A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 3, the University of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1954.
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Nuffield College was founded by Deed of Covenant and Trust between the Right Honourable William Richard, Baron Nuffield of Nuffield, and the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Oxford on 16 Nov. 1937. Under this deed Viscount Nuffield gave to the University a site to the north of the Castle mound and a sum of £900,000 for the building and endowment of a college.
The purpose of the endowment was to constitute and construct 'a College for postgraduate studies, especially but not exclusively in the field of social studies' and 'to make it a centre of research especially by co-operation between academic and non-academic persons'.
Under the Statute approved by Congregation on 30 Nov. 1937 and subsequent decrees the college is composed of a Warden, full-time Official and Research fellows, Professorial and Faculty fellows already holding offices in the University or in other colleges, and Visiting fellows. It is empowered also to appoint up to 40 graduate students.
In choosing the Official fellows, the aim has been within the limits of the college's resources to constitute a body of scholars representative of the chief approaches to social and political studies.
Appointments to Research fellowships are similar in kind but are made for a limited term or a specific project of research. Such fellows as a rule are not members of the Governing Body. The college is one to which professorships may be allocated. In addition the college may, and does, associate with itself as Professorial fellows other holders of Chairs in its field.
Visiting fellows are chosen for their ability to further college researches by virtue of 'their practical experience in the professions or in industry or commerce'. Though not resident in Oxford they are full members of the college and its governing body. They are drawn from various fields of public and business activity, and their practical experience has been of the greatest value in securing the co-operation of academic and nonacademic persons.
In addition to offering facilities for research by its various categories of fellows and by others of similar status, a major purpose of the college is to attract and train graduate students in the social sciences. The students are not confined to Oxford or the United Kingdom, and in point of fact graduates from overseas have always constituted part of the student body.
The building of the college was delayed by the outbreak of war in 1939 and by the priority given after the war to domestic dwellings. Licences to prepare the site and begin work were, however, obtained in 1948, and on 21 Apr. 1949 the Foundation Stone was laid in the presence of the Founder by the Chancellor of the University. The plan of the building is in traditional Oxford style, with an exterior of Clipsham stone and stone tiles.
It is expected that the Warden's Lodging and two wings connected with it will be completed in the course of the academic year 1950–1, and will all be employed in the first instance as rooms for fellows, research, administrative, and secretarial staff.