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Senate House Library

Quick Memorial Library

The Collection 

Subject: Education 

Over 950 books and 90 bound volumes of pamphlets covering the theory, practice, and history of education and the methodology of individual subjects. They date from the mid-sixteenth century to the late nineteenth century. Sixteenth-century educational classics by Roger Ascham, Thomas Elyot and Richard Mulcaster are present in early editions. Early school textbooks cover English grammar, Latin, modern foreign languages, and mathematics. Writers range from renowned authors in several titles or editions (Charles Hoole; Johann Amos Comenius), to obscure seventeenth- and eighteenth-century schoolmasters represented by a single title. The ephemeral nature of school textbooks renders some formerly common editions rare or even unique. Some sport typical schoolboy pen trials and other scribbles. 

The pamphlets in particular include studies of different levels of education, from kindergartens to mechanics’ institutes; different sorts of schools; education in a wide variety of subjects; in various countries; and targeted at different levels of society, Reports of educational visits are also present. Some pamphlets are in French or German, and some are published in America. Overall, the library contains works of most major educational thinkers from the Renaissance to the mid-nineteenth century; biographies; histories of schools and encyclopaedias of education. There is also material on the education of the poor and missionary education activities, together with a small amount of moral children’s fiction. 

The library is primarily the collection of the Reverend Robert Hebert Quick (1831-1891), schoolmaster and writer on education (see ODNB; Robert Hebert Quick, Life and Remains of R.H. Quick, ed. by F. Storr (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1899)). It includes several volumes from the library of nineteenth-century schoolmaster William Henry Widgery, other collections formerly belonging to the Education Guild, and some later additions. The library was given to the University in 1929 by the Education Guild, formerly the Teachers’ Guild of Great Britain & Ireland, to whom Quick’s widow had donated it in 1900. 


For an overview of the library in classified order, do a mixed classmark search on [Q.M.L.]. An author search on “Quick, Robert Hebert” as former owner will isolate items owned by him. A printed catalogue of the collection (see “Select publications”, below) and a typescript list of pamphlets, arranged by author, are available from Special Collections staff.   

Related materials 

  • AL163: 2 letters from officers of the Teachers’ Guild to Mrs [Harriet] Quick about her husband’s library and its transfer to the Guild (1896-1900) 
  • Oil portrait of Robert Hebert Quick by Frank Tuttle, 1887 
  • Old Classification scheme, Section K of general and special collections material (education) 
  • MS917, Samuel Wilderspin papers 
  • Martin collection 

Further reading 

  • Dormer, D. E., ‘The Quick Memorial Library and other Books on Education in the University of London Library’, University of London Institute of Education Bulletin, 25 (autumn 1957), pp. 1-3. 
  • Teachers’ Guild of Great Britain and Ireland, Catalogue of the Library, together with the Rules and Regulations, 3rd issue (London, 1900) 
  • Entries 14, 24 and 29 in Senate House Library, University of London, ed. by Christopher Pressler and Karen Attar (London: Scala, 2012)