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Cambridge (Cam) Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0012/Cam Papers

Scope and Contents

The Cam Papers consists of uncatalogued printed ephemera relating to the University and its societies, and the City of Cambridge. These include leaflets, posters, notices, programmes and newspaper cuttings. Anything which may be more properly regarded as a pamphlet has been placed in the class Cam and entered in the catalogue.

The Cam Papers currently include material from over 1300 different student societies and groups.

Official papers issued by the University or its officers between 1818 and 1870 form the basis of the collection (although the earliest item dates back to 1643). It was then the custom to distribute all official notices and announcements printed on single sheets of paper, and it is due to the foresight of half a dozen members of the University who preserved those loose sheets and gave their collections to the Library that we possess an almost complete series.

In 1870 it was decided to compose these official notices into a weekly gazette, the Cambridge University Reporter, and thereafter the need to preserve individual sheets ceased. As the number of official papers coming into the collection falls around this time, the extent of miscellaneous material increases. Notices of societies, meetings, lectures, dinners; programmes of theatrical and musical events; this ephemeral printed evidence of Cambridge's social, intellectual and cultural life appears in Cam Papers in ever-increasing volume.


  • Creation: 1643-01-01 - 2020-01-01

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Rare Books Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 collection

Language of Materials



Up to 1913 the collection was deposited in a number of albums; but for some years from that date it suffered neglect, new accessions being stored in boxes as they came in. At length in 1938 the material was sifted and duplicates removed. The 27,000 pieces which remained were grouped according to subject or to the bodies responsible for their issue. The papers are placed in loose-leaf albums or archival boxes in alphabetical or chronological order within the subject heading.

Other Finding Aids

There is a PDF catalogue which provides information about over 1300 different societies and groups including their active dates. Readers may also wish to consult the annotated copy of Cambridge Papers Classification, available at the Rare Books Reading Room Staff Desk. Neither of these lists individual items held, so if you are interested in a particular society or subject area, staff will fetch the relevant boxes for you to examine.


The staff of the Rare Books Department will be pleased to receive at any time material thought to be suitable for the collection. Since 2009 members of the department have attended the annual Freshers' Fair to collect examples of promotional material relating to societies, to give a snapshot of the materials being created. We are very happy to speak further with representatives of societies who might have material they would like to donate.

Related Materials

The Cam Papers complement the University Archives which are available through the Manuscripts reading room.

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Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom