The Yorkshire collection contains material relating to the social, economic, and cultural life of Yorkshire particularly from the 18th- to 20th-centuries.
York Minster Library also holds a substantial local history section including a collection of Cooper Abbs books.
These collections would be of interest to those studying Yorkshire material culture and evidence for the provincial book trade. They also provide valuable insight into the social history of the county and would benefit scholars from a range of disciplines.
The Cooper Abbs Collection was a bequest to the Friends of the National Libraries from Miss Kathleen Cooper Abbs of Mount Grace Priory, Northallerton, who died in 1974. The Friends subsequently decided to deposit the collection at York.
It is a family library started by the Revd Cooper Abbs of Monkwearmouth (1738-1800), and treasured and added to by his descendants. Many of the books have been annotated and decorated with sketches by his children and grandchildren. It is predominantly of the 18th-century, and contains the kind of books one would expect in the library of a cultivated country gentleman: literature, history, some science, not too much theology.
Interesting items include:
- first editions of the later volumes of Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, signed by the author; of Thomas Percy's Reliques of ancient English poetry (1765); and of Sir Walter Scott's Tales of a grandfather (1830)
- a 16th-century edition of Thucydides, once part of the Royal Library, sold by the British Museum as a duplicate in 1787.
- Eight chirurgical treatises by Richard Wiseman, one of the landmarks of English surgery published in 1719.
- Knowledge of the heavens and the earth made easy, 1726, a first edition of a popular work on astronomy
For more information, see:
Raymond Burton deposited his collection of 1600 books on Yorkshire, covering all aspects of Yorkshire life including the county’s involvement in the British Civil Wars, the history of spring water in Harrogate, early writings on Dick Turpin and ephemera such as playbills, trade catalogues and chapbooks.
Other highlights include Edwards of Halifax bindings with fore-edge paintings, early writings about Dick Turpin, a fine presentation copy of J. Tickell's, The history of the town and county of Kingston upon Hull (1796), and chapbooks of James Kendrew, an early 19th-century York printer.
The Borthwick Institute for Archives holds the Burton archive.