A Tale of Two Fullers

The Fuller collection at Oxford Brookes is a selection of books and archive material previously owned by Professor John Fuller, once Head of the Department of Catering Management here and a leading light in establishing courses in hospitality management in the UK and worldwide. The collection contains books dating back as far as the 17th century, focusing on various aspects of cookery and household management, all the way to Fuller’s own late 20th century works.

Last summer, we received an enquiry about the Fuller collection from a researcher in Australia. It turned out that the researcher was working on a menu collection for the William Angliss Institute (WAI) in Melbourne, and that they, too, have a Fuller collection – obtained in the 1990s from the same Professor John Fuller whose extensive personal library was purchased by Oxford Polytechnic in 1978.

We were intrigued! We made contact with the special collections librarian at WAI, and had an (early!) morning meeting with her last August. While our Fuller collection focuses largely on food and household management, the collection at the WAI centres on drinks. We decided to collaborate with the librarian, Vicky Qin, on an online exhibition to showcase the highlights of both collections.

We decided that each institution would create a showcase of 10 items per collection, using Microsoft Sway, and host them together online so that researchers interested in one collection would also find details of the other.

We selected 10 items intended to show the breadth of the collection – including books on herbalism, culinary poisons, housewifery, etiquette and ‘suitable’ careers for women. Meanwhile, Vicky chose 10 items from the WAI collection, covering wine and viticulture, sherry, spirits, and alcohol culture and the temperance movement.

You can learn more and explore the onlineexhibition here. And of course, you can see the items first hand in the Special Collections reading room! Special Collections is located in the basement (floor -1) of the Headington Library and is open from 1pm on weekday afternoons during semester.

— Isabel Virgo, Academic Liaison Librarian

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