupham.

Born in Bootle in 1933, Scupham read English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. While working as a schoolteacher, and later in semi-retirement as a bookseller, Scupham has produced eleven full-length collections of poetry in addition to volumes of Selected and Collected poems. His formal and technically adroit poems have been seen as continuing the tradition of Hardy, Frost and Edward Thomas; childhood, England, ghosts and war are among his typical themes. He has written that he would like his poems ‘to be windows not mirrors…. A window cuts a shape, and I am fascinated by structure, harmony, balance – all those qualities which give definition to the view’. He received a Cholmondeley Award in 1996 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Keep reading …