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A scene from an exhibition in Mexico ;

The Canning House Library Collection

Described by historian Hugh Thomas as 'one of the jewels of Latin American Studies in the United Kingdom', the library collection of Canning House was transferred to King’s College London Libraries and Collections in 2012.

Cover illustration showing two traditionally clothed figures. From: DH Lawrence. Mornings in Mexico, 1927.

With around 54,000 titles, it is the second largest institutional gift collection at King’s, after the historical library collection of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) which it complements in terms of subject scope and depth.

Canning House maintained its library for over 60 years from its foundation (as the Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Council) in 1943, and the resulting collection is one of the most important in the UK for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

The breadth of subject coverage is extensive: from the physical sciences to law and geography, from folklore and anthropology to the social sciences, from contemporary art to sport and pastimes, the Canning House collection touches on almost every aspect of the civilisation and culture of all of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of the world.

It is particularly strong in the areas of history, international relations and, especially, literature. Many of its holdings are hard to find in other UK library collections, some are unique in this country. Around 1,000 titles so far have been designated as material to be kept in the Foyle Special Collections Library at King’s, including extensive holdings of the work of the writers RB Cunninghame Graham and WH Hudson.

Frontispiece portrait of George Canning. From: George Canning. The Microcosm, 1809.

Over 15,000 titles have been catalogued and added to the already extensive Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American collections at King’s, held in the Maughan Library. Work is proceeding on cataloguing the remaining titles, with new items reaching the shelves every month.

We are also cataloguing items from the collection that will remain in Special Collections and these items are increasingly available for researchers to consult in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Using Library Search

Records from all collections are available through King's Library Search.

Being signed in to Library Search gives the best functionality for searching and the homepage gives advice on how to narrow down your searches by using scopes and by filtering searches you have made.

For full instructions please see both the Library Search homepage and also our 'Catalogues' webpage, available by scrolling down to the menu on the Special Collections homepage.

Some basic tips are below:

Using scopes

You can limit your search to Foyle Special Collections Library items by using scopes.

If you select the ‘Library Resources’ scope, only the print and ebooks, audiovisual material and journals held by the campus libraries and Foyle Special Collections Library will be retrieved in your searches

Using filters

For finding material related to specific collections or former owners, use the ‘Library Resources’ scope in the drop down menu and then filter by ‘Former owner’ in the Advanced search criteria to display records from a specific collection.

You can also use the Location drop down menu on the left hand side of the screen to identify items from specific named special collections.

Please do contact us for further advice on identifying material which will assist you with your studies.

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