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Rare Books in the Bodleian Library: Resources

Guide to using Rare Books in the Bodleian Library

Sir Henry Taylor by Julia Margaret Cameron

Bodleian Library Records

The Library preserves a large quantity of its own administrative records from 1602 to the present. They reflect the various aspects of the work of the Library over four centuries (though few series are complete for the whole period), including: Curators' minutes and reports; accounts and bills; papers concerning the construction and repair of buildings; correspondence with donors, depositors and enquirers; papers about the acquisition and cataloguing of collections, records of readers' admission and book orders; material about exhibitions; and the records of modern departments and dependent libraries.

There is no published catalogue of this material, but draft finding aids can be made available on request in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room.

Access to certain records less than 80 years old is restricted.

Please see Finding Aids - Early Modern & Modern Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library for more information.

Print resources

Rare books and ephemera finding aids in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room:

  • Alan Coates ... [et al.], A catalogue of books printed in the fifteenth century now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford ; blockbooks, woodcut and metalcut single sheets by Nigel F. Palmer ; an inventory of Hebrew incunabula by Silke Schaeper (6 vols.; Oxford, 2005). R.Bibl. 26.3/BOD
  • A. W. Pollard & G. R. Redgrave, A short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland,& Ireland and of English books printed abroad, 1475-1640, first compiled by (3 vols. London, 1976-1991). R.Bibl. 251.1/WIN
  • Catalogue of the printed Books and manuscripts bequeatheded by Francis Douce, Esq. to the Bodleian Library (Oxford, 1840). R. 6.92
  • The Douce Legacy: an exhibition to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Bequest of Francis Douce (Bodleian Library, 1984). R.Ref.361(60)
  • Clive Hurst, ‘The Dunston Collection’ Bodleian Library Record 12 (1986), pp. 177-204. R.Ref.332
  • R. T. Milford and D. M. Sutherland, A catalogue of English newspapers and periodicals in the Bodleian Library, 1622-1800 (Oxford, 1936). . X.Cat.Ref.220
  • ‘General index to prints in the Sutherland Collection [retained in the Bodleian Library] (MS., 1849). X. 1.35 
  • Nicholas K. Kiessling, The Library of Anthony Wood, Oxford Bibliographical Soc. Pub., 3rd Series, vol. 5 (Oxford, 2002). Per.Bibl. 36
  • Microfiche editions of book prospectuses in the Bodleian Library / with catalogue and introduction by John Feather. (Oxford,[1976]). X.2.15/FEA.1/1
  • Book prospectuses before 1801 in the Gough Collection, Bodleian Library, Oxford: a catalogue with microfiches by J. P. Feather, (Oxford, 1980) X.2.15/FEA
  • Iona and Peter Opie, Brian Alderson, The Treasures of Childhood: Books, Toys and Games from the Opie Collection (London, 1989). X. 6. 37.
  • The John Johnson Collection, Catalogue of an Exhibition (Bodleian Library, 1971). X. 10. 3a.
  • A Nation of Shopkeepers:Trade Ephemera from 1654 to the 1860s in theJohn Johnson Collection [exhibition catalogue] (Bodleian Library, 2001). X. 10. 3.
  • Napoleon and the Invasion of Britain [catalogue of exhibition based on Curzon Collection] (Bodleian Library, 2003). X.7.9/FRA
  • Alexandra Franklin, ‘The Art of Illustration in Bodleian Broadside Ballads before 1820’, Bodleian Library Record 17 (2002), pp. 327-52. R.Ref.332
  • H.M. Nixon, Broxbourne Library: Styles and Designs of Bookbindings from the Twelfth to the Twentieth Century (London, 1956). R. 5. 420; Broxb. 154.5.
  • Alexis Weedon & Michael Bott, British book trade archives, 1830-1939 (Oxford/Bristol, 1996.). X. Cat. Ref. 79


Early Newspapers and Journals


While title information for many of the Bodleian's early newspaper holdings can be accessed via SOLO much of the detailed information regarding issues held can only be obtained from the annotated Milford and Sutherland printed catalogue (see: A catalogue of English newspapers and periodicals in the Bodleian Library, 1622-1800 / by R. T. Milford and D. M. Sutherland. Oxford: OUP, 1936) avaibable in Lower Reading Room at shelfmark  B1.1202 and in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room at shelfmark X.Cat.Ref. 220.

Please email in the first instance for advice and help

Newspapers and Journals Online

Online resources

Details of how to find and access online resources can be found on the Discovering e-resources LibGuide. An A-Z list of all online resources can be found here

Of particular value to book historians are:

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