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Archive of Giles and Dr. Lisa Barber


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The series of papers of Giles Barber contains correspondence and papers relating to research projects undertaken by him, and to his more general research into bibliography, bookbinding and binders, as well as the history of the Couserans, where he and his wife lived from 2000. It also includes source materials, and personal correspondence and papers. The series of papers of Dr. Lisa Barber mainly relates to her work for the Commission Départementale des Objets Mobiliers in the Ariège. The papers of Anthony Cooper and Meroë Fleming form a third series. These were purchased by the Barbers, along with their books, from a second-hand shop in the town of Saint Girons.


  • Creation: 1762-2020


19.5 Linear metres (117 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. 9101/1].

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

Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. 9101/1-MS. 9101/117

General note

CMD IDs 9101, 9749, 12743

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 9101


Correspondence and papers of Giles Barber, bibliographer, and Dr. Lisa Barber, medievalist.

Biographical / Historical

Giles Gaudard Barber (1930-2012) was born and brought up in Oxford, the only child of Eric Arthur Barber (1888-1965), Fellow, Tutor and Lecturer in Classics at Exeter College, Oxford, 1913-1943, and Rector of Exeter College, 1943-1956, and his Swiss French wife Madeleine (née Gaudard). Giles was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford, and Leighton Park School, Reading. After National Service, he read Modern Languages (French and Latin) at St. John’s College, Oxford, and took Finals in 1954. His first appointment, in September 1954, was as a 'temporary trainee library clerk' in the Bodleian Library bookstack. The following year he was moved to the permanent staff. In 1963 he was appointed Assistant Librarian, with responsibility for the Upper and Lower Reading Rooms of the Old Library and the reference services. He received the Gordon Duff Prize in Bibliography for his M.Litt thesis, 'A bibliography of Henry Saint John, Viscount Bolingbroke', University of Oxford, 1963 (Faculty of Modern History, St. John's College).

On 1 October 1970, he took up office as the fifth Librarian of the Taylor Institution, Oxford University's Centre for Modern Languages. He was an avid collector of books for the Taylorian and helped to build up the 18th century French collections substantially. He was actively involved in structural changes to the library to improve furnishings and functionality. He was an early promoter of book preservation and was Chairman of the Libraries Board Preservation Committee and organizer of a series of seminars on the subject in 1992. He retired in 1996.

Barber was made a Fellow of Linacre College in 1963 and Vice-Principal, 1988-1990, and was also College Librarian. He was part-time University Lecturer in Continental Bibliography at Oxford, 1969-1996, Member of Council of the International Society for 18th Century Studies, 1979–83, Vice-President of the Bibliographical Society, 1983-1993, and President of the Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1992-1996 and 1999-2000. He was Chairman of the Voltaire Foundation, 1987-1989.

Barber held appointments as Visiting Lecturer, Paris-Sorbonne University, 1980, British Library Panizzi Lecturer, 1988, and Sandars Reader in Bibliography, Cambridge University, 1997–98. Notable among his many other lectures were the inaugural Graham Pollard Memorial Lecture given to the Bibliographical Society, 1984; the Moses Tyson Memorial Lecture, Manchester University, 1985; and the first Founders’ Library Lecture, University of Wales, Lampeter, 1996.

Barber and his wife, Lisa, moved to the Couserans area of the département of the Ariège in France in 2000. Here he continued his studies and writing, extending his interests to include the local culture of the Couserans. Having become an 'Officier' in 1992, he was appointed Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2002. He was elected membre correspondant of the Société Archéologique du Midi de la France in 2004.

Barber was a keen connoisseur of and expert on books, bookbindings and bookbinders, printing, publishing and the book trade. His particular interest was in French bibliography and his scholarship is held in high regard among his peers. He was the author of innumerable journal articles and of publications including Arks for Learning: A Short History of Oxford Library Buildings (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1995) and The James A. De Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor. Printed Books and Bookbindings (Aylesbury: The Rothschild Foundation, 2013), published posthumously.

Barber’s archive relates to research projects he undertook on the history of books, printing and bookbinding. Some are projects on which he published, others are the raw materials of works never finished and / or in progress at the time of his death.


Guide to the principal British Parliamentary and Official publications in the Bodleian Library (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1967)

Fine bindings 1500-1700 from Oxford Libraries (Oxford: Bodleian Library, 1968). Exhibition catalogue, with D.M. Rogers and P. Morgan, reprinted 1987.

French letterpress printing, A List of French printing manuals 1567-1900 (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1969)

Textile and embroidered bindings (Oxford: Bodleian Library (Picture Books, Special series, 2, 1971)

Book making in Diderot's Encyclopédie (Farnham: Gregg International Publishers, 1973)

A Johnsonian tour of Oxford (1975). Handout for visit of the Johnson Club.

Edition of Nicholas Contat, dit Le Brun, Anecdotes typographiques (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1980). An autobiographical account of a printer's apprenticeship in eighteenth century Paris, this text was later reprinted in France, in Philippe Minard, Typographes des Lumières (1989), and also formed part of the source material for Prof. R. Darnton's The Great Cat Massacre (1984).

Joint editor with B. Fabian, Buch und Buchhandlung in Europa im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Hamburg: Hauswedell, 1981). Proceedings of a conference at Wolfenbüttel in Nov 1977.

Joint author, Le Livre d'artiste (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1987). A catalogue of the W.J. Strachan gift to the Taylor Institution, comprising articles by Strachan with an introduction and catalogue by Barber. Joint editor with C. Courtney, Enlightenment essays in memory of Robert Shackleton (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1988)

Daphnis and Chloe: the markets and metamorphoses of an unknown bestseller (London: British Library, 1989). Texts of the Panizzi Lectures 1988.

Studies in the booktrade of the European Enlightenment (London: Pindar Press, 1994)

Arks for Learning: A Short History of Oxford Library Buildings (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1995)

Baron Ferdinand’s Library (2002). Booklet to mark the visit of the Roxburghe Club to Waddesdon Manor, July 2002. A revised version with minor corrections was also produced for the visit of the Grolier Club in November.

Les Rues de Saint-Girons (Estadens: PyréGraph, 2004)

The James A. De Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor. Printed Books and Bookbindings (Aylesbury: The Rothschild Foundation, 2013)

'In search of an archetype (Ex recto decus') in The Book Collector, 9 (1960)

'Poems by Robert Southey' in Bodleian Library Record, 6 (1960)

'J.J. Tourneisen of Basle and the publication of English books on the Continent c.1800' in The Library, 5th ser., 15 (1960)

'De Thou and Theophilus' Institutes' in Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 15 (1960)

'Catchwords and press figures at home and abroad' in The Book Collector, 9 (1961)

'Galignani's and the publication of English books in France from 1800 to 1852' in The Library, 5th ser., 16 (1961). Reprinted in abridged translation in Bibliographie de la France.

'Sherard Collection - printed books' in Bodleian Library Record, VI (1961)

'Les Liaisons Dangereuses in Dublin' in The Book Collector, 9 (1961)

'Two English editions of the Nouvelle Héloise, 1761' in Modern Language Review, 56 (1961)

'French book illustrations in English books of the Romantic period' in The Book Collector, 10 (1961)

''Quarta perennis' (notes on the Bodleian Library's motto) in Bodleian Library Record, 7 (1962) [Problem eventually solved by Cecil Roth in a later number of BLR.]

'Notes on some English centre and corner piece bindings c.1600' in Bodleian Library Record, 7 (1962) (J.B.Oldham Festschrift.)

'Haec a Joanne Bodin lecta' in Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, 25 (1963)

'The Cramers of Geneva and their trade in Europe between 1755 and 1766' in Studies on Voltaire and the eighteenth century, XXX (1964)

'An incident in the French booktrade in 1811' in The Library, 5th ser., 19 (1964)

'Richard Dymott, bookbinder' in The Library, 5th ser., 19 (1964)

'Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke: an uncollected author' in The Book Collector, 14 (1965)

'French royal decrees concerning the booktrade from 1700-1789' in Australian Journal of French Studies, 3 (1966)

'Parisian binding prices in 1649' in The Book Collector, 15 (1966)

'Les reliures vernis sans odeur' in The Book Collector, 15 (1966)

'Pope, Bolingbroke, and The Patriot King' in The Library, 5th ser., 19 (1967)

'The financial history of the Kehl Voltaire' in The Age of the Enlightenment, Studies presented to Theodore Besterman (Edinburgh, 1967)

'An example of eighteenth century Swiss printer's copy: Euler on the calculus of variations' in The Library, 5th ser., 19 (1967)

'Treuttel and Wurtz: some aspects of the importation of books from France c.1825' in The Library, 5th ser., 23 (1968)

'A Parisian binding for Antoine du Saix, 1543' in Bodleian Library Record, 8 (1968) (with D. M. Rogers)

'A 'Duodo' pastiche binding by Charles Lewis' in Bodleian Library Record, 8 (1969)

'An annotated list of printer's manuals to 1850' in Journal of the Printing Historical Society, 4 (1969) (with P. Gaskell and G. Warrilow)

'Rossetti, Ricketts, and some English publishers' bindings of the Nineties' in The Library, 5th ser., 25 (1970)

'The Vice-Chancellor's official New Testament, Oxford 1721' in Bodleian Library Record, 8 (1970)

'The advent of the telephone in Oxford' in Top. Oxon., 16 (1970). Reprinted in Links 9 (1987)

'Some seventeenth-century straw bindings' in Bodleian Library Record, 8 (1971) (with D. M. Rogers)

'Morison's John Fell bound by Roger Powell' in Bodleian Library Record, 8 (1972)

'A note on the English piracies of 'La Religieuse' and 'Jacques le Fataliste', 1797' in Diderot Studies, 16 (1973)

'The Douce scrapbook and a piece of early English leatherwork' in Bodleian Library Record, 9 (1974)

'Pendred abroad: a view of the late eighteenth century booktrade in Europe' in Studies in the booktrade in honour of Graham Pollard (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1975)

'Continental paper wrappers and publishers' bindings in the eighteenth century' in The Book Collector (1975). Reprinted in E.F. Shevlin ed., The History of the Book in the West, Vol III (Ashgate, 2010).

'Books from the Old World and for the New: the British international trade in books in the eighteenth century' in Studies on Voltaire and the eighteenth century, CLI (1976)

'A German late Renaissance binding' in Bodleian Library Record, 9 (1976)

'Aspects of the book trade between England and the Low Countries in the eighteenth century' in Documentatieblad Werkgroep 18. Eeuw, 34 (1977)

'Thomas Linacre: a bibliographical survey' in Thomas Linacre Studies (1977)

'Coup d'oeil éclairé d'une bibliothèque' in The Warden's Meeting, a tribute to John Sparrow (Oxford: Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles, 1977)

'Voltaire and the English: catalogue of an exhibition of books' in Studies on Voltaire and the eighteenth century, 179 (1978) (With Andrew Brown)

'Some early English editions of Voltaire' in British Library Journal, 4 (1978)

'Dr. Johnson and cookery' in The Dress of Words, essays in honor of Richmond P. Bond (Lawrence, Kansas, 1978)

''Les editions de 1759', Voltaire, Candide' in R.Pomeau ed., Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, 48 (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1980)

'Modèle genevois, mode européenne: le cas de Candide et de ses contrefacons' in Cinq siècles d'imprimerie genevoise, 2 (Geneva, 1981)

'Who were the booksellers of the Enlightenment?' in Buch und Buchhandel in Europa im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Hamburg, 1981)

'A l'interieur de la reliure: les papiers marbrés et autres feuilles de garde décoratives au XVIIIe siècle' in Revue française d'histoire du livre, 37 (1982)

'Daphnis and Chloe: printing and publishing a pastoral classic' in Le livre dans les societes pre-industrielles (Athens : Centre de recherches néo-helléniques, 1982)

'Book imports and exports in the eighteenth century' in R. Myers and M. Harris eds., Sale and distribution of books from 1700 (Oxford Polytechnic Press, 1982)

'A tour of Oxford in the mid-eighteenth century' in Der curieuse Passagier Deutsche Englandreisende des 18. Jahrhunderts als vermittler kultureller und technologischer Anregungen (1983)

'Noah's Ark, or, Thoughts before and after the Flood' in Archives, 16 (1983). A revised version of the Oxford Libraries' Board pamphlet on the avoidance of water damage to books, also largely written by Barber.

'L'évolution de la couverture imprimée' in La bibliographie materielle (Paris: CNRS, 1983)

'Le vocabulaire français de la reliure au dix-huitième siècle' in De compactis libris miscellanea (Brussels: Bibliotheca Wittockiana, 1984)

'La reliure' in Histoire de l'édition française, II (1984)

'Voltaire et la présentation typographique de Candide' in Trasmissione dei testi a stampa nel periodo moderno, [I] (1985)

'Voltaire and the 'maudites éditions de Jean Nourse' in Voltaire and his world, Studies presented to W. H. Barber (1985)

'Flowers, the Butterfly - and Clandestine Books' in Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 68 (1985) (Moses Tyson Memorial Lecture)

'Martin Dominique Fertel and his Science pratique de l'imprimerie' in The Library, 6th ser., VIII (1986) (First Graham Pollard Memorial Lecture)

'Les Philosophes en robe de chambre' in Le Siècle de Voltaire. Hommage à René Pomeau, I (1987)

'Un imprimeur typographe explique son art: Martin Dominique Fertel et sa Science pratique de l'imprimerie' in Livre et Lumières dans les Pays Bas français de la Contre Reforme à la Révolution (1987)

'From Canaletto to the ostrich: Parisian popular entertainment in 1755' in Bodleian Library Record, XII (1988)

'From press to purchase: the making of the book after its printing' in Trasmissione dei testi a stampa nel periodo moderno, II (1988) [Also, in Italian translation (Dal torchio al lettore), in M.C. Misiti ed., Tamquam explorator, percorsi orizzonti e modelli per lo studio dei libri (Manzania, Rome: Vecchiarelli 'Dal codice al libro 30', 2005)

'Robert Shackleton' in Proceedings of the British Academy, LXXIII (1988). (Also other obituaries of Shackleton in Bodleian Library Record, Enlightenment Essays, The Times, Bulletin du Bibliophile.)

'Fine French books of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the Ferdinand Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor' in Library Association Rare Books Group Newsletter, 32 (1988)

'Malbrouck s'en va en guerre, or How history reaches the nursery' in G. Avery and J. Briggs eds., Children and their books (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)

'Monsieur René Pomeau' in L'épée d'académicien de René Pomeau (Paris, privately printed, 1989)

'L'économie du livre au Siècle des Lumières' in Grand atlas Larousse des littératures (Paris: Larousse, 1990)

'Comment Montesquieu s'installa à Oxford' in Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, Studi filosofici, X-XI (1991) [on Robert Shackleton and his Montesquieu collection, bequeathed to the Bodleian Library]

'Oxford in 1791' in Haydn Bicentenary 1791 OXFORD 1991) (1991) [concert programme]

'Oxford libraries: Preservation and conservation' in The Oxford Magazine, 77 (1992)

'Taylor Institution Library: Reader's Guide: Bibliographical and reference sources: French' (1992)

'The printing and publishing of Diderot's Encyclopédie, Open University television programme (1992)

'Europe in St Giles' in Oxford Today, Vol. 5 (1992)

'D'une certaine inexactitude terminologique', guest editorial in Nouvelles du livre ancien, no. 73 (1993)

Letter to the Editor concerning the first edition of Candide, in Factotum, 36 (1993)

Extended preface to P. Tucker, The Illustrated editions of Candide (The Previous Parrot Press, 1993).

'Brochure, cartonnage, reliure: the provisional protection of print in the later eighteenth century' in M. Hobson, R. Wokler and J. Leigh eds., Rousseau and the eighteenth century, essays in memory of Ralph Leigh (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 1993)

'Francis Douce and French popular literature' in Bodleian Library Record, XIV (1993)

'Libraries' in B. Harrison ed., The History of the University of Oxford, Vol. VIII, The Twentieth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)

Letter to The Times, 1 Feb 1994, on the visit to Oxford in 1951 of Jean-Louis Barrault

'Besterman, T.D.N.' and 'Symons, A.J.A.' in Dictionary of National Biography, Missing Persons (1993)

'Gravure et mise en page: le Daphnis et Chloe de l'Ashendene Press illustré par Gwen Raverat' in Bulletin du bibliophile, 1994

'Eruditionis bona pars: Oxford and the European languages around 1600' in W.D. Hackmann and A.J. Turner eds., Learning, language and invention, essays presented to Francis Maddison (Aldershot: Variorum, 1994)

'From Baroque to Neoclassicism: French eighteenth century bindings at Oxford' in D. Rhodes ed., Bookbindings and other bibliophily, essays in honour of Anthony Hobson (Verona: Edizioni Valdonega, 1994)

'Textual bibliography in the twenty fifth century' in V. Placella and S. Martelli eds., I moderni ausili all'Ecdotica (Naples: Edizioni scientifiche Italiane, 1995) (Pubblicazioni del'Universita degli studi di Salerno 1990 conference)

'Très grande bibliothèque?' in Oxford Magazine, 122, Second week, Michaelmas Term, 1995)

'Bicycles, Water pistols and Bull Roarers: early memories of Exeter [College] in the 1940s and 1950s' in Exeter College Association Register 1995 (1996)

'Shackleton, Robert' in Dictionary of National Biography, 1986-1990 (1996)

'Iure ac merito: French prize books of the seventeenth century' in Bodleian Library Record [number in memory of David Rogers] (1996)

'Il fallut même réveiller les Suisses: aspects of private religious practice in a public setting in eighteenth-century Versailles' in Religious change in Europe 1650-1914, essays for John McManners (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997)

'The Taylor Institution' in The History of the University of Oxford, Vol. VI, part 1 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997)

'Les dessous d’un livre-bombe: l'impression de la première version des Lettres philosophiques' in Le Livre et l'historien, études en honneur de H.-J. Martin (Paris: Droz, 1997)

'Autour de Rousseau et de l'éternelle cueillette des cerises' in C'est la faute à Voltaire, C'est la faute à Rousseau, recueil pour J.-D. Candaux (Geneva: Droz, 1997)

''French Livres d’Artiste' dans les collections de l'Université d'Oxford' in La Lettre de la Maison française d’Oxford, no. 6 (1997). Traduit de l'anglais par Hélène Roos

'The Parisian fine binding trade in the last century of the ancien regime' in R. Fox and A. Turner eds., Luxury trades and consumerism in ancien régime Paris, studies in the history of the skilled workforce (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998)

'The Taylor Institution Library' (Unfamiliar libraries XXIX) in The Book Collector, Vol. 47, 1998

'Les Relieurs français d'Ernest Thoinan: les sources officielles' in Mélanges d'histoire de la reliure offerts à Georges Colin (Brussels, 1998)

'Acquiring Enlightenment: Oxford and the Encyclopédie' in D. Garrioch ed., The Culture of the Book: Essays from two hemispheres in Honour of Wallace Kirsopp (Melbourne: Bibliographical Society of Australia, 1999)

'The English-language guidebook to Europe before 1870' in R. Myers and M. Harris eds., Journeys through the market, travel, travellers and the booktrade ( Folkestone, 1999)

'Philip Playstowe's The Gentleman’s Guide in his tour through France in L'Invitation au voyage, a Festschrift for Peter France (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 2000)

'Voltaire et Oxford: une esquisse rapide d'un intérêt vieux de deux siècles' in M. Delon and C. Seth eds., Hommage à Christiane Mervaud (Oxford: The Voltaire Foundation, 2000)

'The advent of gold tooling in England and the intermediary role of Thomas Linacre' in D. Pearson ed., For the love of the binding, Festschrift for Mirjam Foot (London: British Library, 2000)

'A Philosopher and his books: the Gilbert Ryle Collection at Linacre' in Linacre Journal (2000)

'Thomas Linacre and the Millennium' in Linacre Journal, Issue 19 (2000)

'A continuing tradition: Non-book materials in the Taylor Institution Library' in Bodleian Library Record, XVII (2001)

Contributions to P. Fouché et al eds., Dictionnaire encyclopédique du livre (Paris: Editions du Cercle de la Librairie, 2002)

'Around the Padeloup and Derome workshops: gold-tooled Parisian bindings of the eighteenth century' in Mirjam Foot ed., Eloquent witnesses, a volume of essays dedicated to the memory of Dr Phiroze Randeria (London: The Bibliographical Society, 2004) [Lecture originally given, with a video, in 1994, edited by Mirjam Foot]

'The Rectorial hens' in Exeter College Association, Register 2004 (2004)

Contributions to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) [articles on Besterman, Nourse, Shackleton, Sismondi and others]

'Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Thoughts on Oxford libraries' in The Oxford Magazine, Trinity Term Ninth week (2005)

'Memories of Meetings' in P.W. Nash ed., Bibliophiles at Oxford (Oxford University Society of Bibliophiles, 2006)

'Towards the study of bookbinders' finishing tools' in A. de Coster and C. Sorgeloos eds., Bibliophilies et reliures, Mélanges offerts à Michel Wittock (Brussels: Tulkens, 2006)

G.G. Barber ed., 'Latin and Greek Versions and Tributes by Eric Arthur Barber (1888-1965), Rector of Exeter College, Oxford' in Humanistica Lovaniensia, LVI (2007)

'Petrus Cuniculus, Donaldus Anas et alii: Latin translations of children’s classics' in The Book Collector (2014-02), under the name of Aegidius Tonsor (Giles Barber)


The papers of Giles Barber are arranged in series reflecting his research projects, other more general areas of interest, and personal concerns. The papers of Dr. Lisa Barber are grouped in a single series, based on her work for the Commission Départementale des Objets Mobiliers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The bulk of the collection was made a gift to the Bodleian Library in 2013 by Giles Barber's widow, Lisa, with additional materials being donated by her in 2018.

Related Materials

Further papers relating to Barber's research for The James A. De Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor. Printed Books and Bookbindings (Aylesbury: The Rothschild Foundation, 2013) are held at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.

Papers of Giles Barber relating to his research on the library of Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe (1915-2014), which she had inherited from her grandfather, Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton (1809-1885), poet and politician, were donated by Dr. Lisa Barber to the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge. The Duchess's library was bequeathed to Trinity College.

Barber donated the papers of his father, Eric Arthur Barber, to Exeter College, Oxford, and those of his mother, Madeleine, to the Archives cantonales du canton de Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Catalogue of the archive of Giles and Dr. Lisa Barber
Finding aid prepared by Chrissie Webb
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom