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The Samuel Butler Project

About the Project

The Samuel Butler Project ran from July 2011 to June 2013, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and St John’s College. Its aim was to catalogue the Samuel Butler Collection and make it accessible to researchers, schools and the public through exhibitions and events.

The Butler Project Associate, Rebecca Watts, kept a monthly diary of her work, which you can read on the Butler Project Diary pages.

If you have an enquiry about the Samuel Butler Collection, please contact the Special Collections Librarian, Kathryn McKee, by email at or by phone on 01223 339393.


About Samuel Butler

Information on the man behind the collection


A month-by-month account of a special collections project

Exhibitions and events

Online exhibitions and recordings of talks from our events


Information and resources for schools, teachers and community groups

Butler community

Information for researchers working on Samuel Butler and his contexts



Butler on the Map

Clacton Beach. 19 July 1891.

Samuel Butler was a prolific photographer, who travelled extensively in Europe in the 1880s and 1890s, as well as in southern England, where he lived. His 'snap-shots' (as he referred to them) of the places he visited and the people he met are charming, humorous, poignant, and very accomplished for an amateur. He also drew and painted scenes from his travels, and many of his artworks capture the strong affection he felt for the places he loved to visit. The Library holds five albums of Butler's photographic prints and about 1600 of his original glass plate negatives.

During the Samuel Butler Project a broad selection of images from the Butler Collection were uploaded to Historypin, where you can browse them by theme or by location on a real world map. To access the Historypin map and gallery click here.