The Leighton Collection was donated to the Library by Peter Leighton of Canberra in 1983. His parents had assembled a large collection of rare books at their home in Breslau, Germany. They had a particular interest in limited illustrated editions of fairytales and folklore. When they emigrated to Australia in 1939, they brought with them the books that are now housed in the Library.
The Leighton Collection is a small collection of German and Austrian books, mostly published in the early years of the twentieth century. They include poetry, plays, novels, essays, fairytales, folklore, art books, memoirs, and books on the theatre and opera. The collection is notable for its fine bindings and the high proportion of limited and special editions, some of them with superb illustrations. Among the publishers represented in the collection are Wilhelm Drugulin (Leipzig), Samuel Fischer (Berlin), Axel Juncker (Berlin), Gustav Kiepenheuer (Weimar), Ernst Rowohlt (Leipzig), Ernst Wasmuth (Berlin) and Kurt Wolff (Leipzig).
The following are some of the rare books in the Leighton Collection:
Arabische Nachte, Potsdam, 1920
Baroja, Pio, Spanische Miniaturen, Berlin, n.d.
Chamisso, Adelbert von, Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte, Berlin, 
Edschmid, Kasimir, Die Furstin, Weimar, 1918
Eulenberg, Herbert, Alles umn Liebe: eine Komodie, Leipzig, 1911
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, Die Briefgedichte des jungen Goethe, Leipzig, 1910
Hindenburg, Paul von, Aus meinem Leben, Leipzig, 1920 (signed)
Heine, Heinrich, Romanzero, Berlin, [1907?]
Hoffmann, E.T.A., Das ode Haus, Berlin, n.d.
Jacobsen, J.P., Kormak und Stengerde, Berlin, 1912
Kafka, Franz, In der Strafkolonie, Leipzig, 1919 (limited edition)
Lotte Kaplan, Die bose Hexe Gruselsehr: Marchen, Berlin, 1922
Kleist, Ewald Christian von, Ewald Christian von Kleist’s sammtliche Werke, Berlin, 1840
Ludendorff, Erich, Meine Kriegserinnerungen, 1914–1918, Berlin, 1919 (signed)
Mascha, Ottokar, Osterreichische Plakatkunst, Vienna, 
Rackham, Arthur, Der Marchenwald, Zurich, 1919 (limited edition)
Ramler, Karl Wilhelm, Alte Tier Fabeln, [Berlin], 1920
Ruckert, Friedrich, Gedichte, Berlin, n.d.
Schiller, Friedrich, Schillers Gedichte, Berlin, 
Slevogt, Max, Max Slevogt: 96 Reproduktionen nach seinen Gemalden, Munich, 1912
Strindberg, August, Marchen, Munich, n.d.
Wilde, Oscar, Der Junge Konig, Weimar, 1918 (limited edition).
All the books contain a bookplate with the initials ‘ML’.
The books in the Leighton Collection have been individually catalogued and integrated in the Rare Books and general collections. A volume containing the accession slips of all the books is available.