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History of the Collection

The various components of the Yale University Libraries include some of the most extensive and accessible collections of Africana in North America, if not the world. The first acquisition of Africa-related material goes back to the earliest days of the University's existence, and the impressive depth and breadth of holdings reflects the diversity of the University Library´┐Żs strengths as well as generations of Yale scholars' varied research pursuits.

Collection Subject Strengths

The African Collection has a particularly strong focus on Anglophone southern, central, east, and west Africa; Francophone and Lusophone countries are also strongly represented and there are considerable resources on all other areas, including the Indian Ocean islands. Holdings on most southern African countries are close to exhaustive. Yale has a most impressive collection of indigenous-language material, particularly creative literature.

The Collection, while not a discrete entity, includes books, periodicals, and newspapers, as well as extensive holdings of maps, photographs, and archival materials. The Yale Divinity Library has perhaps, the largest and finest collection of Africa-related materials on the continent, and the Manuscripts and Archives Center contains a singularly impressive Africana manuscript collection. Equally imposing are Yale's Africana microform collections, which include newspapers, dissertations, transcripts of political trials, and political ephemera. Significantly strong collections are housed in other libraries on campus, particularly the Social Science Library and the Economic Growth Center.


The Curator, Dorothy C. Woodson, and the staff of the African Collection are located in Room 317, Sterling Memorial Library. They welcome research questions and will lend assistance in the use of reference materials housed in the office.

Dorothy Woodson Curator dorothy.woodson@yale.edu
John Bennett Acquisitions Assistant john.bennett@yale.edu
Dawn Ferguson Acquisitions Assistant dawn.ferguson@yale.edu

Collection Location and Hours

Location: Sterling Memorial Library, Rm 317
Yale University
130 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: (203) 432-1883

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm

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This file last modified: 10 June 2005
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