– 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.


monthly report – January 2018

Some numbers about archives & manuscripts activity during January:

  • Number of enquiries: 56
  • Total for 2017: 56
  • Number of researchers in person (unique users): 6
  • Number of person-days in the reading room: 8
  • Collections consulted: Medieval mss (3), College records (2), Rawnsley papers
  • Productions (consulted by researchers in person or by the archivist in response to enquiries) – actual numbers may be slightly higher:
    • 11 files – up to 200 items per file, not including
    • 12  individual items from a single letter to a bound volume, not including
    • 27 medieval ms codices

Some of the topics of remote enquiries received in January:

  • college portraits and other works of art
  • college heraldry
  • correct citation/referencing for archival materials
  • requests for permission to quote from or publish images of archival material
  • requests for (new) digital images of college records and medieval manuscripts
  • 17th century vocabulary for silver plate
  • WW1 minutes of College Meeting
  • WW1 and post-WW2 diaries
  • Boat Club history
  • Biographical research re / info on Balliol or related archives of
    • people who were not members of Balliol
    • C18 – early C20 College servants
    • RW Raper (Balliol TT 1861)
    • Sir J Conroy (Balliol 1890)
    • H Belloc (Balliol HT 1893)
    • HS Malik (Balliol 1912)
    • RH Glover (Balliol 1915)
    • I Stitt (Balliol 1917)
    • TH Tylor, Fellow (Balliol 1918)
    • F Huxley (Balliol 1946)
    • FJ Lindars (Balliol 1949)

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)

Michaelmas Term on facebook

I post brief monthly statistics here, but for readers who just can’t get enough archives news, there’s a weekly update on Facebook as well. Here’s the roundup for Michaelmas Term, starting in late September:

MT -1: the University is counting down and gearing up for Michaelmas Term. This week in the archives, a reader for the medieval manuscripts and visitors to the exhibition. Blog posts for the exhibition catalogue continue #mss2017. It’s the last week of September, so time for the monthly enquiries roundup and statistics post as well.

MT0 – This week in the archives, everybody else is busy getting ready for the new term, and I’m finally having a holiday 😀

MT1: Happy New Year for all those opening a fresh new academic calendar! This week in the archives: researchers for medieval manuscripts and some non-Browning material in the Browning papers, the librarians host Brookes University publishing students, and I kick off the year of Bruce’s Brunch, a series of lunchtime talks on all manner of subjects for Balliol students, hosted by the Chaplain. And the small matter of catching up after a week away.

MT2. This week in the archives, researchers for the Monckton and Jowett archives and medieval manuscripts. I’m continuing to post extended versions of the manuscripts exhibition catalogue entries on the blog: https://balliolarchivist.wordpress.com/category/mss2017/

MT3 – this week in the archives, researchers for medieval manuscripts, Caird papers and TH Green papers. The momentary ‘lull’ means I can catch up a bit on productions and reprographics, and complete physical arrangement of two (relatively) small subfonds. It’s also the time of year for college-wide refresher training in the use of ladders and fire extinguishers.

The medieval manuscripts exhibition continues: ‘Change and Decay: A History of Damage and Conservation in Balliol’s Medieval Manuscripts’, curated by Balliol’s Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts, Anna Sander, includes more than 20 of Balliol’s 300+ original medieval manuscript codices and a number of contemporary documents from the College records, and highlights a decade of work on the archives and manuscripts by the team of professional conservators at the Oxford Conservation Consortium, of which Balliol has been a member since 2006.

Individual and group visitors are very welcome most times, by appointment. Visiting hours are normally Mon-Fri 10-1 and 2-5; appointments aren’t meant to be exclusive, it’s just that the exhibition and reading room are in the same space, and we need to plan ahead to ensure that visitors and researchers are here at different times. Please come! More about the manuscripts exhibition at https://balliolarchivist.wordpress.com/ #mss2017

For tutors planning a visit with students, there is also space, and time available, to hold a class (of up to about a dozen) in the middle of the nave, i.e. surrounded by the manuscripts on display.

Directions: http://archives.balliol.ox.ac.uk/Services/visit.asp#f
Contact: anna.sander@balliol.ox.ac.uk

MT 4: This week in the archives, researchers for the Morier, AL Smith, Strachan Davidson,Ernest Walker and AC Badley papers. Balliol MCR visits the medieval manuscripts exhibition and we launch a Special Collections Challenge series with them; the librarians host the English Faculty 18th Century Seminar at St Cross; I visit the ‘C19 medieval revival’ session of the Rare German Books seminar; we join other college librarians and archivists at the university’s Graduate Thesis Fair.

MT5: This week in the archives, lots of tutors and students coming to look at (and talk about) the medieval manuscripts exhibition! First one today, topics covered: tiny writing, huge printing, marginalia, pigment ingredients, seal attachment, authentication methods for charters, manuscript reuse as binding waste, manuscript navigation, vandalism, conservation materials, gothic binding structures. Not necessarily in that order! No researchers booked this week as at least half of every day has a visiting class. October’s report is on the blog: https://balliolarchivist.wordpress.com/…/monthly-report-oc…/

MT 6 – this week in the archives, researchers for the AL Smith and Jowett papers, and medieval manuscripts; a Balliol alumna brings classes from two other colleges to look at early printed books; a Balliol Fellow and a Professor of Medieval German Lit & Ling hold workshops based around the medieval manuscripts exhibition. There is a new Remembrance Sunday display in the antechapel and I’m preparing a termly report covering more than half the year!

MT7 This week in the archives, researchers for medieval manuscripts, Urquhart papers and Oppenheimer papers; discussions about digitization and cataloguing software; conservators visit the exhibition of medieval manuscripts; termly reports; and a maintenance check for the rolling shelving.

MT8: This week in the archives, the medival manuscripts exhibition remains open by prior arrangement to visitors through next week. There are researchers booked in to look at early modern manuscripts, the Strachan-Davidson papers and medieval manuscripts; individual and group visitors coming to the exhibition; the termly College Library Committee meeting; and the Oxford Conservation Consortium’s AGM. And, somehow, December.

MT9 – this week in the archives: exhibition visitors; researchers for the Malcolm papers, college records, Conroy archive, Jowett archive, and medieval manuscripts; November statistics and termly (May-November) report appearing on the blog.

This is the last week to see the medieval manuscripts exhibition at St Cross and also the last week of 2017 for research appointments. The former will be put away, and the latter will resume in the week of 15 January. It will be possible to request appointments for the new year during the closed period – plan ahead and get your place booked early.


antechapel display – Remembrance Sunday 2017

A century ago: extracts from a few pages of Francis Fortescue (‘Sligger’) Urquhart’s personal photo albums, covering the Summer Term of 1917.

There were still Balliol men coming into residence each year during the War: surprising as it may seem now some were overseas students; others were precluded from active service, e.g. Aldous Huxley; most were putting in time before their commissions came through, and the student numbers by the end of each summer term were much lower than in Michaelmas. In addition, the officer cadets billeted at Balliol, Keble and elsewhere for training were welcomed and made to feel part of ‘their’ colleges by the few Fellows still resident.

Urquhart was one of only three dons in residence at Balliol throughout the War, and his unbroken series of informal photographs shows the incongruous juxtapositions of academic, civilian and military life during the period. This post shows a selection reflecting the outward and visible changes made by the war in Oxford, mainly within Balliol.

Many of the officer cadets who spent weeks or months training in Oxford had good memories of their time there. This lighter side of wartime experience easily became family stories that could be passed down. My enquiry records show that some officer training periods have evolved in family legend into full Oxford degrees, several generations of retelling later! The ‘party of sight-seers’ in one photo is visiting New College’s cloisters – is Urquhart acting as their tour guide? Even the pictures of ‘trench digging on Cumnor Hill by 6 OCB A Company’, in their shirtsleeves under a bright Oxfordshire sun and the beady eye of Captain Lang, look worlds removed from the reality, fast approaching for these men, of the mud of Flanders and France.

Individually, the photos are mostly sunny snapshots of happy moments; as a collection, however, the very quality of ‘Oxford idyll’ that seems escapist and almost irresponsible in such a serious time forms not only a fascinating glimpse into an important chapter in Oxford’s history, but a vivid and very personal memorial to lost youth and potential, compiled by a tutor noting the deaths of too many friends and former students.


3 views of John Beverley Nichols. JBN was admitted to Balliol, with Urquhart as his tutor, in Hilary Term (spring term, i.e. January) 1917, and almost immediately entered the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Labour Corps. These photos, only a page apart in the album, show his rapid transition from civilian to military life. Nichols detested everything about the war and his military experience, and was deeply bitter about his father’s curtailment of his Oxford education once the war was over. Nichols does not mention his brief 1917 Oxford period in his memoir The Unforgiving Minute, which indicates that he went straight from Marlborough College to officer training in Cambridge. Balliol Archives FFU 7.50H, 7.52F, 7.52G.


‘A party of sight-seers, March 1917’ – a group of officer cadets and their training officers in the cloisters at New College. Balliol Archives FFU 7.50I


‘Malik, French Red Cross, Summer term 1917.’ Hardit Singh Malik was one of four Sikh pilots in the RFC/RAF), and the only one of the four to survive. Francis Urquhart had been his Balliol tutor, and it was through him that Malik joined the French Red Cross in 1916 – as a stepping stone to the French Air Force, as at that time the new Royal Flying Corps did not accept non-white officers. In 1917 that colour bar was broken, again through Urquhart’s intervention, and Hardit Singh Malik became a pilot in the RFC, later the RAF. This photo may date from a visit a little earlier in the year, just before Malik’s transfer. Balliol Archives FFU 7.52A


Academic and military lives collide: Victor Mallet (Balliol 1911) studied Modern History at Balliol under NS Talbot and AL Smith, signed up with the Cambridge Regiment in September 1914 and served in France 1915-16. He is shown here on leave (or perhaps on business?) from Ireland in 1917 receiving his degree in BA gown and hood, with Army uniform, complete with cane, instead of subfusc and mortarboard. The Mallet family’s archive is held in Balliol’s Historic Collections Centre. Balliol Archives FFU 7.52C


At one point during the term Sligger visits the Cambridge home of Baron Anatole von Hügel (1854-1928) . Von Hügel, a fellow alumnus of Stonyhurst College, had set Urquhart something of an example when, in 1895, he had been a leading figure in the repeal of the Papal prohibition on Roman Catholic membership of Oxford and Cambridge. Balliol Archives FFU7.54B & C


Nevile Barclay plays the organ in Balliol Hall. Barclay enlisted with the 8th London Regiment in May `915, aged 17, and worked in the Foreign Office until November 1918. He enrolled at Balliol in 1916 but his course was much interrupted by war work; he eventually completed his degree in 1921, but did not formally take the BA and MA until 1926. He and JB Nichols became friends during Nichols’ postwar stint in Oxford. Balliol Archives  FFU7.54D

The regular Sunday Concert series established  by Benjamin Jowett in 1885 continued well into the War, until June 1915, but was then replaced with less formal concerts for which there were no programmes. This coincides with the occupation of Balliol’s premises by No. 6 Officer Cadet Battalion; hundreds if not thousands of Army officer cadets came through Balliol on training courses lasting up to three months.


‘W Robinson in hospital.’ There is no W Robinson of the right vintage at Balliol. Who is W Robinson? a member of another college? someone from the Roman Catholic schools? a former officer cadet stationed at Balliol for training? His dressing gown and slippers on the lawn are reminiscent of similar, yet very different, photos taken at Urquhart’s Chalet in the French alps only a few years earlier. And who took this photo? Urquhart usually notes photographers of individual prints other than himself  -though he does not mention whether they used his camera or their own – but from the shadow, whoever took this photo was in uniform. And which hospital is it? from the indications of a downhill slope in the background, I’ll guess it’s in Headington. Balliol Archives FFU 7.54I


‘Trench digging on Cumnor Hill by 6 OCB, “A” Coy. Cap. Lang, Seiler, Velho, Sharp, Shaw, Evans, Darling.’ Urquhart has probably walked out to Cumnor, a regular walking destination of his, to visit the ‘Balliol’ cadets of 6 OCB practising – in what looks like very dry earth indeed – for the mud of France and Flanders. This is one of very few photographs indeed of officer cadets with identifications. Notice Velho’s khaki apron, carefully belted at the right length to protect his kilt. Balliol Archives FFU 7.55B


‘A Company Lecture’: instead of the usual scene of Balliol students taking a break from the Library or celebrating the end of their Finals, here an Army instructor addresses several dozen officer cadets sitting on the grass in front of the ivy-covered Hall in the Garden Quad. This photo appears to have been taken from the top of the Library tower. Balliol Archives FFU 7.55C


Maurice Leonard Jacks (Balliol 1912) had been a student of Cyril Bailey, in Classics, immediately before the war, and one of the early Presidents of the Balliol Boys’ Club. After serving as a 2nd Lieutenant (the most common rank for young University men signing up as junior officers) in the King’s Royal Rifles 1914-16, he was wounded in France in November 1916. As a result, he did not return to battle but became Captain of C Company, No.4 officer Cadet Battalion, based at Keble College in Oxford.  This meant he was just up the road from his old friend Urquhart, as well as close to the Jacks’ new family home at Shotover Edge. Jacks and Urquhart collaborated to provide cadets on their days off with walks and explorations by canoe of the surrounding countryside – experiences of Oxford summers in which, except for partial uniform, they could temporarily leave wartime behind. Balliol Archives FFU 7.55K

Balliol Archives FFU 7.57E

This album can be viewed in full online here.

exhibition ending

Today I took down the medieval manuscripts exhibition. Thanks to all who visited! It went well – a report will appear in the new year, and of course blog posts etc will continue to appear, and will remain, here on the blog.

Dismantling an exhibition is not something that’s usually documented, perhaps because it’s such an anticlimax. But it’s a good task for the end of the year, leaving everything safely back in storage and the decks cleared for new adventures.

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



  • 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


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


  • 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


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


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


  • 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.


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


  • 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)


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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)


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:




– Anna Sander, MT 2017 (November)