The General Collection
The general collection is mainly stored in the stacks on open shelving. Due to the acquisitions policy the stock reflects the interests of Proprietors. It is strong in history, especially local topics, literature both English and foreign, biography, topography and classical and theological works. Topics such as science, engineering and technology are much less well covered.
Bought by his friends at Roscoe’s bankruptcy sale, a number of volumes from his private collection, including manuscripts of his Italian histories, are preserved in a fine bookcase, thought to be by Gillow of Lancaster. Roscoe’s beautifully hand-illustrated study of Monandrian Plants is included in this collection. Items can be made available only on request and under supervision.
Blanco White Collection
Born in Spain to an Irish family, White began his theological progress as a Roman Catholic priest; he subsequently became an Anglican parson before becoming a Unitarian Minister. His collection of religious books illustrates his religious progression.
Kept in secure storage is an eclectic assembly of works, illustrating the development of the book from manuscripts to incunabula and printed works.
Also of navigational interest are the ‘Atlantic Neptune’ two volumes of folio size charts and views of the North American coast. Also included is a copy of ‘Assertio Sepeum Sanctorum Adversus Martin Luther’, the work that earned Henry VIII the title of Defender of the Faith from Pope Leo X. A copy of the 2nd edition of John Ogilby’s Britannia – England’s first road atlas is also held.
Given to the Athenaeum by Mrs Monsarrat the collection of works by the novelist Nicholas Monsarrat, comprises editions of his works in both English and foreign languages.
The Athenaeum also holds a collection of artifacts, two portraits, and a model of HMS Campanula, the ship commanded by the writer during World War II.