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Historical Collection

Our Historical Collection contains around 3,000 books and journals published before 1900.  They cover all aspects of the art and science of veterinary medicine and other works of general interest relating to animal health and country matters.

Most of the collection was given to the Library by eminent members of the veterinary profession including around 600 items given by George Fleming in 1900 and Henry Gray’s collection of lavishly illustrated books on birds.


Highlights of the Collection include

To learn more about the Historical Collection in the words of Norman Comben, the leading authority of early veterinary literature and Honorary Advisor to the Collection, read Preserving the Profession's Past, Veterinary Times January 12, 2009.

If you would like to use this nationally important resource please contact us at or 020 7202 0752 to arrange an appointment.

We continue to welcome donations that will add to the value of the Collection. If you wish to enquire about donating historical material, please contact us at


Thanks to support from the Alborada Trust, Vets4Pets & Companion Care and other donors, we are delighted to announce that we are now able to embark on a major project to catalogue the priority documents in this historic collection and repackage them to archive standards. We have also been able to purchase the specialist digital scanner we needed to enable us to produce high-definition scans of each document so that we can start to make this marvellous archive widely available on-line, not just to the veterinary profession, but to the public as well. Lorna Cahill has now joined us from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to head the project.

This five year project is a major undertaking, and you can follow its progress in the Historical Collections blog and on our social media.

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Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Trust (trading as RCVS Knowledge) is a registered Charity No. 230886
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