The Bodleian Library (/ˈbɒdliən, bɒdˈliːən/) is the main research library of the University of Oxford, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. With over 12 million items, it is the second-largest library in Britain after the British Library. Under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 it is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and under Irish Law it is entitled to request a copy of each book published in the Republic of Ireland. Known to Oxford scholars as "Bodley" or "the Bod", it operates principally as a reference library and, in general, documents may not be removed from the reading rooms.
In 2000, a number of libraries within the University of Oxford were brought together for administrative purposes under the aegis of what was initially known as Oxford University Library Services (OULS), and since 2010 as the Bodleian Libraries, of which the Bodleian Library is the largest component.
All colleges of the University of Oxford have their own libraries, which in a number of cases were established well before the foundation of the Bodleian, and all of which remain entirely independent of the Bodleian. They do, however, participate in OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information System), the Bodleian Libraries' online union catalogue. Much of the library's archives were digitized and put online for public access in 2015.
Library's entrance with the coats-of-arms of several Oxford colleges
|Location||Broad Street, Oxford|
|Items collected||books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, maps, prints, drawings and manuscripts|
|Legal deposit||Included in the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003|
|Access and use|
|Access requirements||Old Schools Quadrangle, Divinity School, Exhibition Room and Bodleian Library Gift Shop open to the public|
|Members||Students and fellows of University of Oxford|
Location in Oxford city centre
The Bodleian Library occupies a group of five buildings near Broad Street: the 15th-century Duke Humfrey's Library, the 17th-century Schools Quadrangle, the 18th-century Clarendon Building and Radcliffe Camera, and the 20th and 21st-century Weston Library. Since the 19th century a number of underground stores have been built, while the principal off-site storage area is located at South Marston on the edge of Swindon.
Before being granted access to the library, new readers are required to agree to a formal declaration. This declaration was traditionally an oral oath, but is now usually made by signing a letter to a similar effect. Ceremonies in which readers recite the declaration are still performed for those who wish to take them; these occur primarily at the start of the University's Michaelmas term. External readers (those not attached to the University) are still required to recite the declaration orally prior to admission. The Bodleian Admissions Office has amassed a large collection of translations of the declaration — covering over one hundred different languages as of spring 2017 — allowing those who are not native English speakers to recite it in their first language. The English text of the declaration is as follows:
This is a translation of the traditional Latin oath (the original version of which did not forbid tobacco smoking, though libraries were then unheated because fires were so hazardous):
Whilst the Bodleian Library, in its current incarnation, has a continuous history dating back to 1602, its roots date back even further. The first purpose-built library known to have existed in Oxford was founded in the fourteenth century under the will of Thomas Cobham, Bishop of Worcester (d. 1327). This small collection of chained books was situated above the north side of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin on the High Street. This collection continued to grow steadily, but when Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (brother of Henry V of England) donated a great collection of manuscripts between 1435 and 1437, the space was deemed insufficient and a larger building was required. A suitable room was finally built above the Divinity School, and completed in 1488. This room continues to be known as Duke Humfrey's Library. After 1488, the university stopped spending money on the library's upkeep and acquisitions, and manuscripts began to go unreturned to the library.
The late sixteenth century saw the library go through a period of decline: the library’s furniture was sold, and only three of the original books belonging to Duke Humphrey remained in the collection. During the reign of Edward VI, there was a purge of "superstitious" (Catholic-related) manuscripts. It was not until 1598 that the library began to thrive once more, when Thomas Bodley (a former fellow of Merton College, who had recently married a wealthy widow) wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University offering to support the development of the library: "where there hath bin hertofore a publike library in Oxford: which you know is apparent by the rome it self remayning, and by your statute records I will take the charge and cost upon me, to reduce it again to his former use." Six of the Oxford University dons were tasked with helping Bodley in refitting the library in March 1658. Duke Humfrey’s Library was refitted, and Bodley donated a number of his own books to furnish it. The library was formally re-opened on 8 November 1602 under the name “Bodleian Library” (officially Bodley's Library). There were around two thousand books in the library at this time, with an ornate Benefactor's Register displayed prominently, to encourage donations. Early benefactors were motivated by the recent memory of the Reformation to donate books in the hopes that they would be kept safe.
Bodley’s collecting interests were varied; according to the library's historian Ian Philip, as early as June 1603 he was attempting to source manuscripts from Turkey, and it was during “the same year that the first Chinese book was acquired.”, despite no-one at Oxford being able to understand them at that time. In 1605, Francis Bacon gave the library a copy of The Advancement of Learning and described the Bodleian as "an Ark to save learning from deluge". At this time, there were few books written in English held in the library, partially because academic work was not done in English. Thomas James suggested that Bodley should ask the Stationers' Company to provide a copy of all books printed to the Bodleian and in 1610 Bodley made an agreement with the company to put a copy of every book registered with them in the library. The Bodleian collection grew so fast that the building was expanded between 1610–1612, (known as the Arts End) and again in 1634–1637. When John Selden died in 1654, he left the Bodleian his large collection of books and manuscripts. The later addition to Duke Humfrey’s Library continues to be known as the "Selden End".
By the time of Bodley’s death in 1613, his planned further expansion to the library was just starting. The Schools Quadrangle (sometimes referred to as the "Old Schools Quadrangle", or the "Old Library") was built between 1613 and 1619 by adding three wings to the Proscholium and Arts End. Its tower forms the main entrance to the library, and is known as the Tower of the Five Orders. The Tower is so named because it is ornamented, in ascending order, with the columns of each of the five orders of classical architecture: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite.
The three wings of the quadrangle have three floors: rooms on the ground and upper floors of the quadrangle (excluding Duke Humfrey’s Library, above the Divinity School) were originally used as lecture space and an art gallery. The lecture rooms are still indicated by the inscriptions over the doors (see illustration). As the library’s collections expanded, these rooms were gradually taken over, the University lectures and examinations were moved into the newly created University Schools building. The art collection was transferred to the Ashmolean. One of the schools was used to host exhibitions of the library’s treasures, now moved to the renovated Weston Library, whilst the others are used as offices and meeting rooms for the library administrators, a readers' common room, and a small gift shop.
The agreement with the Stationers' Company meant that the growth of stock was constant and there were also a number of large bequests and acquisitions for other reasons. Until the establishment of the British Museum in 1753 the Bodleian was effectively the national library of England. By then the Bodleian, Cambridge University Library and the Royal Library were the most extensive book collections in England and Wales.
A large collection of medieval Italian manuscripts was bought from Matteo Luigi Canonici in 1817. In 1829, the library bought the collection of Rabbi David Oppenheim, adding to its Hebrew collection.
By the late 18th century, further growth of the library demanded more expansion space. In 1860, the library was allowed to take over the adjacent building, known as the Radcliffe Camera. In 1861, the library’s medical and scientific collections were transferred to the Radcliffe Science Library, which had been built farther north next to the University Museum.
The Clarendon Building was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor and was built between 1711 and 1715, originally to house the printing presses of the Oxford University Press. It was vacated by the Press in the early nineteenth century, and used by the university for administrative purposes. In 1975 it was handed over to the Bodleian Library, and now provides office and meeting space for senior members of staff.
In 1907 the then head librarian, Nicholson, had begun a project to revise the catalogue of printed books. In 1909, the Prime Minister of Nepal, Chandra Shum Shere, donated a large collection of Sanskrit literature to the library.
In 1911, the Copyright Act (now superseded by the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003) continued the Stationers' agreement by making the Bodleian one of the six (at that time) libraries covering legal deposit in the United Kingdom where a copy of each book copyrighted must be deposited.
Between 1909 and 1912, an underground bookstack was constructed beneath the Radcliffe Camera and Radcliffe Square. In 1914, the total number of books in the library’s collections breached the 1 million mark. By 1915, only one quarter of the revised catalogue had been completed, a task made more difficult by library staff going into the war effort, either serving in the armed forces or by volunteering to serve in the hospitals. In July 1915 the most valuable books had been moved into a secret location due to a fear that Oxford would be bombed, and a volunteer fire brigade was trained and ready, but Oxford escaped the First World War without being bombed. By the 1920s, the Library needed further expansion space, and in 1937 building work began on the New Bodleian building, opposite the Clarendon Building on the northeast corner of Broad Street.
The New Bodleian was designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Construction was completed in 1940. The building was of an innovative ziggurat design, with 60% of the bookstack below ground level. A tunnel under Broad Street connects the Old and New Bodleian buildings, and contains a pedestrian walkway, a mechanical book conveyor and a pneumatic Lamson tube system which was used for book orders until an electronic automated stack request system was introduced in 2002. The Lamson tube system continued to be used by readers requesting manuscripts to be delivered to Duke Humfrey’s Library until it was turned off in July 2009. In 2010, it was announced that the conveyor, which had been transporting books under Broad Street since the 1940s, would be shut down and dismantled on 20 August 2010. The New Bodleian closed on 29 July 2011.
The New Bodleian building was rebuilt behind its original façade to provide improved storage facilities for rare and fragile material, as well as better facilities for readers and visitors. The new building concept was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and the MEP design was undertaken by engineering consultancy Hurley Palmer Flatt. It reopened to readers as the Weston Library on 21 March 2015. In March 2010 the group of libraries known collectively as "Oxford University Library Services" was renamed "The Bodleian Libraries", thus allowing those Oxford members outside the Bodleian to acquire the gloss of the Bodleian brand. The building was nominated for the 2016 Sterling Prize.
In November 2015 its collections topped 12 million items with the acquisition of Shelley's "POETICAL ESSAY on the EXISTING STATE OF THINGS". Thought lost from shortly after its publication in 1811 until a copy was rediscovered in a private collection in 2006, the Bodleian has digitised the 20-page pamphlet for online access. The controversial poem and accompanying essay are believed to have contributed to the poet being sent down from Oxford University.
The library operates a strict policy on copying of material. Until fairly recently, personal photocopying of library material was not permitted, as there was concern that copying and excessive handling would result in damage. However individuals may now copy most material produced after 1900, and a staff-mediated service is provided for certain types of material dated between 1801 and 1900. Handheld scanners and digital cameras are also permitted for use on most post-1900 publications and digital cameras may also be used, with permission, with older material. The Library will supply digital scans of most pre-1801 material. Microform copies have been made of many of the most fragile items in the library's collection, and these are substituted for the originals whenever possible. The library has a close relationship with the Oxford Digital Library, which is in the process of digitising some of the many rare and unusual items in the University's collection.
The head of the Bodleian Library is known as "Bodley's Librarian". The first librarian, Thomas James, was selected by Bodley in 1599, and the university confirmed James in his post in 1602. Bodley wanted his librarian to be "some one that is noted and known for a diligent Student, and in all his conversation to be trusty, active, and discreet, a graduate also and a Linguist, not encumbered with marriage, nor with a benefice of Cure", although James was able to persuade Bodley to let him get married and to become Rector of St Aldate's Church, Oxford.
In all, 25 have served as Bodley's Librarian; their levels of diligence have varied over the years. Thomas Lockey (1660–1665) was regarded as not fit for the post, John Hudson (1701–1719) has been described as "negligent if not incapable", and John Price (1768–1813) was accused by a contemporary scholar of "a regular and constant neglect of his duty".
Sarah Thomas, who served from 2007 to 2013, was the first woman to hold the position, and the second Librarian (after her predecessor, Reginald Carr) also to be Director of Oxford University Library Services (now Bodleian Libraries). Thomas, an American, was also the first foreign librarian to run the Bodleian. Her successor from January 2014 is Richard Ovenden, who was Deputy Librarian under Thomas.
The Bodleian is used as background scenery in Dorothy L. Sayers Gaudy Night, features in Michael White's Equinox, and is one of the libraries consulted by Christine Greenaway (one of Bodley's librarians) in Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse novel The Wench is Dead. The denouement of Michael Innes's Operation Pax (1951) is set in an imaginary version of the underground bookstack, reached at night by sliding down the 'Mendip cleft', a chute concealed in Radcliffe Square.
Since J. R. R. Tolkien had studied philology at Oxford and eventually became a professor, he was very familiar with the Red Book of Hergest which is kept at the Bodleian on behalf of Jesus College. Tolkien later created his own fictional Red Book of Westmarch telling the story of The Lord of the Rings. Many of Tolkien's manuscripts are now at the library.
Historian and novelist Deborah Harkness, set much of the early part of her 2011 novel, A Discovery of Witches, in the Bodleian, particularly the Selden End. The novel also features one of the library's Ashmolean manuscripts (Ashmole 782) as a central element of the book.
Medieval historian Dominic Selwood set part of his 2013 crypto-thriller The Sword of Moses in Duke Humfrey's library, and the novel hinges on the library's copy of a magical medieval Hebrew manuscript known as 'The Sword of Moses'.
The Library's fine architecture has made it a favourite location for filmmakers, representing either Oxford University or other locations. It can be seen in the opening scene of The Golden Compass, Brideshead Revisited (1981 TV serial), Another Country (1984), The Madness of King George III (1994), and the first two Harry Potter films, in which the Divinity School doubles as the Hogwarts hospital wing and Duke Humfrey's Library as the Hogwarts library. In The New World (2005), the library edifice is portrayed as the entrance to the Royal Court of the English monarchy. The Bodleian also featured in the Inspector Morse televised spin off Lewis, in the episode "And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea", where a murder takes place in the basement. It also featured in the episode "Fugue" of the Inspector Morse televised spin off Endeavour as the answer to an anagrammatic clue left by a serial killer for the young Morse.
The first few words of the Latin version of the reader's promise noted above (Do fidem me nullum librum vel) can be found on the linguist's hat in the 1996 miniseries Gulliver's Travels. It is also quoted in an inscription in the Phillips Exeter Academy Library.
The Annals of Inisfallen are a chronicle of the medieval history of Ireland. There are more than 2,500 entries spanning the years between 433 and 1450. The manuscript is thought to have been compiled in 1092, as the chronicle is written by a single scribe down to that point but updated by many different hands thereafter. It was written by the monks of Innisfallen Abbey, on Innisfallen Island on Lough Leane, near Killarney in Munster, but made use of sources produced at different centres around Munster as well as a Clonmacnoise group text of the hypothetical Chronicle of Ireland.As well as the chronological entries, the manuscript contains a short, fragmented narrative of the history of pre-Christian Ireland, known as the pre-Patrician section, from the time of Abraham to the arrival of Saint Patrick in Ireland. This has many elements in common with Lebor Gabála Érenn. It sets the history of Ireland and the Gaels within Eusebian universal history, which is provided both by a Latin world chronicle and extracts from Réidig dam, a Dé, do nim, a Middle Irish poem attributed to Flann Mainistrech in later manuscripts.
The annals are now housed in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. In 2001, Brian O'Leary, a Fianna Fáil councillor in Killarney, called for the annals to be returned to the town.Bodleian Libraries
The Bodleian Libraries are a collection of 28 libraries that serve the University of Oxford in England, including, most famously, the Bodleian Library itself, as well as many other (but not all) central and faculty libraries. As of the 2016–17 year, the libraries collectively hold almost 13 million printed items, as well as numerous other objects and artefacts.A major product of this collaboration has been a joint integrated library system, OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information System), and its public interface, SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online), which provides a union catalogue covering all member libraries, as well as the libraries of individual colleges and other faculty libraries, which are not members of the group but do share cataloguing information.
Its busiest library is the Social Sciences Library, which, at its peak, serves 7,500 visitors in a period of approximately nine weeks.Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson B 502
Oxford, Bodleian Library, Rawlinson B 502 is a medieval Irish manuscript which presently resides in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It ranks as one of the three major surviving Irish manuscripts to have been produced in pre-Norman Ireland, the two other works being the Lebor na hUidre and the Book of Leinster. Some scholars have also called it the Book of Glendalough, in Irish Lebar Glinne Dá Locha, after several allusions in medieval and early modern sources to a manuscript of that name. However, there is currently no agreement as to whether Rawlinson B 502, more precisely its second part, is to be identified as the manuscript referred to by that title.
It was described by Brian Ó Cuív as one of the "most important and most beautiful ... undoubtedly the most magnificent" of the surviving medieval Irish manuscripts. Pádraig Ó Riain states ".. a rich, as yet largely unworked, source of information on the concerns of the community at Glendalough in or about the year 1131, and a magnificent witness, as yet barely interrogated, to the high standard of scholarship attained by this monastic centre."Bruce Codex
The Bruce Codex (also called the Codex Brucianus) is a gnostic manuscript acquired by the British Museum. In 1769, James Bruce purchased the codex in Upper Egypt. It was transferred to the museum with a number of other Oriental texts in 1842. It currently resides in the Bodleian Library (Bruce 96), where it has been since 1848.Codex Mendoza
The Codex Mendoza is an Aztec codex, created between 1529 and 1553 and perhaps circa 1541. It contains a history of the Aztec rulers and their conquests, a list of the tribute paid by the conquered, and a description of daily Aztec life, in traditional Aztec pictograms with Spanish explanations and commentary. It is named after Don Antonio de Mendoza, then the viceroy of New Spain, who may have commissioned it, possibly with the intent that it be seen by Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain.
The codex is also known as the Codex Mendocino and La colección Mendoza, and has been held at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University since 1659. It was removed from public exhibition on 23 December 2011.The Bodleian Library holds four other Mesoamerican codices: Codex Bodley, Codex Laud, Codex Selden and the Selden Roll.List of New Testament lectionaries
A New Testament Lectionary is a handwritten copy of a lectionary, or book of New Testament Bible readings. Lectionaries may be written in uncial or minuscule Greek letters, on parchment, papyrus, vellum, or paper.New Testament lectionaries are distinct from:
New Testament papyri
New Testament uncials
New Testament minusculesLectionaries which have the Gospels readings are called Evangeliaria or Evangelistaria, those which have the Acts or Epistles, Apostoli or Praxapostoli. They appear from the 6th century.
Before Scholz only 57 Gospel lectionaries and 20 Apostoloi were known. Scholz added to the list 58-181 Evangelistarioi and 21-58 Apostoloi. Gregory in 1909 enumerated 2234 lectionaries. To the present day 2453 lectionary manuscripts have been catalogued by the (INTF) in Münster.
The lectionary text is basically Byzantine with detectable Caesarean influence. Lectionaries usually agreed with the Textus Receptus but with some departures.Oxyrhynchus Gospels
The Oxyrhynchus Gospels are two fragmentary manuscripts discovered among the rich finds of discarded papyri at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Unknown to most laymen, they throw light on early non-canonical Gospel traditions.Papyrus 19
Papyrus 19 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 19, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to the 4th or 5th century.
The papyrus is currently housed at the Bodleian Library, Gr. bibl. d. 6 (P) at the University of Oxford.Papyrus 29
Papyrus 29 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 29, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Acts of the Apostles which contains Acts 26:7-8 and 26:20. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to the early 3rd century.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 223
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 223 (P. Oxy. 223 or P. Oxy. II 223) is a fragment of Homer's Iliad (E,329-705), written in Greek. It was discovered in Oxyrhynchus. The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a roll. It is dated to the third century. Currently it is housed in the Bodleian Library (Ms. Gr. Class. a 8) in Oxford.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 228
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 228 (P. Oxy. 228 or P. Oxy. II 228) is a fragment of the Laches, a dialogue of Plato, written in Greek. It was discovered in Oxyrhynchus. The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a roll. It is dated to the second century. It is housed in the Bodleian Library (Ms. Gr. Class. a 8) in Oxford.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 36
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 36 (P. Oxy. 36) contains customs regulations by an unknown author, written in Greek. It was discovered by Grenfell and Hunt in 1897 in Oxyrhynchus. The fragment is dated to the second or the early third century. It is housed in the Bodleian Library (Ms. Gr. Class. d 60) at the University of Oxford. The text was published by Grenfell and Hunt in 1898.The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a sheet. The measurements of the fragment are 104 by 279 mm. The text is written in medium-sized cursive letters.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 5 (P. Oxy. 5) is a fragment of a Christian homily, written in Greek. It was discovered by Grenfell and Hunt in 1897 in Oxyrhynchus. The fragment is dated to the late third or early fourth century. It is housed in the Bodleian Library (Ms. Gr. Th. f 9). The text was published by Grenfell and Hunt in 1898.The manuscript was written on papyrus in the form of a codex. The measures of the original leaf were 120 by 114 mm. The text is written in a good-sized uncial hand. The nomina sacra are written in an abbreviated way (ΠΝΑ, ΚΣ, ΙΣ, ΧΣ). The recto side has survived in much better condition than the verso.It quotes the Shepherd of Hermas.Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 656
Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 656 (abbreviated as P.Oxy.IV 656) – is a Greek fragment of a Septuagint manuscript written on papyrus in codex form. This is a manuscript discovered at Oxyrhynchus, and it has been catalogued with number 656. Palaeographycally it is dated to late second century or early third century.
The manuscript was written on papyrus, in codex form. The surviving fragments are four pieces of 24 cm by 20 cm. The fragments contains Genesis (14:21-23, 15:5-9, 19:32-20:11, 24:28-47, 27:32,33,40,41), written in Koine Greek. On places where occurs the tetragrammaton is the word kyrios written, a nomina sacra, the characters are different than other. Jason David BeDuhn, quoting Emanuel Tov wrote:
The transition from the practice of preserving YHWH in archaic Hebrew letters to replacing it with the Greek kurios can be seen in Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 656 (Rahlfs 950). In the text of Genesis preserven in this manuscript, the original scribe left blank spaces for YHWH exactly like the scribe of PFouad 266 did. But later another scribe instead writing YHWH into those spaces wrote kurios.
In manuscripts from dead sea scrolls implying either use of a different letters, different pen or different scribe, or both for special treatment to divine name in the text, but in this manuscript was not written. The mss. Papyrus Rylands 458 has been used in discussions about the tetragrammaton, although there are blank spaces in the places where some scholars including C. H. Roberts believe that it contained letters. According to Paul E. Kahle, the tetragrammaton must have been written in the manuscript where these breaks or blank spaces appear.Rhodes House
Rhodes House is part of the University of Oxford in England. It is located on South Parks Road in central Oxford, and was built in memory of Cecil Rhodes, an alumnus of the university and a major benefactor.Richard Rawlinson
Richard Rawlinson FRS (3 February 1690 – 6 April 1755) was an English clergyman and antiquarian collector of books and manuscripts, which he bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford.Thomas Bodley
Sir Thomas Bodley (2 March 1545 – 28 January 1613) was an English diplomat and scholar who founded the Bodleian Library in Oxford.Weston Library
The Weston Library is part of the Bodleian Library, the main research library of the University of Oxford, reopened within the former New Bodleian Library building on the corner of Broad Street and Parks Road in central Oxford, England.