Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue: The Sudan Archive

[First posted in AWOL 11 February 2012, updated 2 December 2014]

Durham University Library Special Collections Catalogue: The Sudan Archive
Reference code: GB-0033-SAD
Title: The Sudan Archive
Dates of creation: ca.1880 onwards.
Extent: 800 boxes of papers, 50,000 photographs, 136 cinefilms, 1,000 maps, museum objects and a large amount of related printed material.
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections

The Sudan Archive was founded in 1957, the year after Sudanese independence, to collect and preserve the papers of administrators from the Sudan Political Service, missionaries, soldiers, business men, doctors, agriculturalists, teachers and others who had served or lived in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. It comprises over 330 individual collections of official, semi-official and private papers of British men and women. Each collection is named after the donor who is usually the creator of the records. The collections vary in size from one file to 180 boxes. All levels of colonial society are represented, from Assistant District Commissioner to Governor-General and senior officers of government, as well as from the technical and medical services, the army and the church. The core period covered is 1898-1955, but there is a significant amount of Mahdist material as well as papers relating to the military campaigns of the 1880s and 1890s, while in recent years the scope of the Archive has extended to the period after independence and now contains material up to the present day. Moreover, as officials were frequently seconded or posted to neighbouring countries, or simply passed through them on leave, the Archive also holds substantial numbers of papers relating to Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and African states bordering on the Sudan.

In addition to official and personal papers (correspondence, reports and memoranda, trek notes and diaries, letters home and so on), collections may include a variety of records in other formats such as photographic images (prints, lantern slides and 35mm slides), cinefilms from the 1920s to the 1960s, sound recordings, maps, museum objects and a large amount of related printed material. Most of the material is in English, with a small amount in Arabic.

Finding aids

Separate catalogues exist for all the collections, approximately three-quarters of which are online (listed at http://tinyurl.com/SudanLists). The following have been published and can be ordered by post:
Summary guide to the Sudan Archive, containing a brief description of each of the collections, price £5 (also available online at http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ead/sad/sudan.xml)
Volume one of the Catalogue of the papers of General Sir Reginald Wingate (1861-1953), covering domestic Sudanese affairs from 1883 to 1916, price £10. (Also available online at http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ead/sad/wingate.xml.)
38,000 of the Archive's photographic images are available on a database, linked to catalogue entries, which is accessible only in Durham. Freetext and keyword searching of the database is possible.
An integrated list of maps in the Africa 1:250,000 series for the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan is available. All other maps, including hand-drawn military maps from the 19th century campaigns, are described in the lists of the appropriate individual collections and all printed maps appear in the Library catalogue. There is also a brief integrated list of the museum objects, arranged under the name of the donor.

Digitised material

A growing amount of printed material, chiefly official publications, is being digitised and can be accessed from http://www.dur.ac.uk/library/asc/sudan/.
The Sudan Archive


Related material

General publications


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