The book collection comprises approximately 10,000 volumes combining those of South Place Ethical Society Library, the Rationalist Press Association Library, the Coit Memorial Library and the National Secular Society’s collection.
Our collection covers a span of subjects ranging from ethics to philosophy via free-speech, civil rights, the history of science and religion, genetics, evolution and consciousness, the history of ideas, and the history of ethical and humanist organisations. These core subjects are bolstered by our collection of biographies and bibliographic works, periodicals and pamphlets.
Whilst our collection comprises principally works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we believe that these should sit alongside the milestones of contemporary thought, and as such we continue to grow our collections.
You can search these collections on the online catalogue.
Of particular interest to researchers is our unrivalled collection of humanist periodicals. We hold runs of The Freethinker, The Literary Guide, which continues to be published today as The New Humanist, Richard Carlile’s The Republican, Charles Bradlaugh’s The National Reformer, and Annie Besant’s Our Corner. Naturally we also hold a compete archive of our own journal, now known as The Ethical Record, though previously published under a number of other monikers. You can search past and present editions of the Ethical Record here.