MEC Archive

MEC Archive

Archive Closures
Due to the move to the new building the Archive is currently closed and will re-open on Monday 10th August. For further information please see our Opening Dates

The Middle East Centre Archive was founded in 1961 by Elizabeth Monroe and Albert Hourani with the aim of preserving and making available for research the papers and photographs of individuals who have lived or served in the Middle East as for example senior Government representatives, members of the armed forces, bankers, businessmen, missionaries or travellers. For further details please see our Collecting Policy and a History of the Middle East Centre Archive: 1961-2007 (pdf file)

The Archive now contains over 2,500 boxes of the papers and photographs of over 550 individuals or organisations covering the period 1800 to the present day with strong holdings for the Palestine Mandate and for Oman in the 1970s.

If you have papers or photographs that you would like to add to the Archive or if you would like to offer financial support please see our Donation's webpage


New Building The Archive will be moving to purpose built facilities in the Middle East Centre's new Softbridge building, designed by Zaha Hadid. This will lead to a considerable upgrade in all of the Archive's facilities, including substantial space for the Archive's collections to grow. Due to the new building, the main entrance to the Archive has been closed. The Archive's temporary entrance is difficult to find. Please see our Finding the Archive webpage for further details.

How to use the Archive

To use the Archive please contact the Archivist to make an appointment. Members of Oxford University should bring with them a valid Oxford University card. Other readers should bring with them a letter of introduction and some photo ID (for example a passport). Access for readers with disabilities should be discussed with the Archivist; there are four steps going down to the Archive. Remote access to the Archive via photocopying is not supported, for further details please see our policy on remote access.

Contact Details

Ms Debbie Usher, Archivist
Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony's College, Oxford OX2 6JF
Tel: 01865 284706
Fax: 01865 274529

Opening Hours

The Archive is open by appointment from Monday to Friday
During term time Monday 9.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.10
Outside term time Monday 9.45-13.00 and 14.00-17.15
Tuesday to Friday 9.45-13.00 and 14.00-17.15
There is a daily 20 minute closure for tea/coffee at 11am and 4pm. There is no 4pm tea break on Mondays during term time.
If the Archivist is ill the reading room will be closed.

Opening Dates
The provisional re-opening date for the Archive is Monday 10th August.
During August the Archive will be open 10-13th August and the 17th-21st August.

Preparation prior to your visit

It is recommended that you browse through the Archive's Online Guides and Handlists. To check what is newly available please see the New Accessions and New Catalogues webpage.

Please also read through the Archive's reading room rules and conduct.

For information on the Archive's extensive photographic collection please browse through our Photographic resources webpages.

Please browse through our Useful links webpage for information on how to find other Archives in the UK, as well as online Middle East resources.


For accommodation near to St Antony's College please see Bed and Breakfast accommodation

If you are visiting outside of term time then it is worth noting that many Colleges let rooms during vacation.

Useful information during and after your visit

Digital cameras are permitted in the Archive providing flash and sound are turned off and the standard copyright form filled in. For further details please see our Copying of Archives webpage which also notes some restrictions on copying.

Wireless internet is available in the Archive reading room. Researchers with access to Eduroam will automatically connect. Other researchers will need to get a password from the Porter's lodge for the visitor's network.

Advice on citation is available from our How to cite from the Archive webpage.

Projects and Exhibitions

The Middle East Centre Archive is a very active Archive. Listed below are some recent and ongoing projects and exhibitions in the Archive.