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Archive of the Bureau of Animal Population (B.A.P.), Oxford, established by Charles Elton


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The archive comprises a large range of primary research data, organisational records, research outputs and other papers of the B.A.P., as well as papers from consultations and projects abroad such as Hudson's Bay Company fur trading and wildlife reports from the Commonwealth. It includes the following material across all series:

  1. punched card data, with indexes and data keys
  2. notes, including drawings, graphs and tables
  3. photographic material, including prints, slides and negatives
  4. published research papers by Elton and others at the Bureau or in the field of ecology
  5. reprints and edited published papers
  6. unpublished research and theses
  7. bibliographies
  8. papers relating to enquiries and surveys such as questionnaire results and correspondence
  9. figures from the Hudson's Bay Company relating to furbearing animals
  10. reports from domestic and international scientific and wildlife organisations
  11. press cuttings.


  • Creation: mid 18th cent.-1995 (predominantly 1932-1967)


93.0 Linear metres (555 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • Latin

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. CN 1/2.]

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

CN 1, CN 5-6, CN 11-13, CN 15-16, CN 24, CN 26-37, CN 40, CN 100-111, CN 140-143, CN 161-162, CN 200-201, CN 221-226, CN 500, CN 1000, CN 1002-1004, CL 1, 11, 17-18, 21

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 21070


Papers of the Bureau of Animal Population of Oxford University (1932-1967), established by Charles Elton.

Biographical / Historical

The Bureau of Animal Population (B.A.P.) was established in 1932, and subsequently led, by biologist Charles Elton (1900-1991), as part of the Zoology Department of Oxford University. The Bureau concentrated on initiating important and new research into animal ecology of the United Kingdom, particularly in surveys regarding voles, rabbits, mice and rats, as well as some vegetation and parasites. The Bureau not only carried out important ecology studies locally in Wytham Woods and the Botanic Gardens, but functioned as a training ground for field workers and researchers who would go on to carry out studies internationally, such as in Alaska, Canada and Australia, records of which are in the archive. The B.A.P. was closed by the university in 1967.

Elton is heralded as establishing the principles of modern animal ecology. Prior to opening the Bureau he was also a consultant to the Hudson's Bay Company, regarding furbearing animals and these records feature in the archive of the Bureau. In 1936 he was appointed reader in animal ecology in Oxford, and published numerous papers, the data of which is in the archive (along with data collected and analysed by his colleagues at the Bureau). Charles Elton retired in 1967.


The original formation of rough series beginning with CN has been retained. Original CN reference numbers have been retained as shelfmarks. CN 1004 has been created and subsequently added to the arrangement, and comprises additional archive materials which were neither listed or numbered prior to retroconversion cataloguing. Additional archive material with shelfmarks CL 1, 11, 17-18, 21 was also allocated to series CN 1004.

Custodial History

After the closure of the Bureau of Animal Population in 1967, the archive was dispersed to various different locations, including the Elton Library (later, Zoology Library) in the University's Department of Zoology. This portion of the archive was held in the Radcliffe Science Library from 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Radcliffe Science Library, April 2021.

Separated Materials

Animal specimens within the Archive of the Bureau of Animal Population were moved to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History immmediately after its closure in 1967.


Crowcroft, Peter (1991) Elton's ecologists: a history of the Bureau of Animal Population Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press
Archive of the Bureau of Animal Population (B.A.P.), Oxford, established by Charles Elton
Kelly Collins. Original spreadsheet provided by Oliver Bridle.
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom