This guest post was written by Paul Horsler, History Librarian at LSE Library. Come to History Day on Tuesday 20 January and meet the team from the LSE Library in person!


LSE’s motto ‘to know the causes of things’ is an apt motif for historians, as we spend hours in libraries and archives trying to understand why events occurred or why a particular decision was made. With that in mind, what can researchers expect to find if they decide to visit our collections?


A look at the government and statistical collections on the lower ground floor of the LSE Library will confirm this. Our major collection strengths in terms of government publications include: United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and India. This is only a few of the countries covered by the collection. Almost every other country is represented in some shape or form, even if our only holding for a country is the statistical yearbook. In addition to government publications, we hold extensive collections from Intergovernmental Organisations such as the European Union and the United Nations, as we are a depository library for both. Further details about the official publications collection can be found on the Library’s web pages.


Supporting the official publications collection is a large range of pamphlets with many published in the late 19th or early part of the 20th century, though the Library continues to collect them. The collection has an international flavour with material is published in most European languages, with a particularly large proportion in German.


There are publications from France published in 1848, Russia and Germany in the 1930s. The material on labour and the trade unions covers a vast range of countries including South Africa and Latin America. International history is also well-covered, including material on the League of Nations, disarmament, pacifism and the two World Wars. Disputes such as the Middle East are also well documented.


Archives and Special collections held by the Library include:

  • Over 500 archive collections relating to modern British political, economic and social history and the history of the social sciences, dating mainly from the late 19th century onwards. These include the papers of William Beveridge, Hugh Dalton, Beatrice and Sidney Webb to name but a few.
  • The archives of LSE itself, and a range of other material relating to the history of LSE.
  • The Hall-Carpenter Archives, a collection of archives, journals and ephemera relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activism in the UK, dating mainly from after the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957.
  • The Women’s Library @ LSE a collection which documents all aspects of women’s lives, with a particular emphasis on the lives of women in the UK and the great political, economic and social changes of the past 150 years.       The print collections include over 60,000 books and pamphlets and 3,000 periodical titles. The archive and museum collections include over 500 archives and 5,000 museum objects, including photographs, posters, badges, banners, textiles and ceramics
  • A small selection of material is available via the Digital Library.

In addition to the above, access is available to some of our historic digital resources, where the terms of the license agreement allow. A full list of resources available on our Visitor PCs can be found here.