ORS cover 1919

About the Society

The cover of the Oxfordshire Record Society’s very first volume, published in 1919, showed its intention to cover the whole county, taking it beyond the Oxford city and university emphases of other organisations. The central symbol is the coat of arms of Oxfordshire County Council, the first modern county government, established in 1889 and just 30 years old in 1919; at the four corners of the cover are the seals of Banbury and Henley, Chipping Norton and Woodstock.

The new Society combined elements of old and new, of antiquarian traditions and fresh aspirations. It aimed to encourage newer fields such as economic and social history, to demonstrate the importance of local records, and to engage different audiences in the history of their locality’s past, through the growing schools system and the wider community. To read more about the founders of the ORS and its development, click here.

Now moving into its second century, the ORS has a substantial record of publication. It continues to aim at countywide interests, and to make accessible a variety of records on different periods, places and themes.  It still discovers fresh aspirations and subjects. Recent volumes have opened up 20th-century sources. Up-to-date publishing arrangements have been adopted. Special projects, including an Oxfordshire historical atlas that distils themes from every period of the county’s history, are undertaken. ORS volumes reach local and family historians, find their place in libraries and archives, and are also valued beyond the county, as seen in a recent review of the centenary volume, The Parish in Wartime.

To read our 2020 annual reports, click here.