The Modern College

In the five decades since the Franks Commission, changes in the academic climate have involved much strengthening and broadening of the College as a centre for the advancement of learning by research and teaching  the latter especially in the form of the supervision by Fellows of graduate students, and the eventual taking up by past Examination Fellows of teaching posts in Oxford and other universities. All Souls maintains its regular chapel services, but its Fellows are no longer all Anglicans and the last Fellow to become a bishop, A.T.P. Williams, was consecrated in 1939. Emeritus fellowships were instituted in 1974; they were followed in 1978 by two-year fellowships open to ex-Fellows organising seminars and lecture courses; women became eligible for fellowships in 1979; and in 1980 five-year 'fellowships by thesis' in a wide range of subjects, including the mathematical sciences, were introduced. These new categories of Fellowship have enriched and rejuvenated the time-honoured ones  themselves broadened by the addition of special papers in English (1960) and Classical Studies (1976) to the existing ones in law, history, politics, economics, and philosophy, from which would-be Examination Fellows can make a choice. The first female Fellow of All Souls, Susan Hurley (1954-2007), was elected in 1981.

The last five Wardens of All Souls have been, respectively, an economist, a scholar-bibliophile, a lawyer, an anthropologist, and another economist: Sir Hubert Henderson (1952), J.H.A. Sparrow (1952-1977), Sir Patrick (later Lord) Neill (1977-1995), John Davis (1995-2008), and Sir John Vickers (since 2008). The present seventy-five or more holders of All Souls fellowships can claim that they continue to fill Archbishop Chichele's aims, if for 'service to Church and State' we read 'service to learning and society'. They also fulfil Warden Anson's vision of the College's dual function, if we recall that they include among their recent number a Nobel prize-winner in economics, two Order of Merits and past-Presidents of the British Academy, a Lord Chancellor, a retired Senior Law Lord, and several cabinet ministers.

The corporate designation of the College is The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford.

(Royal Commission on Historic Monuments, Oxford, 1939, pages 15-19; Victoria History of the County of Oxford, vol. III, Oxford, 1954, pages 173-93; Colvin, H.M., and Simmons, J.S.G., All Souls: An Oxford College and its Buildings, Oxford, 1989; Catto, R.J.A., et al., Unarmed Soldiery: Studies in the Early History of All Souls College, Oxford, 1996; Burrows, M., Worthies of All Souls, 1874 (includes an appendix on the All Souls mallard); Robertson, C. Grant, All Souls College, 1899; Rowse, A.L., Appeasement: A Study in Political Decline, 1933-9, New York, 1961 (fuller than his All Souls and Appeasement: A Study in Contemporary History, London, 1961); Caute, J.D., 'Crisis in All Souls: A Case-History in Reform', in Collisions, London, 1974, pages 12-45 (fuller than his article in Encounter, March 1966); Eason, R.E., and Snoxall, R.A., The Last of their Line: The Bible Clerks of All Souls College, Oxford, 1976; Colvin, H.M., Unbuilt Oxford, New Haven and London, 1983; Hutchinson, F.E., Medieval Glass at All Souls College, London, 1949; Hutchinson, F.E., Monumental Inscriptions in All Souls College, Oxford, 2nd revised edition by M.A. Screech, Oxford, 1997; West, M.L., The All Souls Mallard: Song, Procession, Legend, Oxford, 2000; Aster, S. (ed.), Appeasement and All Souls (Camden Society, 5 ser., 24), Cambridge, 2004. The College betting books, 1815-1919, were privately printed in two volumes by C.W.C. Oman, 1912-38, and a volume of All Souls memorial addresses was privately printed in 1989. An official multi-volume history of the College is in preparation.)