Papers of Dr. Clement John Baker and Lt. George Baker

Scope and Content

Clement Baker's diaries, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1908 and 1909, and papers as Medical and Sanitary officer in Uganda, 1902-1928 (including correspondence, maps, reports, photographs, etc. relating to sleeping sickness and the bubonic plague).

George Baker's journal and papers relating to his journey overland from Ceylon to England, 1822-1823.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr. Clement John Baker was born in England in 1872. He qualified as a doctor at Middlesex Hospital and, in 1901, volunteered to go as a surgeon to the South African War where he was appointed to the hospital at Bloemfontein. He returned home in 1902 having been awarded a medal and two clasps. On the 1 January 1903, after taking a course at the School of Tropical Medicine, he was appointed as Medical Officer to Uganda, and later became the first Chief Medical and Sanitary Officer for the Protectorate. He attended a second course at the School of Tropical Medicine in 1914. Baker died at sea in 1922 whilst on his way home to undertake a third course, possibly at the same School.

While in Uganda, Baker and his wife did a great deal of work in the sleeping sickness camps. He was the first man to isolate the trypanosome in two apparently healthy Africans who later contracted the disease and died of it. He also did a great deal to prevent the spread of bubonic plague in Uganda by the control of rats, tracing the source of the infection to the import of cotton from the north, and working for better town planning in Kampala.

Lieutenant George Baker, Dr. Clement Baker's grandfather, fought in the battle of Waterloo. In 1822 he made the journey from Ceylon, where his regiment was stationed, to England for the sake of his health, choosing to travel up the Red Sea and overland rather than around the Cape of Good Hope. During the journey two passengers contracted the bubonic plague which resulted in the crew and passengers being placed in quarantine both in Alexandria and in the Lazaretto at Valetta in Malta.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room and a handlist is also available for this collection.

Listed as no. 294 in Manuscript Collections (excluding Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplement, compiled by Louis B. Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1971) and as no. 69 in Manuscript Collections (Africana and non-Africana) in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Supplementary accessions to the end of 1977 and Cumulative Index, compiled by Wendy S. Byrne (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1978).

Conditions Governing Use

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

Custodial History

Deposited with the Oxford Colonial Records Project.