The WING Collection (English Civil War Tracts)

  • by Philip Wilde, Information and Research, Central Library
The case brought against King Charles I in 1648

The Wing Collection is named after Donald Wing, Associate Librarian at Yale University (1939-1970), who developed a method of classification that kept a collection together, whereas the usual style of classifying books would have seen this collection dispersed throughout the library.

Wing’s major career work – the Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America and of the English Books Printed in Other Countries – focuses on the period from 1641-1700, an especially exciting time in English printing, as the Civil War saw an end to government control of the press and a consequent rush of new books to the market.

The catalogue is known as a Short Title Catalogue because item titles are given in an abbreviated fashion – particularly important in the context of early modern books, which frequently have lengthy, descriptive titles on their first page – and builds on work by A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave in their A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland, and of English books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640.

The Wing Collection at Leeds Central Library comprises over 800 items printed between 1640 and 1700, mostly Tracts documenting the events, politics, religious debates and social life throughout the turbulent period of the English Civil Wars. You can read more about the collection in a previous blog article.

To view the collection, please visit the Local and Family History department on the 2nd Floor of the Central Library. Two forms of ID (one with your name and another with your address) and at least 24-hours notice will be required to view items from the Treasures or Collections. Please call 0113 378 6982 for further details and to book an appointment.