St John's College Oxford

A new exhibition in the Library explores the history of women in the College

Date 14 February 2018

To coincide with the forthcoming Women's Festival, the Library has created a new exhibition on the role of women at St John's through the centuries since its foundation in 1555.

Library Women exhibition Feb 18 poster Sarah Holmes‘By herself’: rediscovering the history of women at St John’s College, Oxford uses books and documents from the Library and the Archive, and paintings from around College, to offer a window into the real, active ways in which women participated in university life in the centuries leading up to their acceptance as official members. 

Despite social barriers, women influenced the growth of the College and of higher education for women through their roles as benefactors, creators, educators, and more, before they were finally admitted as students and fellows towards the end of the 20th century. 

Read about the inspiring women featured in the exhibition in fascinating detail on the Library blog.

The exhibition is open to the public by appointment. Please email the Librarian if you would like to visit.

Deed documenting the benefaction of Lady Joan WhiteThe Deed documenting the benefaction of Lady Joan White, wife of the College's founder Sir Thomas White. Following Sir Thomas’ death in 1567, the College suffered financially and its position became uncertain. It was Lady White’s benefaction that rescued St John’s from instability.