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Oxfam donated collections

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This record group contains records donated to Oxfam GB (formerly Oxfam and Oxfam UK/I).

The catalogue describes the personal papers of staff members and trustees, and the papers of supporters, such as volunteers and local Oxfam groups. It also describes records relating to Oxfam, its staff and partners, that were produced outside of the organisation, such as reports, papers, studies, personal memoirs, articles and publications. This includes records created by Oxfam staff members after they had left the organisation.

Dates

  • c.1904-2010

Extent

2.3 Linear metres (15 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

Material of a sensitive personal or corporate nature is closed. Restricted material is indicated in the catalogue.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, where available, e.g. MS. Oxfam DON/1/1, fol. 1].
Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Oxfam DON/1-3

Collection ID (for staff)

MS. Oxfam DON

Overview

Oxfam donated collections

Biographical / Historical

The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was formed on 5 October 1942 at a meeting in the Old Library of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It was one of several similar groups set up around the U.K. during the Second World War, in support of the National Famine Relief Committee, to lobby for the relief of suffering behind the Allied blockade in Greece and other countries under German occupation. The Oxford Committee initially raised funds to be channelled through the Greek Red Cross. Throughout the remainder of the war it also campaigned, unsuccessfully, for the lifting of the blockade to allow relief supplies through to starving populations. In March 1943 it was registered as a charity under the War Charities Act.

In the post-war years, the Oxford Committee remained in existence to raise funds and dispatch supplies of food and clothing to refugees and others in Europe through agencies such as the Salvation Army and the Save the Children Fund. In 1948 it broadened its aims to include 'the relief of suffering as a result of wars or of other causes in any part of the world' and turned its attention also to aid for refugees in the Middle East and people affected by conflict in Korea in the early 1950s. In the 1960s, it gained national recognition through its humanitarian response to war and famine in the Congo and Biafra. In 1965, the shortened telegraphic address, 'Oxfam', which had been used informally since the 1940s, was adopted as the charity's registered name.

During the 1960s Oxfam began to highlight the need in many countries for long-term development work to address the causes of poverty. It played a leading role in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's 'Freedom from Hunger' campaign, launched in the U.K. in 1962, which aimed to combat food shortages, not by giving food aid but by enabling people to grow enough to feed themselves. Oxfam's grants to local agencies for work in areas such as agriculture and public health increased throughout the decade. By the early 1970s, it was supporting 800 projects involving local communities, overseen by eleven Field Directors based in the countries concerned. Public education, campaigning and advocacy on issues affecting poor people also became a major focus for the organization at this time.

Today, advocacy and campaigning, development work to help poor people work their own way out of poverty, and humanitarian work in emergencies, assisting those immediately affected by conflict and natural disasters, remain the basis of Oxfam's programme. As a major, international non-governmental organization, Oxfam is a world leading expert in public health in emergencies. In 1962, Oxfam was launched in Canada. Other Oxfams followed, in America, Belgium and elsewhere. Oxfam International, a confederation of non-governmental organizations, was formed in 1995. Oxfam GB, the organization founded in Oxford in 1942, and other national Oxfams are members of Oxfam International.

For further information please see M. Black, A Cause for our Times: Oxfam - the first 50 years (Oxfam and Oxford University Press, 1992).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Oxfam donated its archive to the Bodleian Library in 2012.

Related Materials

Bodleian Library catalogues of materials relating to other Oxfam functions are available. These are Appeals, (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam APL), Communications (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam COM), Campaigns (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam CPN), Programme Policy, Management and Administration (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam PRG), Project Files (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam PRF) and Publishing (Shelfmark: MS. Oxfam PUB).

Further papers of Cecil Jackson-Cole are held at West Sussex Record Office.
Title
Catalogue of the Oxfam Archive: Donated collections
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Antonia White, based on an earlier finding aid by Rosie Dodd and Chrissie Webb
Date
2018
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Catalogued with the generous support of the Wellcome Trust
Edition statement
This is the first edition of this catalogue. Further material may be added in subsequent editions as a result of ongoing cataloguing work.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Contact:
Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom