The Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York

University of York crest

The Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York holds a wide variety of archives relating to southern Africa, and relate mostly to the period following the Second World War. Zimbabwe and Zambia and certain aspects of South Africa are particularly well represented in the archives, although Botswana, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia are also included in the scope of the holdings.

Notable archives include the archives of Patrick Duncan (anti-apartheid activist) and his father, Sir Patrick Duncan (Governor-General of South Africa), the Capricorn Africa Society, Professor Dennis Brutus (poet and anti-apartheid campaigner, including material on SAN-ROC), Joost de Blank (archbishop of Cape Town), Vivian Oury (director of the Mozambique Company including the port of Beira and Zambezi bridge and railway), copies of diaries and articles of the novelist and poet, Naomi Mitchison, and the papers of Marion, Lady Chesham referring to Tanzanian politics. Recent accessions include the papers of Michael Young on the clandestine peace talks held at Mells Park.

Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library at Senate House Library, University of London

The Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library was formed in 1949. It is a research level library concentrating on the Commonwealth as an organisation; international relations of Commonwealth countries; and constitutional, political, demographic, social and economic development within the Commonwealth as a whole, and among individual member countries outside the UK. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies Library is a major resource for those working on the Commonwealth as a whole, or on any of its member states, in the fields of history, politics and international relations, agriculture, education, the environment, and social questions. It is the only research-oriented Library in London focussing on the Commonwealth.


The Library collects material from and about all Commonwealth African nations. Historical coverage of Africa generally extends back only as far as the commencement of British administration, though materials of particular relevance to the nineteenth-century are collected along with important titles relating to the Atlantic slave trade. The Library holds national responsibility for collecting English-language social science materials on Gambia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda under the SCOLMA area specialisation scheme. Other strengths include official publications, material on human rights, and coverage of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa.


The library holds an important collection of political pamphlets and ephemera, largely concentrated on the 1970s and 1980s and houses special collections including the United Africa Company Public Relations Office Library which includes books on West Africa from the 18th and 19th centuries, the John Gallagher collection of pamphlets and working papers on Lesotho, and archive collections including the papers of Ruth First, Baruch Hirson and a number of other anti-apartheid activists, and the papers of the scholar Michael Crowder and journalist Jack Halpern.


The Library is now part of the Senate House Library, University of London.

African Studies Library, University of Cambridge

The Centre of African Studies was established in 1965 by the path-breaking anthropologist, Dr Audrey Richards.  It acts as a hub for graduate level and faculty research, runs weekly seminars and research workshops for graduate students, and  organises international conferences both in Cambridge and African institutions.  In addition to fostering PhD level research, it runs a one-year interdisciplinary Masters degree (MPhil) programme in African Studies.

The primary function of the Library is to support the research and teaching needs of the University in the study of Africa (in particular Africa South of the Sahara)  The Library supports the Centre’s work in promoting research on Africa, and the work of the constituent departments in the University.  A secondary function is, by its policy of buying African published material, to disseminate research carried out in Africa.

The Library collects material in the areas of history, economics, politics, social sciences, geography, anthropology, religion, archaeology, literature, film, and popular culture.  A significant proportion of the materials collected are published in Africa, the US, and Europe.

For more information in regards to our collection, please visit our website.

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