Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College
One of the major repositories of private papers of British individuals active in official and private capacities in the Middle East
Middle East Centre Archive, St. Antony’s College, Oxford OX2 6JF
44 (0)1865 284706
44 (0)1865 274529
Schedule & hours
M-F 9:45-5:15. Closed at certain times out of term, details here.
The reading room, in the basement of one of the College houses, contains the archivist's desk and several desks for researchers. Store rooms are on the same floor.
The archive is just to the south of the Middle East Centre on Woodstock Road.
Description of holdings
"The Archive now contains the papers of over 480 individuals or organisations covering the period from 1800 to the present day. Its particular strength is in coverage of Palestine during the British Mandate." (from the archive website). The archive has a fine collection of photographs.
History of the archive
The archive was founded in 1961, and holds private papers collections donated to it, most of which were previously in private hands. Detailed history of the archive here.
Catalogues & finding aids
The archive is quite well catalogued. A detailed list of collections, each with its own handlist, is online here. This page also includes country and period guides.
Languages of materials
Mostly English, with various correspondence in other European and Middle Eastern languages.
Restrictions & difficulties
Future of the archive
The archivist is working steadily to expand catalogues. Sizeable sponsorship has been given by Middle Eastern states in return for access to archival material. The collection continues to grow as further private paper collections are acquired; details here. A new building is in the planning stages that will result in a new spacious reading room with better facilities as well as purpose built storage areas to enable long term expansion of the collection.
An appointment is necessary for all research. An Oxford University card, or a letter of introduction and photo id is required on the first visit.
The archive experience is very personal. Discuss your interests with the archivist, who knows the collection well.
Permitted and prohibited items
- Permitted: pencils, laptop computers, cameras (policy here)
- Prohibited: pens, scanners, bags, coats
Order from the archivist.
Ordering classified material
Uncatalogued material is generally closed, unless there is a draft catalogue.
The archive is very small, and service is very personal. Delivery is quick, and straight to your desk.
Photocopying, photography, microfilming
Photocopies cost 20-25p per page, depending on size. The archivist does the copying, and copies are not available immediately. Photographs can be reproduced, details here.
(what are the main forms that the archive uses? if possible, provide links to copies or post copies directly)
Debbie Usher, archivist
(scholars who are familiar with this archive)
(published works based on research at this archive)
St. Antony's college dining hall is nearby, and the reading room closes at tea time, when tea/coffee and biscuits are provided at the Middle East Centre.
There is a washroom in the archive.
Buses run along Woodstock road, and the archive is walking distance from the centre of town.
(links to relevant websites and resources)