Special collections at the English Faculty Library

The English Faculty Library also holds several special collections.

Access to special collections material is limited to Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm. Please ask at the issue desk for details of how to order and access this material.

Items with shelfmarks of X or Y are kept in the Rare Book Room. Books with the shelfmark CJ are kept in the Turville-Petre Room.

The Meyerstein Collection

The collection consists of the literary works and papers of E.H.W. Meyerstein (1889 – 1952).

Icelandic collections

Books and journals relating to the study of Old Norse-Icelandic language and literature are held in the Turville-Petre Room. Books at shelfmark CJ may be borrowed.

The core lending collection has benefited by the addition of:  

  • the Turville-Petre Collection, the personal library of the late Professor E.O.G. (Gabriel) Turville-Petre (1908-1978), Professor of Ancient Icelandic Literature & Antiquities, Oxford University, 1953 – 1975;  
  • the W.P. Ker (1855 – 1923) Collection, comprising approximately 700 volumes (including important antiquarian material) on permanent loan from All Souls College;  
  • the York Powell Collection, approximately 1200 volumes from the libraries of Gudbrandur Vigfusson (1827 – 1889) and Frederick York Powell (1850 – 1904), including many rare items from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Scandinavian and German editions and critical works, on permanent loan from Christ Church.  

For more information about this collection, see our online guide.

Napier Collection

The Old and Middle English sections of the library were based on Professor A.S. Napier's (1853-1916) personal library, which was acquired in 1916. The Napier pamphlets include many scarce late 19th and early 20th century academic dissertations on Old and Middle English philology. Oxford University was a partner in the RSLP 19th Century Pamphlets Project, which funded the cataloguing of the Napier pamphlets.

Pre-1850 Collection

The library possesses 251 volumes listed in Pollard and Redgrave's Short Title Catalogue 1475-1640 and approximately 9,000 pre-1850 volumes in total. These are held on closed access in the Rare Book Room. The library also has books donated by distinguished scholars such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Dame Helen Gardner and N.R. Ker.

The Wilfred Owen Collection

Presented to the English Faculty in 1975 by Mrs Harold Owen, this collection comprises Owen's personal library, together with manuscripts, photographs, letters and an almost complete set of The Hydra, the Journal of the Craiglockhart War Hospital. The manuscripts, The Hydra, and a few other items have been digitized and can be viewed via the First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

This collection has now moved to the Weston Library and all enquiries should be directed to the Weston by email (special.collections.equiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk) or phone (+44 (0)1865 277150).