The Library has received three major donations of printed books in the twentieth century.
Over 1,000 printed books collected by John Radcliffe (1845-1911), the son of a successful Lancashire manufacturer. Particularly strong in genealogy and heraldry, nearly all of the material is pre-1851, with possibly as much as half being pre-1800, and including material dating as far back as the late sixteenth century.
About 3,000 volumes mostly of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. While the collection includes several hundred eighteenth-century sermons and c. 300 volumes of English poetry, and also many works on genealogy and heraldry, the emphasis is on the topography, archaeology and antiquities of Lancashire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There is also much material of biographical value, including many volumes of local biography, c. 70 eighteenth and nineteenth-century directories of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and 44 volumes of manuscript extracts from parish registers.
350 works given in 1994-95, collected by the Manchester medic and historian Ernest Bosdin Leech (1875-1950). The collection includes a large number of ephemeral publications relating to the University and the City Council and an interesting selection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century books, prints and maps of Manchester.