The Codrington Library of All Souls College is open to members of Oxford University by application, and to bona fide researchers by appointment. The collections are particularly strong in law and history and almost all, both modern and early printed, are catalogued onto SOLO; readers from all disciplines are welcomed.
The Codrington Library has c.185,000 volumes, about a third of which were printed before 1800. There are also collections of archives relating to the College’s estates and history; manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 20th century; architectural drawings; and particularly strong modern collections in law, history, and military history.
As well as books, the Library is guardian to a number of other objects: a death mask of Christopher Wren, a pietra dura table, the reading desks and steps commissioned by Blackstone, and memorabilia of T.E. Lawrence.
The Codrington Library at All Souls College, Oxford, is not only architecturally interesting in itself, but also has a distinctive place in the history of library design. The building of the Great Library started on June 21, 1716, to a plan by Nicholas Hawksmoor (1661-1736), but the ﬁtting out was not completed until 1751, and certain aspects of Hawksmoor’s concept were not realised as he had intended. Further additions to the fabric were made in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but these are of far less merit than the Great Library.