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Archives and Special Collections

The Archives holds a wealth of fascinating institutional, personal archives and rare prints, dating from the 17th Century to the present day. The collections document the rich history of the College, and provide vital evidence for research in the arts, humanities and social science. See the blogs below to find out more about our collections or follow us on Instagram qmarchives.

Map of ancient greece Act 1: History of the Theatre through the Ages
26 May 2023

"All the world's a stage" this quotation from Shakespeare’s As You Like It has got my little grey cells thinking again as Hercule Poirot might say. While researching the great literary writers whose busts and names are in the Octagon, a question came to mind, when did the theatre and plays first start? What impact did they have on society and the world stage? A blog by Special Collections Information Assistant Anne Marie McHarg.

Two pages of book with text of Agamemnon in greek. The Three Major Greek Tragedians
19 May 2023

I have written before about the three major Greek Tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Aeschylus and Sophocles both fought in Greek battles; Sophocles and Euripides were both child dancers at festivals. But what they really all had in common was Greek tragedy and theatre. A blog by Special Collections Information Assistant Anne Marie McHarg.

Blue pen sketch of Beaumont Institute Lecture Hall What’s new in the People’s Palace archive?
13 April 2023

The title may seem like an oxymoron – the People’s Palace ceased to operate in 1954 and its archives have been fully catalogued on our online catalogue since 2012 - but an archive is not set in stone, and in the last ten years additional material has trickled in (eleven additional boxes worth to be exact). We have recently finished repackaging, describing and updating the catalogue with these additions and this blog will cover some of our favourite discoveries.

Black and white photograph of young man (Clifford Edward Vincent) in profile Remembrance Day 2022: Stories Behind the Names
9 November 2022

At this year’s Remembrance Day service passages from the Roll of Honour books held in the University Archives will be read. These books record the names of Queen Mary students who died in military service during World War 1 and World War 2. The stories of three students will be read this year and we have used other student records in the archives to fill in details of the lives beyond their military service. 

Cartoon of Violet Aitken captioned Building Mile End Library: First Librarians
7 October 2022

The Building Mile End Library exhibition takes you through the origins of the “Student’s Library” 1890-1920, the move to the new “Old Library” in the Octagon in 1921 and the construction of the Mile End Library 1988-9. But as much as buildings shape the library’s history at the Mile End Campus so do the people. In this blog we will focus particularly on the lives and careers of the earliest librarians that took the student library from a small room in the Queen’s building to the “Old Library” in the Octagon.

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