Donors to the Fellows' Library appeal recorded on the refurbished bookcases

The Fellows’ Library is a glorious, galleried room, built in 1676-77 as a freestanding block by the then Principal John Lloyd, and later incorporated into the College’s second quad. It contains bookcases that are decorated with strapwork dating from around 1628, which were taken from a library elsewhere in the College. The Library contains around 11,000 antiquarian printed volumes acquired by the College since the beginning of the 17th century.

The Library is home to many of the College’s rare texts, including a 1545 Greek Bible, presented by Francis Mansell, which bears the signatures of Philip Melanchthon and a number of other 16th century Reformers; a collection of atlases by Mercator and others; and first editions of Harvey’s Circulation of the Blood (1628) and Newton’s Principia Mathematica (1687).

Most of this collection evolved from the generous benefactions of Old Members and patrons, rather than through purchase. It is a process which continues to this day with the occasional addition of items directly relevant to Jesus College and its history, together with gifts of publications by Old Members and Fellows, perhaps best exemplified in the last 100 years by the typed original of T.E. Lawrence’s thesis on crusader castles.

By 2007, the centuries had taken their toll on the Library and it fell into disrepair. A direct mail appeal was launched by the College to try and raise funds as a contribution towards the huge £700,000 refurbishment project that would be required to return the Library to its former glory. 

Learn more about the Fellows’ Library Appeal, Fellows’ Library Gallery.

See also the Jesus College Libraries' Readers' Guide and Blog.

To contact the Librarian, please email librarian@jesus.ox.ac.uk.