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Parkes Library, Special Collections, Hartley Library: About

The Parkes Library was established by James Parkes, a tireless campaigner against anti-Semitism, and is a major resource for the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations across the ages.


For general enquiries about the Parkes Library contact:

Jenny Ruthven

email: or tel. 023 80593335

Search Room Bookings:

email or tel. 023 80592721


Special Collections, Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 IBJ

Special Collections Home Page

Printed Special Collections

A-Z List of Collections

Related Collections

See the Archives Guide. Collections at Southampton include:

  • MS 60 Papers of Revd James Parkes
  • MS 65 Archives of the Council of Christians and Jews
  • MS 173 Archives of Jewish Care, 1757-1989
  • MS 183 Papers of Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld
  • MS 200 Papers of the International Military Tribunal and the Nuremberg Military Tribunals, 1945-9
  • MS 237-41 Papers of the Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1913-91


Welcome to the guide to the Parkes Library and Jewish Studies subject guide. Use the tabs to find out about the different types of material available in Parkes or online through the Library's electronic resources. The Websites tab has links to freely available websites arranged by subject.

Parkes Library

The focus of the collection is the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities and its strengths lie in the following areas:

Anti-Semitism - studies of anti-Semitism throughout history, with examples of anti-Semitic propaganda, including a collection of Right-wing Periodicals

The Holocaust - histories of the Holocaust, diaries and testimonies of victims and survivors, the historiography of the Holocaust and its portrayal in literature and art

Jewish History - ranging from detailed studies of individual communities to broad surveys of Jewish history

Jewish-Arab Relations - political relations between Palestinians and Israelis and between Israel and the Arab countries of the Middle East

Jewish-Christian Relations - studies of the history of relations between the two faiths, including aspects of conversion and dialogue throughout the ages

Palestine - history of the Jews during the Second Temple Period, descriptions of travels to the Holy Land, history under the British Mandate

Zionism - history and philosophy of the different forms of Zionism, writings of prominent Zionists and opposition to Zionism


Over 30,000 books and journals, published from the 15th century to the present day.

Collection History

The Parkes Library was originally the private library of Revd. Dr James Parkes (1896-1981) who devoted his life to investigating and combating the problem of anti-Semitism.

Parkes began collecting books whilst working for the International Student Service in Europe during the 1930s. On his return to Britain in 1935, following an attempt on his life by the Nazis, he made the collection available to other scholars at his home in Barley near Cambridge.

By the time the Library was transferred to Southampton University Library in 1964 it amounted to over 4,000 books, 2,000 pamphlets and 140 journals. 

Additions to the collection have included books from the library of Claude Montefiore, President of the University College of Southampton 1913-1934 and the library of the Institute of Jewish Affairs.