The crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Somerville’s Mill library formally closed this week after a successful few weeks of participation, boosted by generous matched funding from Christopher Kenyon.

Students and staff have been working together to raise funds for the preservation of the John Stuart Mill Library since the campaign was launched in June. The initial target of £10,000, which will enable some much-needed conservation of books that once belonged to Mill, was smashed within three weeks. The closing total was £13,641.

Donations are still coming in and it’s not too late to make your own contribution.

You can follow the progress of the project as conservation begins on our Facebook page.

The John Stuart Mill library

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In 1905, John Stuart Mill’s step daughter Helen Taylor, left what remained of her step-father’s London library (c 2,000 volumes) to Somerville College to be used by undergraduates in their studies. For the next sixty years, the collection was on open shelves for the use of students and it was not until the 1960s that it was decided to gather all JSM’s books together in a closed collection.

The books reflect his varied interests and range in subject from political theory through literature to natural science and mathematics. Many of the books belonged to JSM’s father, the political writer James Mill, and contain annotations from both men.

Somerville College is launching a major project to conserve the books, digitise the marginalia and promote the collection in order to facilitate further research. If you are interested in finding out more about the project please contact College Librarian Dr Anne Manuel

Further reading?

Active Kindness: Meet the Somervillian Who Saved Thousands from the Nazis

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14 June 2024
Active Kindness: Meet the Somervillian Who Saved Thousands from the Nazis

Somerville Student Stars in Gregory Doran’s Gentlemen of Verona

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13 June 2024
Somerville Student Stars in Gregory Doran’s Gentlemen of Verona

Simon Russell Beale Awarded Honorary Fellowship

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11 June 2024
Simon Russell Beale Awarded Honorary Fellowship