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Cambridge Antiquarian Society portrait collection, 1640 - 1998

Reference Code: GBR/0265/UA/CAS

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises chiefly photographic portraits of members of the University or other individuals prominent in the mid to late nineteenth century, particularly clergymen. They were not necessarily members of the Society. A smaller quantity of portraits is in the form of engravings from paintings, drawings cut from books, magazine sketches/cartoons and photographs of paintings. Most items are inscribed with biographical information on the back, not all of which is accurate. Many are also inscribed on the front with the subject's name (some of which may be signatures) and date of acquisition. In some cases, the biographical details inscribed on paper stuck to the back of the photographs has obscured the name of the photographer. There is also a series of letters from portrait donors, 1905-6.


  • Creation: 1640 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

The University Archives are generally freely available to the holder of a reader's ticket for the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR. Restrictions on access are imposed on certain categories of sensitive record: financial, governmental and personal, by order of the originating body or under data protection legislation. Access information, including opening hours and how to obtain a reader's ticket, appears as part of the Library's web site (

Conditions Governing Use

Requests to publish copies of any kind made of CAS portraits should be addressed to the Secretary, Cambridge Antiquarian Society (e-mail:


1500 item(s) (approximately 1000 portraits and 500 letters) : photograph, paper, ceramic

Language of Materials



The loose items have been boxed in 6 series (C-H) based on size. There are extra categories for Albums, formerly framed items and letters.

Other Finding Aids

There is a card index to accompany this series arranged by name, College and occupation. It does not cover the contents of the Vanity Fair cartoons in CAS Album 2-3, for which there is a separate index. Further biographical details for the majority, who were members of the Univesity, are to be found in John and J.A. Venn Alumni Cantabrigienses from the earliest times to 1900 (Cambridge University Press, 1922-54) 10 volumes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Collection was assembled by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society in 1905-6. The bulk was transferred to the University Archives as a longterm loan on 16 October 1980. CAS Album 2-3 were transferred as a longterm loan by Dr John Pickles on behalf of the Society on 9 May 1993. Further photographs, ca 1870-1998, received by the University Archives from a variety of sources 1980-99 were also added to the collection. These items are distinct from the original series in lacking Society biographical slips on their backs and in the generally more informal manner of the portraiture.


The online catalogue was completed in August 2004 and emended in April and October 2005, May and September 2006, March 2007 and April 2010.

Date information

DateText: earliest date is of an engraving, bulk are photographs, 1860s-1910s.


Cambridge Antiquarian Society

Finding aid date

2000-01-25 18:45:45+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom