Frank Leslie Cross (1900–1968) was educated at Bournemouth School and the universities of Oxford, London, Marburg and Freiburg. He entered the Church in 1924 and from 1925 to 1926 was chaplain and tutor at Ripon College, Oxford. In 1927 he was appointed librarian at Pusey House, Oxford, and held the post until 1944. He lectured in the philosophy of religion at Oxford University and in 1944 was appointed Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity. He retired in 1968, shortly before his death. He was also a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.
Cross wrote, translated and edited a large number of books. They included Religion and the reign of science (1930), John Henry Newman (1933) and Early Christian fathers (1960). He was the editor of The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (1957).
In the 1940s Cross purchased a number of early works from the library of Christ Church, Oxford. He also inherited books from Darwell Stone, his predecessor at Pusey House.
Early Christian fathers (1960)
The Cross Collection was purchased by the Library from Elizabeth Livingstone of Oxford in 1969.
The Cross Collection comprises about 6500 titles (many of them multi-volume works), about 160 serial titles and 918 reprints of individual articles. The collection can be divided into the following subjects:
- patristic studies
- canon law
- Biblical studies
- church history
- other religions
- philosophy and psychology
- guide books
- reference and general
Cross was an authority in the field of patristic studies and his collection is strong in editions of Church Fathers, published from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Examples are multi-volume works of St Athanasius (d. 373), St Augustine (d. 430), St Clement (d. 215), St Cyril (d. 444), St Gregory (d. c. 394), St John Chrysostom (d. 407), Pope Leo I (d. 461), Tertullian (d. c. 230) and Bishop Theodoret of Cyrrhus (d. c. 457). There are also many works on the history of the early Church and Church Councils and books about St Augustine of Hippo and St Athanasius.
The following are examples of rare and substantial works in the collection:
St Robertus Bellarmino, Disputationes Roberti Bellarmini (1608)
St Bernard of Clairvaux, Sancti Bernardi abbatis primi Claraevallensis…opera (2 vols, 1690)
Bingham, Joseph, Origines ecclesiasticae or The antiquities of the Christian Church (5 vols, 1834–35)
Butler, Alban, The lives of the saints (12 vols, 1926–38)
Grant, Robert M. (ed.), The Apostolic fathers: a new translation and commentary (6 vols, 1964–68)
Harnack, Adolf, History of dogma (7 vols, 1896–99)
Hefele, Karl Josef von, Histoire des Conciles d’après les documents originaux (22 vols, 1907–52)
Martene, Edmond, De antiquis ecclesiae ritibus libri quatuor (3 vols, 1700–02)
Monumenta eucharistica et liturgica vetustissima (7 vols, 1935-37)
Le Nain de Tillemont, Louis Sebastien, Histoire des empereurs, et des autres princes, qui ont régne durant les six premiers siècles de l’Eglise (6 vols, 1720–38).
The Cross Collection is strong in works by theologians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Karl Barth, Walter Bauer, C.H. Dodd, Charles Gore, Leonard Hodgson, Friedrich von Hugel, EdmundHusserl, John Richardson Illingworth, William Ralph Inge, T.A. Lacey, J.B. Mozley, John Henry Newman, W. Sanday, Darwell Stone, Henry Barclay Swete, William Temple, Ernst Troeltsch, George Tyrrell, Alec Vidler and Clement C.J. Webb.
The collection has strong holdings of monographs in series such as the Alcuin Club Collection (1917–68), Ante-Nicene Christian Library (1867–71) and Sources chrétiennes (1943–68). There are only short or broken runs of most of the journals, but there are good sets of:
Mélanges de science religieuse (1944–57)
New Testament studies (1954–69)
Oxford diocesan magazine (1944–67)
The pre-1800 books in the Cross Collection are housed in the Rare Books Collection. They have not, however, been kept together but are dispersed among the Dewey and miscellaneous runs. They have all been catalogued. The journals have been integrated in the general collection, but the remainder of the books have been kept together as a formed collection. A total of 2120 of the titles, about a third of the collection, have been catalogued; the call numbers have the prefix CRO. An author catalogue of the entire collection was produced on cards, copies of which have been bound into three volumes. A fourth volume lists the reprints.
Livingstone, Elizabeth A., Frank Leslie Cross, Oxford dictionary of national biography, vol. 14, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004, pp. 421–2.
Obituary of F.L. Cross, The times (London), 3 December 1968, p. 10.
T.M. Parker, Frank Leslie Cross 1900–1968, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. 55, 1969, pp. 369–75.