Welcome to our Library and Archives
We aim continually to adapt and improve our service offering to support the current and changing learning, teaching, and research needs of the College and its members, and the needs of scholars worldwide.
If your visit is for a library enquiry, among other things for our rare and early printed books or any of the College’s manuscripts—including those listed in H. O. Coxe, Catalogus codicum MSS. qui in collegiis aulisque Oxoniensibus hodie adservantur (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1852)—please visit our Library pages.
If your visit is for an archival enquiry (material relating to the College from its foundation to the present day), please visit our Archives pages.
Whatever the reason, I do hope you will find time to peruse the Library Manuscripts Gallery and Rare Books Gallery, and the Archives Gallery, where a selection of images from our celebrated collections of illuminated manuscripts, early printed books, and archives are on show for you to enjoy.
MA Camb, MLitt Aberd, MBA Durh, MA (LIS) Lough, PhD Card
The Library and Archives
University of Oxford
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 279580
Locating the Library and Archives:
We provide a reader-focused library service, responsive to and serving the needs of the students and academics of New College, Oxford. At its heart is an attractive two-storey library building with a working library of some 70,000 modern texts, where we offer generous borrowing privileges, individual and group study seating areas, and extensive opening hours. Collections support learning, research, and teaching across all academic disciplines within the College. Our Library Guide provides a plan of our upper and lower floors and gives the classification system we use to arrange books on the shelves by subject. The University of Oxford has the largest and finest academic library system in the UK, and the substantial academic e-resources provided by the University are available to New College members. Library staff are happy to help you make the most of all the electronic and printed collections available.
We administer and care for an extensive and rich archive, which comprises administrative records of the College since 1379, title deeds and manorial records of its estates in twenty-eight counties, and more recent papers and special collections amassed by or relating to some of its members. Our earliest documents date from the 11th century. There is a regular ingress of modern records from across the College and its various departments, some of which are held temporarily while some are transferred for permanent retention within our archive.
We are the curators and custodians of an internationally renowned collection of rare books and manuscripts to which we add significant items received via donation or purchase. More manuscripts survive from the medieval library of New College than from that of any other Oxford or Cambridge college, and we hold what is probably the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any of the Oxford colleges. New College Library also holds more incunabula (fifteenth-century European imprints) than any other undergraduate college at Oxford. Our outstanding special collections are used by the wider scholarly community of researchers world-wide.
For news, and to see beautiful images from our world-famous special collections, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Listen to the podcast series ‘New College Reads To You’, watch our video series ‘Curators’ Choice’, and learn about our institutional life and work over the course of 2021.
New College Notes
Reflections on Medieval Art, Politics, and the Courtrai Chest
Just outside the town of Courtrai, on 11 July 1302, an army of French nobles clashed in battle with an army primarily of Flemish guildsmen, artisans and peasants who had little military experience. The events leading up to the battle and the battle itself are depicted on the Courtrai Chest, a wooden chest whose oak front was carved shortly after the battle in Flanders. In the early twentieth century, the chest was discovered at one of the New College holdings in Stanton St John and brought to the college.
The Courtrai Chest, 14th-century Flemish school
New College, Oxford
On application to the Librarian, we provide external readers, as well as New College members, with access to our outstanding collections of rare books and manuscripts. Provision is limited, so please contact him as far in advance as possible.