The BPS holds an extensive collection of archival material, much of which is also available to the general public as well as to our members.
Collections and Archives
For information about specific collections and archives, including their availability and how to access them, please consult the tabs below.
Our administrative archives contain minutes, correspondence, reports, and working papers covering a full range of activities of the society and its member networks since its foundation.
Please note: our catalogue contains historic terminology relating to mental health which could be considered offensive. The terminology exists within the original record and has been retained to inform users on viewpoints at the time. It in no way reflects the attitudes of the cataloguers or the British Psychological Society.
In addition the History of Psychology Centre holds numerous working papers from various eminent psychologists and psychological organisations, including:
- Leslie Hearnshaw (1907-1991)
- John C. Kenna (1913-2004)
- Charles Spearman (1863-1945)
- Henri Tajfel (1919-1982)
- Charlotte Wolff (1897-1986)
- Various Child Study Societies and Associations minute books 1891-1945
- Major Hopkins P.O.W. dream research notebooks 1940-1942
- Numerous one-off items of correspondence, early undergraduate notebooks, Liverpool University documents, ephemera, etc
2019 Survey of UK psychology archive holdings
You may also wish to consult the 2019 survey of UK psychology archive holdings, which contains information and links to materials from both individuals and institutions.
The majority of these collections are housed at the Wellcome Library, which is open to the public.
Registration for a library card is is free and gives access to the main library collections; there are some additional requirements for access to archives and manuscripts.
First-time visitors are advised to contact Wellcome Library in advance.
The BPS has maintained a library since 1906, which has been held at Senate House, University of London since 1947.
The BPS library was merged with Senate House Library’s own extensive psychology holdings in 2014 to create one of the most extensive psychology collections in Europe.
As well as being the official repository for the society’s own publications – journals, newsletters, reports, etc. – the collection contains extensive and historical holdings of psychology journals and books, including rare and classic 19th and 20th century texts.
Eligible members can obtain a reference card free of charge, which provides access not only to the society's own extensive collections but also onsite access to all Senate House Library’s print collections and digital resources.
This provides users with temporary membership until it is completed by visiting the Library.
Discounted borrowing cards are also available for BPS members, including student members.
Mura Ghosh is the Psychology Librarian at Senate House and is happy to answer general and bibliographic enquiries from society members.
Call her on 020 7862 8449 or email [email protected].
The audio archive is named after John C. Kenna, the society’s first Honorary Archivist, in recognition of his pioneering work in gathering and collecting early audio recordings of eminent figures in the history of psychology.
Oral History Project
Since 2005 HoPC has been running an Oral History Project to build on this early work of John Kenna and to ensure we collect and preserve the oral history of the current generation of British psychologists.
If you would like to be involved as an interviewer or an interviewee, contact the archivist.
All recordings (and some transcripts) are available for consultation by appointment at the History of Psychology Centre at our London office.
For more information on recordings in the collection please see the archive catalogue.
This collection is named after Grace Rawlings, a former President of the BPS.
Founded in 1990, the archive comprises photographs, slides, and films of individuals, groups, and events relating to psychology and to the society.
Images held in the visual archive may be viewed for private research and study purposes, but please note that current copyright law may prevent us from making copies of some images in the archive even for bona fide researchers.
There are about 400 tests in the collection, including intelligence tests, educational and developmental tests, and occupational tests.
The core of the test collection is the University of Sussex Psychological Test Collection, which the History of Psychology Centre took on a 15-year loan in December 2005, but which has since been made permanent.
There is no public or researcher access to the tests at the present time.