Wow. This term has been super busy for me – I’m currently procrastinating from my Russian oral exam, which explains my return to blogging this term we have been treated to many more tours around Oxford which I will attempt to cover in a new series of posts. First up is a post about the Codrington Library, which is in All Souls College. I was really excited about this one as there is a lot of mystique around the college and a certain air of exclusivity, as the college does have any undergraduates working there, just research students.
1. Although there are no undergraduates based in All Souls College, undergrads can use the Codrington Library if they apply to the librarian. The library is so beautiful inside, that I would certainly would have done this if I had gone to Oxford
2. The library had its origins in 1438 when the college was founded. One of the co-founders of All Souls College, Henry Chichele, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, set this in motion as he saw the benefit of a library collection for the scholars there. The actual library building was completed in 1721, which was made possible after Christopher Codrington donated a legacy of £10,000 to the college.
3. The library has some unusual non-literary treasures. These include a death mask of Christopher Wren!
4. The modern collection in the library mainly centres around law and history. They have excellent holdings on military and naval history, as well as ecclesiastical history too.
5. As well as having a fascinating early modern collection, the library is significant for it’s bibliography and book history collection. When we visited there was an exhibition entitled ‘Bibliophilia in the Codrington, 1750 to 1810’ which links to this subject.
Thank you to the graduate trainee at All Souls College for kindly showing us around the library!