Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Johnston, H.H. mss., 1904, 1920, consist of printed forms sent out by Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston, 1858–1927, to correspondents requesting them to gather examples of vocabulary from various African languages for research purposes and possible publication, along with various other African language wordlists.

Johnston was a British explorer, botanist, zoologist, artist, and pioneer colonial administrator. He traveled throughout Africa, spoke many African languages. He was closely involved in what has been called the Scramble for Africa by 19th–century colonial powers and between 1888 and 1891 exercised much influence on British African policy. From 1891 to 1895 he served as the first British consul general and commissioner in Nyasaland (now Malawi) and obtained the treaties on which the United Kingdom based its claims to Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. He served two years as consul general in Tunis and was special commissioner in Uganda from 1899–1901. He published 40 books on African subjects and was knighted in 1896.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2009

Collection size: 7 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.