What is the relationship between OUP and Oxford University?/--expandable-->
Oxford University Press is a department of Oxford University. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.
What is the Clarendon Press?/--expandable-->
Oxford University Press came to be known as "The Clarendon Press" when printing moved from the Sheldonian Theatre to the Clarendon Building in Broad Street in 1713. The name continued to be used when OUP moved to its present site in Oxford in 1830.
The label took on a new meaning when OUP began publishing books through its London office in the early 20th century. To distinguish the two offices, London books were labelled "Oxford University Press" publications, while those from Oxford were labelled "Clarendon Press" books. This labelling ceased in the 1970s, when the London office of OUP closed.
Today, OUP reserves "Clarendon Press" as an imprint for Oxford publications of particular academic importance.
Can I see books being printed at OUP?/--expandable-->
The Press has not printed any book on its Oxford site since 1989. The growth of computer technology coupled with increasingly difficult trading conditions led to the closure of the Press print shop. Oxford's printing and binding is now contracted out to many different firms around the world.
Can I tour OUP's Archive?/--expandable-->
The Achive itself is not open to the public. We will be glad to show visitors around our museum, or to produce archival material for researchers in OUP's library. Please see our contact details for further information.
Does the Archive have a complete catalogue of Oxford's printing and publishing?/--expandable-->
No comprehensive catalogue of Oxford's printing and publishing exists as yet. Falconer Madan's study Oxford Books covers the first 200 years of the university's printing work, and includes over 3,000 entries.
The Archive holds OUP's general catalogues from the 1920s onwards. At present, OUP publishes some 6,000 new titles each year, globally.
What can you tell me about an Oxford bible I own?/--expandable-->
Oxford has printed the Authorized (or King James) Version of the Bible since 1675. Every copy carries a dedication to King James, whether published in the 17th century or today.
Oxford's Bibles have also carried the university coat of arms. This shows three crowns around an open book, with the Latin motto Dominus Illuminatio Mea. Taken from the Book of Psalms, this means The Lord is My Light.
In addition, most title pages will carry information on the typeface used (for example, Minion 16mo) and the Latin phrase cum privilegio. This indicates that Oxford printed or published the Bible with privilege - that is, thanks to a royal grant. Oxford has had this "privilege" since the 1630s.
Does the Archive store manuscripts of books or artwork?/--expandable-->
Some draft or proof material is kept from major projects, such as the Oxford English Dictionary. Otherwise, typescripts are returned to authors after publication.
We hold some examples of original artwork, mainly from English Language Teaching titles. As a rule, illustrations are returned to artists after publication.
Does the Archive keep records of OUP's work outside the UK?/--expandable-->
We hold some administrative records for the work of the Press around the world, but most information remains in the branches and offices themselves.
Does the Archive accept donations of material from outside OUP?/--expandable-->
We are always interested to hear from anyone who might be interested in adding items related to OUP to the collection, especially printing equipment or editorial material that may have come into your possession. Do please contact us.
Does the Archive offer valuations?/--expandable-->
The Archive is not qualified to offer valuations on books or printing equipment. We recommend you contact either an auction house or a good second-hand book dealer in your area. They should be able to supply a rough valuation of the item without forcing you to part with it.
Various sites on the internet may also give you an approximate valuation. Please note that OUP is not responsible for any content or advice offered by these external sites.
Does the Archive hold second-hand or remaindered OUP books for sale? How can I buy Oxford books?/--expandable-->
Please contact our Bookshop in the first instance about any OUP title.
You can find them on 116-117 High Street, Oxford.
Tel: 01865 242913.
Or visit their website: oup.com/bookshop
Can the Archive help with my family history?/--expandable-->
Despite the range of the collection, there are very few records for this area of research before the 20th century. A few Victorian photographs survive, but there is virtually no traceable information on the hundreds of print shop workers employed by OUP before the First World War.
After 1918, staff magazines offer appreciations on retirement, obituary notices, and often photographs. There are also records of the various clubs at the Press, as well as its Fire Brigade.
If your inquiry concerns a living member of staff, we will be glad to forward any request for information to them.