Amidst the many treasures of Special Collections lies the Von Hügel Collection. At around five thousand volumes it represents a significant gathering of 19th and 20th century works on philosophy, religion, and history, as well as original and annotated manuscript papers. Assembled by Baron Friedrich von Hügel (1852-1925), Hon. LLD St Andrews 1921, it was bequeathed to the university upon his death in 1926.
Von Hügel’s philosophy is still debated, and this year St Andrews doctoral student Robyn Wrigley-Carr made a contribution to the scholarship with her PhD thesis: ‘The Baron, his niece and friends: Friedrich von Hügel as a spiritual director, 1915-1925’. This serves to prove that these documents, and many other Special Collection texts like them, although valuable for their beauty and antiquity, are also a key research tool for scholars.
Special Collections rightly keeps its valuable store well-guarded and looked after, so they probably wouldn’t be too pleased if you wandered in for a browse with a muffin, but you are welcome to read Dr Wrigley-Carr’s thesis whilst shedding as many crumbs as you like:
Heather Curtis (Guest blogger & intern)