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The Newsam Library holds 27 Special Collections of books and pamphlets relating to education. These are discrete, mainly historical, collections of published books and documents. Unpublished papers are held in the Archives.
The Special Collections vary in size and coverage. Some collections such as the History of Education Collection have been built up from a variety of sources. Others, like the Sir Fred Clarke Collection and F. H. Hayward Collection, are the personal libraries of individual scholars. There are also historical collections that concentrate on a particular discipline - for example, the Grenfell Collection on physical education and the Hayward Collection on moral education.
Most Special Collections are closed in terms of further acquisitions, but a few, such as the Official Publications Collection and the Historical Textbooks Collection, are still added to on a regular basis.