T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935)

Magdalen College is now a major focus for research activity around T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia. He was a Senior Demy (postgraduate) here from 1911 to 1914, and Magdalen funded him to travel overseas as a student and to start his career in Middle Eastern archaeology. A key mentor of his was Magdalen man David Hogarth (1862-1927), who was also a student here, as well as a Fellow for many years.

We hold several collections relating to Lawrence and Hogarth in the Library and Archives, and we add to these whenever possible.

Two recent arrivals in the Archives are the papers of D.G. Hogarth (P452) and the papers of Jeremy Wilson (1944-2017), official biographer of T.E. Lawrence (P450).

You can find out more about our Library and Archives holdings in this subject area via our ‘Lawrence Portal’.

Magdalen College is delighted to be hosting an international conference on its Wilson Archive, entitled ‘Writing Lawrence and his World: Jeremy Wilson and the Art/Science of Biography’.

The conference will take place on 31 August 2023 at Magdalen. Attendance is free but registration is essential. To register, please complete the online form.

A draft programme is available via our Lawrence Portal.

We recently set up a termly mailing list to share all news relating to those collections relating to T.E. Lawrence and his world(s). Please email archives@magd.ox.ac.uk to have your name added to this list. We will not share your details with third parties, nor re-use your details for other purposes.

Dr Lucy Smith is currently cataloguing the extensive papers of Jeremy Wilson (1944-2017), T.E. Lawrence’s official biographer. This project is generously funded by the Harry and Alice Stillman Foundation, and will run until March 2024.

As the catalogue work is completed, we will start doing more outreach activities, including the digitisation of key parts of the collection, and also various research outputs. Summer 2023 will see the opening of a major exhibition on the Wilson Collection. Magdalen will also host a one-day international conference on the theme of the art/science of biography in relation to Lawrence and his milieu.

If you are interested in the project, please follow us on Twitter on @ArchiveWilson. We also publish regular blogs on the project via our Lawrence Portal.

A temporary overview of the collection is available on the online archive catalogue.

The College Library also holds a large collection of Wilson’s own books.

The Hogarth papers (P452) were catalogued between January 2020 and January 2021, following their kind donation to Magdalen by members of the Hogarth family. The online catalogue is now available here.

We plan to digitise key parts of the collection in due course.

We held a major online conference on D.G. Hogarth on 23 Jan 2021. If you missed the conference, please contact archives@magd.ox.ac.uk so that we can send you details about how to view the Zoom recordings.

The College Archive holds various original papers relating to Lawrence, some of which are fully catalogued:




A complete list of Magdalen’s archival holdings relating to Lawrence is available here, including recently acquired items which are not yet catalogued.

All Magdalen’s T.E. Lawrence archive items are available in digital format on request from archives@magd.ox.ac.uk.

In 2018, Magdalen held a major and extremely popular exhibition on Lawrence of Oxford.

Lawrence of Oxford explored the influence Magdalen and Oxford had on this enigmatic figure’s early life. It looked at his efforts in the Arab campaign during the First World War, and his later political involvement with the region. It also examined his work as an author, and those in Oxford whom he directly influenced.

A richly illustrated copy of the exhibition catalogue, authored by Daryl Green (Fellow Librarian, 2016-2019) and Dr Rory McCarthy, can be ordered from the Home Bursary by emailing celia.brown@magd.ox.ac.uk.

A comprehensive online version of the exhibition is now available via our online Lawrence Portal.

T.E. Lawrence and Lowell Thomas during the Arab Revolt (P452/MIL/3)