Our collections include a wide range of material about mountains, mountaineering and polar subjects.

Three substantial bequests — the Graham Brown collection, the Lloyd collection and the Wordie collection — together with books received through the Library's legal deposit privilege, have made the National Library an important centre for the study of mountains, mountaineering and associated topics, as well as of the polar regions. In addition, the trust fund endowed by Professor Graham Brown has enabled an active acquisitions policy to be carried out in these areas, with materials in all European languages being acquired.

Subjects collected

While climbing in all its aspects remains the central focus of the mountaineering collections, works on such subjects as ecology, geology, hillwalking and the place of mountains in art and literature are also purchased.

The Alps and the Himalaya receive the fullest coverage, but our goal is to have representation in the collections on every significant mountain or range of mountains. Discovery and exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic regions has remained the focus of the polar collections, but reports of scientific expeditions and other research materials are acquired too. Among the subjects which feature in these collections are international relations in the polar regions, glaciology and polar whaling.

Significant topics

Illustrated outlines of two areas of interest in the Library's collections, highlighting significant material:

These are the first in an occasional series focusing on particular topics strongly represented in the mountaineering and polar collections.

Selected ephemera

Selected films

Other gifts and deposits

The excellence of the Library's existing collections in the mountaineering and polar fields has attracted a number of further gifts and deposits, such as the Baume collection, the Humble collection and the Bullock Workman collection (PDF: 58 KB; 6 pages).

Details of the vast majority of book and journal titles relating to mountains, mountaineering and the polar regions can be found in the Library's main catalogue.

Contact us

Please email Paula Williams for general information on these collections.

For information on the relevant manuscript collections email Olive Geddes, while for enquiries on relevant Map Collections email map collections staff.


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