Hidden histories: the contribution of Yahya Ali Omar to the development of Swahili studies in Europe

By Special Collections|14th March 2022|Collections & Research|0 comments

This week’s blog looks at the life and academic contribution of the late Yahya Ali Omar (1924-2008), who was one of the greatest Swahili scholars, but one of the most overlooked within academic writing. We also highlight an important collection of manuscripts that he assembled, which are now held by SOAS Special Collections. Yahya Ali Omar was an expert on the Swahili language and culture and provided incredible support in

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Rediscovering Stencl

By SOAS Special Collections|15th November 2021|Collections & Research|0 comments

As a major project to digitise the papers of Abraham Nahum Stencl (1897-1983) draws to a close, we take a closer look at the collection and the work involved in increasing accessibility to this important Yiddish language resource. The papers of Abraham Nahum Stencl (PP MS 44) have been at SOAS since they were donated by his great niece in 1983. These include original writings by Stencl, as well as

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Locating Voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in 19th Century Missionary Periodicals

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|29th October 2021|Collections & Research|0 comments

Today’s blog comes from Dr Joanne Davis, Research Associate with the Centre of World Christianity at SOAS.  Following on from her last piece, Jo reflects on a period of research in SOAS Special Collections for a new project, ‘Recovering BIPOC Voices from the Victorian Periodical Press’, which establishes a publishing partnership between SOAS Special Collections, an open access digital humanities initiative One More Voice (onemorevoice.org) which is focused on recovering non-European contributions from Victorian-era British colonial archives, and

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Part 2/ Cook Islander missionaries: recovering hidden histories from missionary archives

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|18th October 2021|Collections & Research|2 comments

This week’s blog marks celebrations of the bicentenary of the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Cook Islands taking place in Aitutaki this month, and picks up from our previous blog which looked at the instrumental and largely forgotten role of indigenous Cook Islanders in the evangelisation of the Pacific region from the early 19th century, and new research which is rediscovering evidence of the personal histories of these men and women

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Women’s History Month 2021: NoSuthu Soga Jotelo and the One More Voice Project

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|8th March 2021|Collections & Research|5 comments

To mark International Women’s Day, today’s blog comes from Dr Joanne Davis, an African literary scholar, whose research on Reverend Tiyo ‘Zisani’ Soga has led her to archives across the world. In uncovering and examining a unique letter by Soga’s mother, NoSuthu Soga Jotelo, Joanne has made a fascinating contribution to a new and developing online resource, One More Voice. This International Women’s History Month, SOAS Special Collections presents a new

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Season’s Greetings

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|20th December 2020|Collections & Research|0 comments

It’s been a tough old year all round so for this blog we are going to take a light-hearted tour of some of the seasonal items in our collections to try and get us into the holiday spirit. The very first Christmas card was sent in 1843. These were expensive though, and it wasn’t until 1875 when they became mass produced that people began regularly sending them to loved ones

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Frederick Maze

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|5th November 2020|Collections & Research|

Frederick Maze (1871-1959) was the fourth, and last, British Inspector General of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. Committed to preserving a unified customs service, Maze guided the Chinese Maritime Customs Service through a period of great upheaval in China’s history, successfully implementing a series of reforms which served to reshape the service. Born in Belfast, Maze entered the Customs Service in 1891, and became in 1899 the Acting Audit Secretary

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Cook Islander missionaries: recovering hidden histories from missionary archives

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|2nd October 2020|Collections & Research|6 comments

This week’s blog looks ahead to the bicentenary of the arrival of the Christian gospel in the Cook Islands which will take place in October 2021, and the instrumental and largely forgotten role of indigenous Cook Islanders in the evangelisation of the region from the early 19th century. New research is rediscovering the histories of these men and women, highlighting their personal commitment to what began as a foreign mission

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J P Mills

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|11th September 2020|Collections & Research|

James Philip Mills (PP MS 58) was a pioneering anthropologist in the study of tribal communities in north-east India and the borders of Burma. Born in Stockport, Cheshire,in 1890, Mills was educated at Winchester School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. In 1913 he joined the Indian Civil Service and served in North-East India until 1947. He was Sub-divisional officer at Mokokchung in the Naga Hills of Assam from 1917-1924 and

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Madagascar on SOAS Digital Collections

By Special Collections, SOAS Library|17th June 2020|Collections & Research|3 comments

In this week’s blog we would like to shout about SOAS Library’s Madagascar collections, a fantastically rich regional resource which attracts visitors from Madagascar as well as the international scholarly community. These collections have experienced a burst of activity in recent months in terms of new digital content being added to our Digital Collections. New content has included striking images from the Royal Court, focused on Madagascar’s Queens, some of whom we

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