Most of the College’s early archives relate to the estates: title deeds, leases, and associated letters and legal papers. There are also the charters and injunctions relating to the foundation and administration of the College; correspondence between the Wardens and the Visitors (the Archbishops of Canterbury), and other letters and documents relating to the internal running of the college, as well as the accounts and domestic records. The archives were arranged by Warden Hovenden in the late sixteenth century, and this order, maintained through the nineteenth century cataloguing, survives into the twentieth century.
The College holds almost no papers of, or relating to, individual fellows; and references to them in the archives are mostly as signatories to matters of college business.
Most of the College’s archives were transferred to the Bodleian in the late 1966, on the occasion of which Ernest Jacob, (Fellow Librarian 1960-1971) wrote All Souls College Archives, published in Oxoniensia.
The references that occur most often in secondary sources, relate to the Bodleian’s storage of the archives, and are in the form of “MS D.D. All Souls” followed by the number of the box into which the material had been put for the purpose of its removal from the original oak cupboards in College. In 2011 the archives were returned to new purpose-built shelving in the Library.
References to archival material should be made according to the “Trice Martin” catalogue: CTM, p.[#], no.[#]
Material generated after the catalogue was printed was, until the early twentieth century, listed by means of annotating the interleaved copy of the printed catalogue held in the Library. Since then accession to the Library’s collections has been less formal, and work is in progress to arrange and catalogue this material.
All the College’s archives up to 1877 are described in: Martin, C.T., Catalogue of the archives in the muniment rooms of All Souls' College (London, 1877).
This includes all manuscripts acquired prior to 1874 when the catalogue was published. This printed version can be searched via the digitized copy on the Internet Archive.
Covid restrictions mean that appointments are currently very limited, and images are (where possible) offered in lieu of visits. Those needing to consult original materials should contact the Library well in advance to allow for provision of images in the first instance, and for necessary arrangements to be made around current staffing constraints if possible. Image requests If the condition of the material allows, images can be requested for private research, as well as supplied either in lieu of a visit, or as a conservation measure to reduce the handling of fragile materials. For complete works, images will be uploaded to the Library’s website; specific pages may also be requested. For very large orders, it may be necessary to apply fees, but in most cases there is no charge for this service. Under current circumstances, with some staff still working from home, please give as much notice as possible if images are required by a specific date.
Images may also be requested for publication, though, at present, it may not be possible to supply images at high resolution; please include details of any requirements of this kind on the form. All images should be requested via the Image Request Form.