The College Archives contain a wide range of records relating to aspects of the College's history beginning with Elizabeth I's foundation charter in 1571 – although the first 30-40 years of the College's history are surprisingly poorly documented.
The types of records we hold here include:
- Financial records, including Bursar's accounts from 1631 to 1881 and a nearly unbroken series of Battel and Buttery Books from 1637 to 1947.
- Records on the Governance of the College, including College Registers back to 1602, Governing Body minutes, and versions of our Statutes from 1622.
- Records on the College's estates in both England and Wales. However, deeds relating to properties which the College no longer owns have been given to the relevant county record offices.
- Plans, drawings and related papers concerning College buildings.
- Papers on College clubs and societies, including JCR minute books from 1892, and ephemera and photographs relating to the College's sports clubs, and its Music Society.
- Admission Registers and related records from 1882.
We also hold several collections of personal papers, of which these are the most significant collections:
- Letters from T. E. Lawrence to Robin Buxton from the 1920s and 1930s.
- Memorabilia of Harold Wilson, including a book of his undergraduate essays, and the charters conferring on him the Garter and his coat of arms.
- Papers of the Victorian historian J. R. Green (1837-83).
- Papers of the scientist Muriel Chapman (née Holmes), 1920s-1930s.
- Papers of Francis Mansell (Principal 1620-1, 1630-48 and 1660-1).
- Papers of Sir Leoline Jenkins (Principal 1661-73).
- Papers of Thomas Pardo (Principal 1727-63).
- Three volumes of notes on science lectures, from the mid-18th century.
- Several examples of undergraduate work from the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Papers of Thomas Hudson-Williams, classicist and campaigner for the Welsh language.
- Various photographic collections going back to the 1870s.
These are some of the records which are currently held in the archives. However, donations of documents and photographs by Old Members of the College and external sources are always welcome because they help the College Archivist to add to this hugely important resource and to research new and forgotten areas of College life. In return, the resources of the Archive are made available to all enquirers with a need to use them - academics, Old Members, local historians or those just interested in what their grandparent was doing at Oxford.