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The origin of the library goes back to the donation, in 1785, of the books belonging to the Valencian eminent gentleman Francisco Pérez Bayer.

Following this generous example, other professors offered their own collection to enlarge the increasing university library. Unfortunately, during the Peninsular War a bomb burst on the university building causing a fire in which most of the original collection was lost.

This catastrophe encouraged the Valencian rectors, professors and patricians to remade the Library by bequeathing their private collections. Among them were Vicente Blasco, Domingo Mascarós (the first librarian of the Institution), Salvador Perellós and Onofre Soler. The Library, in turn, carried out a purchasing policy which served to increase its already extensive collection. The Library was re-opened in 1837 with these collections, plus the works which had belonged to the convents until Mendizabal’s Disentailment Law.

Through this law, the Library received the books that had belonged to the convents of Discalced Carmelites, Franciscans, Augustinians (Alcoy, Xativa and Valencia), Discalced Trinitarians, Dominicans, Order of Montesa, etc.; but the most important and valuable collections were the ones coming from the Monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes, with Ferdinand II of Aragon’s, Duke of Calabria, bequest.

Later on, other important donations arrived, such as the one from the former professor and librarian Mariano Liñán, who upon his death bequeathed his collection of books, coins and medals. Francisco Javier Borrull also did so. In 1843 Ginés de Perellós, Marqués de Dos Aguas, bequeathed his works. The bequest from Vicente Hernández Máñez, who was the University librarian, was one of the donations which furnished the University Library with most of its the rare and unique originals. In 1867 the library incorporated the works bequeathed by Vicente Dauder and Vicente Alfonso, and in later years those by Francisco Carbonell, Rector Juan del Castillo y Carroz, provost and professor Francisco Estruch, Vicente Salas Quiroga, etc.

It is also worth highlighting the collection of dramatic works owned by José Maria Moles, comprising about 1200 volumes, which was given, together with its catalogue and its furniture, by the executors to the Valencia City Council which, in turn, donated it to the University.

Due to its character as a Provincial Library, some collections from the Ministry of Public Works, as well as works from the Duke of Osuna’s Library, were incorporated into the University’s collection at the end of the 19th century.

The last significant donation, the one made by Luis Gonzaga Gascó Albert, was added in 1901. The topics covered by his library show his position as a mathematician and writer.

The University Library was, during and after the Spanish Civil War, the depositary of the books seized to institutions and private individuals, which constitute a collection of great usefulness for the study of social history and the graphic arts at that time.

It is worth mentioning the collection of Valencian posters about the Spanish Civil War.

Other collections given in the 20th century are the ones donated by Sanchis Sivera and Francisco Alcayde.

At present, the Library maintains a policy of acquisitions of old works printed in Valencia and written by Valencian authors, as well as many others acquisitions to increase its already important collection of reference.

 
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