African archives

Digitizing ancient documents (Timbuktu) by Carosaun, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia CommonsOn the occasion of the 2023 Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture on 7 December, the ASCL Library has created this web dossier on African archives.

This year’s lecture, entitled The Place of Archives in Modern African Studies: A Searchlight on the Patronage of National Archives of Nigeria, Ibadan, was given by Dr Mercy Ariomerebi Iroaganachi, University Librarian of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

The web dossier starts with a selection of titles on archives in Africa. Titles link to the corresponding record in the online catalogue, providing  abstracts and full text links, where available. This is followed by a work-in-progress list of African archives which are available online. This list will be regularly updated.

To receive updates on African archives, subscribe to the ASCL Library alert service and indicate "archives" under free search terms.

Selected titles - General | Selected titles - National archives | Selected titles - Personal archives | Selected titles - Inventories | List of online archives


African research and documentation : the journal of the African Studies Association of the UK and the Standing Commission [Conference] on Library Materials on Africa./ African Studies Association of the United Kingdom. and Standing Commission on Library Materials on Africa.
Birmingham : African Studies Association of the United Kingdom, 1973-2021.

Lost libraries, burnt archives/ Sindi-Leigh McBride and Julia Rensing. Cover_Somme_archivistique_d_Afrique_et_d_ailleurs
Cape Town : Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town, 2023.

Frontiers in African digital research : conference proceedings/ Anja R. Dreiser and Cyrus Samimi.
Bayreuth : Institute of African Studies, 2022.

A new chapter in Namibian history: reflections on archival research/ Tycho van der Hoog.
In: History in Africa, vol.49, p.389-414 (2022)

Sites of contestation : encounters with the Ernst and Ruth Dammann collection in the archives of the Basler Afrika bibliographien/ Julia Rensing, Lorena Rizzo and Wanda Rutishauser.
Basel : Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2021.

Somme archivistique issue d'Afrique et d'ailleurs : contribution à l'éveil de tous sur l'importance des mémoires documentaires/ Antonin Benoît Diouf.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2021.

Writings on African archives (London, Zell for Scolma, 1996): supplement 10: publications of the decade 2011 to 2020/ John McIlwaine.
In: African research and documentation : the journal of the African Studies Association of the UK and the Standing Commission [Conference] on Library Materials on Africa no. 139, p. 3-100 (2021)
For older publications see Writings on African archives/ John MacIlwaine, Anne Thurston, Pino Akotia and Justus Wamukoya. London [etc.] : Zell, 1996, and its supplements.

Preserving memory of African liberation through access to heritage archives : a preliminary survey of 9 countries in Southern Africa / UNESCO, SARDC.
Harare : UNESCO ; SARDC, 2020.

The Routledge international handbook of new digital practices in galleries, libraries, archives, museums and heritage sites/ Helen Lewi, Wally Smith, Dirk Vom Lehn and Steven Cooke.
Abingdon, Oxon // New York, NY : Routledge, 2020.

What's in the box? : archives, history skills and honours students/ Karen L. Harris and Ria Van der Merwe.
In: Yesterday & Today, no 23, pages 30-43 (2020)

Archives algériennes de la France coloniale : réflexion sur la valeur de l'administration communale/ Mehenni Akbal, Fouad Soufi, and Marie-France Blanquet.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2019.

Archival research in Africa/ Samuel Fury Childs Daly.
In: African affairs : the journal of the Royal African Society, vol. 116, no. 463, p. 311-320 (2017)

Displaced archives/ James Lowry.
London : Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.

Les archives administratives dans les États africains : instruments de gouvernance et de souveraineté/ Albert Mban.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2017.

Archive (re)mix : vues d'Afrique/ Maë̈line Le Lay, Dominique Malaquais, Nadine Siegert.
Rennes : Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015.

Special issue : archival addresses: photographies, practices, positionalities/ Leora Farber.
Abingdon [etc.] : Routledge [etc.], 2015.

Suitcases, roads, and archives : writing the history of Africa after 1960/ Luise White.
In: History in Africa : a journal of method, vol. 42, p. 265-318 : ill (2015)

Trends, patterns, challenges and types of archival research in Sub-Saharan Africa/ Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, Mpho Ngoepe and Jan Maluleka.
In: African journal of library, archives and information science, vol. 25, no. 2, p. 145-159 : graf., tab (2015)

African studies in the digital age : DisConnects?/ Terry Barringer, Marion Wallace and Jos Damen.
Leiden [etc.] : Brill, 2014.

Africa's archives in the age of web democracy/ African Studies Association.
In: History in Africa : a journal of method, vol. 41, p. 387-431 : ill (2014)

Patrimony, power and politics : selecting, constructing and preserving digital heritage content in South Africa and Africa/ Michelè Pickover.
[Place of creation not identified] : [Name of publisher not identified], 2014.

“Methodologies of engagement” : locating archives in postapartheid memory practices/ Anthea Patricia Josias.
Michigan : University of Michigan, 2013.

The production of history and culture in Africa revisted : problems, methods, sources/ Viera Pawliková-Vilhanová.
Bratislava : The Institute of Oriental Studies, 2013.

Les problèmes des archives en Afrique : à quand la solution?/ Albert Mban.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2007.

Refiguring the archive/ Carolyn Hamilton.
Dordrecht [etc.] : Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.

Archival appraisal and the future of historical research in southern Africa/ Patrick Ngulube.
In: South African historical journal, no. 45, p. 249-265 (2001)


National archives

BNARS : Botswana National Archives and Records Services : 50 years of preserving our past and securing our future./ Botswana National Archives and Records Services.
Gaborone, Botswana : BNARS, 2017.

Little research value : African estate records and colonial gaps in a post-colonial National Archive/ Ellen Ndeshi Namhila. Cover_Little_research_value
Basel : Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2017.

State of the archives : an analysis of South Africa's archival system, 2014/ University of Cape Town Archival Platform.
Rondebosch : Archival Platform, 2015.

Archives d'Afrique et communication pour le développement : plaidoyer pour une gestion responsable des archives en Afrique subsaharienne/ Boubakari Gansonre.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2012.

L'État et les archives au Cameroun : le cas des Archives nationales de Yaoundé2002: aperçu historique et état des lieux/ Sali Babani.
In: Journal of environment and culture, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 79-89 (2008)

An outline of the National Archives and Library of Ethiopia/ Katarzyna Hryćko.
In: Aethiopica : international journal of Ethiopian studies, vol. 10, p. 92-105 (2007)

The state of document deterioration in the National Archives of Ghana/ Harry Akussah.
In: African journal of library, archives and information science, vol. 16, no. 1, p. 1-8 : tab (2006)

Les Archives nationales du Gabon : déliquescence d'une institution documentaire/ Clotaire Messi Me Nang.
In: Afrique & histoire : revue internationale, no. 3, p. 157-164 (2005)

Report of the director of National Archives of Zimbabwe for the year 2002./ National Archives of Zimbabwe.
Harare : National Archives of Zimbabwe, 2002.

Archives in Nigeria: how to salvage the soul of the nation/ Gizachew Adamu.
In: Savanna : a journal of the environmental and social sciences, vol. 10, no. 2, p. 68-75 (1989)

Le Maroc dans les archives des Pays-Bas/ B.J. Slot.
In: Le Maroc et la Hollande : études sur l'histoire, la migration, la linguistique et la sémiologie de la culture / [éd. supervisée par Abdelmajid Kaddouri, Jilali Saib, Abdelmajid Zeggaf]. - Rabat : Université Mohammed V, Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines, p. 17-26 (1988)

A national archives in a developing country/ J.M. Karugila.
In: Tanzania notes and records : the journal of The Tanzania Society, no. 84/85, p. 117-121 (1980)

Guide to Federal archives relating to Africa/ Aloha South and Michael Sims.
[Waltham, Mass : African Studies Association, 1977.


Personal archives

The ASCL library collection also comprises a small but steadily growing archival section, for a complete overview see Below are the personal archives available in the ASCL catalogue, in alphabetical order.

[Malawi archive]/ F. von Benda-Beckmann. Archiefstukken_Hofstra
[S.l.] : author, [ca. 1967].

[Deborah Bryceson food insecurity and the social division of labour/food marketing documents (1979-1987)]/ compiler : Deborah Fahy Bryceson.
, [ca. 1979-1987].

[Archivalia]/ Rob Buijtenhuijs.
[S..l] : author, 199-.

[Tchad]/ Rob Buijtenhuijs.
[S.l.] : author, [ca. 1977-1986].

[Peasant wars]/ Rob Buijtenhuijs.
[S.l.] : author, [ca. 1974-2004].

Certificaat deelname Conférence nationale souveraine, naamplaatje met foto, 4 singles met muziek uit Kenya, 4 vellen handgeschreven tekst, 7 foto's/ Rob Buijtenhuijs and Conférence nationale souveraine (Tchad).
[S..l : s.n.], 199-.

[Wetenschappelijke publicaties 1996-2008]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1996-2008.

[Voordrachten 1995-2008]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1995-2008.

[Reisverslagen & niet nader gepubliceerd materiaal]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1982-2007.

[Country study Senegal : Ziguinchor]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1981-2008.

[Voordrachten 1981-1995]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1981-1995.

[Reviews - Populair wetenschappelijke publicaties - Besprekingen van eigen publicaties - Interviews]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1975-2008.

[Wetenschappelijke publicaties 1975-1995]/ Gerti Hesseling.
[S.l. : s.n.], 1975-1995.

[Mende archief]/ Sjoerd Hofstra.
[S.l.] : author, [ca. 1934-1936].

[Papers of Johan ‘Hans’ Frederik Holleman, Director of the African Studies Centre]/ J.F. Holleman.
[S.l. : Author], 1945-1993.

[Papers of Frederik (‘Frits’) David Holleman, Professor at Stellenbosch University]/ F.D. Holleman.
[S.l. : Author], 1939-1957.

[Papers of Petrus Johannes Idenburg, Director of the Afrika-Studiecentrum, Leiden]/ P. J. (Petrus Johannes) Idenburg.
[Leiden]. : [P.J. Idenburg], 1937-1961.

[Educational materials Nigeria 1970-1973]/ Aart Rietveld.
[S.l.] : Author, [ca. 1970-1973].

[Ulrica ‘Juul’ Rijnsdorp (1929-2004) : legal pluralism and family law in Sierra Leone (1971-1973)]/ compiler : Ulrica Rijnsdorp.
[Leiden] : [Ulrica Rijnsdorp], [1971-1973].

[Georges Smets : research in Rwanda-Burundi, 1935]/ compiler : Georges Smets.
[Leiden] : [Georges Smets], [1935].

[Albert Trouwborst : Rwanda-Burundi]/ compiler : Albert Trouwborst.
[Leiden] : [Albert Trouwborst], [1958-1959].

[Frans J. Verstraelen (and Gerdien Verstraelen-Gilhuis) : African Missiology)]/ compiler : F. J.Verstraelen.
[Leiden] : [Frans J. Verstraelen], [1965-1990s].



Finding Dr. Livingstone : a history in documents from the Henry Morton Stanley Archives/ Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi and James L. Newman (eds.). Cover_Belgique_Congo_Rwanda_et_Burundi
Athens : Ohio University Press, 2022.

Belgique, Congo, Rwanda et Burundi : guide des sources de l’histoire de la colonisation (19e-20e siècle): vers un patrimoine mieux partagé/ Pierre-Alain Tallier, Marie Van Eeckenrode and Patricia van Schuylenbergh.
Tervuren : Brepols Publishers, 2021.

Archives and collections for/in Ethiopian studies/ Sophia Thubauville and Sayo Yoshida.
London : SCOLMA, 2019.

Aperçu sur l'histoire des archives de l'Algérie/ ʻAbd al-Qādir Hanī.
Oran : Dar Elqods El Arabi, 2017.

Native estates : records of mobility across colonial boundaries/ Ellen Ndeshi Namhila.
Basel : Basler Afrika Bibliographien, 2017.

Histoire et archives de Djibouti et de sa région : perspectives et enjeux/ Hassan Ali Adawa (ed.).
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2016.

Archives du secrétariat général des Affaires africaines et malgaches et de la Communauté/ Pascal Geneste, Jean-Pierre Bat and Benoît Morant.
Pierrefitte-sur-Seine : Archives nationales, 2015.

Guide des archives du Sénégal colonial/ Papa Momar Diop.
Paris : L'Harmattan, 2011.

Guide des sources de la traite négrière, de l'esclavage et de leurs abolitions/ Claire Sibille.
Paris : La Documentation française, 2007.

Manuscript tradition in Africa : the Arabic and Ajami manuscripts at the Institute of African Studies/ Seyni Moumouni.
In: Research review, n.s., vol. 23, no. 1, p. 15-25 : foto's (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, 1593-1960s/ MR Doortmont and J Smit.
Leiden [etc.] : Brill, 2007.

Guide to the ELCT Northern Diocese Archive in Moshi, Tanzania 1906-1993/ Monika Rammelt.
Leipzig : Institut für Afrikanistik, 2005.

Inventory of the Henry M. Stanley Archives/ Peter Daerden and Maurits Wynants.
Tervuren : Musée royal de l'Afrique centrale, 2005.

Afrika bis 1990 in den Archiven der neuen Bundesländer : eine erste Bestandaufnahme/ Birgit Niquice.
Leipzig : Institut für Afrikanistik, 2004.

A first guide to non-governmental archives in Zambia/ Marja Hinfelaar and Giacomo Macola.
Lusaka : National Archives of Zambia, 2004.

Guide to sources on sub-Maghreb Africa at the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam/ Huub Sanders.
Amsterdam : International Institute of Social History, 2003.

Guide de bibliothèques à Paris et en régions dont les fonds présentent un intérêt pour la recherche sur l'Afrique/ Centre d'études africaines Bibliothèque (Paris).
Paris : Bibliothèque, Centre d'études africaines, 2002.

German records in the Zanzibar National Archives 1867-1914/ EF Meffert.
Zanzibar : Author, 1999.

A guide to the contents of the Kenya National Archives & Documentation Service/ Kenya National Archives and Documentation Service (Nairobi).
[Nairobi : Kenya National Archives and Documentation Service], 1995.

Inventaire de la bibliothèque ʿUmarienne de Ségou : (conservée à la Bibliothèque nationale, Paris)/ Nūr al-Dīn Ġālī, Sidi Mohamed Mahibou and Louis Brenner.
Paris : Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1985.

Inventaire des archives de la Tunisie : sous-série 2 H (1881-1960)/ Jean Nicot and Jeannine Duru.
Vincennes : Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre, 1985.

Catalogue des archives coloniales allemand[e]s du Cameroun/ Eldridge Mohammadou.
Tokyo : Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa ILCAA, 1978-.
In: African languages and ethnography

Inventaire des ressources du Nord du Cameroun, Afrique/ Donald H Fulton, United States Soil Conservation Service, Fonds d'aide et de coopération (France) and United States Agency for International Development.
[S.l.] : Soil Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1978.

Survey of research materials in the National Archives of Ghana/ Raymond E Dumett.
Basel, Postfach 235 : Basler Afrika-Bibliographien // Schwäbisch Gmünd : Afrika-Verlag Der Kreis, 1974.
In: Mitteilungen der Basler Afrika Bibliographien

Das Deutsch-Ostafrika-Archiv : Inventar der Abteilung German Records im Nationalarchiv der Vereinigten Republik Tansania, Dar-es-Salaam/ Eckhart G Franz and Peter Carl Geißler.
Marburg : Archivschule, 1973.


List of online archives

A work-in-progress list of online African archives, in alphabetical order. | An archive of resistance -

Africamuseum Belgium | Archives -

African Government Web Archive, Available Online | Library of Congress -


Archive of Malian Photography -

Archive-It | Egypt Politics and Revolution -

Archives Africa | Curating Africa’s Cultural Heritage -

Archives d’Afrique -

Baha Archive -

The Digital Bleek and Lloyd -

Borno and Old Kanembu Islamic Manuscripts -

E. H. Duckworth Photograph Collection | Digital Collections | Libraries | Northwestern University -

Endangered Archives Programme -

Francophone Africa -

Genocide Archive Rwanda -

Islam West Africa Collection -

Islamic Manuscripts from Mali | Digital Collections | Library of Congress -

Kenya National Archives -

Libya Uprising Archive -

Mo Amin | Eye of Africa -

Modern Endangered Archives Program | Africa Collections -

The Naija Archives Project -

National Archives | NARSSA -

NMF Archive -

Nnamdi Azikiwe Papers (Nigeria) | UCLA Library Digital Collections -

Open Source Guinea -

Oxford LibGuides | African Studies: Archives -

Princeton Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Egyptian Miracles of Mary Project -

Politics, Popular Culture and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution -

The manuscripts of the Riyadh Mosque of Lamu, Kenya -

SAHA | South African History Archive -

South African History Online | Archives -

Sudan Archive -

Sudan Open Archive -

Sudanese Archive -

Tahrir Documents | Rolex -

Tahrirarchives -

The Timbuktu Manuscripts -

Ustadh Mau Digital Archive (UMADA)| UCLA Library Digital Collections -

VAD | Africa-Archives and Libraries -

Wilson Center Digital Archive -