– 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.

Unlocking Archives

Unlocking Archives talk TT18

Against ‘Iberic Crudity’:

Balliol MS 238E, Bodleian MS Douce 204,

and Laurentius Dyamas

Anna Espínola Lynn, MSt in History of Art and Visual Culture (Wadham College, Oxford), will be speaking on the transmission of style in fifteenth-century Catalan manuscript production.

All welcome! Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last about half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at the Balliol manuscript discussed.

Online images of  Balliol MS 238E and of Bodleian MS Douce 204

Unlocking Archives is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar series of illustrated lunchtime talks about current research in Balliol College’s historic collections: archives, manuscripts and early printed books, and the connections between them.

Talks take place at 1pm in Balliol’s Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell. St Cross is next door to Holywell Manor and across the road from the English & Law faculties on Manor Road; directions http://archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk/Services/visit.asp#f.

Questions? anna.sander@balliol.ox.ac.uk.


Unlocking Archives MT16 (2)

Unlocking Archives is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar series of illustrated lunchtime talks about current research in Balliol College’s historic collections: archives, manuscripts and early printed books, and the connections between them.

MS455-06r-200dpi

MS455-06r-200dpi

Tuesday 29 November (MT8), 1-2pm, Prof. Elliott Horowitz (Oliver Smithies Visiting Fellow 2014-15) on this term’s exhibition, ‘Look to the rock from which you were hewn’: Hebraica and Judaica at Balliol College.

All welcome! Feel free to bring your lunch. The talks will last about half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol special collections material discussed. St Cross is next door to Holywell Manor; see ‘Finding Us’ at http://archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk/Services/visit.asp#f


Unlocking Archives MT16 (1)

Unlocking Archives is an interdisciplinary graduate seminar series of illustrated lunchtime talks about current research in Balliol College’s historic collections: archives, manuscripts and early printed books, and the connections between them.

cythara1

Wednesday 16 November (MT6), 1-2pm, Prof. Matthew Balensuela (Depauw), ‘The Music Theory Booklet Balliol 173A ff. 74r–81v: Copying and Content of an Early Medieval Theory Compendium’

Balliol MS 173A is a codex created in the fifteenth century that combines selections of Aristotle (ff. 1-73) with a collection of early music theory (ff. 74‑119). The first music fascicle, ff. 74-81, stands apart from the rest of the music portion (works of Guido and a tonary) in several ways: it has handwriting different from the rest of the codex; it ends with a blank verso that could have served as the back cover of a small booklet; and it features elaborate illustrations found nowhere else in the collection.

Through an analysis of the codicological and orthographical evidence and the contents, I argue that Balliol 173A, ff. 74–81 was originally a self-standing booklet, originally copied around the twelfth century and that one of the main purposes for creating such a booklet was not merely to perpetuate the contents (works by Cassiodorus, Isidore, and Aurélien of Réôme), but also to teach scribes musical terminology and to create a brief reference work of basic musical ideas and concepts. Scribes represent an audience for music theory texts unstudied in the history of music theory. The creators and users of this booklet may not have been interested in learning music theory, nor in performing or composing music. Rather, this booklet may demonstrate how scribes untrained in music learned the basic meanings of the words they were copying and how to lay out pages that combine both text and examples.

* * *

All welcome! Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last about half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol special collections material discussed. St Cross is next door to Holywell Manor; see ‘Finding Us’ at http://archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk/Services/visit.asp#f


Unlocking Archives HT16

Lunchtime talk: Unlocking Archives

a seminar series about research in Balliol College’s special collections

alsmith2

‘AL Smith on the Home Front’

Anna Sander, Balliol College

Friday 19 February 2016, 1-2pm (HT5)

Balliol Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road OX1 3UH

* all welcome *

Arthur Lionel Smith (1850-1924) was Balliol through and through: matriculated 1869, Tutor 1874, Lecturer 1879, Fellow 1882, Dean 1907, Master 1916. Though he was a particularly engaged and hardworking  Fellow and Master of Balliol, a great part of his time and energy was devoted to work outside the college (even including a five-year Fellowship at Trinity) and outside Oxford. In this illustrated talk, Anna will open up some of his extensive personal, academic and administrative archive to show some of his activities at home and away during the First World War.

Anna Sander is archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last about half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol special collections material discussed.

Questions? archivist@balliol.ox.ac.uk


#WW1 – Hardit Singh Malik (Balliol 1912)

The BBC has a fascinating series of stories on their WW1 At Home site – here is an index of all the Oxford related ones. The one that interests me particularly is that of HS Malik, the first Indian pilot in the Royal Flying Corps.

I can recommend his autobiography, A Little Work, A Little Play, published by his daughter in (?)2010, as an excellent read of a fascinating life lived in decidedly interesting times on several continents. Here is a review.

There is not a great deal of information about HS Malik’s time at Balliol (1912-1915) in the College Archives, but what there is illustrates his long-standing enjoyment of college cricket, his WW1 flying career and his abiding friendship with his tutor Francis Fortescue Urquhart, known as ‘Sligger’, a Modern History don and the first Roman Catholic Fellow of an Oxford college since the Reformation.

 

Please click on the images for more information and full archival references. To use these images, please send a completed copy of this form to the Fellow Librarian, who deals with all such requests on behalf of the Master and Fellows.

The series of five photos from Urquhart’s personal albums, now in the College Archives, is bookended by group photos of ‘Past v Present’ cricketers from the college’s sport albums, once kept in the cricket pavilion and documenting all college sport except rowing, which had its own set of albums in the boathouse – these are also now in the College Archives. HS Malik appears first in 1913 as a ‘Present’ cricketer and finally in 1931 as a ‘Past.’ Some cricket match records from the period also survive.

In his first year at Balliol, Malik is still wearing his Eastbourne College cricket blazer; by the next year, he has a Balliol blazer. The informal, light-hearted snap at the Pavilion is from about the same time as the last, Trinity Term 1914, just weeks before war was declared.

The first of Sligger’s wartime photos, from May-June 1916, is the only one of Francis Urquhart and HS Malik together – at this time they will have been discussing ways for Malik to fulfil his desire to join either the French or the British air force. The next also predates HS Malik’s groundbreaking acceptance as an officer in the RFC – at this point, summer 1917, through FF Urquhart’s connections, Malik is working as an officer ambulance driver for the Croix Rouge Français. (Urquhart volunteered at the American Hospital in Neuilly -sur-Seine during University vacations.) The caption of the next two photos, also from Francis Urquhart’s own albums, marks a milestone for HS Malik and for the Service he entered – he has become a pilot in the newly-formed RAF (merger of RFC with Royal Naval Air Service in April 1918).

Though he took his History degree in 1915, HS Malik returns to college cricket as a ‘Present’ for the 1920-21 year, while undertaking mandatory studies preceding posting to the Indian Civil Service.

The last photo is once again a ‘Cricket Past and Present’ group – HS Malik and his family are back in England as he takes up the post of Deputy Trade Commissioner in the Indian High Commission for three years from 1930. This posting to England came in time for Malik to see his friend and tutor again before Urquhart’s death in 1934.

The photos on this page are provided for educational and personal research purposes. Permission must be obtained in advance of any reuse or publication, including on the Internet.

Further reading:

Biographical entry for HS Malik in the Balliol College Register – see 1912 sections of the 2nd and 3rd editions

More of Francis Urquhart’s WW1 photos – see Vol. 7

Correspondence from HS Malik’s later career in the Monckton archive at Balliol:

  • Letters to and from Walter Monckton, 1956-60
    • Dep. Monckton 6R, fols. 85-7, 113-14, 147, 155, 243, 303, 309
    • Dep. Monckton 7R, fols. 19, 37, 41, 75, 82, 114-15, 143-8, 154, 158-9, 162
    • Dep. Monckton 12R, fols. 64-70, 75
  • Copy of letter to T.E. Peppercorn, 1956, Dep. Monckton 7R, fols. 147-8.

Unlocking Archives 7

Unlocking Archives :

a series of lunchtime talks about current research
in Balliol College’s special collections

The Archaeology of the Book of Kells

Dr Ian Mertling-Blake

Friday 1 November (Oxford MT week 3) 1 pm

A thirty-minute minute illustrated introduction to decorative motifs adapted by illustrators of the Book of Kells, suggesting possible megalithic, prehistoric, early historic origins, that they draw on disparate artistic traditions and imitate metalworking and enamelling techniques exemplified by masterpieces like The Tara Brooch, The Alfred Jewell, Ardagh Chalice etc. There will be an opportunity to examine a copy of splendidly accurate full-colour reproduction published by Faksimile Verlag, Lucern for Trinity College Dublin in1990.

The Scottish poet Ian Blake (Balliol ‘65) graduate of TCD, whose doctoral thesis was supervised by the late Dame Kathleen Kenyon, directed excavations at sites he discovered on the west shore of the Dead Sea until, after the ’67Arab-Israeli War, the UN designated the area ‘Disputed Territory’ which it remains.

All welcome! Feel free to bring your lunch.

The talks will last about half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.

All Unlocking Archives talks take place at Balliol’s Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road OX1 3UH (next door to Holywell Manor). Map & directions


Unlocking Archives 6

Lunchtime talk: Unlocking Archives

a new series about current research in Balliol College’s special collections

MSS 260 & 353:

two John Prise manuscripts at Balliol

 

Prof Ceri Davies, Emeritus Professor,

Swansea University

 

Wednesday 23 October, 1-2 pm

Balliol Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road

* all welcome *

Sir John Prise (1501/2-1555), scholar, monastic visitor and Tudor administrator, is connected to two manuscripts from Balliol’s bequest by the 18th century book collector George Coningesby. MS 353 contains Prise’s Commonplace Book and MS 260 contains the text of his Historiae Britannicae Defensio (posthumously published in 1573), an edition of which Professor Davies is preparing.

Ceri Davies is Emeritus Professor of Classics at Swansea University. He was Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, 2008-9.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.


Unlocking Archives – Michaelmas Term schedule

Forthcoming talks in the Unlocking Archives series:

1) Wednesday 23 October 1pm
Prof Ceri Davies
on Balliol MS 260, a manuscript copy of Sir John Prise’s Historiae Brytannicae Defensio (first published 1573)

2) Friday 1 November 1pm
Dr Ian Mertling-Blake
on the archaeology of the Book of Kells, of which Balliol has recently been given a full facsimile

3) Friday 22 November 1pm
Dr Lynda Dennison
on her research for an index of images in later-medieval English MSS in Oxford college collections

Further details TBA

All welcome! Feel free to bring your  lunch. The talks will last  about half an hour, to allow time for  questions and discussion  afterwards and a closer look at some of the  Balliol MSS discussed.

These three talks will complete our Unlocking Archives series of 8 for 2013 – more to come in the new year!

St Cross Church, Manor Road, Oxford: Directions


Unlocking Archives 5

 Lunchtime talk: Unlocking Archives

a new series for 2013 about research in Balliol College’s special collections

Harold Nicolson’s Diaries:

why they are important to the historian

                       unlocking5a 

Dr Ross McKibbin, Senior Research Fellow,

St John’s College

Thursday 25 July, 1-2 pm

Balliol Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road

* all welcome *

Dr McKibbin was Tutor in History at St John’s 1972-2005 and is now a senior research fellow at St John’s. His research interests are in late nineteenth and twentieth century British history. The diaries of Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) are among the most frequently and thoroughly consulted of Balliol’s modern personal papers collections.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.

unlocking 5b


Lunchtime Talk: Unlocking Archives 4

cartoon007bLunchtime talk: Unlocking Archives

a new series about research in Balliol College’s special collections

Living with the Jowett Papers

Dr Robin Darwall-Smith
Archivist,
Magdalen & University Colleges

Activity in the archives  does not lessen as the end of term draws near, and the fourth talk in our new Unlocking Archives series about research in Balliol’s special collections is nearly upon us. This time we’ll hear from an archivist about the sometimes-surprising process of cataloguing a large collection of 19th century personal papers. I do hope some of you will be able to make it for  an expert discussion of one of our most interesting collections – please share the announcement. NB this month’s talk is on a Thursday lunchtime rather than the usual Friday.

Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893, Master of Balliol 1870-93) is best known as a translator of Plato into English and an innovative and influential Master of Balliol. His papers are one of the most-consulted of Balliol’s manuscript collections – both because of their content and because they are our best-catalogued collection. They are especially valued by researchers for their vast store of correspondence and documentation of major administrative changes in the late 19th-century college and wider University. Few researchers, however, have Robin Darwall-Smith’s depth of knowledge of what is revealed in the papers about Jowett himself. Come along next Thursday and find out about the man behind the legend!

Thursday 20 June, 1-2 pm

Balliol Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road

* all welcome *

Robin Darwall-Smith read Classics at Univ. as an undergraduate and a postgraduate, before training as an archivist at the University of Liverpool. His first job after qualifying was to catalogue the papers of Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893, Master of Balliol 1870-93) at Balliol. After spending some years working at Oxfordshire Record Office, he has been Archivist of University College and of Magdalen College since 1993 and 1996 respectively.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.


Lunchtime Talk:Unlocking Archives 3

announcing the third talk in our series about research in Balliol College’s special collections

Tales of the Unexpected: Mont Blanc to Everest

unlocking2       unlocking1      unlocking3

Dr Stephen Golding, University College

Friday 24 May, 1-2 pm

Balliol Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road

* all welcome *

While researching a history of the ‘Chalet des Anglais’ near Mont Blanc, scene of a century of Oxford student reading parties, Dr Golding has made unexpected discoveries about the pioneer mountaineer George Mallory who died on Everest in 1924, adding a new dimension to what is known of this legendary climber’s life.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.

=====

27 May update: Many thanks to Dr Golding for a fascinating paper! It will be presented to another audience at a later date, and, we hope, the new research (and photographs) will be published as well, so no summary here. Stay tuned!


Lunchtime talk: Unlocking the Archives 2

Announcing the second talk in our new series about research in Balliol’s special collections:

MS236-f001rda

John Bray, Limner-Binder, and Three Sequences of Manuscripts Made in Oxford (1450-84)

Holly James-Maddocks, University of York

This paper identifies the hand of one Oxford-based illuminator (John Bray, d.1493) in three sequences of manuscripts housed today in Balliol, Merton, and Exeter Colleges. His collaboration with four London illuminators for their production prompts an assessment of the evidence for peripatetic book artisans and for the reliance of the Oxford trade on the supply of London labour.

Holly James-Maddocks is a PhD student at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, completing the thesis ‘Collaborative Book Production: Scribes and Illuminators in Fifteenth-Century London’. She will continue her studies of the London book trade as the Katharine F. Pantzer Jr. Fellow in Descriptive Bibliography at Harvard University’s Houghton Library in 2013-14.

* * *

When: Friday 26 April, 1-2 pm

Where: Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road (next to Holywell Manor).

Who: all welcome

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some of the Balliol MSS discussed.

Unlocking the Archives is a new series of talks opening up the college’s archives and manuscripts to a wider audience and future researchers, given by scholars from Oxford and around the world about their work on material from Balliol’s special collections.

More Unlocking Archives dates for your calendars:

  • 24 May: Dr Stephen Golding (Univ, Radiology) on researching the first history of the ‘Chalet des Anglais’
  • 20 June: Dr Robin Darwall-Smith (archivist, Magdalen & Univ) on cataloguing the papers of Benjamin Jowett at Balliol

= = = = = = = =

2 April update: Many thanks to Holly for a fascinating paper! It will be presented to another audience at a later date, and, we hope, the new research (and perhaps photographs) will be published as well, so no summary here. Stay tuned!


Lunchtime talk: Unlocking the Archives

Balliol’s new Historic Collections Centre at St Cross Church opened in October 2011; since then, more than 150 academic researchers and more than 2000 visitors have toured the building and consulted the collections. But what’s in there? How can you get a look at it? How did these archives end up at Balliol? and what value do they have for researchers?

A new series of talks by scholars from Oxford and around the world, about their work on material from Balliol’s special collections, is opening up the college’s archives and manuscripts to a wider audience. For this first presentation in the series, the college archivist and curator of manuscripts, Anna Sander, will be introducing three of Balliol’s large 18th and 19th century diplomatic and political collections, the Urquhart, Mallet and Morier Papers, with illustrations and original documents.

Feel free to bring your lunch. The talk will last no more than half an hour, to allow time for questions and discussion afterwards, and a closer look at some items from the collections.

When: this Friday 22 February, 1-2 pm
Where: Balliol Historic Collections Centre, St Cross Church, Manor Road (next to Holywell Manor).
Who: all welcome