Old books and Heritage collections

The 3 academic libraries have unique documents constituting their "special collection"
Exposition - BU Beaulieu - copyright Cyril Gabbero

Conditions for consultation

You can consult antiquarian books on the spot when the library is open (they must be returned 30 minutes before the library closes).

To consult this special books in the libraries on a Saturday, remember to culture-patrimoineatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr (make a prior request by email) or in person.

  1. Check whether the book is available online in digital format: Gallica, Biodiversity Heritage Library, Europeana, or Medic@. You will not receive the hard copy, except if specifically required.
  2. Fill in a request form, available at the library reception.
  3. You must leave your student card, library card or proof of identity while you consult the documents.

Some works, manuscripts or journals cannot be given out for conservation reasons (documents in poor condition or too rare and precious). Documents dated before 1920 are not available for loan. Microfilms can only be consulted at the BU Centre.

Antique books from the BU Beaulieu

More than 9,000 works from the 16th century to 1914.

The 19th century occupies an important place in this collection, reflecting the spirit of the times and the scientific advances of the period: Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin, Pasteur, Liebig, Chevreul, Berzélius...

The natural sciences (botany, zoology) are well represented thanks to donations from old laboratory libraries.

You will also find a great many books on mathematics and astronomy, agronomy as well as physics and chemistry.


A few collections of note:

  • library of the bryologist Édouard Gabriel Paris (1827-1911): about 260works that used to belong to him, and manuscripts of his letters.
  • documents from Lucien Daniel(1856-1940): manuscripts, metal sheets and other archival documents from this former botany lecturer who specialised in grafting.
  • manuscripts from the philosopher Jules Lequier (1814-1862)


Réserve de la BU Beaulieu - copyright Cyril Gabbero

Antique books from the BU Centre

Approximately 8,000 works, including 2,000 spanning the 16th century to 1815, and 7 incunabula.

This initially multidisciplinary collection, from Rennes Academic library (covering the fields of law, economics, literature, history and religion), was opened up to other materials, i.e.:

  • 1,770 prints from 1801 to 1830,
  • 3,970 from 1831 to 1914,
  • and other brochures and offprints.

They include all the Université de Rennes libraries manuscripts, for instance:

  • 247 manuscripts fully catalogued in the French General Catalogue of Public Library Manuscripts (accessible via the joint French catalogue Catalogue Collectif de France and the online higher education archive and manuscript catalogue Calames),
  • 453 others that have been listed but not processed (François Duine collection, including items from Lamennais and George Sand). A certain number of documents still need to be filed and listed — Joseph Loth, Dottin, Larguillère, Feuillerat, Dupuy, and various letters.


Livre remarquable - BU Centre

Antiquarian books from the BU Villejean Santé

Over 8,000 works from the 16th to 20th century, and including many compilations of journal articles.

This storeroom features several sets from:

  • the inter-university library,
  • Rennes School of Medicine and Pharmacy,
  • Dr Paul Delaunay (1878-1958), a doctor from Sarthe,
  • Jacques Léonard (1935-1988), lecturer at the Rennes 2 University.


Réserve de la BU Villejean Santé