See below for links to our special collections and archives in different parts of the College. Special collections housed in the Ward Library can be searched online.

The Perne Library special collections

The Library is a research collection for the use of the Master and Fellows of Peterhouse and accredited visiting scholars. Guided visits for Junior Members of the College are arranged from time to time: details are posted in the Ward Library. 

The Perne Librarian is Mr Scott Mandelbrote. Enquiries should in the first instance be addressed to the Ward Librarian, Ms Sarah Anderson. 

Scholars who wish to consult the Peterhouse Manuscripts should contact the Manuscript Department of Cambridge University Library. 

The following publications provide information about the history of the Library and its collections: 

M. R. James, A descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts of Peterhouse (1899). For members of the University of Cambridge, there is an online version available here

A. Hughes, Catalogue of the music manuscripts at Peterhouse (1953) 

P. Collinson et al., Andrew Perne: Quatercentenary studies (1991) 

S. Mandelbrote, Donors of books to Peterhouse (2005) 

R. Thomson, A descriptive catalogue of the medieval manuscripts in the library of Peterhouse (2016). 

Copies of Professor Thomson’s catalogue [and some earlier publications] can be purchased from Peterhouse – contact the Ward Librarian for details. 

Digitized images of the Peterhouse music manuscripts can be accessed via the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM). 

Images of other Peterhouse manuscripts are being made available through the Cambridge Digital Library

The contents of the Perne Library have been catalogued electronically. Records, which include details of provenance and bindings, can be accessed via iDiscover (the Cambridge University library catalogue), and limiting the search to Peterhouse in the drop-down next to the search bar.

Peterhouse Archives

The College Archives contain records of the activities, administration, benefactions, finances and property of the College since its foundation in 1284. Estate deeds are concerned mainly with East Anglia and particularly Cambridgeshire and some date from the twelfth century. 

The Archives are private, but may be consulted by advance appointment with the Archivist. Applicants wishing to consult the Archives should contact A letter of reference may be required.

Three seals in the Peterhouse Archives



Special collections in the Ward Library

In addition to the working undergraduate collection, the Ward Library holds a number of special collections.  These consist of modern manuscripts, photographs, a historical collection of books published by members of the College, and significant portions of the working libraries of major donors (Sir Adolphus Ward and Herbert Butterfield). 

Cataloguing of the modern manuscripts and special collections is ongoing and records are uploaded on ArchiveSearch. For other items see iDiscover, and limit the search to Peterhouse. To consult these materials an appointment needs to be made through the Librarian

Peterhouse manuscripts in the University Library

The College’s medieval manuscripts are housed in Cambridge University Library. Scholars who wish to consult the Peterhouse manuscripts should contact the Manuscript Department of Cambridge University Library.

If images of the manuscripts are required for research purposes, please contact the University Library’s Digital Content Unit.

Digitized images of the Peterhouse music manuscripts can be accessed via the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM).

Images of some Peterhouse manuscripts are available through the Cambridge Digital Library.