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C. Ptolémée, Liber geographiae…, Venise, 1511 


Rare and Ancient Collections

The UMONS libraries are in possession of rare and ancient collections directly related to their history and specific characteristics. 
The origins of the Central Library date back to the late 18th century. Back then, the library’s collection was put together through revolutionary confiscations supplied for the École centrale du département de Jemappes, which was taken over in 1804 by the City of Mons and then in 1966 by UMONS’ ancestor, the Centre universitaire de MonsThe collections primarily originate from libraries of ecclesiastic institutions and the Ancien RégimeIt is this origin that largely explains the current richness of the rare and ancient collections at the Central Library of UMONS. These collections increased thanks to donations and purchases during the 19th and 20th centuries. 
The former Faculty of Engineering of Mons, founded in 1837, was always equipped with a library that grew and grew throughout the 19th century, having the perfect mix of books and journals on industrial science and technology in the 19th century.

The rare and ancient collections are made up of several sections:

  • About 4000 manuscripts dating back to the 10th century up until the 20th century;
  • Early prints: hundreds of thousands of books from the 15th to the 19th century, including 300 early printed books together with an incomplete copy of the Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible;
  • Embossed prints: approximately 3600 documents (drawings, watercolours, engravings, lithographs, photographs and posters regarding mainly Mons and Hainaut);
  • Maps and plans: about 3000 atlases and maps of the world, of Belgium and of Hainaut and its localities;
  • Postcards: approximately 3000 documents, mainly from the late 19th century and early 20th century;  

The specific collections are listed here.                    

It is in our best interests to preserve and advertise these collections. That is why readers now have access to a virtual library.

Christine Gobeax
Tel: 0032 (0)65 373060