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 Archives and Library, 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’.

The extensive papers of Jeremy Wilson (1944-2017), T.E. Lawrence’s official biographer, were catalogued by Dr Lucy Smith between April 2020 and July 2024. This project was generously funded by the Harry and Alice Stillman Foundation.

The full catalogue of the Wilson Archive can be found here. More information about how to use the catalogue can be found on our Lawrence Portal.

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

On 31 August 2023, Magdalen hosted a major international conference entitled ‘Writing Lawrence and his World: Jeremy Wilson and the Art/Science of Biography’, which was attended by no fewer than three Lawrence biographers. Recordings of the presentations can be watched on the College’s YouTube channel.

A major Old Library exhibition, entitled ‘Lawrence in Fragments: Recovering Lawrence of Arabia through the Jeremy Wilson Archive’, was held between July and December 2023. An online version of the exhibition can be viewed here.

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 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)