From the Archive – Alexander Loveday

Alexander Loveday was the third warden of Nuffield College.


Born in Scotland in October 1888, he was educated at Shrewsbury School and Peterhouse College, Cambridge. After some years spent as a lecturer – first in political philosophy at Leipzig University, and then in economics at Cambridge – he entered the War Office in 1915, where he worked for the duration of the First World War.

In 1919, with that war at a close, he joined the Economic and Finance section of the newly-founded League of Nations. The League was an intergovernmental body formed as a result of the Paris Peace Conference. With offices in Geneva, its primary aim was to provide a forum for resolving international disputes, thereby promoting international co-operation in an attempt to prevent a repetition of the horrors of WW1.

The League also aimed to promote international cooperation in social and economic matters and it was in this arena that Loveday played a prominent role. He was appointed Director of the Financial Section and Economic Intelligence Section in 1931, and in 1939, during a period in which the League was undergoing reorganisation and scaling down its operations as a result of the outbreak of war in Europe, he became Director of the Economic, Financial and Transit Department.


League of Nations discussions over the Saar territory. Loveday is seated closest to the camera

Loveday continued to work for the League until shortly before its eventual demise (the League’s inability to prevent the outbreak of the Second World War was considered an irreparable failing, and though it maintained activity through the war, its powers were greatly reduced and the organisation finally officially ceased activity in 1946). Unsurprisingly then, Nuffield College Library’s Loveday archive collection offers excellent insight into the workings of this historic organisation, from its formation through to its untimely end; with documents indicating the Economic and Finance Section’s response to key historic events such as the Spanish Civil War, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia and the Greek invasion of Bulgaria, data collated for a number of League publications including the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, and information about research into topics ranging from nutrition to economic depressions.

After WW2 Loveday was briefly involved with the League’s replacement body, the UN, and worked for a short while in America, as a Member for the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, before taking up a Fellowship at Nuffield College in 1946. In 1950 he became the third warden of Nuffield, a position he would hold for four years until his eventual retirement in 1954. Whilst in this post he oversaw the latter stages of the building of College and continued to conduct research into a range of international economic matters, as well as helping to facilitate the research of other College members.

The archive contains much material related to Loveday’s working life, but also his personal life – including family photographs, diaries ranging from 1908-1962, sketch books and publications. As such, it offers a glimpse into the interests and activities of a figure who was often interestingly placed to view events of considerable historical significance.

If you would like to access material in the Loveday archive (which is currently undergoing a reorganisation) please contact the library at More information about the archives can be found by following this link:

In addition, the library also holds a number of Loveday’s longer publications within our main book collection. For example The only way: a study of democracy in danger (JC 421.L) and Reflections on international administration (JX 1905.L).

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Finding journals in the library

This post explains what journals are, where they are located in Nuffield College Library and how to search for them on the catalogue, SOLO.

What are journals?Question mark image

Journals fall under the umbrella term ‘periodicals’, meaning that they are a continuing publication. Continuing publications have a predicted publication schedule. The frequency at which they are published might be annual, once a month, or even every day. Journals tend to have chronology and enumeration, for instance volume 1, number 1 (January 2014).

Which journals does Nuffield College Library have?

The journals that Nuffield College Library collects cover the principal subject areas of the college, namely economics, politics, and sociology. Electronic journal coverage is provided by the Bodleian Libraries as part of University-wide provision.

Where are journals located in Nuffield College Library?Magnifying glass image

The most recent issues of journals that the library receives are on the 1st floor of the library in the Small Reading Room and are organised alphabetically by title. These are periodically moved up to the 2nd floor of the library where, again, they are organised alphabetically by title. Titles A-M are in the main reading room on the 2nd floor and titles N-Z in the tower and Cole Room. The library’s interactive map will help you to understand the floor plan. Pre-1980 journals are located separately to the main library collection in the extension.

The library’s journals all have a shelf mark beginning with ‘Per’ for ‘periodical’, followed by a letter for the title. The journal West European politics, for example, has the shelf mark Per W.

Some of the journals that the library receives are slightly larger in size and are kept in a separate sequence. This sequence starts at the end of the ‘normal-sized’ journal collection and is identifiable by its shelf mark. All of the larger journals’ shelf marks are prefixed with  a ‘q’ for quarto.

Shelf labels

NB. Some of the most popular journals are kept on a magazine rack in the library’s Current Affairs Room, which is on the 1st floor. Titles here include the Economist, Spectator, New Statesman, and Nouvel Observateur.

How do I find journals on the library catalogue?SOLO

The library’s journals can be searched for on the online catalogue SOLO. If known, the title of the journal can be typed into the catalogue’s search bar, otherwise a keyword search will locate journals of interest in your subject area. It is possible to limit the search to include only journals (i.e. excluding textbooks, theses, and other material) by choosing ‘Journals’ from the drop down menu before hitting the search button, as shown in the image below.

SOLO journals screen shot


Journals in the results list on the catalogue are identifiable by the icon next to the title, which says ‘journal’, shown in the image below.

SOLO journals results screen shot


To find out whether the journal is available, click ‘Find & Request’. Nuffield College Library will be listed if the journal is held here. Clicking on the ‘+’ button next to Nuffield College Library will expand the results screen giving further details including the shelf mark, which,  in the image below, is Per W.

SOLO shelf mark screen shot


Electronic journals can be found under the ‘Find e-Journal’ tab of OxLIP+, which provides access to databases, electronic reference works, e-Journals and eBooks.

Bound journals

A number of the library’s journal titles are bound. This means that, rather than have lots of issues on the shelf with the potential for getting misshelved or lost, journals issues are sent off to be bound together into one volume. This gives the journals a uniform appearance and protects the issues inside a tough cover. An example of bound titles can be seen below.

Binding image for blog

The bound item tends to reflect one volume of a journal. The spine might read ‘v. 17′, which means that it contains volume 17 of the journal title, and all of the issues within volume 17. If the journal issues are really thick, though, the volume might get split over two bound items, for example, the first item might have volume 17, issues 1-6 and the second would be volume 17, issues 7-12.

Where can I find help with journals?

Hopefully this guide will help you understand the library’s journal collection. If you have any questions, though, then contact the periodicals librarian: or phone 01865 278550.


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Exploring official publications

Official publications are the literature which emanates from official organisations such as national or regional governments or international organisations.  Nuffield Library has a large collection of British and international official publications, both historical and contemporary.  It covers a broad range of subjects, from agriculture to welfare, with a large amount on employment, economic development, sociology and social inequality. Official publications may be useful to your research because they provide official statistics and impartial data from institutions with a long research history.

British: The collection includes a sizeable proportion of the important Committees and Enquiries of the 19th and 20th centuries.  In addition, the library regularly acquires a wide selection of government department, parliamentary and non-parliamentary publications representing the various areas of interest among college members.  More recently this has included items from organisations such as the Institute for Public Policy Research, Institute for Government and Policy Exchange.

International: A number of major international bodies are well-represented in the collection: the European Union, UN, OECD, IMF, ILO, FAO, EFTA, World Bank, World Health Organization, and GATT/WTO.  Major statistical series are taken from these sources as well as other material relevant to current research within college.  The collection concentrates on the EU (particularly Western Europe) and the United States, although there is a significant amount of material relating to less developed nations.  There is also some interesting historical material from the League of Nations.


The majority of official publications at Nuffield are found in the Library Extension.  The exceptions to this are new additions to the collection, which are displayed on the New Books shelves in the Current Affairs Room on the first floor of the main Library and on shelves in the Small Reading Room.

These titles are included in the monthly publication updates, one on British and one on European & international material, which are emailed to registered readers, both internal and external.  The updates also contain information about and links to relevant news, publications and websites including the annual budget documents, economic & political developments and Scottish referendum material.  See the latest ones here: Brit Feb 2014 Pub UpdateEuro and Int Feb 2014 Pub Update

Shelfmarks explained

There are in-depth guides to the different classifications used in the Extension but here are brief examples for the main collections:

British official publication monographs are shelved first by general theme, such as ‘Population’ or ‘Welfare’, and then classified more precisely within that subject using a number.  For example: a book on using child benefit in the family budget:

X Welfare 2:2              X=Extension, Welfare=major theme, 2:2 specific area 

International monographs (except the UN and US) generally share the same basic structure and are organised alphabetically by an acronym for the publishing organisation. They are generally further subdivided by subject code and year of publication:

X OECD EC 09               X=Extension, OECD=publishing organisation,
EC=subject area, 09=year of publication

The official publications part of the Nuffield College Library website lists and annotates a variety of online resources related to official publications. We have collected websites that provide direct access to official publications and compiled sites that explain official publications. These pages are regularly updated.  The monthly publication updates are also available here.

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Easter 2014 vacation opening hours

Monday 17th March marks the start of our vacation opening hours*. They are as follows:



Monday 17th March – Tuesday 15th April: 09:30 – 17:30

Wednesday 16th April – Monday 21st April inclusive: CLOSED

Tuesday 22nd April – Friday 25th April: 09:30 – 17:30


*College members will have usual access during this time.

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Tony Benn

To mark the announcement this morning that Tony Benn, the veteran Labour politician, has died at the age of 88, this blog-post highlights material held in the College Library which may be of interest to those who wish to find out more about his life and thought.

Benn was no stranger at Nuffield College; he spoke at Nuffield’s Friday Media and Politics Seminar a number of times (most recently in 2009), and also visited the College in order to take part in interviews with David Butler as part of the Nuffield College Oral History Project. In these interviews he spoke at length about his well-known campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage. Benn’s attempts to relinquish his peerage (which prevented him from sitting in the House of Commons) were instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act of 1963. His wife, Caroline Benn, was also interviewed by Butler speaking about the peerage case, as well as about her relationship with Tony.

Those wishing to learn more about the peerage case are very welcome to contact the library ( to arrange to consult the papers of the Oral History Project, kept in Nuffield College Library’s archive. In addition, the library holds copies of all of Benn’s diaries (which he kept from a very early age, and wrote in daily from 1964 – the year in which Harold Wilson’s Labour government came to office – onwards). These can be found on the third floor, under shelfmark DA 591.B36.

We also have available a number of his political writings including:

Parliament, people, and power: agenda for a free society: interviews with the New Left Review (1982) – HX 243.B

Arguments for socialism (1979) – JN 231.B

Common sense: a new constitution for Britain (1993) – KD 3989.B

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From the archives – Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey and Private Conferences

The second post in our series on the library’s archives concentrates on the Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey and Private Conferences.

Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey publication

Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey publication – Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey archive, box K2/5.

The Social Reconstruction Survey came to life in February 1941 after Sir Harold Butler, Warden of the College at the time, and G. D. H. Cole prepared a joint report proposing that Nuffield College undertake research into problems caused by redistribution of the population during World War II.  The Nuffield College Committee approved the research scheme and the Social Reconstruction Survey was set up with Cole as Chairman of the Committee and, later, Director. The Survey was set up before the College even had any buildings of its own and was originally based on Broad Street, in the Indian Institute.

The Survey was an unofficial body but received a grant of £5,000 from the Treasury in 1941-42 and, in return, staff prepared reports at the request of government departments for official inquiries. Indeed, the Survey assisted the Beveridge Inquiry, a government inquiry headed by Sir William Beveridge into Social Insurance and Allied Services.

It was decided that it would be beneficial to bring people together from different political and professional backgrounds to discuss plans for social reconstruction and, so, Cole instigated many Private Conferences, creating a forum for people to express their views without fear of scrutiny from the public or media.

Despite the extensive work of the Survey, opposition to its research began with the Hebdomadal Council, the chief executive body for the University of Oxford, which requested the Survey reduce its scope of research. Lord Nuffield also expressed concern at Cole’s involvement with the Survey and the Treasury refused to offer further funding. Government departments were, by this point, paying a lot more attention to social reconstruction and saw the Survey as intruding on their responsibility.

NCSRS letter - Treasury not extending funding A1,3

Letter from the Treasury on the matter of funding, 22nd January 1943 – Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey archive, box A1/3.

And so, three years after its inception, the Survey was wound up. Cole resigned from his position as sub-Warden of the College in September 1943 and as Director of the survey in January 1944. The Survey’s education, local government and social services sub-committees continued to meet though and published books and pamphlets over the next four years, until their work ended in December 1947.

Agenda for meeting on 2nd March 1944 with Cole's resignation as item 3 -

Agenda for meeting on 2nd March 1944 with Cole’s resignation as item 3 – Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey archive, box. A1/2.

All information in this post came from sources in the ‘Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey’ section and the ‘Nuffield College Private Conferences‘ section of Nuffield College Library Archive (in particular box A1/1-5 of the Social Reconstruction Survey and box K2/5 of the Private Conferences). More information about the archives, including a guide to their contents and information on how to access them, can be found on the archives pages of our website.

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