Who uses the archives and why?

Nuffield College Library has a wide variety of archive collections covering a multitude of subjects and an extensive chronology.  From the well-known and well used collections of G.D.H. Cole, Frederick Lindemann (Lord Cherwell), William Cobbett (1762-1835), Nuffield College Social Reconstruction Survey (1941-1955) and Alexander Loveday to some of the lesser known African Trade Unions (1949-1969), Lord Gainford (Joseph Pease, 1860-1943), Lord Mottistone (John Edward Bernard Seely, 1868-1947), Nuffield Trust for the Special Areas (1936-1962) & Francis Ysidro Edgeworth (1845-1926); the collections are truly diverse.

This is also true of the many visitors who come each year to use the archives, along with their subjects of research. Some are academics from close to home such as the London School of Economics and Political Science and Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter, York & London, while others come from academic institutions in Australia, Japan, Italy and the USA. They are investigating matters ranging from the social study of refugee academics in Britain from 1933 to 1941; Albert Einstein’s annual visits to Oxford between 1931 and 1933; tank/armoured vehicle development during World War One; the ‘Fifth Column’ scare in Britain in World War Two; G.D.H. Cole’s relations with Continental socialists before 1930; the history of recycling during World War Two; the history of the political pamphlets of the Socialist Workers Party and its predecessor organisations; corporatism, productivism and economic rationalisation in Great Britain in the first half of the 20th Century; Swing riots in Hampshire in 1830 to name but a few.

The archive collections have also been used in various exhibitions and seminars:

Others visitors are members of the public who are researching their own specific area of interest, such as Reverend David Davies’ dealings with Farmer Hewett in the early 1790s, William Cobbett’s farming and landscape changes on his Botley estates in the early 1800s, the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle to personal family history.

Recently, we were also very excited to welcome some researchers who wanted to look at one of the collections in preparation for a film which begins shooting soon.  More details to follow as they are openly available…..

Some of our researchers have gone on to publish books which specifically refer to and/or acknowledge the archive collections they have used at Nuffield.  These include:

A very recent acquisition has been “The Prof, Churchill and science at war” by Professor Russell W. Burns (Archives.Books.B). Professor Burns used the Cherwell archive extensively during his research into the life of Frederick A Lindemann and he was an extremely courteous and cheerful visitor. His book looks at the major technological advances of the Second World War, thanks largely in part to Lindemann’s influence with Churchill and their desire to use science as a means to secure victory.  His book was sadly published posthumously but carries a lovely acknowledgement “Researching in the library of Nuffield College was ever a pleasure thanks to the splendid assistance provided by the Librarian, Elizabeth Martin, and her assistants“.

The Prof, Churchill and science at war

Lord Cherwell archive, Archives.Books.B

We have had some other lovely feedback from archive visitors, including “Thanks again for all your help, I must say one of the best archives experiences I’ve had!

As an author, I find some academic archives and libraries bureaucratic, obstructive, and downright stuffy. The opposite can be said of the Nuffield. It was helpful, welcoming and accessible

The service and quality of the archives could not have been improved. All excellent. I have been unreservedly pleased with my dealings with the Nuffield College Library archive services. A model in every respect

The staff were timely, professional, knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a more amenable environment to do research

Fantastic service, especially for an external user. Very impressed indeed on all levels: depth of information on web site, promptness of response from staff, quality of materials and knowledge of staff. Thank you!

I am writing to say how impressed I am with Nuffield College Library Archives….. incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and diligent. I’ve made use of many archives large and small whilst researching for my PhD and I have to say that Nuffield is consistently one of the absolute most helpful archives and I always really appreciate your staff’s brilliant help

For more information or to arrange a visit to any of the collections please visit our archive page or contact library-archives@nuffield.ox.ac.uk 


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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