Papers of Margaret Mackeson Green

Scope and Content

The collection comprises personal correspondence with Margaret Mackeson Green (1946-1973); Igbo material, including her original field notes and work on the Igbo language, preparatory drafts of the Igbo Language Course, notes on Igbo texts, vocabulary lists intended for inclusion in an Igbo/English dictionary, and a few miscellaneous items of anthropological significance; material relating to the Division of Inter-Church Aid Refugee World Service (DICARWS) (1968-1969), and miscellaneous material in other African languages.

Administrative / Biographical History

Margaret Mackeson Green was born in Eltham, Kent, on 14 July 1895. Although the First World War interrupted her studies, she gained a double first in history at Cambridge. She then went to Nigeria with a friend, where her interest in and love of Africa began. During this first visit, she helped to establish the first school in Kano.

She returned to Cambridge to read anthropology and was awarded a Leverhulme Grant to research the lives of Ibo women, among whom she lived for several years. She assisted with the production of the first published grammar of the Igbo language. Two of her own anthropological works were also published: Land Tenure in an Ibo Village , (1941) and Ibo Village Affairs , (1947). She was appointed Lecturer and Reader in West African Languages and Cultures at the School of Oriental and African Studies, 1939- 1951.

Margaret Mackeson Green played an active role in seeking to alleviate the suffering of refugees during the Nigerian Civil War, and took a keen interest in the work of the Division of Inter-Church Aid Refugee World Service (DICARWS) of the World Council of Churches (WCC). She never married, and died in March 1979.


The collection has been arranged into three sections: personal correspondence; Igbo material; other (non-Igbo) material.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated in 1979.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist