Livingstone Pictures

Scope and Content

Visual and printed material relating to David Livingstone, his life, family and friends, including photographs, engravings, maps, cuttings and scrapbooks.

Administrative / Biographical History

David Livingstone was born in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 1813; his surname was originally spelt Livingston; aged ten, began work in a local cotton mill, but attended its school in the evenings; achieved university entrance qualifications and attended the Andersonian Medical School, Glasgow, supporting himself by working in the mill for part of the year; studied at the Theological Academy, Glasgow; accepted for service by the London Missionary Society (LMS); went to London for theological training and continued his medical studies there, 1838; returned to Glasgow to take his final medical exams; licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow University, 1840; appointed LMS missionary to Bechuanaland; ordained at Albion Chapel, London, and sailed for South Africa, 1840; arrived in Cape Town and travelled to Kuruman, Bechuanaland, 1841; served for a time under the LMS missionary Robert Moffat among the Tswana and became fluent in their language; married Moffat's daughter Mary, 1844; made various journeys in southern Africa and became determined to evangelise to the peoples living beyond white-dominated southern Africa, 1840s; his party was the first group of Europeans to see Lake Ngami, 1849; sent his family back to Scotland, 1852; travelled north to Zambia, walking with Kololo companions west to Luanda on the coast of Angola and subsequently walking across Africa to Mozambique, 1852-1856; LLD, University of Glasgow, 1854; awarded the Queen's Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society, 1855; saw the Victoria Falls, 1855; hailed a hero on his return to Britain, 1856; DCL, University of Oxford, 1856; retired from the LMS, 1857; elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1858; undertook a government-backed expedition to the lands of the Zambezi River and Lake Malawi, 1858-1864; the Royal Geographical Society sent him back to Africa to explore the headwaters of the Nile, Congo, and Zambezi Rivers with his Kololo companions, 1866; his whereabouts were often unknown for months at a time in Europe; he became increasingly concerned by the devastation the slave trade was spreading in the region; he was located by H M Stanley of the New York Herald at Ujiji and greeted with the famous words 'Dr Livingstone, I presume?', 1871; died at Chitambo's village, Zambia, 1873; his heart was buried there by his African companions, who carried his mummified body to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), from where it was returned to Westminster Abbey for burial, 1874. Publications: Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (1857); Narrative of an Expedition to the Zambesi and its Tributaries (1865).

Mary Livingstone was born in Griquatown, South Africa, 1821; eldest child of the LMS missionary Robert Moffat and his wife Mary (née Smith); spent five years at Salem School in the eastern Cape Colony; teacher training at Cape Town; lived in Britain with her parents, but found life there uncongenial, 1839-1843; taught at the school at Kuruman in Griqualand, 1843-1845; married David Livingstone, 1844; worked with him in his missionary work; with their children, accompanied him on his two journeys to the north, 1850-1851; following her parents' insistence that she should not accompany him on his exploration of the Zambezi Valley, she spent four unhappy years in Britain; following her husband's return (1856) she spent two more years in Britain; insisted on joining him on the next Zambezi expedition and returned to Africa, 1861; died at Shupanga on the Zambezi River, 1862.

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Archivist's Note


Custodial History

Material in this series appears to have been collected together by Irene Fletcher, former London Missionary Society Archivist & Librarian. It incorporates donations of material made to the London Missionary Society (later Council for World Mission) by individuals. Where this is the case, information relating to provenance has been preserved with the material. Some appraisal and re-organisation of this material was undertaken in July 2008, together with more detailed listing.