MEC Archive

MEC Archive

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: 1961-2017 (pdf file).

The Archive has state of the art facilities in the spectacular Investcorp Building (designed by Zaha Hadid) and now contains over 3,000 boxes of papers and photographs of over 700 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 and our Financial gifts webpage.


Contact Details

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

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).

For directions to the Archive please see our Finding the Archive webpage Step free access to the Archive is now possible through the Hilda Besse building. Readers requiring step free access should report to the porter's lodge where a porter will be able to take them through the step free route. Remote access to the Archive via photocopying is not supported, for further details please see our policy on remote access.



Opening Hours

The Archive is open by appointment from Monday to Friday 9.45-12.10 and 13.10-17.15.
There is a daily 20 minute closure for tea/coffee at 11am and 3.30pm.
If the Archivist is ill the reading room will be closed.

Closure dates

  • 3 Feb 2020

Closures for Collection's Week - The Archive closes for 1 week every month for a 'Collection's Week' to enable project work on cataloguing specific collections. Normally collection's week will be the last week of every month. Planned closure dates for collection's week are as follows:

  • Jan 2020: 27th - 31st Jan
  • Feb 2020: 24th - 28th Feb
  • Mar 2020: 23rd - 27th Mar
  • Apr 2020: No collection's week due to Easter vacation
  • May 2020: 25th - 29th May
  • Jun 2020: 22nd - 26th Jun
  • Jul 2020: 27th - 31st Jul

Preparation prior to your visit

Pre-ordering of material is recommended. Please 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 note that the Archive reading room is air conditioned and kept at a cool 20 degrees C. Coats are not permitted in the reading room, so other warm clothing is recommended, especially during the summer, as the room will feel cold.

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.