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At present approximately 65% of the deposited archive collections and 20% of the College archives have been catalogued on the Adlib system – if you suspect that we might have something not listed please email the Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note that there are no images on the archive database at present.
The archives and manuscripts are arranged into collections (called "fonds"). Some collections are divided into smaller groups called "sub-fonds", and then again into "series". Some of the material in the catalogue has been described individually at file level.
If a fonds (collection) has been divided into sub-fonds (groups) these will be listed at the bottom of the fonds description. Click on the items in the list to see more detail about each sub-fonds.
When using the simple or advanced search for the archives select "Archive Full Catalogue", as this will ensure a search of material at all levels in the catalogue.
In general, the archive records contain some of the following information:
• Collection reference - each collection and manuscript has a unique number, e.g. "MS0133", which is a useful reference if you want to request access to material or ask for further information
• Title – this is usually the name of the creator of the manuscript or a brief description if the work is anonymous
• Date of the collection/manuscript – if known
• Extent of the collection - quantity, e.g. 1 volume or 23 boxes
• Name and a brief biography of the creator or creating body
• A "Scope and Content" note describing the contents of the collection
• Archival history of the collection - how it came to be in the archives
• System of arrangement
• Access and copying conditions
• Related materials and bibliographic references
• Input rules and conventions
• Associated names and subject terms
• List of material within the collection including links to more detailed descriptions where these are available
Access to collections
Access to archival material is provided by appointment through the College Library. For more details please visit the Archives web pages at
Copyright and reference
Images and text provided through SurgiCat remain the copyright of the Royal College of Surgeons of England unless otherwise stated, and are subject to the Terms and Conditions listed at