Lawrence in the Library

Today is the 80th anniversary of the untimely death of T.E. Lawrence, the archaeologist and adventurer renowned as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, who read Modern History at Jesus College between 1907 and 1910.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom in handmade binding

T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, bound by W.K. Hall (Natural Sciences, 1924) and given in 1984: Meyricke Library JES LAW (1) A042 (© Jesus College, Oxford)

During the summer vacations of 1908 and 1909, Lawrence embarked on extended journeys of research, first bicycling through France, then walking through Syria and Palestine. He synthesised what he saw into his B.A. thesis, submitted under the title The influence of the Crusades on European military architecture, to the end of the XIIth century, which secured his first-class degree. The examiners’ copy of the typescript, with Lawrence’s subsequent annotations, was presented to the College by Lawrence’s mother after his death.

Shelf of books by and about T.E. Lawrence

Part of the T.E. Lawrence collection in the Meyricke Library (© Jesus College, Oxford)

The Meyricke Library holds a collection of around 100 books by and about Lawrence, recently reclassified by Emma Jones according to Philip O’Brien’s magisterial bibliography. Together with the Crusader castles thesis, several of these books will be on show today to College members.

Owen McKnight (Librarian)

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