History collections at the Radcliffe Camera

Collections overview

The History Faculty Library collections comprise over 85,000 volumes of predominantly British and European History from the late Roman period to c. 1989. It includes History of the Byzantine Empire, History of Russia and the former Soviet Union, History of India, and History of Australia and New Zealand, and growing coverage of the History of North and South America and the West Indies, and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Historiography, the History of Science, the History of Art, and Palaeography.  

Find out more about locating history books in the Radcliffe Camera and Gladstone Link

New books

The New Books Display is located in the Upper Gladstone Link and is updated on a regular basis. You can find a virtual display of new History books, including eBooks and Bodleian acquisitions, on LibraryThing. Books recently acquired by the library but not yet available on the shelves can be fast-tracked on request.

Subject guides

Browse our guides to History collections and resources at Oxford.

Undergraduate collections

Information about History undergraduate courses and their reading lists are listed on the History Faculty Canvas site (SSO required).

Set texts

Reference copies of set texts for the Honour School of History are available for use in the Upper Camera. This is a high-demand collection, so please only take up to two books at a time and return them when you have finished consulting them. Lending copies of some set texts can be found on the open shelves in the Lower Camera and Gladstone Link. 

The HFL has started to digitize set texts where permitted under copyright law. These selections are available as eSet Texts on ORLO or HFL Canvas (SSO required). The one exception is Special Subject: ‘Russian Revolution of 1917’: this pack could not be digitized and is still available to purchase from the Lower Camera Desk.

DVDs and videos

The HFL has a collection of videos and DVDs supporting undergraduate courses. These are catalogued on SOLO. In most cases we hold copies for loan as well as reference. PCs are available in the Radcliffe Camera for viewing DVDs and a portable DVD drive is available to borrow on a short loan basis from the Lower Camera Desk. Please ask staff to arrange to view videos.


The HFL keeps a small collection of CD-ROMs for consultation at the Upper Camera staff office. CDs accompanying books in the lending collection can be borrowed. Those accompanying reference books and some stand-alone CDs may only be used in the Library.  PCs are available in the Upper Camera. You can search for CD-ROMs on SOLO.


Browse our list of microfilms (PDF).


Senior members can borrow from a teaching collection of wall maps. The handlist of titles is available to download (PDF), or readers can contact library.history@bodleian.ox.ac.uk for further details.

Prize essays and theses

We have catalogued around 60 theses by Modern History undergraduates from 1995 to 2007. You can search for these on SOLO using the search term ‘Final Honour School of Modern History: undergraduate thesis’, by student candidate number, year or title. They may be of interest to 2nd and 3rd year History undergraduates who are preparing their own theses.

We have catalogued about 70 theses by Chemistry students from 1961 – 2010 on the History of Chemistry. You can search for these on SOLO using the search term ‘Oxford University Chemistry Part II: undergraduate thesis’, or by author name, year or title. These are likely to be of interest to students of the History of Science and Medicine.

The prize essays and theses are for reference use only and cannot be photocopied. To consult them, please ask library staff.

Rare books

The HFL has a small collection of antiquarian books, which are available for consultation on request. Details of most of the collection can be found on the HFL Rare Books blog. Bodleian Rare Books staff take decisions concerning the future of the collections. Most of the books are not in SOLO, and some are neither catalogued nor in the Rare Books blog.  

The collection consists of some 250 – 300 titles in over 500 volumes. Most items date from the 18th and 19th centuries. There are also a dozen 15th- and 16th-century items, and some 20th-century books are included for special provenance interest. The books cover an assortment of subjects in British and European history. A large proportion is early modern British source material, including long runs of parliamentary papers and statutes. The collection has been assembled from a variety of sources.