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The Annual Report of the Fellow Archivist 2006

This is the twenty-fifth Annual Report under the arrangements approved by the College in 1981.

A revised second edition of Dr John Jones’ College History was published by OUP, and the 7 th edition of the Balliol College Register (ed. John Jones and Tom Bewley) was printed for private circulation in late 2005.


The archive repository is now about 120% full, so perhaps it is fortunate that new accessions have been mostly small and few this year. They have been none the less interesting; the Boat Club records have done particularly well with a stroke watch given to the Boat Club by John Blacker (Balliol 1948) and deposited in the Archives by Nick Thomas-Peter (Balliol 2003) and several items listed below.

Some of the most interesting accessions this year have been purchases:

< The Balliol page of ‘The flags and aquatic costumes of the boating societies in the University of Oxford', an early illustrated key for spectators during Eights Week, from a private individual in the UK who bought it as part of a miscellaneous job lot at auction (ca 1850).

Several pewter mugs commemorating boat races (C 19-20)

> Photo album belonging to JH Brian Armstrong, who attended a training course at Balliol in the summer of 1917 as part of the No.6 Officer Cadet Battalion, from a bookseller in Australia (1917)


< a dozen 12x15” photos from a dismembered souvenir album, showing College groups, buildings and an undergraduate’s room (1896).

> There have also been several loans of photographic items for scanning, most notably CR Dunlop’s (Balliol 1894) photo album, kindly lent by his daughter, Mrs M Hodgson. Details of all accessions are available from the Lonsdale Curator. Many of the items listed above will be appearing in future web exhibitions; see below.



Thanks to a generous gift from John Phillips, a longstanding benefactor to Library conservation projects, Balliol has now joined the Oxford Conservation Consortium as a full member as of October 2006. The work will be shared between Library and Archive material. The Lonsdale Curator is happy to provide further details.




Enquiries numbered more than 370 in 2005 and are up by 1/3 over last year for the first six months of 2006. There are growing numbers of both administrative and historical enquiries from within college, and external family history enquiries are increasing steadily as well. As of mid-August, we are already over the 300 mark. We expect to pass last year’s total some time in October.


The whole of John Jones’ Archive List 2003 and a growing number of recatalogued Modern MSS collections have been put on an AdLib software database. Both archival material and Library Modern MSS will be added to the database, which will allow searching across Balliol’s heritage collections while reflecting the individual nature and structure of the library and archive holdings. The intention is eventually to make the database searchable on the archives’ new website.The ongoing archive cataloguing project in 2006-7 is to create detailed lists of the ca. 800 unsorted collections in the Miscellaneous Bursary Papers, Miscellaneous College Office Papers and General Miscellany classes.


archives.balliol.ox: As of late March 2006, the archives has its own storage server and web server, necessitated by the large amount of storage space needed for the growing number of digital images created by the excellent A3 scanner and a new digital camera.

The camera is particularly useful for photographing manuscripts and volumes, whether medieval books or 19th century photo albums, which are too unwieldy and/or fragile to scan. It is also used for documenting preservation work. I will be maintaining and adding to the new website regularly.



MT 05 saw the first in a continuing series of ‘Documents of the week’ appearing every week or two on the main notice board in the Lodge. The first web-based version appeared in time for the patronal feast in November; though the web versions are more detailed, hard copies will still be posted in the Lodge and Holywell Manor.

The OAC website is a new portal for enquiries to college and other archives in Oxford. Balliol’s is the first Oxbridge college archive (institutional administrative records) to be listed on the Archives Hub, a national gateway to descriptions of archives in UK universities and colleges.’

I spoke about Balliol’s archives to a group of more than twenty students to start the Trinity 06 series of ‘Doug’s Lunch’ talks, hosted on Thursdays by the Chaplain. The college archivists have had a stall at the Undergraduate History Thesis Fair, held early in Trinity Term, for the past two years, and in 2006 I gave the fair’s general presentation on ‘Sources for Historians in College Archives.’ I also spoke to the Balliol historians about finding and using primary sources for theses.

I have been fortunate this year to work with four motivated and efficient assistants:

  • Andy Mason: Summer vac 2005 and 2006. Current Balliol UG (Phys/Phil).
  • Michael Burtscher: TT 05. PhD student in History at St John’s, acquiring general archive experience with a view to training as an archivist.
  • Juliet Blackburn: HT 06. Former OULS staff wishing to train as an archivist.
  • Caroline Wallace: TT 06. Balliol leaver (French and Italian).

Enquiries about the archives can be directed to Anna by post or by email at Enquiries about living old members should be directed to the Development Office.

- Anna Sander

You do not need to request permission to download or print one copy of any of the images on these pages for your personal private study or research purposes.
You do need to request permission in writing to use any of these images for any publication in any format, including any use on a website.

The archives and manuscripts of Balliol College are open by appointment to enquirers in person at the Historic Collections Centre in St Cross Church, Holywell.
Enquiries should be sent in writing (email or post).
There is no charge for Archive enquiries, but donations for Archive purposes are always appreciated.
Updated 11.viii.14
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