Key Features

The Harris Manchester College Archives holds material relating to the activity of the College from its creation in Manchester in 1786, through its relocations to York, back to Manchester, to London, and finally to Oxford. The archive covers not only institutional administrative material relating to the College's own history, but also personal collections that relate to its place in the history of Protestant dissent, particularly Unitarianism. 

The administrative material is extensive, covering records such as minute books, committee papers, accounts, student information, and some building plans. The personal papers include collections of prominent individuals either associated with the College or with other significant Unitarian connections, including: James Martineau (1805-1900); Harriet Martineau (1802-1871); Joseph Blanco White (1775-1841); Robert Brook Aspland (1805-1869); Thomas Belsham (1750-1829); Joseph Estlin Carpenter (1844-1927); Valentine David Davis (1854-1912); James Edwin Odgers (1843-1925); John Seddon (1719-1769); William Shepherd (1768-1847); and the Woods, Osler-Herford, Radice and Robberds families. 

For the most up to date (though not exhaustive) listing of Archive holdings please see the Porter Catalogue of Manuscripts in Harris Manchester College (searchable PDF). Some items in our Archive collections are available to view on Digital Bodleian.

The Archive is open Monday-Wednesday, by appointment only. All researchers must complete our researcher registration form. For enquiries and to make an appointment please contact

Researchers may find it helpful to consult some of the secondary sources dealing with the history of the College and its antecedents. These give a flavour of the content of the Archive collections: 

  • Truth, Liberty, Religion: Essays Celebrating Two Hundred Years of Manchester College edited by Barbara Smith (Oxford: Manchester College, 1986) 

  • A History of Manchester College: From its Foundation in Manchester to its Establishment in Oxford by V.D. Davis (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1932)  

  • Manchester College: A short history, 1786-1990 by J.H. Parker and Richard Ennis (Oxford: Manchester College, 1990) 

The Archivist is keen to collect original material that reflects the history of the College and student life at HMC. All donors are asked to complete our deposit agreement. Please do get in contact if you have material that you would like to donate:

Check our other collections here: