BNU

Since the outset, the BNU has always given history and geography and important position in its collections. These currently represent about 450 000 volumes. Even in 1920, the two disciplines together accounted for about 230 000 volumes.
The history and geography of Germany, with 29 000 titles, are particularly well represented in the early collections. France was subsequently added, with 13 500 titles, followed by Italy with 7 150 titles (a third of which are devoted to Ancient Italy), Great Britain with 2 750 titles, Greece with 2 280 titles (nine-tenths of which are on Ancient Greece), and the other countries of Europe.

For the other continents, 3 954 titles referred to Asia, 2 715 to the Americas, 2 082 to Africa, and 271 to Australia.

In addition to the sections by country, the early catalogues make it possible to locate other interesting groupings: thus 9 727 titles are classed under "History of war", with 2 690 titles on the First World War.
There is also a collection of travel narratives containing 1 089 titles.

In addition to printed documentation, the library also has specialised collections of papyruses, coins, ostraca, iconography, maps, etc.

Current acquisitions

The BNU currently purchases about 1 700 monographs per year for history (more than 40% of them being non-French) and receives free of charge about 200 others.

It subscribes to 286 periodicals, 191 of which are non-French.

It also offers its readers 6 databases and 59 specialist online periodicals.

The BNU acquires about 200 monographs per year for geography, and subscribes to 20 printed periodicals and 16 online journals. These are mainly documents on human geography, as most of the works on physical geography are currently acquired by the University's Joint Documentation Service ("SCD").

Current acquisitions for history and geography are focused on:

  • ancient history, archaeology and ancient religions, within the specialist centre devoted to Ancient History sciences, and
  • the history of Europe, particularly France and Germany from the Middle Ages to the present day.


The wealth of the heritage collections and the French and other collections enables historians to carry out important research work at the BNU. The BNU's history and geography collections are nevertheless directed at a very wide public, including students, academics, researchers, the knowledgeable, or the simply curious.

Centre manager
Dominique Chauvineau
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 27
Dominique.Chauvineau@bnu.fr

Link to recent acquisitions

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