Collections and resources at the VHL


The Vere Harmsworth Library houses the University's principal research collection relating to the history of the United States. The library has comprehensive collections relating to US history, spanning largely from the earliest colonial period to contemporary history. The collections of 100,000+ volumes of printed materials are impressive by both European and American standards, thanks to the long history of legal deposit and active purchasing over many decades. The library has an excellent collection of printed materials, including monographs, journals and editions of documents.  

There are some law holdings in the VHL, particularly on political and historical aspects. The VHL holds the Bodleian Libraries’ collection of US government publications, except various titles related to US law.

The library also contains extensive collections relating to American politics, international relations, and social and economic aspects of the United States. US literature collections are held in the English Faculty Library.

The VHL is temporarily housing the teaching collections of the Radcliffe Science Library.

Microfilm collections

The library has an extensive collection of primary source materials on microfilm, including historic newspapers and the papers of several major organizations and significant figures. Most microfilms may be found by searching SOLO, or by browsing the subject guide or list of newspapers.  

The library has three microfilm readers available, including one that will scan images to a PC. Find out more information about using the microfilm collections.

New books

To recommend books for purchase, please email the library or use the Bodleian Libraries recommend a resource form. We publish a list of new books received in the library each month on LibraryThing.

US Elections Campaign Archive

The Vere Harmsworth Library is home to the Philip & Rosamund Davies US Elections Campaigns Archive, an extensive collection of campaign ephemera from American elections at all levels.

Subject guides and resources

Guide to US History Sources

This online guide will give you a good overview of the resources that we have available, arranged by period and type of source, and is the best place to start for finding primary sources for US history in Oxford or online.

Guide to US Government Publications

A dedicated guide to locate official papers and other US government publications in Oxford and online.

Guide to US Legal Resources

This guide provides information on the Bodleian Law Library’s holdings of material relating to US law as well as relevant online resources.

Free web resources

Freely available web resources for US studies, curated by the library to provide a portal to some of the vast amount of primary source material being made available online.

US Studies Resources at Oxford blog

This blog aims to help students and researchers using our collections, as well as to highlight the variety of resources that are available both in Oxford and more widely. It includes in-depth posts on specific resources as well as more general overviews on certain topics.