Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/ACC917
TitleAccession 917
Extent2 boxes
DescriptionPapers largely collected by Mr H. B.Thomas, an amateur historian of Uganda during the colonial years. This material comprises papers of several CMS missionaries and related papers including:

diaries, printed materials and other papers of Rev C.T. Wilson, 1876-1915; journals and typescript extracts of letters of Herbert Clayton, 1879-1901; a typescript transcript of the journal of G.K. Baskerville; and letters mostly from Alfred Tucker, Bishop of Uganda and subsequently Canon of Durham to Mr & Mrs Flint, 1899-1905 and to Mrs Carus Wilson, 1910-11 and letter from K. Borup, a CMS missionary, to Mrs Flint, 1900.

Additional papers were added to the original collection by Professor Anthony Low, a historian of modern South Asia, Africa, the British Commonwealth and especially decolonisation, relating to the history of Uganda and the work of the CMS comprising:

research notes on index cards; typescript texts relating to the Abagabe of Ankole, from Dr Derrick John Stenning (1927-1964) , anthropologist and Director of the East African Institute of Social Research in Uganda, consisting of a typescript text titled 'Part 1.The Abagabe of Ankole - Ababwezi: King Ruhauga (45pp, 2 copies) and a heavily annotated typescript text headed 'The Rulers of Ankole' (this appears to be a translation of the first 24 pages of 'Abagabe B' Ankole, Book 2 by Katate and Kamugungunu, with some additional text at the end, possibly written in preparation for another publication);copies of two publications by Katate and Kamugungunu on the history of the kingdom of Ankole; 'History of Ankole' by H.F. Morris (1962); offprints by A.T.Matson of the Health Department, Kenya and historian on CMS missionary expeditions to Karagwe and Uganda, published in the Journal of Religion in Africa (1981-1982); and miscellaneous newscuttings about the history of the kingdoms of Uganda.
ArrangementThis collection forms part of Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into one series: Miscellaneous Papers and five sub-series
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection (forming part of the wider CMS/ACC unofficial papers catalogue) is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation at Special Collections.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryHarold Beken Thomas (1881-1971) entered the Colonial Service in 1911 as a cadet in the Land and Survey Department in Uganda. He spent nearly thirty years in Uganda, retiring as Director of Surveys in 1940. During this time, he developed an extensive knowledge of Uganda and an interest in East Africa in general. He contributed articles, notes and reviews to the 'Uganda Journal'', mainly on historical subjects, and also provided editorial assistance. He was a leading figure in the Royal Commonwealth Society's development of a 'Dictionary of East African biography', in which he cooperated with his old friend Sir John Gray. Thomas served as Vice President of the Uganda Society and of the Church Missionary Society. He died on 12 August 1971.

Source: (accessed 12 May 2010)

(Donald) Anthony Low is a historian of modern South Asia, Africa the British Commonwealth and especially decolonisation. He has held a number of academic positions and was the founding Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex, 1968-1971; Dean, Research School of Pacific & Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1973-74; Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University, Canberra, 1975-82; Smuts Professor of the History of the British Commonwealth, University of Cambridge, 1983-94; and President, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, 1987-94

Biographical information about the missionaries whose papers are represented in this collection has been added at sub-series level where their records are described.
Custodial HistoryThe majority of these materials were collected by/entrusted to Mr H. B. Thomas OBE who, along with Sir John Gray, Chief Justice of Zanzibar, was one of the two outstanding amateur historians of Uganda during the colonial years. Thomas was a government surveyor by profession and together with another colleague, Robert Scott, produced the authoritative handbook/gazeteer 'Uganda' (London, OUP 1935). He was also a long time editor of 'The Uganda Journal' which was founded in 1934. Thomas was in contact with a number of missionary families, several of whom entrusted this material to him.

This material was passed on by Thomas to Professor Anthony Low for his research on the understanding that it would be subsequently presented to the CMS archives. Professor Low also acquired materials relating to the history of Uganda and the work of the CMS which were added to the collection before being presented to the University of Birmingham as an addition for the CMS archives.
AcquisitionPresented August 2009
Related MaterialSee also CMS/ACC703 for an account of C.T.Wilson's time in East Africa 1876-1880 written by his grandson, E.C.T.Wilson


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