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Stanbrook Abbey collection

 Collection 0003-LIT-RARE

The Stanbrook Abbey Press Collection consists of approximately 300 items, including books, booklets, and ephemera printed at the Press. The collection also includes original drawings, manuscript leaves, and individual specimen sheets of printing, most of which are either mounted, in paper folders, or framed. Many of the items are religious texts, and are in English or Latin. Additionally, many materials are hand illuminated. While the Stanbrook Abbey Press still exists, the collection contains works covering the period from its first printed work in 1876 up to 1978.


  • 1876-1978
  • Majority of material found within 1876-1978

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


300 Items

Administrative History

The Stanbrook Abbey is a cloistered order of Benedictine nuns located in Callow End, near Worcester, England. It was founded in the early 17th century in Cambrais, France, by a group of Englishwomen. During the French Revolution, their property was seized by Revolutionary Forces. In 1795, the nuns returned to England, and in 1838 they purchased Stanbrook Hall, which became the community's permanent home.

The Abbey started its printing operation in 1876 with the help of Father Laurence Shepherd, who wanted to integrate the intellectual and artistic lives of the nuns with their spiritual calling. He not only wanted to restock the Abbey's library which had been destroyed in France, but he also wanted to supply the needs of the English Benedictine Congregation as well. Dame Agnes St. Leger Clarke was the Abbey's first printer and presided over the Press from 1876 to 1892.

Many celebrated printers, bookbinders, and artists have been associated with the Press over the years, including Sydney Cockerell, Jan van Krimpen, John Dreyfus, George Percival, Madelyn Walker and Margaret Adams. Dame Hildelith Cumming, printer for the Abbey from 1956 to 1991, is considered responsible for earning the Stanbrook Abbey Press a reputation as a great private press.


Organized as one series:

Series 1
Stanbrook Abbey collection

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The collection was acquired by the University of Maryland at College Park over a period of several years, beginning in 1973.

Related Material

Other collections about the history of printing and the book at the University of Maryland Libraries include The Annenberg Collection, The Stanbrook Abbey Press Collection, The Turret Press Collection, The R.D. Remley Collection, The W.A. Dwiggins Collection, The William Morris Collection, Private Press. The University of Maryland Libraries has also created a list of internet resources about the history of printing and the book.

Guide to the Stanbrook Abbey collection
Processed by Melissa Lohrey.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742