Dr Christine FerdinandBack to People

College appointment: Emeritus Fellow
Phone: +44 (0)1865 276057

Academic Background

I grew up in Bakersfield, California, and am still pleasantly surprised to find myself at Magdalen College Oxford. My first degree was in English Literature, from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1971). I have Master’s degrees in English Literature and Library Science (University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1973, 1974) and another in Bibliography & Textual Criticism (University of Leeds, 1975). Before coming to Oxford, I worked in the Rare Books Department at the British Library. My D.Phil. thesis (Oxford, 1990) was on the interconnected eighteenth-century newspaper and book trade. I had two years as a Leverhulme Research Fellow on the History of the Book in Britain project after that, before becoming  Librarian at Magdalen in 1992. I am currently President of The Bibliographical Society and was recently elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. I retired from Magdalen in 2016.


My research continues to be based in the History of Book, particularly now on financial failure in the eighteenth-century book trade. I have done quite a bit of work on newspaper history, and have recently returned to newspapers for background on bankruptcy and insolvency. And of course I am interested in the history of Magdalen College Libraries.

Select Publications

An Accidental Masterpiece: Magdalen College’s New Building and the People Who Built It (2010)

Benjamin Collins and the Eighteenth-Century Provincial Newspaper Trade (1997)

‘Bankruptcy as Business Plan: James Rivington, Entrepreneur Bookseller’, forthcoming in R. Myers, M. Harris, and G. Mandelbrote (eds.), Balancing the Books: Financing the Book Trade from the 16th Century (British Library)

‘Provincial Newspapers and the Book Trade’, in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 5 (2009)

‘Library Administration 1475 to 1640’, in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain (2006)

‘The Mystery of Cookery and the Art of Wheedling: What Magdalen Undergraduates Read in the Eighteenth Century’, Magdalen College Record (2006)

‘The Economics of the Eighteenth-Century Provincial Book Trade: The Case of Ward and Chandler’, in Re-constructing the Book: Literary Texts in Transmission (2001)