– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

reports

monthly report – March 2018

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during March:

  • Number of enquiries: 41
  • Total for 2017: 145
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 7
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 9
  • Collections consulted: Chalet, Rawnsley, college records (2), Monckton, Belloc, Jowett
  • images created: 2400
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries) – actual numbers may be slightly higher:
    • 12 boxes – up to 5 files per box, not including
    • 4 files – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 36 individual items from a single letter to a bound volume

Some of the topics of remote enquiries received in March:

  • advice re archival sources and research
  • advice re archival training and careers
  • requests for permission to quote from or publish images of archival material
  • requests for (new) digital images of college records and medieval manuscripts
  • College portraits/art/chattels
  • 1968 student protests
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • T Good (Balliol 1626)
    • W Craven, 6th Baron Craven (Balliol 1756)
    • Benjamin Jowett (Balliol 1835) and Florence Nightingale
    • JA Symonds (Balliol TT 1858)
    • A Lang (Balliol HT 1865)
    • A Toynbee (Balliol HT 1875)
    • A Campbell (Balliol 1929)
    • R Leach (Balliol 1952)
    • KAH Gravett (Balliol 1955)

Enquirers and researchers should note that I resigned my post in early February and am currently completing the required 3 months’ notice. This is the last of my monthly reports to include numbers etc about enquiries and research at St Cross. As agreed in February, I have stopped taking new enquiries, requests for reprographics etc as of 1 April, and from the same date will no longer be dealing with researcher appointments, invigilation or productions and returns of material at St Cross. This is to make it possible for me to use the last few weeks of my notice period to ensure that pre-April enquiries, processing new accessions and other ‘essential but invisible’ tasks are dealt with as fully as possible before I leave. Details of the vacancy, and of interim and future staffing arrangements for the archives and manuscripts, will be posted on the Balliol College website in due course. Urgent enquiries and requests for research appointments should be directed to the Librarians until further notice.

– Anna Sander, Archivist & Curator of Manuscripts


monthly report – February 2018

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during February:

  • Number of enquiries: 49
  • Total for 2017: 105
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 11
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 14
  • Collections consulted: Medieval mss (3), Chalet, Hill, Hunt, Jowett (2), Nicolson diaries, Rawnsley, College records (2)
  • images created: 800
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries) – actual numbers may be slightly higher:
    • 13 boxes – up to 5 files per box, not including
    • 11 files – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 6 individual items from a single letter to a bound volume, not including
    • 8 medieval/early modern ms codices

Some of the topics of remote enquiries received in February:

  • requests for permission to quote from or publish images of archival material
  • history of the Founders/Balliol family
  • requests for (new) digital images of college records and medieval manuscripts
  • Arnold & Brackenbury Society history
  • College livings (ecclesiastical patronage)
  • Chapel architecture
  • College portraits/art/chattels
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • C18 – early C20 College servants
    • Henry Savage (Balliol 1621)
    • Oliver Strachey (Balliol HT 1893)
    • AK Overend (Balliol 1895)
    • RWP Palmer (Balliol 1908)
    • Alan Strode Campbell Ross (Balliol 1925)
    • JR MacLean (Balliol 1927)
    • Roy Harris Jenkins (Balliol 1938)
    • JS Rennie (Balliol 1939)
    • John Nigel Rowe (Balliol 1941)
    • SJ Goldstein/Gould (Balliol 1942)
    • Hyam Zandell Maccoby (Balliol 1942)
    • Donald Michie (Balliol 1945)

Enquirers and researchers should note that I resigned my post in early February and am currently working the required 3 months’ notice. Details of the vacancy, and of interim and future staffing arrangements for the archives and manuscripts, will be posted on the Balliol College website in due course.

– Anna Sander, Archivist & Curator of Manuscripts


monthly report – December 2017

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during December:

  • Number of enquiries: 33
  • Total for 2017: 726
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 5
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 5 (out of 8 days open)
  • Collections consulted: Jowett archive, college records, medieval mss, Conroy archive, Malcolm papers
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries) – actual numbers may be slightly higher:
    • 13 boxes containing from two bound volumes to 4 thick files of individual items, not including
    • 1 file – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 9  individual items from a single letter to a bound volume, not including
    • 1 medieval ms codex
  • No of non-research visitors: 25
  • exhibition open, with curator’s introduction, Q&A and discussion, for:
    • current Balliol Fellows, guests and staff
    • archivists & librarians from other Colleges
    • members of the Oxford Conservators’ Group
    • private visitors, including Old Members of Balliol

Some of the enquiry topics received in December:

  • college portraits and other works of art
  • requests for permission to quote from or publish images of archival material
  • requests for (new) digital images of college records and medieval manuscripts
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • C18 – early C20 College servants
    • G Abbott (Balliol 1581)
    • H Savage (Balliol 1624/5)
    • CSC Bowen (Balliol 1853), later Baron Bowen
    • HCK Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (Balliol 1863)
    • GO Roos (Balliol 1887)
    • AW Pickard-Cambridge (Balliol 1891)

monthly report – November 2017

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during November:

  • Number of enquiries: 59
  • Running total for 2017: 693
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 11
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 16
  • Collections consulted: Morier, Jowett, AL Smith, Mallet, JL Strachan-Davidson (2), college records, medieval mss (3), David Urquhart, Francis Urquhart, Francis Oppenheimer
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries) – actual numbers may be slightly higher:
    • 17 boxes containing from two bound volumes to 4 thick files of individual items, not including
    • 16 files – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 14  individual items from a single letter to a bound volume, not including
    • 51 medieval ms codices
  • No of non-research visitors: ca 140
  • images created: 800
  • events: with colleagues, staffed the College Archivists’ stand at the Graduate Thesis fair
  • exhibition open, with curator’s introduction, Q&A and discussion, for:
    • Balliol MCR (15)
    • tutor & students from Harris Manchester (15)
    • mentor & trainees from the Bodleian Conservation department (8)
    • tutor & students from Mansfield (4)
    • Dept of Education (4)
    • senior tutor & students from MCMRS (7)
    • tutor & students from Oxford MSt in Medieval Studies (13)
    • tutor & students from Balliol English (8)
    • OCC conservators (6)
    • tutor & students from Dept of History of Art (7)
    • Bodleian Libraries’ & Oxford Brookes SCONUL trainees (15)
    • private visitors (12)
    • total 114 (at least)

Some of the enquiry topics received in November:

  • advice re archival sources and research
  • advice re archival training and careers
  • requests for permission to quote from or publish images of archival material
  • requests for (new) digital images of medieval manuscripts
  • Balliol’s holdings of pre-800 and 17th century manuscripts
  • a Balliol tartan!
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • C18 and early C20 College servants
    • R Scott (Balliol 1835)
    • JA Spender (Balliol 1881)
    • A Entwisle (Balliol TT 1863)
    • GM Hopkins (Balliol TT 1863)
    • B Entwisle (Balliol TT 1869)
    • F Oppenheimer (Balliol 1890)
    • JHR Grenfell (Balliol 1906)
    • LU Kay-Shuttleworth (Balliol 1906)
    • EJ Kay-Shuttleworth (Balliol 1908)
    • GW Grenfell (Balliol 1909)
    • RP Haldane (Balliol 1911)
    • HS Malik (Balliol 1912)
    • L Fleming (Balliol 1922)
    • NM Roger (Balliol 1929)
    • A S-R Pyper (Balliol 1935)
    • OD Pratt (Balliol 1938)
    • CB Hobhouse (Balliol 1928)
    • NAM Grant Duff (Balliol 1928)

termly report – Michaelmas 2017

 This report covers the Archivist’s work May-November 2017.

A) Enquiries, researchers & visitors

 

May

  • Enquiries: 60
  • Researchers – unique users:  5
  • Seats occupied: 7
  • Collections consulted in person:  Oriental mss, western medieval mss, Jowett papers
  • Files produced May-Sept:  33 boxes, 83 files, 50 items and 74 mss
  • Visitors (non-research):  ca. 20

June

  • Enquiries: 62
  • Unique users:  4
  • Seats occupied:  4
  • Collections consulted in person:  Nicolson diaries, college records, medieval mss (2)
  • Visitors (non-research): ca. 55

July

  • Enquiries: 54
  • Unique users: 11
  • Seats occupied: 16
  • Collections consulted:  Monckton (4), Morier, college records, Strachan-Davidson, Clough, medieval mss, David Urquhart
  • Visitors (non-research): ca. 50

August

  • Enquiries: 44
  • Unique users: 6
  • Seats occupied: 12
  • Collections consulted in person:  Monckton (2), medieval mss, TH Green, Rawnsley, Jowett
  • Visitors (non-research): 3

September

  • Enquiries: 61
  • Unique users: 3
  • Seats occupied: 5
  • Collections consulted in person:  College records, medieval manuscripts (3)
  • Visitors (non-research): 400+

October

  • Enquiries: 55
  • Unique users: 10
  • Seats occupied: 13
  • Collections consulted in person:  College records,  medieval mss (3), Browning, Nicolson, Monckton (2), Jowett, TH Green, Caird, RBD Morier, AL Smith
  • Files produced: 20 boxes, 14 files, 61 items and 24 mss
  • Visitors (non-research): ca. 55

November (incomplete at the time of reporting)

  • Enquiries: 43
  • Unique users: 8
  • Seats occupied: 15
  • Collections consulted in person:  College records,  medieval mss (3),  David Urquhart, Jowett, TH Green, RBD Morier, AL Smith, Oppenheimer, FF Urquhart
  • Files produced: 6 boxes, 3 files, 11 items and 34 mss
  • Visitors (non-research): 110+

Period totals

  • Enquiries: 379
  • Unique users: 47
  • Seats occupied: 72
  • Files produced: 53 boxes, 97 files, 101 items and 98 mss
  • Visitors (non-research): 860+

2017 running totals

  • Enquiries: 677
  • Unique users: 79
  • Seats occupied: 116
  • Visitors (non-research): 920+

*Files produced: one production slip may record anything from a single item to a complete box. These numbers tell more about the amount of fetching and carrying involved than about the volume, breadth or detail of material consulted. The number includes material consulted by the archivist while researching responses to remote enquiries as well as those produced to researchers in person.

 – A box may contain up to 10 bound volumes or 6 files containing several hundred individual items. Numbers of boxes given do not include files.

– A file may contain up to 200 items. Numbers of files given do not include items. 

– Individual items may range from a single letter to a bound volume. Numbers of items given do not include medieval ms codices.

A sample of research topics, by researchers in person and remote enquirers, from the reporting period:

‘I am assessing materials available and avenues of research on the history of the church of St Lawrence Jewry.’  (May)

‘[I would like to consult] the archives of James Justinian Morier… I am particularly interested in any correspondence, diaries or drawings/paintings relating to his accompanying the British intervention in the Russian-Iranian agreement that led to the signing of the treaty of Gulistan on the 24th October 1813.’ (June)

‘I am writing a book about the 1848 revolutions and I am interested in Arthur Hugh Clough, Arthur Stanley and Benjamin Jowett.’ (July)

‘I am looking in letters sent from India for evidence of health and health care in C19 India.’ (August)

‘I am looking for evidence of payments made in connection with the plates contained in Oxonia Illustrata to David Loggan, the engraver, ca 1670-1675, either by the colleges  or by the dedicatee (Sir Henry Littleton).’ (September)

‘My research work relates to the Anglo-American expatriate circle around Katherine Bronson in Venice during the 1880s.’ (October)

A digest of remote enquiry topics is now included in the monthly blog reports as well.

B) Arrangement & description and collection care

Lists by JHJ; edited and posted online by Anna:

  • Letters of Muriel Hatherley Rendell, later Cathcart
  • Papers relating to St Mary’s Portsea during WW1 (Hilda Pickard-Cambridge & OA Hunt)
  • Papers of AC Bradley, Fellow of Balliol
  • Courtenay Peregrine Ilbert (1841-1924), Balliol 1860 (Fellow 1864, Bursar 1871-1874)
  • Papers of Francis Oppenheimer
  • Papers of Peter Lyne re St Cross Church

Papers of AF Giles (Balliol 1936), 100+ fascicled letters to his parents while a student at Balliol and active in student politics and the Union, 1936-1939 (2 volumes & 3 mounted photos). Listed by Anna and posted online.

The Caird Papers have been physically numbered to correspond with JHJ’s relisting and better descriptions. The TH Green, David Urquhart and Morier Family papers have additional descriptions and clearer numbering. and improved physical numbering.

Medieval mss: boxing more than 100 manuscripts for the first time resulted in the need to adjust some of the shelving on N5. Shelving changes, shelf check and updated finding aid are complete.

Conservation: treatment of several medieval manuscripts was completed over the summer in preparation for the MT exhibition. In particular, MS 354 (Richard Hill’s commonplace book) has had key repairs to the sewing structure and badly softened page edges, and has been reboxed to replace an old non-acid free Maltby’s box. While it is still fragile and requires careful and minimal handling, it is now safe to produce for (a very limited number of) researchers again.

Engagement

Social media

  • Facebook: 1003 Likes. Weekly updates, links to blog posts, notices of events, etc.
  • Twitter: 2172 total Tweets, 1602 followers
  • Blog: 30 new posts

Image management

  • Oxfile (OUCS) – used 24 times Sept-Oct, total 339 times, to send images, externally and within college, across archival collections.
  • I have been working with Emma Stanford and her successor at the Bodleian to correct some old (1997-2000) errors and missing images in the Balliol sets on http://image.ox.ac.uk/ , as the old site will be taken down once the contents have been checked and added to http://digital.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/ .
  • Images created: 20K. More than 111K images on Flickr and 2.75 M views.

Outreach & Events

May

  • Anna & Gabrielle – handling workshop for Balliol English students
  • Unlocking Archives talk: Nikki Tomkins (OCC) on conserving Nicholas Crouch books for Wellcome project
  • Watford Girls’ Grammar school groups – manuscripts activity (repeat visit but new activity)

June

  • Bodleian archives & mss trainees – tour & careers talk (repeat visit)

July

  • Oxford Research & Innovation Support Conference delegates – general tour (recommended)
  • Dr Juliana Dresvina & students from St Peter’s College Summer School at Magdalen College – medieval manuscripts workshop

September

  • Open Doors – 7th year, medieval mss exhibition open, 300+ visitors
  • Balliol Society Weekend – medieval mss exhibition open
  • Evensong for the patronal feast of St Cross
  • Exhibition continues open all Michaelmas term
  • Visit to exhibition and service of Evening Prayer by participants in college incumbents’ conference

October

  • Antechapel displays and ‘Document in Focus’ features in Broad St Library, prepared by Anna, continue
  • Bruce’s Brunch talk by Anna re college history & special collections
  • Individual visitors to exhibition including Fellows and Old Members

November

  • with colleagues, staffed the College Archives stall at the postgraduate history thesis fair, Examination Schools
  • with Librarians, hosted an MCR viewing of the medieval manuscripts exhibition plus open display and discussion of early printed books (ca 15 attending)
  • Medievalists visiting exhibition, introduction and Q&A with Anna: tutors with students from Harris Manchester, Mansfield, the Education Department, Middlebury CMRS (Keble), Bodleian Conservation department’s preservation volunteers & staff
  • DIY Digitization workshop with Prof Henrike Laehnemann (SEH) for Palaeography, History of the Book, Digital Humanities Method Option MSt (following on from Prof Wakelin’s workshop in 2016)
  • Handling workshop and medieval manuscripts exhibition with Helen Appleton for Balliol 2nd year English students (return visit)
  • Oxford Conservation Consortium staff visiting exhibition (i.e. from the Grove Cottage studio)
  • Oxford Conservation Group visiting exhibition (conservators from Bodleian, Ashmolean, ORO, independents etc.)

Future events

Scheduled so far:

  • Display re Balliol’s WW1 poets and poetry (spring 18) & related talk/event
  • Book launch for Lynda Dennison’s ‘Oxford: All Souls-Lincoln’ volume of An Index of Images in English Manuscripts, from the time of Chaucer to Henry VII, c.1380 – c.1509, series ed. Kathleen Scott (Balliol has the largest section!) (HT18)
  • 3rd Holywell Manor Festival (April 18)
  • Visit from Wolvercote Local History Society (June 18)
  • Open Doors Oxford (Sept 18)
  • Exhibition of Reconstructing Nicholas Crouch project (MT18) & related talk/event
  • Oxfordshire Record Society AGM & visit to exhibition (Sept 18)
  • Loan of Gerard Manley Hopkins material to Campion Hall for display during GMH Symposium (Sept 18)
  • Display of photos and archives for Chalet Trust event (Sept 18)

CPD/training/staff

Anna CPD:

  • Attended Archives Hub training meeting for college archivists (June)
  • Attended ‘Recent conservation and research on the two Winchester Bibles: a day symposium’ at the Weston Library (June)
  • Oxford-Cambridge & Inns of Court archivists’ meeting (July)
  • Chapter on handling special collections material finally appeared in Loffman, Claire, and Harriet Phillips, eds. A Handbook of Editing Early Modern Texts. Routledge, 2017. (July)
  • Visit to Somerville College Library & Archives (August)
  • Attended OCG-OAC-CCL talk by Chris Woods (one of the authors) on BS 4971, the new environmental standard for the conservation and care of archive and library collections (November)
  • Attended talk by Matthew Holford (Bodleian) about the use of TEI (text encoding initiative) for creating electronic catalogues of medieval manuscript books from hard-copy data in print catalogues, based on his experience of projects at the Bodleian and at Christ Church (November).

Balliol student Kai Dowding (Balliol 2017, MSt Medieval Studies) is working with Anna on Friday afternoons in MT-HT for practical archival experience.

More details, more often, on social media:

https://balliolarchivist.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/balliolarchives

https://www.facebook.com/balliolarchives

http://www.flickr.com/photos/balliolarchivist/collections/

– Anna Sander, MT 2017 (November)

 


monthly report September 2017

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during September:

  • Number of enquiries: 61
  • Running total for 2017: 578
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 3
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 5
  • Collections consulted: college records,  medieval manuscripts (3)
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries), over 4 months since late May when a new production slip system was introduced – numbers doubtless incomplete:
    • 33 boxes containing from two bound volumes to 4 thick files of individual items, not including
    • 83 files – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 50 individual items from a single letter to a bound volume, not including
    • 74 medieval ms codices
  • No of non-research visitors: ca.400
  • images created: 1300
  • events: Oxford Open Doors (7th year), patronal evening prayer service, Balliol incumbents’ conference visit to exhibition and evening prayer service, Balliol Society visitors to exhibition, individual visitors to exhibition

This month I’ve included a snapshot of numbers about enquirers’ place of origin (or at least geographical  research base) and enquiry type – I don’t do this every time as they get very repetitive; proportions are fairly consistent throughout the year and from year to year. Private family history enquiries may make up less of the annual total now that basic research sources such as the College Register and War Memorial Books have been available online for more than 5 years; individuals can use them without reference to the archivist, and they are being mentioned in e.g. family history/WW1 research forums as well. More about September’s enquiries (calculated out of 61):

Origin of enquiry

  • Internal (Balliol) 9, 15%
  • Oxford (outside Balliol) 17, 28%
  • Rest of UK 24, 39%
  • Other countries 11, 19% (Germany, France , Netherlands, Australia, USA, Italy, Canada)

Type of enquirer

  • Private (mostly biographical or local history) 20, 34%
  • Academic 18, 29%
  • Student 7, 11%
  • Institutional/admin 16, 26%

Some of the enquiry topics received in September:

  • advice re archives cataloguing and preservation
  • advice re student/volunteer projects in archives
  • requests for (new) digital images of medieval manuscripts
  • C17 college accounts
  • Buittle Castle
  • college hymn
  • college portraits and paintings
  • college rules for students in the 1920s
  • records of college livings and related estates/property
  • development of the tutorial system, late C19-earlyC20
  • history of the role of Visitor of the College
  • Balliol JCR and MCR Presidents
  • history of adult education in Oxford, late C19-early C20
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • Nathanael Konopios (Balliol 1630s/40s)
    • GM Hopkins (Balliol TT 1863)
    • R Browning (Hon Fellow 1867)
    • J Ashton Cross (Balliol 1868)
    • R Younger, Baron Blanesburgh (Balliol TT 1880)
    • OV Darbishire (Balliol 1888)
    • J O’Regan (Balliol 1889)
    • AR Cunliffe (Balliol 1890)
    • HJ Rofe (Balliol 1890)
    • CE Goetz (Balliol 1891)
    • FF Urquhart (Balliol 1891)
    • CN Dyer (Balliol 1897)
    • JS Mann (Balliol 1912)
    • HG Greene (Balliol 1922)
    • C Gilpatric (Balliol 1938)
    • JR Schlesinger (Balliol 1947)
    • Egerton Richardson (Balliol 1954)

monthly report August 2017

A few numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during August:

Some of the enquiry topics received in August:

  • advice re archives access arrangements
  • advice re archives training/careers
  • advice re records management
  • requests for (new) digital images of medieval manuscripts
  • student protests in the 1960s
  • historic maps, plans and views of Balliol
  • C19 letters from India
  • Balliol JCR Presidents
  • pronunciation of Jowett
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • John Wycliffe (Fellow and Master C14)
    • David Urquhart (1855-1928)
    • Thomas Hill Green (Balliol HT 1855) and Charlotte Byron Symonds Green
    • C19-early C20 Thai (Siamese) students at Balliol
    • HD Rawnsley (Balliol 1870)
    • William Henry ‘Billy’ Grenfell (Balliol 1874)
    • Owen Morgan Edwards (Balliol 1884)
    • Lawrence Evelyn-Jones (Balliol 1904)
    • JD Champneys (Balliol 1908)
    • Vivian Hunter Galbraith (Balliol 1910)
    • James Saumarez Mann (Balliol 1912)
    • Prof Leslie Lipson (Balliol 1931)
    • Adam von Trott zu Solz (Balliol 1931)
    • AF Giles (Balliol 1936)
    • Thomas Balogh (Fellow of Balliol 1940)