Records of Oxfam's Directorate and corporate management
This record group contains records of Oxfam GB (formerly Oxfam and Oxfam UK/I[reland]) only.
Records of corporate management include minutes of meetings of the corporate management team and related correspondence and papers, materials relating to corporate policy and strategic planning, and correspondence and papers relating to corporate initiatives and responses. The record group also contains correspondence and papers of the Company Secretary and the Legal Adviser relating to legal matters, and corporate human resources materials.
Records of the Directorate include the Director’s correspondence, tour reports regarding visits to Oxfam's programme, speeches and letters to staff.
- Creation: 1943-2011
94.0 Linear metres (562 physical shelfmarks)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Some material is closed.
Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, where available, e.g. MS. Oxfam DIR/1/1/1, fol. 1].
Full range of shelfmarks:
MS. Oxfam DIR/1-4
Collection ID (for staff)
Records of Oxfam's Directorate and corporate management
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 see M Black, A Cause for our Times: Oxfam - the first 50 years (Oxfam and Oxford University Press, 1992).
Oxfam's Directorate and corporate management:
In 1951, Howard Leslie Kirkley was appointed General Secretary of Oxfam. His post was redesignated 'Director' in 1961. He retired in 1974. Later appointments were:
Brian Walker, Director General 1974-1983 Guy Stringer, Director 1983-1985 Frank Judd, Director 1985-1991 David Bryer, Director 1992-2001 Barbara Stocking, Director (Chief Executive from Feb 2008), 2001-2013 Mark Goldring, Chief Executive 2013-2018 Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive 2019-
Oxfam’s functions have remained fairly constant over many years, but a number of organizational restructurings have resulted in functions being transferred between departments and teams. To preserve continuity, records have been arranged according to function (in this case, Oxfam's Directorate and corporate management) rather than department or team.
The arrangement reflects the original filing system where that is apparent, and is usually chronological and / or by organization.
Original file titles, where they exist, are given in inverted commas preceding descriptions. Titles of reports are also given in inverted commas.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Bodleian Library by Oxfam GB in 2012.
- Catalogue of the Oxfam Archive: Directorate and Corporate Management
- Finding aid prepared by Chrissie Webb, Rachael Orchard, Megan Woodward and Josie Partridge, based on an earlier finding aid by Rosie Dodd and Chrissie Webb
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Catalogued with the generous support of the Wellcome Trust