Document ReferenceBCEL
TitleBriggs Collection of Educational Literature (printed books)
DateMid 16th century-c.1850
Extent2,500 items
Access ConditionsAccessible to all readers
Admin HistoryWilliam Gerald Briggs (1885-1975), for whom the collection is named, was educated at Wakefield Grammar School and Magdalen College Oxford, graduating in 1907. He became assistant inspector of higher education for the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1911. He was appointed the Assistant Director of Education for Derbyshire from 1919-1933, and Director from 1933-1948. Dr Briggs was a member of The University of Nottingham's Council from 1939 to 1973, Vice-President of Council from 1948 to 1963, and Pro-Chancellor from 1962 to 1973. The University conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree upon Briggs in July 1961.

Dr Briggs combined his professional interest in education with a passionate personal interest in the history of pedagogy in its broadest sense. He was an avid collector of published works related to this subject, both those used in formal education, and in literature which supported personal programmes of instruction and self-improvement.
Custodial HistoryThe core of the collection was given to the University of Nottingham in 1950 with an endowment to support its continued development.

The University was granted a JISC (Non Formula Funding) award in 1995 for cataloguing the collection.
DescriptionThe primary focus is on printed works of instruction for children from the 16th to the early 19th century. The Collection includes educational games and children's literature from the period and bibliography of children's literature. The bulk of the material was published in Great Britain, and is principally in English but includes Latin textbooks and some works on modern European languages. The Collection is developed and extended through regular purchase and occasional gifts.

The material covers the teaching of all branches of knowledge pre-1850, offering scope for the study of particular disciplines as well as specific examples of classroom texts. The principal subjects include: moral philosophy, logic, religion, history, geography, economics, politics, the classics, music, art and architecture, English (including grammar, pronunciation, orthography, writing), French, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, mathematics and all the sciences, agriculture and technological subjects. The Collection has significant strengths dating back to the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and including authors such as Roger Ascham, Johann Amos Comenius, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and John Ray. In recent years, coverage has been extended within, in particular, the area of literature for private education, self development and moralising literature.
MgtGroupScientific, research and educational records
Printed Book Collections
ArrangementThe collection is arranged according to an adaptation of Library of Congress classification.
TermChildren's literature
Educational literature
FindingAidsThe collection is catalogued on the University of Nottingham's library catalogue NUsearch ( To browse the Collection, enter the search term BCEL (the code for Briggs Collection of Educational Literature) into the main search box and select to search within the Library Catalogue only.
ReprodnNoteReprographic copies can be supplied for educational and private study purposes only, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.
ConditionVaries, some good, some fragile bindings.
Related MaterialBriggs Collection of Educational Material, manuscript items (B Ed)
Related RecordBEd

Click the links below to view related name indexes

CodePersonNameDates of existence
NA7Briggs; William Gerald (1885-1975); Dr; civil servant and bibliophile1885-1975
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