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Finding aid for the Walter Fraser Oakeshott papers, 1926-1986 (bulk 1949-1986)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Walter Fraser Oakeshott papers
    Date (inclusive): 1926-1986
    Number: 900204
    Creator/Collector: Oakeshott, Walter, 1903-1987
    Physical Description: 5.25 linear feet (9 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Scholar of Medieval art, distinguished by his work on the 12th-century Winchester Bibles and on Elizabethan England. The papers document much of his work and reflect his lifelong passion for studying and collecting early books and maps. The archive primarily consists of drafts for books, articles, and lectures, along with numerous photographs used for research and the illustration of these publications.
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    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    1903 Born Nov. 11 to Walter Field Oakeshott, MD, and Kathleen (Fraser) Oakeshott
    1924 Received diploma in Classical Moderations from Balliol College, Oxford
    1926 Received diploma in Literae Humaniores (Classics) from Balliol College
    1928 Married Nöel Rose
    1931-1938 Assistant Master at Winchester College
    1934 Identified a 15th-century manuscript in Winchester College Library as Malory's Morte d'Arthur
    1936-1937 Released for membership in Pilgrim Trust Unemployment Enquiry
    1939-1946 High Master of St. Paul's School
    1946-1954 Headmaster of Winchester College
    1949-1976 Trustee of the Pilgrim Trust
    1953-1972 Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
    1956 Rhind Lecturer at Edinburgh University
    1960-1961 Master, Skinners' Company
    1962-1964 Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
    1964-1966 Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
    1966-1968 President, Bibliographical Society
    1971 Fellow, British Academy
    1972 Honorary Fellow of Lincoln College
    1980 Knighted
    1987 Died Oct. 13

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Walter Fraser Oakeshott papers, 1926-1986, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 900204.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1990.

    Processing History

    The collection was first processed and described in 1990. Laurie Pesheck began re-processing this archive in May 1994 and completed this finding aid and a new catalog description in July 1994.

    Separated Material

    136 photographs and postcards were pulled from the Oakeshott papers and are now housed in the repository's Photo Study Collection, Medieval Section.
    6 postcards: the cruette from the treasury of St.-Denis, France (Louvre); Romanesque French architecture and architectural sculpture. 23 photos of French Romanesque architectural sculpture (capitals and related elements) in the Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, from the Episcopal complex of Saint-Etienne and the Priory of Notre-Dame la Daurade, Toulouse, France.〹 2 photos of French Medieval architectural sculpture at Reims and from Corbie. 68 photos of Ms.Add.54782 (the British Library), the Hours of William Lord Hastings, a Flemish ms. from 15th-century Ghent, illuminated by the Master of the Older Prayerbook of Maximillian I. 37 photos of Ms.Garrett.13 (Princeton University), the Akathistos Hymnos, a Byzantine ms. from the 16th-17th century.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Sir Walter Fraser Oakeshott was a scholar of Medieval art, distinguished by his work on the 12th century Winchester Bibles, and Elizabethan England. His career as professor and school administrator included positions as the Headmaster at Winchester College, Rector of Lincoln College, and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. While Assistant Master and librarian at Winchester College, Oakeshott identified the Winchester Malory ms. and went on to study the great Winchester Bible in the cathedral library, which led to a long-term inquiry of the 12th century Winchester school of painting, its sources, and its oeuvre. Oakeshott's interest in book and map collecting led to several other bibliographic discoveries and identifications, some of them relating to Sir Walter Raleigh and his peers. Out of such investigations came many articles and books of both a scholarly and popular nature. The bulk of the material in this archive dates from 1949 to 1986.
    The largest portion of the collection contains writings and research files on various subjects, but consists mainly of work on Medieval art historical topics, such as the Winchester Bibles and related material. A second notable group of documents represents Oakeshott's studies on Elizabethan England, largely connected with Sir Walter Raleigh, Essex, and Elizabeth I, and their portrayal in Elizabethan poetry, especially that by Raleigh himself, Edmund Spenser, and Shakespeare. The collection reflects Oakeshott's interests in maps, cosmography, and the history of trade. Oakeshott's involvement in the Oxford stone campaign is represented here by several folders of correspondence, drafts for articles, and photographs documenting the process of restoration of stone buildings at Oxford. The archival material consists mainly of typescripts and ms. drafts for articles, books, and lectures, with many photographs used for research and/or to illustrate publications.
    Additionally, the collection contains correspondence Oakeshott received, with copies of many of his replies. The letters are of a professional and personal nature. The archive also contains sermons, addresses, obituaries, and eulogies written by Oakeshott; miscellaneous photos of art from various periods; notebooks, clippings and ephemera; some personal photos; and offprints of articles by other scholars.

    Arrangement note

    The archive is organized in five series: Series I: Personal and professional papers, 1949-1986; Series II: Medieval art, ca. 1936-1972; Series III: Renaissance and Elizabethan studies, ca. 1960-1986; Series IV: Various studies, undated; Series V: Assorted printed material, 1953-1984