Papers of Sir Michael Sadler (Master 1923-34)

Sir Michael Ernest Sadler (1861–1943). Master of University College from 1923-34, is best known for his work as an educationalist.

While a Student of Christ Church, Sadler was deeply involved in University Extension, and he went on to work in the Education Department. He was Vice-Chancellor of Leeds University, and for a while president of the Calcutta University Commission. Outside his work, he took a great interest in contemporary art. He was well acquainted with many leading artists of the day, and collected their work extensively.
    Before becoming Master, he had had no links with University College,and it has been suggested that he was elected as a compromise candidate between A.B. Poynton and A.S.L. Farquharson.
    Several papers of Sir Michael now remain at University College, but the great majority are to be found in the Bodleian Library. Those preserved here consist of correspondence concerning the re-allocation of professorial chairs in the 1920s, papers concerning the General Strike of 1926, historical notes on University College, correspondence with Sir Ninian Comper, papers on a lecture delivered in Greek by A.B. Poynton, notes for an unfinished life of Obadiah Walker and correspondence on the gift of the Robert Ross Memorial Collection.
    The Walker papers were given to the College after Sadler's death, but it is not known how or when the rest came into the archives. They were all found in the archives in summer 1993, with the exception of UC:MA44/7/C1/1, which was found among the papers of the Estates Bursary in December 1993, and transferred to the archives in the summer of 1996, and UC:MA44/9/MS1/1, which was transferred to the archives in May 2006 as Accession No. 666. The resulting collection seems to be a random sample of Sadler's working papers whilst he was Master of the College, and there is no indication of why these papers should have been preserved at the expense of others.


R. Darwall-Smith, A History of University College, Oxford (Oxford, 2008), Chapter 18.
L. Grier, Achievement in Education: The Work of Michael Ernest Sadler 1885–1935 (London, 1952).
O.S. Pickering, Sir Michael Sadler; A Bibliography of his Published Works (Leeds 1982).
Michael Sadleir, Michael Ernest Sadler; A Memoir by his Son (London 1949).

Recatalogued in May 2006.


The collection has been divided into the following sections:

UC:MA44/1  Papers concerning the allocation of Professorships among the Oxford Colleges, 1924–1926
UC:MA44/2  Documents concerning the effects of the General Strike at University College
UC:MA44/3  Historical Notes on University College
UC:MA44/4 Correspondence with Sir Ninian Comper
UC:MA44/5  Papers concerning a Greek Lecture delivered by A.B. Poynton in January 1928
UC:MA44/6  Papers connected with Sadler's planned Life of Obadiah Walker
UC:MA44/7  Papers on the Robert Ross Memorial Collection
UC:MA44/8  Other Papers relating to Sadler’s work as Master
UC:MA44/9  Papers on the Sadler Conversation Piece


Because of the length of the complete catalogue, it has not been placed online. Instead, a pdf version of it may be consulted here.