An exhibition displaying the letters of people of letters. From authors to authors, from writers to publishers, from illustrators to poets, there is a wealth of literary correspondence in the Library. Whether it's Agatha Christie describing the effects of various poisons, J.R.R Tolkien on the practicalities and politics of getting a position as a Fellow at Oxford, W.B. Yeats on promoting Irish literature, Spike Milligan compiling a 'Crossword for idiots', Edward Ardizzone providing rough sketches illustrations, or Noni Jabavu remembering the Bloomsbury Set in a way they might not have appreciated, many aspects of literary life and interest are represented here. Philip Larkin, A.E. Housman, Kingsley Amis and Robert Graves are among the St John's alumni who appear, among many others.
2016/17 Always something new: Africa in the Special Collections of St John's College
2016 Do we need pictures?:illustrations in the earliest printed books
2015/16 In the Like Case: a 17th-century medical correspondence illustrated with early medical books
2015 Not An Illustration: abstract book art in livres d'artiste
2014/15 Visited by all the Gods: the context of the letters of W.B. Yeats
2014 The Field of Human Conflict: war through the ages
2013/14 Alpha to Zed: a classical alphabet
2013 The Path that Sinners Tread: the seven deadly sins
2012/13 Revolutions: astrology, astronomy & astronauts
2012 Liturgy: sex, violence & prayer
2011/12 Something Rich and Strange: the exploration of America
2011 Catching Breath: language & writing
2010 Birds, Bees & Bonnacons: zoological illustration
Exhibitions are open to all members of College and their guests, and alumni with up to three guests. Members of the public wishing to see an exhibition should contact the Librarian in advance.
Visiting the Library
Prospective students & members of the public
Prospective students are welcome to visit the Library during Library opening times. Other prospective visitors should email the Librarian to see if this is possible.
Academic researchers are welcome to consult material not available elsewhere in the University. Please contact the Librarian to check the item is available and to make an appointment. Graduate students should bring a letter from their supervisor. Visitors requiring special access should make this clear when writing. Please note that the permission of the College will be needed for publication.
Alumni and members' visitors
Members may show friends or colleagues around the Library, and should always sign them into the Visitors' Book at the Desk. Guided tours for small groups may be arranged with the Librarian. Alumni are welcome to visit the library during normal opening hours, and to bring their families and friends, signing them in as guests.