Rare first-hand accounts of the execution of King Charles I are among an extraordinary collection of books and pamphlets donated to the State Library of Victoria (SLV).
Valued at up to $8 million, the collection also contains early editions of noted writers including Chaucer, Milton, Defoe, and Swift.
The library’s head of rare books Des Cowley said the collection’s centrepiece was the huge array of extremely rare tracts and pamphlets printed during the English Civil War in the mid 17th century.
Among the most precious items donated was a collection of pamphlets that gave daily updates on the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649.
Professor Paul Salzman, from La Trobe University, said only the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford have books and documents that rival the Emmerson collection.
“It’s going to take historians a long time to work their way through this material because there is so much of it,” Professor Salzman said.
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