Dr Christine FerdinandBack to People

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

Academic Background

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, 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 am past-President of the Bibliographical Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians, and a Freeman of the Stationers’ Company. I have enjoyed fellowships at the Huntington Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, Beinecke Library, and Newberry Library. I became Magdalen’s Fellow Librarian in 1992, and, after seeing the new Longwall Library through to completion, retired in 2016.


My research continues to be based in the History of the Book and Newspapers, and I am currently working on the biography of James Rivington (1724–1802), renegade publisher, bankrupt, newspaper proprietor, and spy for George Washington. I will always be interested in the history of Magdalen College.

Select Publications

Magdalen College Oxford: A Brief History and Guide (Scala, 2016)
The Works of William Congreve, 3 vols., ed. D.F. McKenzie, prepared for publication by C.Y. Ferdinand (Oxford University Press, 2011)
An Accidental Masterpiece: Magdalen College’s New Building and the People Who Built It (Magdalen College, 2010)
Benjamin Collins and the Eighteenth-Century Provincial Newspaper Trade (Oxford University Press, 1997)

‘Commodities and the Acting Profession: A Newly Discovered Inventory for William and Susanna Mountfort’s “India Shop” (1692)’, Huntington Library Quarterly, forthcoming
“Thomas Betterton’s Booktrade Apprenticeship and the Amazing Careers of His Two Masters, John Holden and John Rhodes, with Some Notes on the Actor’s Library”, The Library, forthcoming.
‘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)