Cambridge University Library

Cambridge University Archives

DivinityThe University Archives is responsible for the selection, transfer and preservation of the internal, administrative records of the University of Cambridge, dating from 1266 to the present, and for making them available for administrative and research purposes. The University Archives aims to provide a full and richly varied picture over time of the University's organisation and governance, its key functions and activities, major developments and achievements.  From modest beginnings, housed alongside other valuables in the University chest, the archives now occupy more than 2500 metres of shelving at the University Library.
The archives are as diverse as the activities - self governance, teaching and research, property management, administration of justice, external relations - the University has pursued down the centuries.  They include charters, statutes and title deeds, records of its legislative and executive bodies, central administration, Syndicates and committees, departments and faculties, students and law courts.  Certain groups are significant in their own right, others complement collections among the Manuscript holdings of the University Library. Catalogues of the University Archives are available to browse and search online as part of Janus, the internet resource for catalogues of Cambridge archives.

The list below shows the approximate dates at which major series of records begin:

•             1266 Royal charters, letters patent and other grants of privileges
•             1300 Deeds of title
•             1350 Statutes
•             1380 Assizes; leet jurisdiction
•             1460 Annual accounts
•             Sporadic records of higher degrees
•             Formal decisions (Graces) of the University
•             1500 Degree records
•             Copies of formal letters from the University
•             Probate jurisdiction
•             1544 Matriculations
•             1550 Vice-Chancellor's Court
•             1560 Royal letters and mandates; also letters from other State officials and other dignitaries to the University Jurisdiction at Sturbridge and Barnwell fairs
•             1580 Commissary's Court
•             Relations with the town
•             1614 Parliamentary election returns
•             1700 University Press
•             1720 Elections to Professorships
•             1780 Minutes of Syndicates
•             1818 Lodging Houses Syndicate
•             1856 Council of the Senate minutes
•             1857 University Property Syndicate minutes
•             1882 Financial Board minutes and papers
•             General Board minutes and papers
•             Minutes and papers of Faculty Boards, Degree Committees, Appointments Committees, etc.

The University Archives are available for consultation in the Manuscripts Reading Room.  Access to some of the records is limited, for a term of years, under the Data Protection Act 1998.
The records of the constituent Colleges of the University are not part of the University Archives. With very few exceptions, historic records of the Colleges continue to be held by the Colleges themselves, to whom request should be made for further information and access. Contact details of the Colleges can be found here.

Contact: Jacqueline Cox, Deputy Keeper of the University Archives
Email: jc10021@cam.ac.uk
Tel: 01223 333147

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