Tract Library


One of the cornerstones of the library is the enormous tract collection which consists of 11,000 pamphlets printed in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and bound together in 900 volumes.

The contents are strongly Unitarian and include some extremely rare items not to be found elsewhere in Oxford or the United Kingdom. The collection has generally been bound up in chronological order which gives the reader an excellent idea of the ebb and flow of Nonconformist thought over several centuries as the discussions change, grow, and fade over time.

An extremely interesting feature of the tract collection which has yet to be documented in any comprehensive fashion is previous ownership, which should prove invaluable to scholars working in the field of textual transmission.

Key Features

  • The main subject is the emergence of non-conformism in England and contains many items relating to the Reformation from as early as 1589.
  • Post-1800 material relates mainly to nonconformity and Unitarianism, with a large proportion concerned with its development in the United States.
  • Pre-1800 tracts on religious and historical subjects, including the many political controversies of the 17th century in Britain.
  • The collection has mainly come from the libraries of dissenting academies, most notably Exeter Library and individuals donors, including the library of diarist and historian Roger Morrice (1628/9-1702)

Using the Collection

Please contact our Antiquarian Archivist, Sophie Floate, for more information on this collection.

Check our other collections here: