University College (popularly called “Univ.”) traces its origins back to 1249, making it a claimant for the title of the oldest College in Oxford. In spite of its age, it was also one of the smallest and poorest for many years. Until the 19th century, it had very strong links with the north-east of England: most of its Fellowships and Scholarships were only open to candidates from Yorkshire, Durham, and Northumberland. Famous alumni include Clement Attlee, Bill Clinton, Percy Shelley, C. S. Lewis, V. S. Naipaul, and Prince Felix Yusupov, assassin of Rasputin.
The archive includes accounts and other financial documents from the 1380s onwards. The College’s accounts for 1381/2-1596/7 have been edited (see below). There are also title deeds, going back to the 1190s, and other estate papers (including maps) on the College’s properties in Oxfordshire, Essex, Yorkshire, Montgomeryshire, Newcastle and elsewhere. There are several papers, including architectural drawings, relating to the College’s buildings. Admission Registers for college members have been kept continuously since 1674. The college archives does not have many collections of private papers.
Archivist: Dr. Robin Darwall-Smith.
Opening hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 10.00 - 1.00 and 2.00 - 4.30 (by appointment only).
Address: University College, Oxford OX1 4BH
Robin Darwall-Smith, A History of University College, Oxford (OUP, 2008).
A. D. M. Cox and R. H. Darwall-Smith, Account Rolls of University College 1381/2-1596/7 (Oxford Historical Society, vols. 39 and 40 (n.s.), 1999 and 2001)
R. H. Darwall-Smith (ed.), Early Records of University College, Oxford (Oxford Historical Society vol. 46 (n.s.), 2015)