Bodley Special Collections


The Bodleian Library's special collections are divided into two main groups:

· Western Manuscripts & Rare Books, Maps and Music;

· Oriental Manuscripts & Rare Books.


Oxford University humanities theses also form a part of the Bodleian Library's special collections.

In addition, Special Collections includes the University Archives, Oxford University's own administrative records: see below for more details.



Oxford University Archives


The University Archives is a part of the Bodleian Libraries’ Special Collections, and holds only the administrative records of the University itself. These date from 1214 to the present and include charters, statutes and title deeds; records of the University's legislative and executive bodies; financial and central administrative records; records of past members; records of University delegacies and committees; and departmental and faculty records. The majority of our present holdings date from the 19th and 20th centuries and are in paper format. From June 2015, the bulk of the University Archives’ collections will be housed in the Weston Library on Broad Street.



Oxford University Press


A department of the University, OUP is one of the world’s leading publishers of academic and popular texts.  It holds records of the administration of the Press and of its publishing and printing activities in Great Britain. Inquiries can be emailed via the archive website, or by post to:

Dr. Martin Maw, Archivist, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP (Tel: 01865 353527)

The Archive collects, catalogues, preserves, and makes available for research historical material from OUP's printing and publishing operations in the UK.  Although Oxford University has been involved in printing since the fifteenth century, the earliest item in the archive dates from 1668. Besides editorial and administrative material, the archive holds the records of both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

OUP operates a 30-year closure rule on most unpublished documents.  Please contact us for further access details.

Book printing ceased at OUP's Oxford premises in 1989.  The archive includes printing machinery and typographical equipment from the Print Shop, including the seventeenth century "Fell type" collection. 

A selection of this material is on display on OUP's Museum.  This is open to the public Monday-Friday, 10.00am-4.00pm (last tour, 3.30pm).  There is no charge, but please book in advance, either on the number above or by email:



Alexander Library, Edward Gray Institute of Field Ornithology, University of Oxford


The Alexander Library of Ornithology is one of the foremost ornithological reference libraries in the world. It holds extensive collections of 19th and 20th century books, pamphlets and periodicals, and an archive of ornithological notebooks and diaries.



The Griffith Institute, University of Oxford


The Griffith Institute also houses an archive of 'wonderful things' containing the collective memory and life work of some of Egyptology's greatest scholars, including its founder Francis Llewellyn Griffith, as well as Sir Alan Gardiner and Jaroslav Černý. Perhaps the most famous are the records of Howard Carter whose name is synonymous with the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.



Oxfordshire History Centre


Oxfordshire History Centre holds the records of the former Oxfordshire Record Office and Oxfordshire Studies. In its collections you can find the administrative records of Oxfordshire County Council and its predecessors, and the administrative records of the City of Oxford. You may also find church records such as registers of births, deaths and marriages; and records of local businesses and families.



Oxfordshire Health Archives


Oxfordshire Health Archives collects, preserves and makes accessible a medical based archive spanning the region of Oxfordshire from 1567 to the present day.

It consists mainly of material from the hospitals of the National Health Service and relevant administrative bodies. It also holds material from associated health groups and from those with affiliations to the National Health Service.



Oxford Brookes Archives


The Oxford Brookes Archives site includes an online catalogue containing full descriptions of its holdings including the Booker Prize Archive, Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy Archive and the Oxford Brookes University Archive.



Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History

The Centre promotes historic links between Oxford Brookes University and the Methodist Church through archives, artworks, publications and research. Our collections include the Westminster College Archives, the Bletchley Park/Lady Spencer-Churchill College Archives (now the Harcourt Hill and Wheatley campus' of Oxford Brookes University), papers for leading 20th century Methodists such as Dr. Francis Bartels and Rev. Dr. Donald English, and the records of the Oxford Institute for Methodist Theological studies. In addition to these, the Centre is also home to the Wesley Historical Society Library, and custodian of art collections such as the James Smetham Collection, Methodist Church House collection, and works from Westminster College and Bletchley Park College - which includes works by John Piper, Evelyn Dunbar and Duncan Grant.


Tel.: 01865 488319

The Ashmolean Museum


Oxford University Museum of Natural History Libraries & Archives


The Pitt Rivers Museum Archives


The Museum of the History of Science Library

National Archives

Based at Kew in Surrey, the National Archives (also known as TNA, which includes the Historic Manuscripts Commission) contains the administrative records of the government of England and Wales, and much else besides. Its website includes access to the 1901 Census online. It also hosts a powerful archival search engine called Discovery, which functions as the TNA’s online catalogue as well as describing records held in 2,500 other repositories around the UK. Researchers should bear in mind, however, that Discovery is not a reliable tool for searching repositories other than TNA; a comprehensive search of these repositories is best carried out by contacting them directly.

Archives Hub

A point of access to descriptions of collections held in colleges and universities.  The descriptions are usually at ‘collection level’, ie. quite brief, and it will still be necessary to visit a repository to see the actual documents.

International Genealogical Index

Parish register records from across the UK, the IGI is compiled by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and is available for use free of charge.

Church of England Clergy Database

The Clergy of the Church of England Database gives details of the careers of Anglican clergymen between 1540 and 1835.

Cambridge Archivists Group

Information about the various archives in Cambridge, including colleges of the University of Cambridge.