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The Library is home to over 30,000 volumes and 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 collection also includes books by geographic region and a number of journals and periodicals.

The Library catalogue can be searched online. This details over over 20,000 items of our estimated 30,000 items. We are currently working to add all of the library and archive holding to the catalogue. Please bear with us whilst this very important work takes place.

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 pamphlets and some novels. All our Rare Books are fully catalogued and can be available to see (with supervisiion) on site.

You can view a list of some of Rare Books here.

RUSI Archive & Special Collections

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

Our Special Collections also includes photographs, cuttings books, diaries and newspapers realting 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 versionis available for study.

Our Special Collections have been catalogued and are now available via the Library Catalogue. If you would like to use the archive, please contact the Librarian for further information.

Paintings and Sculptures

The RUSI building on Whitehall is home to a number of paintings and sculptures. You can now view a catalogue of our paintings here. This list is comprehensive although not exhaustive as some items are not currently on display at 61, Whitehall.


The RUSI Library of Military History is home to over 30,000 volumes

Library Collection Subjects


  • The Napoleonic campaigns
  • British colonial wars
  • American Civil War
  • Crimea
  • The Boer War
  • Russo / Japanese War
  • World War I
  • Spanish Civil War
  • World War II
  • Korea
  • Vietnam
  • The Gulf Wars

... and current campaigns

Special collections

  • Maps
  • Official histories
  • Biographies
  • Personal histories
  • Army, Navy & Air Force lists
  • Training guides
  • Regimental histories

We also have current collections which support the wider work of the Institute

  • Global security
  • International relations
  • Warfare & weapons
  • Peacekeeping
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Arms control
  • Terrorism, insurgency & crime