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General Collection

The general collection supports the undergraduate teaching of the College, particularly in the Contemporary Studies, Early Modern Studies, History of Science and Technology, and Foundation Year Programs, as well as the School of Journalism, Writing and Publishing.

All art books (call numbers beginning with N) are in the Reading Room on the main level. All other titles in the general collection are in the stacks downstairs.

King's Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System. See our Navigating the Library LibGuide on how to find the books you're looking for.

Reference Collection

The Reference Collection is kept in the Reading Room on the ground floor. These items are not circulating, but can be used for study throughout the library.

All spine labels in this collection begin with REF, and continue with the standard Library of Congress Call Number.

Periodicals

Periodicals do not circulate. Current issues are on stand in the Reading Room and bound back issues are located in the stacks. Those retained are catalogued and in the Novanet online catalogue.

Special Collections

The Library contains Special Collections of nearly 20,000 volumes, which includes medieval and renaissance manuscripts, incunabula (15th century printed books), and thousands of 16th, 17th, and especially 18th century volumes.

The Weldon Collection of pottery and porcelain includes some notable pieces of 17th and 18th century Chinese Export Porcelain. Specimens from the Weldon Collection are on permanent display in the foyer of the Library. The Margaret and Wallace McCain Gallery on the lower floor of the Library contains permanent and changing exhibits of rare books, museum artifacts, and archival materials from the Library's collections.

Weldon Collection of Pottery and Porcelain

The Weldon Collection is one of the oldest collections of ceramics in Canada.

It consists of more than 300 items of pottery and porcelain originally owned by early settlers, including Loyalists. The collection was presented to the College in 1880 by Susanna L. A. Weldon and her husband, Judge John W. Weldon, in memory of their son Haliburton Weldon, who had died soon after graduating from King’s in 1873. Susanna, the daughter of Thomas Chandler Haliburton, had collected the items over a number of years. She carefully recorded all her acquisitions in a catalogue notebook, which she titled Specimens of China brought to the Colonies by the early settlers, particularly the Loyalists. A selection from the Weldon Collection is on permanent display in the Library. This display was designed by Dr. Marie Elwood, formerly Chief Curator of History at the Nova Scotia Museum, who has catalogued the collection.

Bray Collection

The Bray Collection consists of the surviving books from three early clerical libraries.

In the spring of 1977, several boxes of old books were discovered in the belfry of Christ Church, Windsor, where they had lain forgotten for decades. The hundreds of volumes were the remains of a library owned in the 18th century by a clergyman in England. While the collection is largely theological in character, there are also books in other subjects that any 18th-century gentleman might have owned, including classical and English literature, agriculture, mathematics and medicine.

This collection of books was given to the Library of the University of King’s College by Christ Church Parish in 1979, and is now designated as the Bray Collection. As indicated by their book-plates, the books were presented to the parish in 1797 by Dr. Bray’s Associates of London, which had acquired the library from its former owner. This organization was begun by Dr. Thomas Bray (1656-1730), the Anglican missionary who founded both the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (1698) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (1702). While serving as a missionary in Maryland, Dr. Bray was struck by the intellectual isolation of the clergy. His scheme for providing lending libraries for the parochial clergy, both at home and abroad, arose out of his American experience. Associates of Dr. Bray continued the work after his death.

While the library at Windsor was the first of the Bray Libraries in Nova Scotia, and probably in Canada, a number of others were established throughout the province in the 19th century; two of these are also preserved at King’s. The parochial library from Trinity Church, Digby (Bray II), founded about 1844, incorporated books brought to Digby by the first Loyalist missionaries, who brought their books with them when they were forced to leave the rebellious colonies. The parochial library from Trinity Church, Liverpool (Bray III), dates from the middle of the 19th century. The Bray Collection has been designated as a “Special Collection of Research Value” by the National Library of Canada.

Kingdon Collection

Hollingworth Tully Kingdon (1835-1907), scholar, author and Anglican clergyman, became the second Bishop of the Diocese of Fredericton.

Born in London, he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, when theological and liturgical developments were sweeping through the Church of England. Kingdon was strongly influenced by these movements, and became a leader in the Tractarian revival of ecclesiastical learning. After serving as vice-principal of Salisbury Theological College, he was elected Coadjutor Bishop of Fredericton in 1881, and in 1892, succeeded John Medley as Lord Bishop of the Diocese. Kingdon has been acclaimed as “one of Canada’s most distinguished theologians.” He wrote books on doctrinal subjects, as well as tracts and pamphlets on controversies facing the church in his own day. He was rewarded with honorary degrees from universities in both England and Canada (D.C.L., Trinity; D.D., Vind.)

Kingdon was also a noted book collector: a biographical sketch in 1890 spoke of him as “the possessor of a large and valuable library, containing some works so rare as to be almost priceless.” This library has been compared with that of T.B. Akins as among the few really outstanding collections of books in Atlantic Canada formed in the 19th century. His library included medieval manuscripts, incunabula, and hundreds of early editions of the Greek and Latin Church Fathers, printed in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The library is also particularly rich in 19th-century works that record theological and liturgical controversies in the Church of England, and is valuable as a contemporary record of the period. In his will, Bishop Kingdon bequeathed his library, consisting of some 2500 volumes, to the parish of Trinity Church in Saint John, NB.

At the time of his death, this collection was described as “the best private theological library in Canada.” In 1985, the Parish gave the Library to the University of King’s College, where it complements and augments an already very strong collection of historical Anglican theology. The Kingdon Library is valuable not only for the considerable intrinsic merit of the books, but also for the evidential value that they present as the complete working collection of a bishop and scholar of the Anglican Church in Canada in the 19th century. The Kingdon Library has been designated as a “Special Collection of Research Value” by the National Library of Canada.

Archives

The University Archives, located in the Library & Archives Building, is the depository for inactive records of the University that have permanent administrative, legal, financial or historical value.

Researchers may place requests for material at any time, but materials may be consulted only while Archives staff are on duty.

Holdings

The King's Archives has the original minute books of the Board of Governors of the College, which begin in 1797, and the first Matriculation Book from 1803. Several former King's professors have deposited their personal papers in the Archives. We also hold a full run of The Record (a newsletter and later the yearbook), a large collection of posters created by the King's Theatrical Society, blueprints and architectural plans of the buildings in Windsor and in Halifax, and an extensive photograph collection which catalogues events and student life at King's from the late 19th century to the present. These items are of great interest and enduring value to the College and to anyone who is interested in its history.

Access

Archival materials will be provided to you by Library staff and can be consulted in the Rare Book Consulting Room. There may be restrictions on photographing, scanning, or copying these items, they cannot be removed from the building, and drinks and pens are not to be used while consulting them.

Finding Aids

King's is a member of the Council of Nova Scotia Archives and participates in MemoryNS, a catalogue of archived records in Nova Scotia. Fifteen finding aids (descriptions and lists of fifteen fonds) are available to view or download from MemoryNS.

There are many items in the King's Archives which have not been arranged or described but are still accessible to you via the University Librarian. Pleaes contact tracy.lenfesty@ukings.ca for more information.

For More Information

Contact:
Tracy Lenfesty, University Librarian and Archivist

tracy.lenfesty@ukings.ca