RUSI Library

The RUSI Library of Military History is a significant collection dedicated to developing our knowledge of conflict, war and military thinking.


The Library includes monographs, maps, journals, magazines and more. The collection forms a unique repository of books on military history with a strong emphasis on nineteenth and twentieth century works.

The Library catalogue can be searched online. We are currently working to add all the library, archive, paintings, prints and sculpture collections to the catalogue.

Rare and Special Books

Our Rare Books collection dates from 1700 and consists of of over 600 pre-1821 books and pamphlets and other items of note. The collection includes Lord Radstock's extensive collection of Naval pamphlets donated by his widow Esther Lady Radstock.

The collection includes statutes, history books, engineering and training guides, political and pamphlets. All our Rare Books are fully catalogued and can be available to see on site by appointment.

RUSI Archive & Special Collections

The RUSI Archive consists of documents and manuscripts relating to the creation and running of the Institute which includes council minutes and some membership records.

Our special collections include photographs, cuttings books, diaries and newspapers relating to military events or members of the Institute.

We also have Captain Lionel Challis's 'Peninsular Roll Call' which records the service records of every Army Officer who service in the Peninsular War between 1808 and 1814. A digital version is available for study.

Paintings, Prints and Sculpture

The RUSI building on Whitehall is home to a collection paintings and sculpture that reflect the history of the institute and military history more widely. Many of these can be seen on ART UK

RUSI Library Catalogue

The RUSI Library of Military History is home to over 30,000 volumes. You can search what is available using this online catalogue.

RUSI Digital Collections

The digital collections include unique and rare materials from the RUSI Archive, Special Collections and Artworks, making available the heritage and legacy of the Institute from its founding in 1831 for a worldwide audience

Statement on Language in Description

The RUSI Library aims to describe library materials with respect for all who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage.

However, users may encounter language that they feel to be offensive or harmful, for example, language that is racist, sexist, or homophobic, in catalogue records. These descriptions will reflect language that was used by the people and organisations that created the material. For example, it is standard practice to transcribe book titles and enter them as they are represented in the source material and are included for academic purposes. This can provide information about the people who created it, and, in such cases, the work of library staff is to provide additional context.

It is the library’s current practice to address offensive or harmful language as part of routine description work. We welcome feedback as we recognise that terminology evolves over time and that efforts to create respectful and inclusive descriptions must be ongoing.

Please submit feedback by emailing Staff will review the description and, if required, will update it in a way that balances the preservation of original context with an awareness of the effect of language on our users. Revisions may include providing additional context and/or replacing problematic terminology.

View RUSI's DEI Strategy

Visiting the Library

Library News

Updates on the RUSI Library of Military History and its special collections


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