As a charter participant in the World Newspaper Archive program conducted by the Center for Research Libraries, we have access to the newly released module African Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1925. This resource contains 340,000 pages of content from African newspapers published between 1835 and 1925, offering unique coverage of nearly a century of African history. The collection features nearly 40 titles from Algeria, Angola, Liberia, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Titles were selected from CRL and member collections to complement and extend the range of material available in African Newspapers, Series 1. Included are such notable publications as:
• Africa’s Luminary (Monrovia, Liberia)
• Cape Daily Telegraph (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
• Cape Times (Cape Town, South Africa)
• O Moçambique (Mozambique)
• Munno (Kampala, Uganda)
• Nigerian Times (Lagos, Nigeria)
Until February 18, the Library has a trial of Struggle for Freedom: Southern Africa, a JSTOR collection of materials from archives and libraries throughout the world documenting colonial rule, dispersion of exiles, international intervention, and the worldwide networks that supported successive generations of resistance within the region.
According to their site, the resource “consists of 76 different collections of more than 20,000 objects and 190,000 pages of documents and images, including periodicals, nationalist publications, records of colonial government commissions, local newspaper reports, personal papers, correspondence, UN documents, out-of-print and other particularly relevant books, pamphlets, speeches, and interviews with those who participated in the struggles.”
The Library has recently acquired the International African Bibliography Online, a “leading specialist bibliography of African Studies,” published by De Gruyter, in cooperation with the Center for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa. It contains over 140,000 entries that were published in the print edition, published in the years 1971 to 2016, and will be updated four times a year, with approximately 4,000 entries each year.
The resource is searchable by author, editor, title, publication year, ISSN/ISBN, keyword, full text and categories like regions and countries.
The Library has acquired the online resource Confidential U.S. State Department Central Files, 1960-1969, Africa and the Middle East, which includes U.S. State Department Central Files that have not been microfilmed by the National Archives or distributed by other publishers. It contains a wide range of sensitive materials from U.S. diplomats in foreign countries: reports on political, military, and socioeconomic matters; interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials; important letters, instructions, and cables sent and received by U.S. diplomatic personnel; and reports and translations from foreign journals and newspapers.
The Africa files cover the brutal civil war between Biafra and Nigeria in the late 1960s, the 1964 Rivonia trial of Nelson Mandela and seven leaders of the African National Congress, violent protest against the South African government coupled with police crackdowns on the resistance, the troubled relationship between the U.S. and the apartheid regime, and the first years of independence in Ghana and the Congo. The files on Egypt offer considerable detail on the Egyptian political structure which was dominated by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s. Political issues are also covered in extensive detail in the files on Iran, Iraq, and Israel. Documents on Iran follow Ali Amin’s tenure as prime minister and his succession by Asadollah Alam. In Israel, State Department personnel tracked developments in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), the political fortunes of important members of the Israeli government, and the fragile security situation faced by Israel. The countries covered in this module are: Biafra/Nigeria; Congo; Egypt; Ghana; South Africa; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Lebanon; Palestine; Saudi Arabia; the Persian Gulf States (Aden, Bahrein, Kuwait, Muscat & Oman, Qatar, Trucial Sheiks); and Yemen.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) (now named the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) was organized after Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray visited the American Colonies and found the Anglican Church there in disarray. He obtained a charter from King William III in 1701 to establish SPG as an organization authorized to send priests and schoolteachers to America to minister to the colonists and to “take the message of the gospel to the slaves and native Americans.”1
The SPG quickly expanded into the West Indies, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and West Africa, and in the 19th century into India and South Africa. The Library’s access to British Online Archives includes a significant collection of SPG records from all of these locations.
American Material in the archives of the USPG, 1635-1812 Includes:
– letter books kept by the secretaries of the societies, consisting of copies of letters and papers from and to the missionaries appointed by the SPG to the American colonies and also from the colonial governors, private persons and churchwardens. Many of the originals are no longer extant.
– Index volumes for the letter books
– Published accounts of two early SPG missionaries to America
– Supplementary material from 1821-1828, which includes three volumes of copies of the most important letters (i.e., those read before the Society) and sent.
Australian records in the USPG archiveFiles relating to the establishment of the Society’s activities in the province of the Anglican Church of Australia and the development of an organization to support them. Includes:
– Unbound documents, subdivided by diocese: Adelaide, Melbourne, North Queensland, Perth, Sydney, and Tasmania.
– SPG Chapliancy services to emigrants, 1821-1864
– Copies of letters received and sent (from and to the Society in London)
– Indices to the Australian records
New Zealand & Polynesian records in the USPG archive Records relating to the early history of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia. Includes:
– Files from the Melanesia Diocese, 1838-1958
– Files from the New Zealand Diocese, 1838-1875
– Copies of letters received and sent (to and from the Society in London)
– Indices to the New Zealand province records
Canadian Records in the USPG Archive, 1722-1952These papers chart the development of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel from its early days in Canada until its decline there. The majority of the reports included here are in fact narrative accounts submitted by members of the clergy working in various locations across Canada. Includes:
– Records relating to New Brunswick 1783-1857
– Records relating to Fredericton 1844-1860
– Records relating to Quebec 1793-1860
– Records relating to Montreal to c1860
– Records relating to Upper Canada 1788-1859
– Records relating to Toronto to c1860
– Records relating to Nova Scotia to c1860
– General records relating to Canada 1785-1864
– Reports for Canada, 1901-1950
Early Colonial and Missionary Records from West Africa
This resource comprises selected documents from microfilm collections, including: early Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG; the papers of Thomas Perronet Thompson, the first Governor of the Colony of Sierra Leone; An account of two missionary voyages by Rev. Thomas Thompson; the letters of Rev. Philip Quaque, etc.
Gold Coast records from the archives of the USPG, 1886-1951
The period from 1903 onward is the most substantially documented in this collection. Records relating to the first 150 years are reproduced in both the Early colonial and missionary records from West Africa and the West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950. Includes:
– Copies of letters sent and received
– Committee of Women’s Work Correspondence
– Original letters from abroad, 1899-1933
– Missionary reports, 1906-1933
– Miscellaneous Gold Coast Papers, 1886-1951
South African archives of the USPG
United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel began its labors at the Cape of South Africa in 1821, the western division being occupied in that year and the eastern division in 1830. This collection from the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, dates from their earliest connection with South Africa. Includes records for Capetown, Grahamstown, Natal, St Johns – Kaffaria, and Zululand.
West Indies material in the archives of the USPG, 1710-1950
– Records from 1714-1908, divided into eight sections: the general archives and those appertaining to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and the Leeward Islands, Trinidad, British Guiana and Honduras (Central America and the Mosquito coast).
– Copies of letters sent and received
– The Codrington Collection, 1704-1898
– Quarterly reports from missionaries, 1901-1950
– Papers of the Barbados Committee, 1710-1842
– Miscellaneous USPG contents
South Asian records of the USPG
– Records beginning around 1770, during the period of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK), and continue for some years after 1825, when the SPG accepted responsibility for the Danish and English missions in Tamil Nadu, as well as conducting its own work elsewhere in India.
– Copies of letters sent and received (to and from the Society in London)
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1840-1861
– Annual reports of missionaries, 1856-1900
– Selected Sri Lankan material, 1827-1867
– Miscellaneous additional materials
This British Online Archives collection includes private merchants’ papers preserved at the Liverpool Record Office relating to the transatlantic slave trade. During the eighteenth century when these documents were compiled, Liverpool was the leading slave trade port in the world. “The material includes correspondence with ship captains and Caribbean agents about the acquisition of Africans and their sales; statistics on the Liverpool slave trade; sales accounts of the lots of Africans disembarked in the Americas, often with the names of purchasers and prices; information on dealings with diverse African groups along the coast of West Africa; and details of payments for slave sales. The account books of ships’ voyages includ material on the outfitting of vessels and the cargoes of goods exported to Africa.”
The vast majority of these documents are handwritten and have not been transcribed. The metadata describing the documents can be searched, but not the documents themselves. Only individual pages can be downloaded and/or printed.
Two online encyclopedias of African American history are included in the online resource, The Oxford African American Studies Center.
The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass focuses “on the making of African American society from the arrival of the black explorer Esteban, who came with the Spanish in 1527, to the death of Frederick Douglass in 1895…. Entries examine topics that include the laws creating slavery in the seventeenth century, important slave revolts and the slave trade (African and domestic), the antislavery movement, fugitive slave controversies, and the Civil War and Reconstruction.”
The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century focuses “on the making of African American society from the 1896 “separate but equal” ruling of Plessy v. Ferguson up to the contemporary period… [It] traces the transition from the Reconstruction Era to the age of Jim Crow, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, the Brown ruling that overturned Plessy, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ascendant influence of African American culture on the American cultural landscape.”
The Oxford African American Studies Center also includes access to thousands of primary source documents, maps, images, and biographical entries, and subject entries from multiple reference resources, including the two listed here. Searching and browsing can be done across the entire site or within the content categories.
British Online Archives (BOA) consists of eleven thematic series, each containing individual collections of archival contents. The series are largely oriented toward British and British colonial history and new collections are added as they become available. The eleven series comprising BOA are:
- Anglo-American Relations
- British Broadcasting Corporation
- British Records on the Atlantic World, 1700-1900
- Colonial & Missionary Records
- Communist Party of Great Britain
- Industrial Revolution
- People & Protest in Britain and Abroad, 1800-2000
- Twentieth Century Political History
- Records of the Raj
- Science & Medicine
Some of the collections are listed in more than one thematic series.
The digital collections have been converted from microform sets distributed by Microform Academic Publishers, a few of which the Library already owns. There are guides associated with each collection, which will assist researchers in browsing. Basic and advance searching are offered; the advanced search function allows a choice between searching “all collections” or selecting only one collection at a time. Search results can be frustrating, because while the system will indicate where in a document the search terms appear, the terms are not highlighted in the document.
A major inconvenience is that the documents currently can only be printed or downloaded one page at a time. With Adobe Acrobat (free to all students, faculty and staff, remember) individual pages can be stitched together into one PDF, but I’m well aware of the extra effort that entails.
Despite these drawbacks, these collections can be of great value to researchers here. In future posts, I’ll be describing a few of them in more detail.