The College Archives contain the records created by Hart Hall, Magdalen Hall and Hertford College. Today’s Hertford College is the successor of two medieval halls of the University of Oxford – Hart Hall and Magdalen Hall – and a previous ‘Hertford College’ which existed from 1740-1816. To find out more about the history of Hertford College and our alumni, visit the College History page.
Please note that Magdalen Hall is a separate institution from Magdalen College. If you have an enquiry relating to Magdalen College, please contact their Library and Archive.
About our collections
The majority of the records in the Archives are those created by Hertford College from its foundation in 1874. Official administrative records and records relating to works to the College buildings from this date are well represented in the collection. The survival of records created by Hertford College’s predecessor bodies has been more haphazard and these bodies are not so well represented. There are no records prior to the 17th century.
The collection consists of:
- Records of Hart Hall and its successor Hertford College 1716-1820: Governance records and statutes, Library catalogues
- Records of Magdalen Hall 1661-1874: Governance records, Admissions registers (1849-1874), Library catalogues, Buttery Books (1661-1874 – please note that due to conservation considerations most of the Magdalen Hall Buttery Books are not available for consultation)
- Records of Hertford College 1874 onwards: administrative, financial and fabric records of Hertford College from 1874 onwards, some personal papers of former Hertford College staff and students, records of student life and societies, prints, engravings & photographs
Family history and alumni research
We can usually confirm academic details such as dates of matriculation and degrees awarded. However please note that the Archives rarely contain biographical information about individual students. We have a small number of records relating to College servants.
We have a good collection of College photographs dating from the end of the 19th century, all of which are available for viewing by visitors in person. There are gaps for some years, so we are always glad to hear from alumni who have photographs which they might consider donating. Please note that most of our photographs have been taken by the Oxford-based photography firm Gillman & Soame. Photographs taken 70 years ago or less are still in copyright so please visit the Gillman & Soame website at if you wish to order reproductions.
Please do not reproduce any archival material which appears on this website without prior permission from the Archivist.
Will I have to pay to access your collections?
No, we do not charge for answering straightforward enquiries from academic researchers or members of the public. We will not normally charge for supplying digital images for academic or other non-commercial purposes such as publications, exhibitions or websites, but we may make a charge if reproducing and editing the images is particularly time consuming. We reserve the right to charge to cover the costs of any photocopying or printing.
Can I visit in person?
Yes, please see the ‘accessing the collections’ page for more information.
Are reproductions available?
No photocopying, scanning or any other form of reproduction may be carried out without prior permission from the Archivist. Researchers may request copies to be made of documents in the Archives for the purposes of private research, subject to the physical condition of the records and any legal restrictions. Please complete a Reproduction Permission Form and return to the Archivist.
We will normally charge a fee for reproduction and usage of images in the case of commercial publication; in this case please contact the Librarian or Archivist to discuss your project. We will normally ask for a copy of publications to be donated to the Library and Archives.
Can I bring my own digital camera?
Digital cameras may be used to make personal research copies, with the prior permission of the Archivist and on completion of a self-photography form.
Are your collections covered by copyright?
Researchers wishing to reproduce material for publication or commercial use must obtain permission from the copyright holder. Where the copyright is held by Hertford College the researcher must complete a copyright permission form. If the copyright is held elsewhere it is the responsibility of the researcher to seek permission from the copyright holder before a reproduction can be made.
If you are researching a student who matriculated at Oxford up to 1932, then Oxford University Archives will often have more detailed information about their academic career. From 1932 onwards, this information is held by the University’s Central Administration: please contact the Degree Conferrals Office who may be able to help with your enquiry.
There is very useful advice and further information about other Oxford colleges and the University in general on the Oxford Archivists’ Consortium website. For more information about the city of Oxford and its people, contact Oxfordshire History Centre.
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