Foster Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Primarily lectures, notes and research materials on early Christian architecture.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ian John Charles Foster (1908-1978) was appointed to the staff of Durham University Library in 1946, and until 1950 worked on cataloguing early printed books in the Routh Collection. From research carried out in this period on 17th and 18th century paper and printing he published an article, with Kenneth Povey, on turned chain lines. In 1950 a separate Oriental Section of the University Library was formed, and he was appointed Assistant Librarian (from 1950 Keeper of Oriental Books) in charge of it. During the period until his retirement in 1973 he developed the section into an Oriental library of national importance, containing material in more than thirty ancient and modern languages, of most of which he had at least a working knowledge himself. At the same time he carried forward his own research work on the shape and contents of early Christian churches, and built up a large book and pictorial collection on the subject, which he bequeathed to the University Library. Some of this research he communicated in a notable series of illustrated lectures to the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, but he died without producing a book on the subject.


Not yet fully sorted

Conditions Governing Access

The papers are in the control of Foster's executor Dr A.I. Doyle, and not yet available for general consultation.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Foster's executor.

Other Finding Aids

Collection description only.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

Foster Albums; Foster Slides