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Sudan Archive

Collection Details

Sudan Archive held at University of Durham Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The Archive comprises over 300 individual collections of official, semi-official and private papers of British men and women who lived in the Sudan during the Condominium period. All levels of colonial society are represented, from Governor-General and senior officers of government, to Assistant District Commissioner, the lowest grade in the Sudan Political Service, as well as from the technical and medical services, the army and the church. The core period covered is 1898-1955, but there is a significant amount of Mahdist material as well as papers relating to the military campaigns of the 1880s and 1890s.

History and development

The Archive was founded in 1957, the year after Sudanese independence, to collect and preserve the papers of administrators from the Sudan Political Service, missionaries, soldiers, business men, doctors, agriculturalists, teachers and others who had served or lived in the Sudan during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. From 1957 until 1976, the Archive was administered by the School of Oriental Studies, University of Durham. In 1976 it was formally transferred to the custodianship of the University Library.


The strength of the Sudan Archive is the vast amount of information gathered together in one place on the Sudan, its colonial history and the colonial administrators themselves.

General arrangement and access regulations

Where possible, handlists for all the individual collections follow the same arrangement and material is listed under the following categories: Official papers; Personal papers; Diaries and Trek Notes; Articles, Speeches and Books; Maps and Plans; Newspapers Cuttings; Photographic Material; Museum objects and Printed Material. The material is open for consultation with the exception of a small number of files containing personal or sensitive material which have been closed for a specified period. (The archive reference code for this collection is GB-0033-SAD)

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.



Languages of material

Arabic, English.


Agriculture, Development, Education, Geography, History, Politics and government, Recreation, Religion, Science and technology, Travel.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Manuscripts, Maps (includes all types of cartographic material), Public records, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Total size of collection

700 boxes of papers, 46,000 photographs, 136 cinefilms, 700 maps, museum objects and related printed material

Collection Management Information

The collection is not being actively developed.

Annual intake

The library is not actively adding to this collection, but material continues to arrive on a regular basis.

Content date range

1898 to 1955 AD

Collection Catalogue Information


Handlists exist for all the collections, around half of which are online at A Summary Guide to the Sudan Archive is available at:

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