Papers of Leslie Whitehouse

Scope and Content

Papers, 1933-1955, of Leslie Whitehouse, relating to the language and customs of the Masai, comprising a letter to Whitehouse concerning the proof of 'Masai Social Customs', synopsis of a chapter on the Masai by Whitehouse, and typescript notes, 1933; undated typescripts on Masai grammar and vocabulary; manuscripts on Masai vocabulary and grammar, c1953-1955.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Suffolk, 1901; known as Wouse; emigrated to Kenya, 1920; became an education officer among the Masai; learned the language and became an expert on Masai culture; transferred to the Administrative Service; serving as District Commissioner of Turkana District when Jomo Kenyatta (later Prime Minister, 1963, and President, 1964, of Kenya) and other convicts of the Mau Mau organisation (which aimed in the 1950s to force the expulsion of white settlers) were detained there; became friends with Kenyatta, who influenced his views on African politics; retired at the time of Kenyan independence (1963) and became a Kenyan citizen, helping to demarcate the national boundaries and travelling long distances through wild terrain; continued to work as a magistrate into old age; awarded Kenya's highest decoration, Grand Warrior of Kenya; died, 1989. For further information see Elizabeth Watkins's biography, Jomo's Jailor: Grand Warrior of Kenya (Britwell Books, Watlington, 1996; first published in France, 1993).

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The material was presented by Hugh Walker in 1995.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Related Material

Oxford University, Rhodes House Library, holds Whitehouse's non-linguistic papers.

Geographical Names