Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College

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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.

Working language(s)



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

Classified material

Inaccessible material

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.

Research procedures


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.

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

Document ordering

Order from the archivist.

Ordering classified material

Uncatalogued material is generally closed, unless there is a draft catalogue.

Document delivery

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.

Key forms

(what are the main forms that the archive uses? if possible, provide links to copies or post copies directly)

Key individuals

Archive staff

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.

Internet access





See also

(links to relevant websites and resources)

Personal tools