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How to discover our collections...

Exploring Special Collections

Special Collections has acquired many “treasures” on behalf of the Glasgow and its citizens, and has developed particular collection strengths of national and international importance. Our published book collections are especially rich, including incunabula or early printed books, but we also hold wide-ranging collections of manuscripts, letters, ephemera, photographs, music, artworks and other media.     

Examples of these collection strengths include: 

  • Glasgow Collection
  • Scottish Poetry Collection 
  • Robert Jeffrey Collection
  • Early Glasgow Printing
  • William “Crimea” Simpson 
  • Thomas Annan Collection 
  • Edwin Morgan Collection


In the online catalogue, you can explore an A-Z selection of highlighted collections, items in the Glasgow Collection and much more. 

Adding new items and collections to the catalogue is an ongoing programme, and there are many collections not yet included, so please contact Special Collections directly if you have any enquiries or want to follow up what you’ve seen in the catalogue.

The online catalogue is just one of many finding aids we have to help you find collections or individual items in a collection. Most of our finding aids are in formats which are not yet online and can only be consulted in the Mitchell. A key example is that the majority of the books and pamphlets acquired by The Mitchell before 1976 are only recorded in card or microfiche catalogues in the Mitchell itself.

Finding Aids

Other important in-house finding aids include: 

  • Catalogue of Manuscripts
  • Early Glasgow Printing
  • Index to Early Glasgow Views
  • Literary Manuscripts
  • North British Locomotive Collection
  • Periodicals Catalogue
  • Robert Jeffrey Collection
  • Sir Thomas Lipton Collection
  • Scottish Poetry Collection
  • Special Collections Handbook   

Find Out More 

You can also find information about a number of our Special Collections available in external catalogues, or online resources, so if you see something of interest here, please contact us. 

The National Archives lists over 400 of our Special Collections.