The Waller Papers

Scope and Content

Livingstone MSS.. These papers mostly concern Livingstone's African expeditions and time spent in Britain, 1864-1865,but also contain occasional references to the U.M.C.A., slave trade and personal matters.

  • Letters from Livingstone, 1862-1872
  • Undated letters and fragments, 19th century
  • Letters from Wallace to Livingstone, 1869-1873
  • Letters from Sir Thomas Maclear, Astronomer Royal at the Cape, mostlyaddressed to Livingstone, 1866-1875

Gordon MSS.. Topics described include thesuppression of the slave trade in the Sudan, the characters and conduct ofmembers of Gordon's staff, the behaviour of missionaries, and Gordon's own viewson historical and theological questions. They throw new light on his plans forEast and Central Africa and on his relations with King Leopold of the Belgians,whose service he was on the point of entering when he was entrusted with hismission to Khartoum in 1884.

  • Various papers, 1874-1884, mainly letters addressed to Waller
  • Miscellaneous letters and fragments, 19th century

Miscellaneous letters, mainly addressed to Waller, [c1859-1893]. Thecorrespondents include Sir John Kirk, U.M.C.A. missionaries and Gordon'ssister

Diaries, 1849-1867, with notes, sketches and vocabulary of the Manganjalanguage. These include a view of life in the first U.M.C.A. settlement,the personalities of its members, and the difficulties with which they hadto contend.

Proofs of Livingstone's Last Journals, endorsedThese should be carefully preserved as there arepassages in them from Dr. Livingstone's notes and MSS. which were cut outbefore the book was published, at the suggestion of Mr. John Murray. He waspleased, by the bye, to designate it the most difficult piece of compilationhe had ever known. Waller was entrusted with editing the journals. Thepassages deleted relate mainly to the misconduct of boys from the Nassickschool at Bombay whom Livingstone took with him on expedition. Together withthese proofs, Waller kept the originals of the sketches he made for the book.

Maps of Africa, miscellaneous sketches, photographs, etc., [19th century]

Gordon's map of Palestine, [19th century]

Administrative / Biographical History

The Revd. Horace Waller (1832-1896) began his working life as a stockbroker,served as a layman on the first expedition of the Universities' Mission toCentral Africa under Bishop Mackenzie, 1861-1863, was ordained on his returnto England, and was Rector of Twywell, Northamptonshire, 1874-1895. Henumbered among his friends almost all the notable East African explorers andadministrators of his day, including Livingstone and Gordon.

With Livingstone Waller's relations were especially close. Their firstmeeting was in 1861, when Waller was with the U.M.C.A. party and Livingstoneon the Zambezi expedition. They continued corresponding until 1872, shortlybefore Livingstone's death.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Paul Davidson, Bodleian Library ofCommonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

Listed as nos. 25, 39, 49, 106 and 454 in ManuscriptCollections of Africana in Rhodes House Library Oxford, by Louis B.Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968). A handlist is also available in the library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

No reproduction or publication of personal papers without permission. Contact the library in the first instance.

Related Material

Papers relating to the Universities' Mission to Central Africa, including:

  • Microfilm of station log-books, 1910-1955 (ref. Micr. Afr. 392)
  • Microfilm of letters relating to the raid on the mission at Masasi,1882 (ref. Micr. Afr. 545)
  • Typescript of E.R. Marshall's reminiscences of medical work withthe Mission in the diocese of Nyasaland, 1939-1948, with a short descriptionof life in the Nyasaland Shire Highlands area, 1948-1949 (ref. MSS. Afr.s. 1054)

Papers relating to David Livingstone, including:

  • Photocopies of letters, 1841-1872 (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 18)
  • Extracts from letters from Central Africa to Samuel Wilberforce,1858-1859 (ref. (B) Wilberforce Dep. c. 199)
  • The Royal atlas of modern geography byA.K. Johnston (s.l.; Blackwood; 1873), including a map bearing in pencil inLivingstone's hand his route westward from the coast and south of LakeTanganyika, 1865 (ref. MSS. Afr. t. 9)
  • Letter to Lord Clarendon, reporting on his explorations in Central Africa,1868 (ref. (B) MS. Clar. Dep. c. 510)
  • Papers of D.D. Yonge, comprising a typescript identification of theroute of Livingstone's last journey along the shore of Lake Tanganyika, withmap, [19th century?] (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1065)
  • Typescript identification of places [in Botswana] mentioned inLivingstone's journals, [1967] (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1020)
  • Notes on the journal of Thomas Baines made during hisexpedition up the Zambezi river with Livingstone, 1858 (photocopy oftranscript, 1970) (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 424, ff. 546-556)
  • Papers of Vivien Frdric Ellenberger, includingphotographs of Livingstone's house, [20th century] (ref. MSS. Afr. s. 1569)

Waller correspondence, [1861-1883], diaries and writings, [1858-1890] and photographs, [19th century] are held at the Library of Yale University Divinity School.