Women at Oxford University: an Online Resource

IT Innovation ChallengesBased at the Faculty of History.

2019 staff round

Project website: https://www.firstwomenatoxford.ox.ac.uk/

For more information, please contact innovation@it.ox.ac.uk .


The Bodleian and the five former women’s colleges hold important archival collections related to the history of women’s education and political activism in the UK and beyond. These records are unique and attract scholars from around the world, but they are scattered, undigitized and many are incomplete. This has hampered research on all aspects of women’s admission to Oxford, and has made tracing individual women and organisations very difficult. This project will transform this situation by integrating these collections to provide a world-class research resource and information hub. This resource will alert readers to new research possibilities, as well as contributing to the appreciation and study of women’s and gender studies in the University.

This project has three main components, all of which will be linked through a central website:

  • Primary sources: New union catalogues of registers of students, staff etc … previously unavailable outside individual colleges and digitized records on women’s education and activism held in the former women’s colleges and the Bodleian Library.
  • Secondary sources: Annotated essays, case studies and short histories of women in Oxford written by academics in the field.
  • Interpretations and teaching aids: A women’s history walking tour app, featuring commentary by a number of Oxford women, an interactive timeline, a virtual exhibition featuring key documents and objects from the archives.

This is a collaborative project which involves the women’s colleges (St Anne’s, St Hilda’s, St Hugh’s, LMH and Somerville), Women in the Humanities (TORCH), Bodleian Libraries (Digital Bodleian) and the History Faculty. Its launch will coincide with the centenary of women’s formal admission to Oxford in 2020, and will be a major component of the wider programme of events being planned to mark this milestone, as well as encouraging further reflection and work on increasing diversity and inclusivity in Oxford.

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