The Sessions Book Trust Collection

The collection

Local history, Quakerism and the history of the book trade are the main strengths of the Sessions Book Trust Collection. It is made up of three distinct parts:

Books available to borrow

Around 300 books, either collected by William Sessions or printed by the Sessions of York firm, are held in the Morrell Library. The titles particularly reflect Sessions' interest in the history of York and the history of printing. Some of the popular titles include:

Books held in the Rare Books Collection

The larger part of the collection was added to the Rare Books Collection, and includes books printed by the Sessions firm as well as a substantial number of early 19th Century Quaker books, many printed by William Alexander, the original founder of the Sessions firm. One of the most unusual items is the Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible. Certain passages deemed unsuitable for reading aloud to mixed audiences were removed and printed underneath the main text in italics – the preface lamenting "such passages not being couched in terms suited to the present state of refinement".

Also present are some nice examples of printers manuals and instructions, including the 1808 Printers Grammar and Sessions' own Desk Book for Users of Printing.

Sessions Archives

The third part of the collection is the Sessions Archives, deposited in the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

The collector

The collection was donated by Sessions of York, a local printing firm active from the early 19th Century until 2010.

Acquisition

The collection was donated by Sessions of York, a local printing firm active from the early 19th Century until 2010.

Access

You can find items in the Sessions Book Trust Collection using YorSearch, the Library catalogue.