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African Studies Research Guide: Primary Sources

Reviews primary sources at Emory and elsewhere for research in African Studies, emphasizing African history.

Print Guides

Print guides are still extremely important in African history. This section empasizes guides to archives and manuscript sources. A section listing specialized guides to published official government documents related to Africa are found in the section 'Official Government Publications" under the Emory Collections tab.


 ZA3072 .G7 B367 2008 Administering the Empire, 1801-1968 : a guide to the records of the Colonial Office in the national archives of the UK  Author: Banton, Mandy.


In process Administering empire : an annotated checklist of personal memoirs and related studies. Compiled by Terry Barringer. London : Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London c2004


Ref Z3501 A5 African Studies Resources Directory. Compiled by Jean E. Meeh Gosebrink. London: Hans Zell, 1986. Produced under the auspices of the African Studies Association, this directory lists 437 sources of information and documentation on Sub-Saharan Africa in the United States.


DT349.2 L4813 1974 Arabic External Sources for the History of Africa to the South of the Sahara. London: Curson Press. 1974. Covers sources from the seventh to the nineteenth centuries.


Ref. CD1196 1978A Archives Nationales: Etat des Fonds. Paris:Archives Nationales 1978-
A five volume set describing the French National Archives. Volume 3 is "Marine et Outre-Me." 2000 ed. of Vol III updates available.


Ref. Z3501 .H37 1973 A bibliography of primary source for nineteenth-century tropical Africa as recorded by explorers, missionaries, traders, travelers, administrators, military men, adventurers, and others. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1972. 800p.  Hess, Robert L.


JV1071 .K5 A biographical dictionary of the British colonial governor . Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press. 1980.
    Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (Anthony Hamilton Millard)


JV1009 .A2 K575 1991 A biographical dictionary of the British Colonial Service , 1939-1966 . H. Zell. 1991.
  Kirk-Greene, A. H. M. (Anthony Hamilton Millard)


Ref. CD1040 F67 2002 British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the United Kingdom. 4th ed. Janet Foster and Julia Sheppard.. New York: Palgram, 2002. Lists repositories and details of access and information about the major collections they hold.


Ref Z3509 C66 CAMP Catalog. Cooperative Africana Microform Project. Chicago: CAMP and the Center for Research Libraries, 1985. CAMP brings together in microform a collection of unusual research materials related to Africa for use by participating members including Emory. Most of the titles are now available in the Center for Research Libraries online catalog. A selective Guides to the Collections is available at the CAMP site.


DT476 .C67 Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History. Hopkins, J.F.P.. Cambridge University Press. 1981. 


DT430 .N67 2005 Europeans in East Africa a Biographical Listing, 1888-2005. North, Stephen. Oxon.  2005


DT472.J66 1983 German Sources for West African History, 1599-1669. Adam Jones. Wiesbaden: Steinder, 1983.


Ref Z3509. B87 2000 Guide to African American and African Primary Resources at Harvard University. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000.Contains descriptive listing of 845 collections of African and African American primary source materials held in Harvard's libraries, museums, and archives.


DT433.557 T48 1991 Guide to Archives and Manuscripts Relating to Kenya and East Africa in the United Kingdom. Thurston, Anne. New York: Hans Zell, 1991.


Ref.Z3509.S67 Guide to Federal Archives Relating to Africa. Aloha South. Waltman, MA: Crossroads Press for the African Studies Association, 1977.
An excellent review of manuscript collections held in National Archives of the United States, includes the National Archives building and Presidential Libraries. Part of a series supported by the International Council on Archives to provide access to sources of the history of Africa. Arrangement is by agency with a subject index.


Ref.CD1048.A3P43 1993 A Guide to Manuscripts and Documents in the British Isles Relating to Africa. Compiled by J.D. Pearson. London: Mansell, 1994. 2 vols.
A very comprehensive and scholarly guide to British archival collections for Africanists.


Ref.CD3002.S68 1989 Guide to Non-Federal Archives and Manuscripts in the United States Relating to Africa, Aloha Smith. London: Hans Zell for the National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.
Contains descriptions archival and manuscript records concerning all phases of African life that are located in the United States. Arrangement is by state and city. Indexed.


Ref. Z3516.5 F34 1994 A Guide to Original Sources for Precolonial Western African Published in European Languages. Rev. ed. Madison, Wisconsin: African Studies Program, 1994.2006 update on order.

Micfiche 1264 A Guide to Records Relating to Ghana in Repositories in the United Kingdom Excluding the Public Record Office, London. Samuel Kwasi Agyei. West Yorkshire: Altair. 1988. Microguide in Mic Ref. DT510.62.A39 1988.


Guide to Sources for British History from the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts
The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts oversees private archival collections in Britain. The following are titles in the series, Guides to Sources for British History. The website for the Historical Manuscripts Commission is now part of the National Archives site.

JV1073 G683P754 1986 Private Papers of British Colonial Governors, 1782-1900. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. London: HMSO, 1986.

JV6465 G7P74 1985 Private Papers of British Diplomats, 1782-1900. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. London: HMSO, 1985.

Z2018 .P36 1982 Papers of British Cabinet Ministers, 1782-1900. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. London: HMSO, 1982.

Z6611 C59P36 1987 Papers of British Churchmen,1780-1940. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. London:HMSO, 1987.

Z2018 P365 1989 Papers of British Politicians, 1782-1900. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. London: HMSO, 1989.


Ref. CD1043.A54 Guide to the Contents of the Public Record Office. London: HMSO, 1963-64. 3 vols. See also Current Guide/Public Record Office Micfiche 1419 with Microguide at Ref. CD1043.3.G75 1996. These are the official PRO guides.


Ref. CD1063 B63 Guide to the Records of Parliament. Bond, Maurice. London: HMSO, 1971.
A scholarly guide to Parliamentary archives by the longtime Clerk of the Record Office.

Z3509 I65 Guide to the Sources of the History of Africa. International Council on Archives. Zug, Switzerland: ICA. 1970-1983.Describes worldwide archival collections related to Africa. Original set of eight volumes under this call number; additions to later series cataloged individually e.g. Indian Sources for African History (DT352.5 T57 1988)


Ref DT19.8 International Directory of African Studies Research, 3rd edition. Compiled by Philip Baker. London: Hans Zell, 1994. This listing of over 1800 organizations worldwide attempts to be a comprehensive directory of organizations interested in African Studies Research. Produced by the International African Institute in London.


Theol.Ref. Z7817 .I58 2003 International Mission Bibliography: 1960-2000. Norman E. Thomas. Lanham, MD:Scarecrow press, 2003.

Lists the most important works in all areas of missionary disciplines. The section on Africa has 1,375 annotated entries covering the history, publications, and archives of various missionary groups. Includes an extensive index of names.This is a key resource for identifying and using missionary primary resources.


CD971.T86 1994 Legal Records in the Commonwealth. Edited by William Twining and Emma Varnden Quick. Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth, 1994.


Ref. Z3508.H5 C66 1995 Making of Modern Africa. A Guide to Archives. Cook, Chris. New York: Facts on File, 1995.
This is a unique guide to archival collections because it is arranged by person. It contains references to the papers of over 1000 individuals from 1878 to the 1980s.


ST352.65 J65 1987 Raw, Medium and Well Done: A Critical Review of Editorial and Quasi-Editorial Work on Pre-1985 European Sources for Sub-Saharan Africa, 1960-1986. Madison, WI:African Studies Program, University of Wisconsin, 1987. Attempts to evaluate the validity of sources including multiple editions.


CD1046 1995 Records of the Colonial Office, Dominions Office, Commonwealth Relations Office and Commonwealth Office. Thurston, Anne. London: HMSO, 1995. SEE ALSO Thurston's Sources for Colonial Studies in the Public Record Office, 2 vols. 1995 Ref. CD1042.A2 T48.


CD1052.5 A66 1998 Records of the Cabinet, Foreign Office, Treasury and other Records. Thurston, Anne. London:HMSO, 1998. Both titles are more recent revisions to Public Record Office Handbook
No.3 : Records of the Colonial and Dominions Office
(CD1042 A2 G69).


Ref Z3501 F75 The SCOLMA Directory of Libraries and Special Collections on Africa in the United Kingdom and in Europe, 5th edition. Complied by Tom French. London: Hans Zell, 1993.Contains information on almost 400 collections related to Africa in the United Kingdom and Europe.


Z3501 H37 Semper ex Africa…A Bibliography of Primary Sources for Nineteenth-Century Tropical Africa as Recorded by Explorers, Missionaries, Traders, Travelers, Administrators, Military Men, Adventurers and Others. Stanford: Hoover Institution, 1972.Covers almost 8,000 published accounts by Europeans. Arranged geographically with an index of authors.


DT19 .S68 2003 Sources and methods in African history : spoken, written, unearthed. Falola, Toyin. University of Rochester, 2003.


Ref.Z3671.P77 1988 Sources d'Information sur l'Afrique Noire Francophone et Madagascar: Institutions, Repertoires, Bibliographies. Porges, Laurance. Paris: Ministere de la Cooperation. 1988.
Contains sections for archives.


DT510.63.N47 D66 2007 Sources for the Mutual History of Ghana and the Netherlands: an Annotated Guide to the Dutch Archives Relating to Ghana and West Africa in the Nationaal Archief, 1593-1960's. Dormant Michel & Smit, Jinna. Leiden:Brill, 2007.Part I describes the archives in detail and Pet II discusses the history of the Dutch in Ghana including the slave trade.



Z3516.5 W47 1987 West African Sources in British Colonial Office Records. London: Commonwealth Archivists Association, 1987.


Z6611.I84W96 World Survey of Islamic Manuscripts edited by Geoffrey Roper. London:Brill, 1991-1994 .


Ref.Z5140. M45 1996 Writings on African Archives by John McIlwaine. London: Hans Zell. 1996.
This is based on a series of the same name that appeared in the journal African Research and Documentation. This guide focuses on archives IN Africa as well as some outside the continent. McIlwaine regularly updates this list in current issues of African Research and Documentation.

NOTE: African Research and Documentation (DT19.8 A35), the journal of the Standing Conference on Library Materials on Africa of the African Studies Association of the United Kingdom, regularly reports on archival collections. Issue 68 is devoted to describing photographic collections in the British Isles and is called "Images of Africa."

"Accidental Archives: Tracing Africa in the India Office Private Papers in th eBritish Library," 2005, no. 98, pp.23-39.

"Go Ye Into the World: Missionary Archives in the School of Oriental and African Studies, 2005, no. 98, pp. 41-68.

"Guide to the Historical Records of the Asante People of Ghana at the Manhyia Archives," 2006, no. 101, pp.-9-37.

" 'A Monument More Lasting than Bronze,' the Collections of the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, Oxford," No. 99, pp. 13-25.

"A visit to the National Archives of Liberia," No 99, p.49.


History in Africa, A Journal of Method (DT19 H58), an annual publication of the U.S. African Studies Association, has occasional pieces on archival collections.


"Navigating the Kenya National Archives: Research and its Role in Kenyan Society,"2005, no. 32, pp445-455.


"The Tanzanian National Archives," No. 30, 2003, 447-454.


"Finding Foreign Policy: Researching in Five South African Archives"  No. 37, 2010, pp 379-386.