Lincoln College

Historic Collections

Lincoln College provides a welcoming and engaging environment for an interdisciplinary, collaborative and outward-looking approach to the study of historic collections fostered by Lincoln Unlocked. A number of projects, using the resources available to us here and aimed at a wide range of audiences, are already underway and we are exploring more opportunities to open up the collections as extensively as possible.

The Archive

The Archive houses collections that range from the College’s administrative records which begin with its foundation in 1427, to its estates across England dating from c1170, to more recent personal papers collections of Old Members. Recent research using the materials includes WW1 and WW2 history, John Wesley’s time in Oxford, the economic and social status of College servants and public rights of way. Membership of the Oxford Conservation Consortium is allowing the most damaged archives to undergo expert repair. Their current project involves the detailed conservation and digitisation of a series of Bursar’s Day Books, which are brimming with information on the day to day running of the College in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

Work to bring the Archive’s printed catalogues up to international standards is underway, with the goal to make the catalogue descriptions available online in order to support wider access. Particular projects that are ripe for development include the cataloguing of the personal papers of the writer and journalist Denis Hills and those of historian and former Rector Vivian H H Green. A digitised version of the first two College Registers are now available from Digital.Bodleian.

An online catalogue of many of the archive collections is fully searchable, with more records added as cataloguing progresses. 

The Senior Library

The Senior Library is a collection of over 14,000 printed books and manuscripts housed in the College library, the Wesley Room and the Weston Library (where Lincoln’s manuscripts are deposited). The collection is particularly strong in Hebraica and Judaica, Civil War pamphlets, works relating to John Wesley and the early history of Methodism, and Restoration drama. The Senior Library is currently being catalogued onto SOLO, the Oxford University online public-access catalogue (for recent additions to SOLO see our blog, The Press). We are also actively engaged in a number of collaborative projects, including the Material Evidence in Incunabula database, the Ligatus decorated papers project and the Penn Libraries Provenance Online project

At Lincoln Unlocked, we welcome volunteers and have worked productively with undergraduates, library professionals and volunteer conservators from NADFAS. 

Image: HEDFAS volunteers working in the Senior Library