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Papers of John Buxton


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Papers of John Buxton relating to his ornithological and conservation work, 1920-1983, including notebooks, correspondence, material relating to the Wiltshire Trust for Nature Conservation, index cards, and a collection of bird callers.

There is also a little material dated after Buxton's death.


  • Creation: 1920-1999, n.d. [1920s?-2001?]


3.36 Linear metres (21 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. 14941/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 14941/1-20; JL 1003

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 14941


Papers of John Buxton (1912-1989), ornithologist.

Biographical / Historical

John Buxton (full name Edward John Mawby Buxton) was born in Bramhall, Cheshire, in 1912. He attended school in Malvern and studied English at New College, Oxford. Soon after World War II broke out, he joined the army but was captured in 1940 and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war (POW) camps in Germany. Among his fellow prisoners were several other keen birdwatchers including John Barrett, Peter Conder and George Waterson. They devoted as much time as possible to the systematic observation of birds living in or flying over the camp. John Buxton was the leader of this activity and encouraged others to participate. Much of the work done in the POW camps was later published, including Buxton's monograph The Redstart (1950).

After the war Buxton was recruited as a junior lecturer in English at New College, Oxford. In 1949, he was appointed to a fellowship and he continued to teach at New College until 1979. He helped found the Bird Observations Committee in 1946 and later the Wiltshire Trust for Nature Conservation. He died in 1989.


The papers were catalogued by the Alexander Library of Ornithology and a copy of the original handlist can be found at shelfmark MS. 14941/20. The original reference numbers have been retained as 'Former reference' but Bodleian Libraries shelfmarks have been added as the main reference number and the latter should be used when ordering the papers and quoting from them.

In the original handlist, the following numbers are vacant: 40, 41, 77, 177, 756-775, 1100-1199, 1263, 3244-3253, 3434.

Items not listed in the original handlist comprise:

  1. Typescript article titled 'John Buxton: The Last Amateur Ornithologist?' (MS. 14941/14, formerly in MS. 14941/2)
  2. 9 slides in envelope labelled 'Williamson K, 1950, Spring & Autumn migration of wheatear. FIBO Reprint Issue for 1950' (MS. 14941/14)
  3. Card index (MS. 14941/18)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Alexander Library of Ornithology, 2018.

Catalogue of the papers of John Buxton
Finding aid prepared by EAD version by Jen Patterson and Marion Lowman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom