Special Collections

Information for Visiting Readers


Christ Church Special Collections will remain closed for all readers and visitors until further notice.

The Special Collections team is working mostly from home. They will attempt to answer your email queries and to provide digital copies of material whenever possible, as quickly as possible. For this, please contact library@chch.ox.ac.uk or the Keeper of Special Collections - cristina.neagu@chch.ox.ac.uk

If the matter is urgent, please write directly to the College Librarian - gabriel.sewell@chch.ox.ac.uk.

For news on events and work on Special Collections during the COVID-19 outbreak please follow the Library Exhibitions and Research.



Christ Church is one of the major research libraries in the world, home to tens of thousands of priceless documents and an impressive range of collections. They encompass a vast array of rare and unique materials in a multitude of formats, ranging from illuminated manuscripts, and early printed books to family papers, maps, artifacts, images in all formats. These collections support research by members of Christ Church and Oxford University, as well as an international community of scholars.

True to its legacy and committed to the sharing of knowledge, the library is engaged in a series of large-scale projects aimed at creating important new research tools. Among the tools currently being developed are the catalogue of early printed books in Roman scripts (it is estimated that the collections comprise circa 80,000 works) and the catalogues of early printed Hebrew books and manuscripts (Christ Church has the second largest collection in Oxford after the Bodleian).  Most of the early printed books collections at Christ Church appear in SOLO, the University union catalogue. We are still adding records on a daily basis and will continue to do so for a number of years, so, if you are searching for a specific work and find it does not appear in SOLO, please do get in touch with us, as the book may be part of our collections but has not been catalogued yet. The library is also developing online manuscripts databases, among which, first to be finalised, is the Catalogue of Western Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. Scheduled for 2020 are a detailed on-line catalogue of the large Lewis Carroll and the Viscount Portal collections. The digitisation programme involving the core collections of manuscripts is in full swing. To access the documents digitised so far, please click on Digital Library.

The 'Special Collections' section of the website is maintained and updated by Dr Cristina Neagu, Keeper of Special Collections.