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Certain groups of records in the University Archives have close connections with other collections in the Department of Archives and Modern Manuscripts. There are also obvious areas of overlap with collections among the wider holdings of the University Library and across Cambridge.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, pointing only to some of the most obvious overlaps in terms of subjects and people:

Related records held in the Department of Archives and Modern Manuscripts

  1. Archives of the University Observatory and the Royal Greenwich Observatory
    Among the most closely related are the archives of the University Observatory (classmark: UA Obsy), and the Royal Greenwich Observatory (classmark: MS RGO). They were the premier observatories in Britain, engaged in the same scientific endeavour and often shared personnel. The Cambridge Observatory acted as a proving ground for astronomers who regularly progressed to Greenwich.
    For further information on the Royal Greenwich Observatory archives, please contact Emma Saunders (
  2. Records of professors and lecturers

The University Archives contains records of University officers of all kinds, including academic staff. Certain notable University professors and lecturers have personal papers deposited among the Manuscripts holdings of the department. These include:

Herbert Butterfield (1900-1979), who held various professorships in History  1944-71
Edward Joseph Dent (1876-1957), Professor of Music  1926-41
Alfred Cort Haddon (1855-1940), who held various posts 1879-1909, including the Lectureship in Ethnology from 1900
Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Lucasian Professor of Mathematics  1669-1701
Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), Cavendish Professorship of Experimental Physics 1919-38

Lists of officers up to 2000 are available online.
For further information on Manuscript collections, please contact

  1. Records of the Cavendish Laboratory and papers of physicists Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940) and Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

The Cavendish Laboratory was the site of the major discoveries in physics made by Thomson, Rutherford and their successors from the 1880s onwards.
For further information on science collections, please contact Katrina Dean (

  1. Records of the University Library and papers of librarians Henry Bradshaw (1831-1886) and Francis Jenkinson (1853-1923)

Institutional records are particularly rich and voluminous from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, when Henry Bradshaw began his 30 year involvement. He was Assistant, 1856-1858, and Superintendent of Manuscripts, 1859-1867. He carried out reform of the Department of Manuscripts, and served as University Librarian, 1867-1886. Jenkinson became University Librarian in 1889. During his tenure, he oversaw the gift of Lord Acton's library, the largest single collection ever received by the Library, and the donation of 140,000 Hebrew fragments from the Cairo Genizah. From 1915, he spent much time collecting literature, especially ephemera, of the war, an archive, still held in the Library and called the War Reserve Collection, which would eventually prove to be both extensive and important.
For further information on Manuscript collections, please contact

  1. Records of Sedgwick Museum, Department of Geology and papers of geologists Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) and Thomas McKenny Hughes (1832-1917)

As Woodwardian Professor of Geology 1873-1917, Hughes oversaw the design and construction of the Sedgwick Museum as a memorial to Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873), his illustrious predecessor.
For further information on science collections, please contact Katrina Dean (

  1. Genealogical information in Vice-Chancellor’s Court records and Ely Diocesan records

The earliest and most important series of records of the court are the testamentary records. They comprise some 1550 original wills proved ca 1540-1765, five volumes of registers of wills, 1501-1765, as well as about 1300 inventories of testators’ possessions, 1498-1761, University Administration Bonds, 1534-1746, and other records relating to senior members of the University and to certain other ‘privileged persons’.  Of particular interest to bibliographers are those inventories, numbering approximately 167, containing lists of books. Apart from the University, the bishop of Ely (and in some Cambridgeshire parishes the archdeacon) had the probate of wills until 1856. The registers and surviving wills, long separated from the diocesan records, are now deposited at Cambridgeshire Archives. The diocesan records still include registers of administration of those who died intestate (from the late sixteenth century onwards).  Other records stemming from the diocesan consistory court include marriage licences (intermittent from 1711, continuous from 1742).
For further information on the Ely Diocesan records, please contact Frank Bowles (

  1. Property records of the University, the Diocese of Ely and Dean and Chapter of Ely Cathedral

The University Archives include muniments of title relating to any real property forming part of an endowment, usually given to support a professorship or lectureship, and outside the immediate environs of Cambridge. Property was held in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Lincolnshire, London, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Suffolk and Sussex.
The bishop of Ely had extensive manorial and other estates and endowments. These were first surveyed and recorded in the Old Coucher book, 1251. For some manors there are long runs of medieval court rolls and bailiff's accounts. In the mid nineteenth century the episcopal estates were commuted to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (now the Church Commissioners), and the Commissioners took over a large quantity of post-medieval court books and leases. These have now been returned to the Library and stand alongside the diocesan records.
Dean and Chapter of Ely estate records include long runs of medieval court rolls and bailiffs' accounts for the manors of the Prior and Convent, and extensive court books and papers for the Dean and Chapter estates from 1540. The Dean and Chapter commuted their estates to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1870, and some court books and many leases were taken over by the Commissioners. These have been returned to the Library and are available as Church Commissioners papers. There are terriers, surveys and valuations, mostly eighteenth and nineteenth century, of Dean and Chapter estates for leasehold renewal, and a series of parliamentary surveys, 1649-50, ordered when cathedral establishments were suspended under the Commonwealth.
For further information on the Ely Diocesan records and the Ely Dean and Chapter archives, please contact Frank Bowles (

Related records held elsewhere in the University Library

  1. Rare Books collections

The Cambridge Collection (classmark:Cam)

A separate but closely related collection called Cam Papers comprises uncatalogued printed ephemera relating to the University and its societies, and to the town. The collection is formed of official papers issued by the University or its officers between 1818 and 1870, together with later miscellaneous material in the form of leaflets, posters, notices and programmes reflecting Cambridge's social, intellectual and cultural life. The Cam Papers are a particularly rich source for researching the University’s clubs and societies.

For further information on these collections, please contact the Rare Books department.

  1. Map Department

The Map Department holds the majority of the Library’s cartographic resources, which include detailed maps and views of the City of Cambridge and of Cambridgeshire parishes, many of which incorporate University property and buildings. The collection also includes topographic views (engravings, photographs and postcards) of Cambridge as well as a full range of Ordnance Survey maps.

For further information on map collections, please contact the Map Department.

Related records held across Cambridge

The records of the constituent Colleges of the University are not part of the University Archives. With very few exceptions, the historic records of the Colleges remain in the keeping of the College archivists, to whom request should be made for further information and access. Contact details of the Colleges can be found here.

A number of Colleges and specialist repositories across Cambridge have added catalogues to ArchiveSearch, the Cambridge-wide internet resource for archive catalogues. While Janus serves as a useful starting point for searching across Cambridge collections, a number of Colleges and repositories also maintain their own separate databases and supplementary catalogues of their holdings.