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Archive of the Oman family


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The majority of Sir Charles's papers are of personal nature yet offer a historian's perspective on events in England and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. The revolution in Portugal in 1910 has a particular coverage. There is some focus on the First World War (mainly relating to the Press Bureau), Parliament just after the war (Home Rule, English coinage etc.) and the University of Oxford, particularly All Souls College. Sir Charles's correspondence includes letters from some prominent figures of his day: Theodore Roosevelt, King Manoel of Portugal, Arthur Balfour, Lord Curzon, Rudyard Kipling, Gen. Haseldine, Rev. Henson and others.

Together with the rest of the papers, the archive contains a wealth of biographical information that provides insight into the lives of members of a distinguished British family over a period of over two centuries.


  • Creation: 1727-2003


26.6 Linear metres (269 physical shelfmarks, 1 digital shelfmark)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 8178, fols. 1-2].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2163-2166; c. 8178-8224; d. 4077-4159; e. 3822-3854; MSS. Photogr. b. 160-168; c. 502, 505-535; d. 180-189; e. 59-65; MS. Digital 60; MSS. 6086/1-13; MSS. 6086 Photogr. 1-2; Neg. b. 5; c. 17-19; Library Objects JL901-924, 988

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 6086, 9303, 11229


Papers and photographs of Sir Charles Oman, British military historian, his wife Lady Oman and members of their respective families. The collection includes writings and personal papers of Sir Charles's parents, C. P. A. Oman, indigo planter in India, and Annie Chadwick, daughter of William Chadwick, a railway constructor. Lady Oman's family papers contain her father Gen. Maclagan's diaries and James Anderson Rose's collection of autographs and letters from Pre-Raphaelite artists. Their children are also well represented, particularly Carola Oman and Charles Chichele Oman together with Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman, their granddaughter. A portion of the archive is dedicated to tracing family roots going back to the 18th century. The collection of photographs is extensive and covers formal, personal and travel albums.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Charles Oman was born in 1860 in India but soon after, the family returned to England where he attended the public school in Winchester and New College in Oxford. He held a prestigious fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford for the entirety of his academic career as military historian. He became Chichele Professor of Military History in 1905, a chair he held until his death in 1946. His other interests included: archaeology (President of the Royal Archaeological Institute), architecture (President of the Royal Historical Society), silver and coins (President of the Royal Numismatic Society). He was knighted in 1920 for his work in the Press Bureau and the Foreign Office during the First World War. He served as an MP for the University of Oxford between 1919 and 1935. He received honorary degrees from other British universities. His reputation as a thorough and objective historian is based on his seven-volume History of the Peninsular War (1902-1930), the most comprehensive account of this confict to date. He is also the author of many history textbooks. The Dictionary of National Biography and Carola Oman's An Oxford childhood provide further biographical information, while Sir Charles Oman's Things I have seen offer his own outlook on various events.


The main body of the archive comprises the papers of Sir Charles Oman and feature at the forefront. Papers of other family members follow a chronological order of the genealogical tree.

Custodial History

The archive that formes the original acquisition belonged to Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman, Lady Strong. Additional papers were in the posession of Elizabeth Stuart.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive of the Oman family originally in the possesion of Julia Travelyan was donated to the Library in 2006 by her husband, Sir Roy Strong. In 2015 Elizabeth Stuart presented the Library with additional papers, mainly related to Carola Oman. The latter can be identified by the MS. 6086 shelfmarks. Items from this later acquisition naturally belonging to the original one are: MS. Eng. b. 2163, fols. 81-119; MS. Eng. c. 8189, fols. 64-72 and MS. Eng. c. 8199, fols. 94-101. Dulce Stuart's photographs and negatives of sportsmen and sportswomen also given as part of the later acquisition are MS. Photogr. c. 502, fols. 35-42 and Neg. b. 5.

Catalogue of the archive of the Oman family
Finding aid prepared by Margaret Czepiel
2014, revised 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom