Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

MSS. Auct.:
manuscripts formerly shelved in the 'Auctarium'



No manuscripts have been added to the 'Auct.' series since 1885, so descriptions of all 'Auct.' manuscripts will be found in various volumes of the Summary Catalogue.

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History of the collection

By the middle of the 18th century, space for shelving books was running out. The Tanner and Rawlinson manuscripts were placed in the Picture Gallery (now the Upper Reading Room), but this too was soon filled up, and in 1789 the Library took over a room on the first floor of the South range of the Schools Quadrangle. This was at first referred to as BN (Bibliotheca Nova), but in 1794 it was decided to name it the Auctarium.

The intention was to bring together in a well-furnished room (the elegant bookcases were designed by Wyatt) the books then accounted the most precious in the Library, namely the Bibles and the Greek and Latin classics. Sentiment was put aside: collections that had been kept together for a century and a half were separated, though it is true that most of them were still known by the name of their donor. The manuscripts from named collections, with the exception of the miscellaneous ones which were retained as MSS. Auct., were restored to their original collections in the late nineteenth century, and were moved to the stack of the newly-built New Library in 1940. For further information see the Summary Catalogue, I, pp. xxxix-xliv.

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Divisions and sub-divisions of MSS. Auct. shelfmarks

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List of shelfmarks
Western manuscripts to c. 1500
Western manuscripts
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Page created December 1999 by PJK; last modified 05 August 2009 by LwM; © Bodleian Library