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Catalogues & Records

Christ Church Library from the West



  • Introduction
  • Early Printed Books
  • Manuscripts
  • Music
  • Library Records


During the first century of the library's existence there was no catalogue. The earliest, compiled in 1665, shows about 2,000 volumes.

This was used until the 1674 printed Bodleian catalogue was published, when a copy was interleaved and annotated. Separate contemporary catalogues have survived of the great benefactions of the eighteenth century - Aldrich, Stratford, Orrery and Wake.

The duplicates sale of 1813 financed the compilation of a new catalogue, supplanting the existing one in three sequences. Next the pamphlets were re-catalogued during the 1820s, and between 1844 and 1847 a catalogue of music was made by H.E. Havergal. Lists of music in the Aldrich bequest made by Charles Burney and William Boyce, about 1778, also survive.

Between 1928 and 1935 the library was re-organised, the current catalogue, first written in 1890s, was thoroughly checked, and a separate card catalogue of pamphlets made. At the same time names of former owners written in books were recorded. A nineteenth-century list of autographs in the Allestree Library is also among the library records.

The early printed music collection is available in a separate on-line catalogue. Work on the manuscripts is in progress as well.   

Modern lending collections are catalogued on SOLO, the online catalogue of the majority of Oxford's electronic and printed libary collections. It can be accessed from anywhere by visiting The historic non-lending collections are gradually added onto SOLO as part of the Oxford Early Printed Books antiquarian cataloguing project.


1. A copy of Kitchin's catalogue of manuscripts, with addenda on cards.

2. A copy of Arkwright's catalogue of manuscript music, annotated.

3. Author catalogue of the printed books, written in six volumes.

4. Card catalogue of pamphlets.

5. Card catalogue of the Allestree Library.

6. Card catalogue of the library from Wotton-under-Edge.

7. Annotated copy of the published catalogue of printed music by Hiff. (These items are also included in Edith B. Schnapper, The British Union-Catalogue of Early Music Printed Before the Year 1801 (1957).)

8.A copy of Sir A.E. Cowley, A Concise Catalogue of the Hebrew Printed Books in the Bodleian Library (1929), annotated with relevant holdings.

Until the new edition now in preparation is published, the Christ Church locations in Donald Wing's Short-Title Catalogue 1641-1700, like those of Balliol and Merton, must be used with caution and only after checking W.G. Hiscock's The Christ Church Supplement to Wing's Short-title Catalogue 1641-1700 (1956). The same author also published in duplicated form in a limited edition a very useful list, The Christ Church Holdings in Wing's Short-title Catalogue 1641-1700 of which less than five Copies are Recorded in the United Kingdom (1956).

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Early Printed Books

Descriptions of over 30,000 early printed books are now included in the Oxford University Union Catalogue. Many of these are books printed in continental Europe before 1800, but the collection of the former Christ Church Anatomy School (founded 1765) is also included. Records for most of the Library's eighteenth-century English printed works have also been added, and others for pre-1701 English material are expected shortly.

Ledger Catalogue

Compiled between 1893 and 1898 by William Francis, library clerk and Dean's Verger, but as early as 1908 there were complaints that it was 'choked full of solecisms, errors and confusions.' Despite revisions in the 1930s this remains the case, and by modern standards the catalogue is woefully inadequate, with no details of printers or publishers, no subject or title index and frequently bizarre choices of headings.

Until the present programme of re-cataloguing has been completed the Ledger will continue to provide the only access to large parts of the historic collections, but it is now in poor condition, and other catalogues should be consulted wherever possible.

Pamphlet Catalogue

Compiled on cards by W.G. Hiscock, replacing an earlier ledger. It contains cards for many thousands of more ephemeral publications, including the great pamphlet collection housed in the attic of the Upper Library. Some items from these collections are to be found in the Ledger Catalogue.

Allestree Library Catalogue

The Allestree Library is the historic library of the Oxford Regius Professors of Divinity, administered by Christ Church Library since 1946, and still kept separately. The card catalogue was compiled by W.G. Hiscock, and the cards are now kept in the East Library. There is no subject index, and the catalogue does not generally include details of printers or publisher.

Hussey Library Catalogue

The Hussey Library is the former library of the Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History. It is a comparatively small collection and its contents date mainly from the nineteenth century. A separate ledger catalogue is available.

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G.W. Kitchin, Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum qui in bibliotheca Aedis Christi apud Oxonienses adservantur (1867).

Kitchin's catalogue follows the style adopted by H.O. Coxe in his catalogues of Oxford college libraries, though there is no list of donors. It is now extremely out of date and is supplemented by the Manuscript Addenda Catalogue on cards, in the East Library.

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On-line catalogue

Compiled by John Milsom, the on-line catalogue of music source materials at Christ Church will cover all manuscript pieces, and all early printed music and works relating to music throughout the library's collections. The sections of the catalogue dealing with printed works were launched on 28th June 2004. A selection of descriptions of manuscripts is currently available; more are being added regularly.


G.E.P. Arkwright, Catalogue of music in the library of Christ Church, Oxford, Pt. 1: Works of ascertained authorship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1915-). Part three of the catalogue ('A thematic catalogue of anonymous instrumental music') was never published; but a draft copy is available in the Library.


Aloys Hiff, Catalogue of the printed music prior to 1801 now in the library of Christ Church, Oxford (1919). The list of contents of reels for the published microfilm set of our printed music includes a full list of our printed music collection, and this may be used as a rudimentary finding aid in the absence of an on-line catalogue.

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Library Records

The library records are larger than those of any other Oxford college library. They were last listed by W.G. Hiscock (successively Assistant and Deputy Librarian from 1931 to 1962); with the exception of the Bodleian printed catalogues with their annotations, all can be assumed to be in manuscript. What follows is a transcription of Hiscock's list, and researchers may wish to check for themselves that his identifications are correct. Some of the later nineteenth and twentieth century records have been omitted from the list, and recent library records are unlisted.

In addition to the material in Library Records, considerable quantities of material will be found in the Christ Church Archives, particularly in the series of Disbursement Books, and in a variety of other documents.

1. [Donor's register] (1614)
2. Catalogus librorum omnium in Bibl. Aedis Christi (1665)
3. [Library Catalogue in] Catalogus impr. librorum Bibl. Bodleianae 2 vols 1st set (1674)
4. ------- 2nd set. (1674)
5. Catalogus impr. librorum in Archivis repositorum. Acc. Appendix codd. MSS. (1676)
6. [Unidentifed catalogue of books] (c.1700)
7. [Catalogue of F. Buggs Quaker Tracts, bought by Aldrich and presented to Ch.Ch.] (1700
8. ------- [Arranged in an alphabetical order]
9. Catalogue of the books of [N. Stratford] Bp. of Chester (bef. 1707)
10. [Unidentified catalogue of books] (c.1710)
11. Catalogue of books belonging to Dean Aldrich (c.1710)
12. Catalogue of music in Dr. Aldrich's collection at ChCh ...(1778)
Boyce: Catal. of musick in Dr. Aldrich's collection (1778)
Catal. of music books ... examin Novr. 1778 (1778)
13. A catalogue of Dr. Aldrich's pamphlets
A catalogue of books in the Archives (c.1710)
14. [Catalogue of pamphlets in copy of] Catalogus impr. lib.Bibl. Bodleianae 1674. 2 vols. (Temp. 1710)
15 A catalogue of ye books contained in ye Archives (1717)
[Inserted in vol.] Codices MSS. Arabici (c.1700)
[At end of vol.] A catalogue of Mr Goodsons books contained in ye Archives (1747)
16. The Accounts of the Library 1712-65
17. ------- 1765-96
18. ------- 1796-1830
18a. ------- 1830-1871
19. The Catalogue of Dr Stratford's books (c.1729)
20. [Catalogue of Wake's books in copy of] Catal. impr. libr. Bibl. Bodleianae, 1674. 2 vols. (c.1730)
21. Catalogus bibliothecae ... Gul. Wake, 2 vols. (c.1730)
22. A Catalogue of the library of Charles late Earl of Orrery ... (1732)
23. [Anr. catalogue of the Orrery books] (c.1732)
24. A catalogue of the library of the Rev. Dr. David Gregory ... taken Septr. 28th 1776 (1776)
25. Catalogue of duplicates. 2 vols. (1814)
26. Hand catalogue - Hyperoon (c.1841)
27. Catalogus bibliothecae ... Gul. Wake (1788)
28. [Library catalogue] 6 vols. (1813)
29. Catalogue of theological works wanting in Ch.Ch. Library ... made by Mr Cochran (1823)
30. Havergal: A short numerical catalogue of the manuscript and printed musick. (1846)
31. ------- An alphabetical catalogue of the printed musick (1846)
32. ------- An alphabetical catalogue of the manuscript musick (1847)
33. Extracts from the rules of the Library & 1 printed notice signed C.W. Sandford, displayed on a card (c.1860)
34. Reading Room catalogue (1875)
[items 35 to 43 are later material, mostly twentieth century]
45. Library Correspondence &c. [mostly 19th and early 20th century material, but including a variety of other material].
46. [Allestree Library Catalogue] (c.1834)
47. [Admissions to the Library] (1698-1726)
48. A catalogue of the collection of pictures in the Library at Christ-Church [facs.] (c.1770)
49. [Library Regulations and orders] (1776-1827)
50. ------- [mainly dupl.] (1776-1834)
51. Allestree Library - list of autographs, notes on books, &c. (c.1800)
52. Books received into Ch.Ch. Library (1810, 1814-51)
53. Binders book (1822-1929)
54. Order book, &c. (1824-62)
55. A catalogue of the collection of pictures in the Library at Christ Church (1833)
56. ------- [Anr. copy] (1833)
57. Catalogue of books in the Anatomy School (1838)
58. Entry book (1851-97)
59. List of books sold & duplicates (1857-62)
60. Minutes - Ch Ch Library Committee (1869; 1878-98)
61. [Catalogue of pictures] (c.1870)
62. [Accession register] (1875-99)
63. Reading Room minute book (1884-1906)
64. ------- suggestion book (1884-1906)
65. Warner - Ch. Ch. portraits.
66. Entry book (1898-1932)
[a lengthy series of early twentieth century items]
78. Morris Fund 1748-1855

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