Your Guide to Christmas in 1884

It can be tricky to navigate the maze of gifts, food, entertainment, cards, and relatives that make up Christmas – how can you know for sure you are making the perfect purchasing decisions? This month’s Special Collections blog post picks the best bits from the 1884 Pall Mall Gazette Christmas Extra Edition, which offers the definitive answers to your festive dilemmas.

Front page

Continue reading

Advertisements

Words on Witchcraft

The late 16th and early 17th Centuries saw the peak of ‘witch hysteria’ in Europe. Paranoia surrounding ideas about sorcery and demons led to accusations, trials and cruel punishments, including tens of thousands of executions. This month’s blog post explores the literature that fuelled this phenomenon: as texts that condemened or seemingly provided evidence for witchcraft circulated, feelings of panic and suspicion also spread. The following texts reveal not only the literature and academic ideas regarding witchcraft, but the real impact they would have had on ordinary lives.

Continue reading

Stories from the Shelves

From the founding of St John’s College in 1555 through to the present day, the life of the Library has been one of bold choices and big changes. Our current exhibition, Stories from the Shelves, explores the Library and its readers throughout the ages using items from our special collections.

Here you can see a few of the treasures on display. Click on the images to read about the item.

If you would like to visit the exhibition and are not a member of the College, please contact us at library@sjc.ox.ac.uk.

The Texts of the Reformation

The 31st October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, a text that sparked the Reformation. The movement was entwined with the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press, allowing the rapid spread of texts such as pamphlets and vernacular Bibles. As such, it is a historical moment of shift in terms of reading, writing and literacy, as well as fascinating texts. Continue reading

Cataloguing A.E. Housman’s Personal Papers

A full and digitised description of the Housman papers at St John’s is in the works. Connie Bettison, St John’s library trainee from 2016-17, writes about her experience beginning the digital cataloguing process.

A.E. Housman

A.E. Housman (1859-1936) is best known today for his poetry but in his own time he was highly regarded as a classical scholar. His entrance into this world was a mixture of leaps and bounds and slow-burning effort. He matriculated as a student of Greats at St John’s in 1877 and achieved a first in Mods. Despite this, he failed his final exams. Returning to college in the years that followed while working as a clerk for the Patent Office in London, he eventually passed his exams and graduated in 1892.

After these twelve years of administration work at the Patent Office and independent study of Greek and Latin, Housman got a job as Professor of Latin at University College London. Housman taught there for nineteen years. Then, in 1911 he moved on to take a Latin professorship at Trinity College Cambridge. This was where he lived and worked until the end of his life in 1936.

Continue reading