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Finding Aids - Archives and Modern Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library: Library Records

A guide to the finding aids available for early modern and modern manuscripts and printed ephemera in the Bodleian Library.

Library Records

The Library preserves a large quantity of its own administrative records from 1602 to the present. They reflect the various aspects of the work of the Library over four centuries (though few series are complete for the whole period), including: Curators' minutes and reports; accounts and bills; papers concerning the construction and repair of buildings; correspondence with donors, depositors and enquirers; papers about the acquisition and cataloguing of collections, records of readers' admission and book orders; material about exhibitions; and the records of modern departments and dependent libraries.

The Library Records catalogue is online.

Access to certain records less than 80 years old is restricted.

Early Modern library records

An informal list compiled by New College Fellow Librarian Will Poole

‘MS Lib. recs.’ are the institutional manuscripts of the Bodleian itself. These are navigated by browsing the handlist, available in the Special Collections Reading Room. Relevant to early-modernists:

Curatorial Minutes 1678-1770 (Library Records e. 3)

Day Books 1613-20 [then lacking until 1719] (Library Records e. 9)

Annual Accounts 1613-76 (Library Records e. 8)

Original Vouchers 1642, 1646-57 (Library Records c. 27)

Memoranda of Accounts 1613-76 (Library Records e. 8)

Annual Accounts 1666, 1676-1813 (Libary Records c. 29, c. 29)

Bills 1613-1763 (Libary Records b. 36)

Hyde’s handlist of new books 1673-85 (Library Records c. 853)

Registrum B i.e. donations and Stationers’ copies 1692-1723 (Library Records b. 158) [has note on what sent to binder, including many Thurston books etc, in the hand of Hearne, 1713]

Books from Stationers 1640-1764 (Library Records c. 856, 857)

Benefactors’ Books (the official ones) (Library Records b. 903, 904)

Draft accessions register 1692-1710 (Library Records d. 423)

Index to donors’ register 1696-1747 (Library Records e. 184)

Summary of donations 1600-13 (Library Records c. 926)

Correspondence related to purchases 1654-1910 (Library Records c. 950)

Thomas James’ MS catalogue (Library Records d. 599)

James’ Catalogue, printed, interleaved (Libary Records e. 272)

James’ autograph appendix (Library Records e. 639)

James’ 1613 catalogue, autograph (Library Records e. 273-74)

1620 Catalogue, official copy, additions of Rous, Barlow, Hyde (Library Records d. 600)

1620 Catalogue, Sub-librarian’s copy (Library Records e. 275)

Curatorial Handlists c. 1614-24 (Library Records e. 276-88)

Curatorial Handlists c. 1641 – Nineteenth Century (very many – handlist, p. 94)

List of books not in library 1620 (Library Records d. 601)

Langbaine’s numerical list c. 1652 (Library Records e. 291) [and see others: handlist, p. 106]

Hyde’s Catalogue 1674 (many states – handlist, p. 106f)

Handlists based on Hyde (handlist, p. 117)

Handlists for the MSS Collections (very many – handlist, p. 121f)

List of shelfmarks and their location, c. 1650 (Library Records e. 331)

Hearne’s catalogue (Library Records d. 700)

Catalogue of Ashmole Books 1831 (Library Records d. 932-3); 1839 (Libary Records d. 934-35)

Black’s Ashmole Catalogue, interleaved and annotated (Library Records c. 1736-37)

Original Savile catalogue, c. 1619 (Library Records f. 58)

Savile books with MS additions (Library Records b. 473)

Curatorial catalogue of Savile collection, 1704 (Library Records d. 595)

Catalogue of pictures, coins, etc. 1740-47 (Library Records e. 489)

Catalogue of coins 1731-1898, -1940 (Library Records d. 1106, 1107)

Catalogue of playing cards (Library Records d. 1141-2)


It should be noted, too, that ‘Library Records’-type MSS are not always to be found in Library Records. So for instance lists of the curiosities exhibited in the Anatomy School in the period will be found in MS Rawl. Q e. 36 and MS Rawl. B 399*, the former because it was returned from the Ashmolean early in the 20th century; the latter because it forms part of Hearne’s MSS, as it was Hearne’s own handlist. These two MSS, indeed, will be of great interest to students of museology, as the former is the register of gifts, with names of donors and dates, and the latter is the location catalogue.

Subject Guide

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