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School Library



Administrative / Biographical history

The first boys' library (as opposed to College Library, always the preserve of the Provost and Fellows) was started in 1821 in a room belonging to Williams the bookseller by Winthrop Mackworth Praed. Membership was limited to the top 100 boys. However, when New Buildings were erected in 1846 to house the King's Scholars, a boys' library was included and membership widened. In 1887 the library moved again, to New Schools, and finally, in 1910, to the purpose built space in the Memorial Buildings erected in memory of Etonians killed in the South African Wars. There it has subsequently expanded into rooms originally meant for the Myers collection and then the Macnaghten Library, and has been renovated and improved. Michael Meredith, who became School Librarian in 1968, built up a collection of 19th and 20th century rare books and literary manuscripts, concentrating particularly on Etonian authors. His efforts were supplemented by notable gifts, among them the Hardy first editions given by David Guthrie which encouraged the addition, by gift and purchase, of related material. In 1994 Mr Meredith became College Librarian, and in 1997 major building works greatly enlarged the space available in College Library. These special collections were then transferred to College Library, which also took over responsibility for the Macnaghten Library.


1821 - present

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