I - INTRODUCTION
The President, Vice-President and Fellows constituted the Senior Common Room. The SCR, in the days when dons were unmarried and lived in College, provided an ordered environment for their leisure, rather like an officers’ mess of gentlemen’s club. Members could propose other names as honorary or temporary members of the SCR; for instance, the equerry and tutor of H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales, were elected members of the SCR during their period of residence.
The earliest reference to a room is in 1663, when the Vice-Presidents register (MC:VP1/A1/1) mentions a ‘camera sociorum’. At some point after 1665 the Chapel vestry was converted into a common room for the Fellows: possibly in 1674 when the College accounts mention building work on the ‘cameram communem’ (Wilson, Magdalen College).
The Vice-President was, ex-officio, the Steward of the SCR (an office which no longer exists). There was (and is) also an office of Wine Steward, held by one of the Fellows. The full members approve the regulations, which are amended periodically. There were no women Fellows until 1979, when Catherine Lessells became a Fellow by examination, remaining a Fellow until 1982.
II – THE PAPERS
The SCR papers have been in the archives from at least the mid 1980s, unless otherwise indicated. Unfortunately no more about the time of their provenance has been recorded. Few of the records are traceable to their accession number, but where this has been possible, there is a listing in Appendix I. Since it proved necessary to assign new references to some of the previously catalogued papers, a concordance of old and new references is given in Appendix II. These papers are indexed in the main collection catalogue. Most of the SCR records are kept in this catalogue. However, the papers that deal with SCR meetings are catalogued in the MC:VP3 collection, as the Vice-President is Chair of these meetings and so are considered to be part of his papers.
III – CONVENTIONS OF THE CATALOGUE
Within the above sections of the catalogue, the papers have been divided according both to subject and type of document. These are the codes used in this catalogue to indicate the basic nature of each group of papers:
A Administrative papers (e.g. lists, accounts, rules etc.)
F Financial papers
MS Manuscript material (e.g. notebooks, books etc.)
X Printed ephemera (e.g. concert programmes, orders of service etc.)
Catalogued by Clare Baker in January 2003.