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A Guide to the George Shepperson Collection

Finding aid created by Danielle Altman and Dan Reboussin

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
March 2007


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Shepperson, George
Title: George Shepperson Collection
Dates: 1852-1989
Bulk dates: 1931-1989
Abstract: Materials related to Shepperson's research and activities surrounding various David Livingstone projects, including the centenary of Livingstone's death in 1973.
Extent: 1.5 Linear feet. 4 boxes; 1 oversize folder.
Identification: MS Group 206
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

George Shepperson was born in Peterborough, England in 1922. After studying history and English at Cambridge University, he was seconded as an officer to the King's African Rifles during the Second World War. Serving alongside African soldiers in Burma, he became interested in examining how war and slavery forged the African Diaspora. While stationed in East Africa, he became interested in how African communities were incorporated into the British Empire. These experiences bolstered his lifelong commitment to the study of Africa and its Diaspora.

Upon his return to the United Kingdom in 1948, Shepperson was appointed Lecturer in Imperial and American History at Edinburgh University. He was later awarded the position of William Robertson Professor of Commonwealth and American History (1963-1986). Throughout his career he focused specifically on British Central Africa (1891-1907) and Nyasaland (which became the independent state of Malawi in 1964), and on nineteenth century African-American life.

Shepperson is recognized as one of the founders of African, African Diaspora, and African American studies in Britain. He conducted pioneering studies of the relationships created among North America, Great Britain, and Africa through evangelism, war, and imperialism. Apart from training a new cohort of scholars who would become experts on these topics, he also secured the preservation of a number of important archival sources for future generations of historians.

Shepperson has held Visiting Professorships, Fellowships and Scholarships on both sides of the Atlantic and in Africa itself. Shepperson is a noted authority on Dr. David Livingstone, John Chilembwe, and Frederick Douglass. His key works include Independent African: John Chilembwe (1958), detailing an important anti-colonial uprising in Nyasaland, and David Livingstone and the Rovuma (1964), an account of Livingstone's troubled exploration of this tributary of the Zambezi River. These monographs, alongside his many contributions to edited volumes and journals, are regarded as seminal. In an edited volume entitled The Emergence of African History at British Universities: An Autobiographical Approach (1995, edited by Anthony Kirk-Greene), Shepperson provides an account of his life as an Africanist historian.


Scope and Content

Including correspondence, lectures, addresses, speeches, news clippings, tourist brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, notes, notebooks, unpublished manuscripts, photographs, posters, maps, and reproductions of painting and drawings, this collection is mostly composed of materials connected with Shepperson's research and activities surrounding various David Livingstone projects.

The centenary of David Livingstone's death in 1973 heralded an increased scholarly and popular interest in the missionary-explorer, particularly in Scotland. Shepperson played an important role in the events and endeavors associated with the centenary, most notably as Chairman of the David Livingstone Documentation Project. His correspondence relating to that position is well represented in the collection. At the time, he also gave many popular speeches and addresses for several academic groups about Livingstone, many of which are included here. Also included are a number of materials associated with various centenary events held at the David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland and the David Livingstone Memorial in Malawi, encompassing newsletters, pamphlets, tourist brochures, correspondence, and reports of the Scottish National Memorial to David Livingstone Trust.

The collection also contains the research materials Shepperson used to write his book David Livingstone and the Rovuma. This includes photocopies of Livingstone's notebooks and diaries, reproductions of Thomas Baines' paintings of Livingstone's Zambezi expeditions, and materials related to Vero Bosazza. Bosazza, a field geologist with expertise in southern and central Africa, was a keen supporter of the scientific findings made during Livingstone's Zambezi expeditions. The collection includes Bosazza and Shepperson's extensive correspondence on that topic, as well as number of Bosazza's maps, photographs, and unpublished writings pertaining to the Zambezi.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Shepperson Collection, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Contents List

David Livingstone and the Rovuma Research Materials, 1852-1870, 1963-1971, and Not dated

Includes research and other materials related to Shepperson's book David Livingstone and the Rovuma, encompassing correspondence, handwritten notes, a notebook, a news clipping, and extensive photocopies of Livingstone's notebooks and correspondence between the years 1852-1870.


Box
1 Photograph copies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Photograph copies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Photograph copies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Photograph copies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Photocopies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Photocopies of Livingstone's notebooks. Not dated
1 Notebook by Shepperson's pertaining to Livingstone materials. Not dated


David Livingstone Centenary and Research Materials, 1852-1870, 1931-1989

Contains correspondence, news clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, ephemera, lectures, monographs, articles, photocopies of research materials, photograph negatives, manuscripts, writings, and handwritten and typewritten notes, all associated with David Livingstone centenary activities and Shepperson's research of Livingstone. Folder 2 in Box 3 consists of a packet of David Livingstone materials anonymously donated to Shepperson. It contains photocopies of Livingstone's letters and accounts from the years between 1852-1870, as well as notes, a monograph, addresses, and correspondence.


Box
1 Correspondence and miscellaneous papers. 1852-1870, 1963-1970, and not dated
1 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1963-1989
1 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1931, 1963-1989
2 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1957-1989
2 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1964-1985, and not dated
2 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1969-1974, and not dated
2 Correspondence and miscellaneous materials. 1852-1870, 1940-1955


Vero Bosazza Materials, 1856-1862, 1956-1979

Encompasses correspondence, unpublished manuscripts, maps, photographs, reprints of drawings, articles, magazines, and addresses which pertain to Bosazza's research into David Livingstone and his Zambezi expeditions. Included here are numerous photographs, reprints of drawings, and maps of the Zambezi, from both the 1860s and the mid twentieth century. The unpublished manuscripts are Bosazza's.


Box
2 Unpublished manuscript and miscellaneous materials. 1974-1979
2 Unpublished manuscripts and miscellaneous materials. 1856, 1970-1976 and not dated
2 Unpublished manuscript and miscellaneous materials. 1969-1976 and not dated
2 Unpublished manuscripts and miscellaneous materials. 1974-1975 and not dated
3 "David Livingstone: Pilot and Navigator" draft, and notes. 1970
3 Photographs of Zambezi and Zambezi expeditions. 1862, 1956-1972 and not dated


David Livingstone Centenary and Research Materials, 1870, 1949-1986

Contains correspondence, news clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, ephemera, lectures, monographs, articles, journals, photocopies of research materials, handwritten and typewritten manuscript drafts, posters, writings, and handwritten and typewritten notes, nearly all associated with David Livingstone centenary activities, the David Livingstone Documentation Project, and Shepperson's research of Livingstone


Box
3 News clippings and articles. 1972-1973
3 Miscellaneous papers. 1973, 1980 and not dated
3 Brochure and miscellaneous materials. Not dated
3 Miscellaneous papers, journal, and monographs. 1969-1973 and not dated
3 "Jackdaw" brochure. Not dated
3 Miscellaneous papers. 1958, 1973-1974 and not dated
3 Miscellaneous papers. 1973-1977 and not dated
3 Articles and maps of southeastern Africa. 1870, 1960-1986
3 "David Livingstone and the Rovuma" drafts. 1964 and not dated
3 "David Livingstone and the Rovuma" draft. Not dated
4 "David Livingstone and the Rovuma" handwritten draft. Not dated
4 "David Livingstone and the Rovuma" draft and notes. Not dated
4 Correspondence and miscellaneous papers. 1966-1977
4 Correspondence and notes. 1963-1965
4 Monographs and articles. 1962-1980 and not dated
4 Articles and journals. 1949-1985 and not dated


Oversize Materials


Folder
1 Poster, Blantyre Mission in Malawi.
1 Malawi tourist poster of David Livingstone.
1 Poster, David Livingstone Documentation Project.
1 Hotel advertisement of the Stanley Hotel.
1 Publisher's advertisement for "Dr. David Livingstone, 1873-1973".
1 Advertisement for David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, Scotland.
1 Poster, David Livingstone Centenary Programme, Blantyre, Malawi.


Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Africa, Southern -- History -- Sources.
Livingstone, David, 1813-1873.



For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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