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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 Library Services 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 library collection of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 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.

For a full list of Canning House Collection items added to the Library catalogue, please see a link to holdings here.

We are now beginning to catalogue items from the collection that will remain in Special Collections and a list of these items is available here. These items will be available for researchers to consult in the Special Collections Reading Room and further information and access procedures are available here.

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