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Library Details:

Cambridge University Library

Royal Commonwealth Society Collections

Library Type: Academic
Address: West Road
Cambridge
CB3 9DR
United Kingdom
Chief Librarian/Director: Rachel Rowe
African Specialist:  n/a n/a, n/a
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 333146
Web address: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/rcs/
Catalogue Address: http://search.lib.cam.ac.uk/ and http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/ 80% in online catalogues; no pamphlets
Description of Library: Countries covered include not only present day Commonwealth members but also those formerly under British administration (Egypt, the Sudan, Somaliland and South Africa). There are also representative sections on other parts of Africa.

Subjects covered include all but purely technical ones, and range from history, geography and politics to art, literature and natural history. The literature of exploration and discovery is particularly extensive and there are original editions of nearly all books in this field. The library is also strong in general accounts of voyages and travels, collected voyages, and the publications of the major relevant societies; much material on Africa appears in this form.

There are large collections of bibliographies, biographies, official publications and periodicals.

The official material dates from the early 19th century to c.1990 and covers annual, departmental, census and special reports, debates and possibly the largest collection of annual statistical blue books outside official repositories.

The majority of books are in English, but there are many in other European languages; the German material on East Africa merits special mention.

Periodicals include publications of local societies in Commonwealth countries and European bodies concerned with Africa, as well as major British titles concerned with Africa.

The Royal Commonwealth Society Library (originally in London) was a founder member of SCOLMA and under the area specialisation scheme was responsible for Nigeria, St. Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha.

Disciplines covered: Agriculture
Anthropology
Archaeology
Botany or Biology or Zoology
Built Environment or Planning
Economic and/or Social History
Education
Geography
History
Literature
Politics and International Studies
Sociology and Demography
Countries covered: Anglophone
Botswana
Commonwealth
East Africa
Eastern Africa
Egypt
Ghana
Kenya
Lesotho
Malawi
Maldives
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Nigeria
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somaliland
South Africa
Southern Africa
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
The Gambia
Uganda
West Africa
Zambia
Zimbabwe
Special Collections: Important archival, photograph and official publication collections. To search for photographs and archives, first try the Cambridge archives portal Janus

More information on these collections is available here .

Click here for further information on official publications.

Collection Size: Books:10000
Journals:600
Newspapers:0
Maps:0
Music:0
Films:0
Photographs:15000
Collection Start: From 1868 (when the Society was founded) to the present.

Published items are now added to the main University Library collections (rather than the RCS collections) and have been since c.1990; small donations of manuscript and photographic material are occasionally added to the Royal Commonwealth Society collections.

The Library is not actively collecting Africana archival material.

Access and opening hours: External users must apply to Cambridge University Library's Admissions Office for membership. For details seehere.

For details of ID required, see here

Opening hours vary for different reading rooms. See Africa through Western eyes, parts 1,2, and 5 , produced by Adam Matthew Publications, 2000-2009.

Parts 1 & 2 include papers by Cuthbert Christy, A.R.H. Mann, Sir John Hawley Glover, Philip Louis Tengely, S. Forbes White, George K. Baskerville, T.O. Fraser and Charles Du Val. see: http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/digital_guides/africa_through_western_eyes_parts_1_2/index.aspx Part 5 includes the papers of Frederick William Hugh Migeod and Mary Ward. See: http://www.adam-matthew-publications.co.uk/collections_az/atwe-5/highlights.aspx


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