Q: Where can I find out more about the history of the University of Oxford?
A: Here are a few sources for the history of the University of Oxford, printed and online.
- A very brief summary on the Oxford website
- The Illustrated History of the University of Oxford, edited by John Prest (1993)
- The History of the University of Oxford – a multi-volume work published by Oxford University Press, general editor TH Aston:
- Volume I: The Early Oxford Schools ed. J. I. Catto, Ralph Evans (1984)
- Volume II: Late Medieval Oxford ed. J. I. Catto, Ralph Evans (1992)
- Volume III:The Collegiate University ed.James McConica (1986)
- Volume IV: Seventeenth-Century Oxford ed. Nicholas Tyacke (1997)
- Volume V: The Eighteenth Century ed. L. S. Sutherland, L. G. Mitchell
- Volume VI: Nineteenth Century Oxford, Part 1 ed. M. G. Brock, M. C. Curthoys (1997)
- Volume VII: Nineteenth-century Oxford, Part 2 ed. M.G. Brock and M.C. Curthoys (2000)
- Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century ed. Brian Harrison (1994)
- for 19th and early 20th century university and college histories, and some personal memoirs of former students and Fellows, try searching for ‘history oxford’, ‘college history oxford’ etc on archive.org.
Though November be the month to ‘remember, remember’, though we say ‘lest we forget’ around this time of year, sometimes we do forget. Corporate as well as individual memory can fail, and in this case it seems to have done – temporarily, I hope. The casts above have come adrift from their identities. The first head and hand are said to be those of Arthur Hugh Clough. I have no idea who the second is supposed to be; it’s not listed in any of the collection catalogues I’ve come across – yet. None of the three items has any identification written on or stored with it. There is a story that Benjamin Jowett was once given the skull of Oliver Cromwell, and bequeathed it to the Ashmolean. This is highly unlikely, but the supposed death mask of Clough (the bearded full head) does look remarkably like several examples of what are said to be death masks of Cromwell – though not at all like others. So who are they really, and how can we tell?
I am currently sorting out a lot of old correspondence and deposit documentation about the collections, and it may be that some clues turn up there. But the mystery will continue for a while…