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Cambridge University Library


Picture credit: Detail from Reminiscences of Bombay, artist M.F. Pithawalla (RCMS 89/70/15)

Welcome to the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Library

The Library is an enormous repository of information, pictorial and written, print and manuscript, on the Commonwealth and Britain's former colonial territories, founded in 1868 and home today to a growing collection of over 300,000 printed items (monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and official publications), over 900 archival collections (including manuscript diaries, correspondence, pictures, artefacts, cine films, scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings) and over 125,000 photographs (albums, loose prints, slides, glass plate negatives and lantern slides).

The RCS Library comprises the collections amassed by the Colonial Society, and its successors the Royal Colonial Institute, Royal Empire Society and Royal Commonwealth Society. It was acquired by Cambridge University Library in 1993.

The RCS photographer’s index and RCS Photograph Project gallery were retired in June 2024. The original selection of 700 images may still be consulted on Apollo. The full RCS digital collection is on CUDL. Biographical details relating to photographers have been incorporated into agent records on ArchiveSearch.



Contact us

Please address enquiries about RCS holdings to:

RCS Curator
Cambridge University Library
West Road