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Materials relating to Africa at the Leeds Library


By Martin Banham

The Leeds Library, situated on Commercial Street in the city centre, was founded in the late 18th century and from the beginning acquired various materials relating to Africa. This brief note is to draw attention to a rich research resource for Africanists. The Library offers access by request to researchers and has a close relationship with the universities in Leeds. Listed below is a short sample of materials to give some indication of the nature and range of the collection and its research potential.

Thomas Winterbottom, ‘An Account of the Native Africans in the Neighbourhood of Sierra Leone…’ 1803 (2 vols.)

‘An Account of the Colony of Sierra Leone from its Establishment in 1793’. (No author): described as ‘Delivered to the Proprietors’, London, 1795.

John Matthews, ‘A Voyage to the River Sierra Leone’, London 1788.

Captain W.F.W Owen, RN, ‘A narrative of Voyages to Explore the shores of Africa, Arabia and Madagascar’, 2 Vols. London 1833.

William Hutton, ‘A Voyage to Africa with remarks on the course and termination of the Niger.’ London, 1821.

Major W. Cornwallis, ‘The Highlands of Ethiopia’, 3 Vols. London 1844.

Henry Lichtenstein, ‘Travels in Southern Africa in the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, 1806’, London, 1812 (Trans. from the German by Anne Plumptre).

Samuel Baker, ‘Ismailia: a Narrative of the Expedition to Central Africa for the Suppression of the Slave Trade, Organised by Ismail Khedive of Egypt’. 2 vols, 1874.

Cope Devereux, ‘A Cruise in the “Gorgon” including a Trip up the Zambesi with Dr. Livingstone’. n/d.

Richard F. Burton, ‘A Mission to Gelele, King of Dahome’, 2 vols., London 1864

Miss M. Gherts. ‘A Camera Actress in the Wilds of Togoland. The adventures, observations and experiences of a cinematograph actress in West African forests, whilst collecting films depicting native life and when posing as the white woman in Anglo-African cinematograph dramas’. London, 1915

Wilson Armistead, ‘A Tribute for the Negro, Being a Vindication of the Moral, Intellectual and Religious Capabilities of the Coloured Portion of Mankind; with Particular Reference to the African Race’. 1848

“Friends of the Negro”, ‘Five Hundred Thousand Strokes for Freedom. A Series of Anti-Slavery Tracts’. 1853

Martin Banham is Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies in the University of Leeds, with a special interest in African theatre.

[From Leeds African Studies Bulletin 78 (2016/17), pp. 170-171]



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