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African Studies Library

Your one-stop-shop for all things African Studies at the University of Cambridge & beyond

Archives & Special Collections

Dr. Winifred Brown Collection

Marriage & Divorce Law, and Activism with Orphans in Uganda c. 1960-2000.
  • The collection is made up of two boxes, and contains roughly 116 items.

  • You may be interested in this collection if you are researching any of the following topics:

    • Marriage and divorce law in Uganda

    • Orphaned children in Uganda, particularly Sanyu Babies Home

    • Women’s rights in Uganda

    • Makerere University alumni by name c. 1972-1997

  • Notable Documents in the Collection:

    • WB/U/1/10: Photocopy of “Report of the Commission on Marriage, Divorce and the Status of Women 1965” produced by the Ugandan Government - approx. 94 pages

    • WB/U/1/14: Letter addressed to Winifred from the First Lady, Janet K Museveni, regarding thanks for sending them a copy of her work and with reference to UWESO, the orphan charity Mrs. Museveni established - typewritten, 1 page, 28/09/1988

    • WB/U/2/8: Arise: a women’s developmental magazine published by ACFODE - published by Action for Development, Kampala (6 issues) - 1991-1993

Click the PDF collection aid below for more details.

Featured Text on Libraries and Archives

Lost Libraries, Burnt Archives / edited by Sindi-Leigh McBride and Julia Rensing (2023)

In their edited volume of short stories, artworks, poems, essays by 22 contributors Sindi-Leigh McBride and Julia Rensing engage with the tragic destruction of the African Studies Library at the University of Cape Town, which occured in April 2021. Read it online free.

African Studies Library Special Collections

  • Viewing the archives and special collections: materials stored in the archive are for consultation in the Library only, and can be fetched by completing a form at the issue desk or by completing a form online in advance of your visit.    

  • Items that need to be fetched are indicated as such on iDiscover by the following location information: African Studies Centre Library : Library Archive Store.

  • Please see the archival collections listed below to view details of what the team is currently working on to make available. 

  • Take a look at our guest blogposts to keep up to date with progress: caslibraryblog.

Eridadi M. K. Mulira Papers

Image of handwritten text - Mulira papers  Image of handwritten text - Mulira papers     

Collections in Cambridge

  • Archive Search - use this catalogue to find archival material elsewhere in the University.  You can browse with keywords, and we recommend regions/country names.
  • Buckley Collection (UL) The Buckley collection consists of around 350 19th-century books on central and southern Africa collected by T.E. Buckley and bequeathed to the University in 1903. This collection is on deposit from the Balfour Library, Museum of Zoology. Enquiries to the Rare Books Reading Room.
  • Cambridge University Digital Library (CUDL) hosts stunning images of items held in Cambridge, particularly the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Collection
  • Churchill Archives Centre Hosts over 600 archive collections, including the Churchill Papers. 
  • Near & Middle Eastern Collections (UL) The University Library's Near and Middle Eastern Collections include written materials originating from the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, the countries of the wider Middle East and the Islamic regions of North Africa and Central Asia. Includes Coptic & Ethiopic materials.
  • Robert Howes donation on the Portuguese revolution and colonial wars (UL) 'Portuguese colonial wars literature features strongly. There are books of fiction and memoirs produced by former Portuguese soldiers about their experiences in the anti-guerrilla wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guiné-Bissau in the 1960s and 1970s.  There are also a few works by African writers, including some major anthologies and academic studies.'
  • Rosenthal Collection (UL) The private research library of Africana formed by the South African historian Eric Rosenthal, acquired in 1987. 18th- 20th century materials, chiefly English, Afrikaans, and German. Please make any enquiries in the Rare Books Reading Room.
  • Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Collection A treasure-trove of information, pictorial and written, print and manuscript, on the Commonwealth and Britain's former colonial territories, comprising over 300,000 printed items, about 800 archival collections (including manuscript diaries, correspondence, pictures, cine films, scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings) and over 120,000 photographs.
  • Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) the archive and library of this society are held within the Rare Books and Manuscripts Departments at the UL.

National Archives

  • Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives (AAM, Oxford): Print archives are held in the Bodleian, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Glasgow Caledonian University.  The website includes video, and documents for download.
  • Archives Hub (Online): The Archives Hub provides a gateway to many of the UK's richest historical archives.  Search across descriptions of archives from over 1,000 years of history, held at over 300 institutions across the UK.
  • Black Cultural Archives (South London): Since 1981 Black Cultural Archives (BCA) has embarked on the journey to collect and preserve materials that redress the historical balance and representation of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain. Its archive collection is now one of the most comprehensive collections that document the history and cultural heritage of Black Britain.
  • The British Library (London): A rich resource for manuscripts and archives relating to Africa in western languages, Arabic, and African scripts and languages.
  • British Empire & Commonwealth Collection (Bristol): This major collection covers a wide range of material relating to the countries of the British Empire and the Commonwealth and includes manuscripts, objects, photographs, film and sound archives.  See their celebrated online exhibition: Empire through a lens.
  • June Giavanni PanAfrican Cinema Archive holds more than 10,000 items, including 700 feature films.
  • National Register of Archives: The National Register of Archives (Discovery platform) holds more than 32 million descriptions of records held by The National Archives and more than 2,500 archives across the country. Over 9 million records are available for download.
  • Oxford: The Weston Library has circa 2600 manuscript and archive collections relating to Africa and is particularly strong in material relating to the history of British colonial administration. Use their comprehensive African Studies LibGuide to discover more.
  • SOAS (London): This collection reflect the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years.

International Archives and Collections

  • Africa Research Central (in English & French)  An extensive database on African studies archives / libraries / museums and a database of repository wish lists. Provides access conditions, restrictions, important holdings, collection size, year founded, publications, references, related sites. Maintained by Prof. Kathryn Green and Dr. Susan Tschabrun at California State University, Fullerton. 

  • African Activist Archive The African Activist Archive is preserving and making available online the records of activism in the United States and elsewhere to support the struggles of African peoples against colonialism, apartheid, and social injustice from the 1950s through the 1990s.

  • Cooperative Africana Materials Project (CAMP)  CAMP promotes the preservation of publications and archives concerning Sub-Saharan Africa. CAMP also aims to make these materials in microform available to researchers; we hold a subscription, please come and ask us if there is material you would like to access.

  • Edward Harland Duckworth (1894 -1972) 12,000+ digitised photographic collection at Northwestern University. Duckworth was a British expatriate officer who was the founding editor of Nigeria magazine. Collection consists chiefly of photographic prints and slides documenting early 20th century Nigeria.

  • International Council on Archives - The ICA is dedicated to the effective management of records and the preservation, care and use of the world's archival heritage through its representation of records and archive professionals across the globe. Archives are listed by region, and the organistion includes the following regional branches: 

    • WARBICA - West African Regional Branch

    • CENARBICA - Central Africa Regional Branch

    • ESARBICA - Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch

  • Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA - 500 Year Archive, Online/Cape Town) - The 500 Year Archive (500YA) is a digital research platform developed by the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) research initiative, a project of Archive and Public Culture (APC), based at the University of Cape Town. It allows users to engage with a rich variety of resources pertinent the last five hundred years of southern African history. Its purpose is to support historical research into these neglected eras and to encourage the digitisation and the sharing of resources across a network of institutions. It also aims to build a public community of users who are passionate about southern African history and who are interested in the complex forces which shape that history over time.

  • South African History Archive (SAHA, Johannesburg) - These archival collections are largely made up of documents, posters, photographs, ephemera and oral histories donated to SAHA by individuals and organizations involved in past and ongoing struggles for justice in South Africa.

  • Sudan Open Archive (Online) - The Sudan Open Archive offers free digital access to knowledge about all regions of Sudan. It is an expanding, word-searchable, full-text database of historical and contemporary books and documents. The current version, SOA 4.0, includes two new special collections: the first thirty-two volumes of Sudan Notes and Records, Sudan’s flagship scholarly journal, and the collected papers of the late Sudan scholar, Richard Gray.

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