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Friday Snapshot …

October 30, 2015

Earlier this week I was able to go into work for a few hours and prepare for next week when I hope to begin the organisation of the Cole Collection; by this I mean to give each item a place on the electronic catalogue. Until now some of the items have been on Enterprise the rest have been only accessible by the card catalogue. While the collection was held at the Main Library it was at least browsable but now it is in conditions fit for fine books it needs to be totally accessible and readable in the Reading Room at Special Collections.  

So I will begin to add items to the database, while I am not a cataloguer I will not be able to do the full requirements but I will be able ensure that each item is find-able.  

I will be working beside a cataloguer who is working on the folio sized books and in a position to note the illustrations, illustrators and any fine binding. So I will have an expert on hand at all times to ensure the collection and all information is shared as much as possible.

The Cole Collection holds approximately 8,000 volumes of printed books and scientific papers, covering the history of early medicine and zoology in general, and more particularly, comparative anatomy and reproductive physiology, from earliest times to the present day. Among these there are 1,700 or more pre-1851 works, including many continental books.

Many significant works in the history of the biological sciences are present, by authors such as Galen, Fabricius, Belon, Wotton, Gesner, Bartholin, Swammerdam, Harvey, Ray, Haller, Leeuwenhoek, Linnaeus, the Hunters and Darwin.

There are also some individual works like Pliny’s Natural history, Venice : Jenson, 1472, with illuminations, Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica 1st ed., Basle, 1543, and 2nd ed. 1555, in a contemporary Swiss binding and a substantial run of the Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society, from 1665 that attract a lot of interest from visitors.


The collection was originally the private library of Professor F J Cole (1872-1959), F.R.S.,  Professor of Zoology in the University of Reading from 1907 to 1939. He was a book collector and bibliophile from his schooldays until his death. His major historical work A history of comparative anatomy(1944) was based substantially on his own collection.
So they’re is a lot to do and week by week I hope to post images from the collection by way of a progress report.

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