Other Collections

As well as the many early printed books and manuscripts, there are certain named special collections held at Christ Church. More information on them may be found on this page, including details of special conditions for access.

The Lewis Carroll collection

Christ Church holds three distinct collections of material relating to Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson).  The collection which belongs to the college includes photographs, manuscripts and proof sheets, presentation copies, and a large number of editions of the “Alice” books in different languages with different illustrators, together with a mass of secondary material (biographies, books about various aspects of Carroll’s work, etc.).  The other two collections are held on deposit.  All three collections are available for the use of bona fide researchers upon application to the Library.  In the case of the collections held on deposit, permission to use extracts or reproduce images may have to be sought from the owners of the collections.

F.B. Brady Collection

Very little is currently known about the origins of the collection or F.B. Brady himself.

Francis Bridgford Brady was born in China in the late 19th century. He came up to Christ Church in 1909 as a Holford Exhibitioner and took a 2nd in Lit.Hum. in 1913. Alongside his interest in entertainment he seems to have also collected Chinese and far Eastern ephemera but that material did not come to Christ Church in 1977 with his bequest.

The collection is extensive and in fine condition, which is extremely unusual for material of this kind. It comprises:

  • Printed Books:  over 3300 books (18th-20th centuries). The modern books make up Brady’s own reference materials while the earlier section comprises play texts, histories and other related works. A card catalogue exists for this section of the collection.
  • Theatrical portraits: approx. 15,000 mounted printed bound into ca. 85 loose leaf binders in alphabetical order containing engravings, some tinted, of authors, actors and actresses (both in and out of roles), characters, dramatists, depictions of theatrical productions, etc. Many identified and in extraordinarily good condition in many cases. No finding aid exists for this section.
  • Toy (miniature) theatre material: approx. 3000 sheets containing proscenium, scenery, sets, props and characters for toy theatres, coloured and plain, kept in sets. Although Brady does not seem to have collected the theatres themselves the sheets and play texts are all extraordinarily rare, particularly in the large numbers and fine condition. No finding aid exists for this section.
  • Epilogues and Dialogues: approx. 1600 items (possibly just the epilogues and dialogues cut from larger woks) bound into 16 loose leaf binders. No finding aid exists for this section.
  • Tinsel prints: 28 framed tinsel prints
  • Broadsides: 42 portfolios (approx. 3100 items) assorted sheets, including some satirical and political prints, Yeats Broadsides, theatrical prints of all sorts, portraits, engravings, etc. kept in a variety of portfolios of different sizes. No finding aid exists for this section.

The only comparable collections worldwide are at the V&A, the British Museum, the University of Pennsylvania and the New York Public Library. The Brady Collection rivals these archives and roughly 25% of the material in the collection is completely unique. Also, as no comparable collection has been digitized, a digital database of the Brady Collection would make freely available to scholars material and images of immense value which are currently either unavailable or difficult and costly to access. Funding for this process and for cataloguing is being sought.