Heritage collections: printed books and manuscripts

The University of Rennes 1 detains 4 research collections:

  • special print collection of the Inter-University Library of Rennes;
  • special print collection of the Social Science Library (town-center campus);
  • special print collection of the Science and Philosophy Library (Beaulieu campus);
  • special print collection of the Health and Bioscience Library (Villejean campus).


The various libraries hold a total amount of about 20,000 documents. The collections also contain many theses and periodicals that have not yet been numbered.

Social Science Library

Located in the town center, it detains about 8,000 books, 2,000 of which printed between the 16th century and the year 1815, including 8 incunabula. This initial collection has been enlarged with 1,770 documents from 1801 to 1830, with 3,970 documents ranging from 1831 to 1914 and with a number of brochures and off-prints.

The collection holds not only Law and Economy books, but also books dealing with other topics such as Literature, History and Religion.

The town center library also holds the entire collection of manuscripts detained by the Library Community Information Service (SCD), i.e. 247 manuscripts described in the French General Catalog of the Public Libraries Manuscripts (Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques), together with 453 other documents that have been identified but not yet catalogued (the Jules Lequier Collection, the François Duine Collection including the Lamennais Papers, the George Sand Collection). A number of other collections remain to be classified and appraised: the legacies by Joseph Loth, Dottin, Larguillère, Feuillerat, Dupuy, and various items of correspondence.

The Library historical archives consist in: a catalog of the books held by the Academic library of Rennes, different types of ledgers and the plans of the library drawn by architect Labrouste.

Science and Philosophy Library

Located on the Beaulieu campus, it holds over 5,000 documents ranging from the 16th century to 1914.

Health and Bioscience library

Located on the Villejean campus, it holds about 8,000 documents from the 16th century to the 20th century. Among them are many periodical articles, grouped together into leather-bound volumes, though not necessarily of the same subject matter.

The research collections consist in a collection of 1,500 volumes issued from the Inter-University Library, a collection of 3,700 volumes coming from the School of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rennes and a collection of books donated by Professor Jacques Léonard, from the University of Rennes 2, and by Dr Paul Delaunay.


6,500 documents can be found in the online catalog and in the Sudoc (French national university documentation system).

20 microfilms have been made from books and manuscripts.

247 manuscripts have been described in the French General Catalog of Public Libraries Manuscripts.

References for the remaining collections can be found either through index card files or through registers.


Except on Saturdays, access to these collections is possible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. whenever the libraries are open. However, the documents have to be temporarily handed back at lunch time, between 11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Some books and manuscripts are not available for consultation. Please check the availability of the document required beforehand.

Microfilm viewing is only possible at the Social Science Library.

Photocopies or digital photographs are not allowed.