Research papers of Edward William Bovill on missions to the Niger

Scope and Content

The collection comprises notebooks and files used by Edward William Bovill and research material for the book Missions to the Niger , Vols I-IV (Hakluyt Society, 1962-1966). The papers are mainly xerox copies of correspondence in the Public Record Office relating to the explorations of Friedrich Hornemann, Mungo Park, Dixon Denham, Hugh Clapperton, Alexander Gordon Laing and Walter Oudney in North and Central Africa during the period c.1800-1829. There are also several notebooks, which contain notes of the progress of Bovill's work.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward William Bovill was born on 25 December 1892. He was educated at Rugby and Trinity College, Cambridge, and served in the First World War with the 10th Royal Hussars and the W.A.F.F. He was Director of Matheson & Co. Ltd. from 1936-1945 and Chairman of R.C. Treat & Co. Ltd. from 1942-1961. He was a medallist at the Royal Society of Arts in 1935 and became Vice-President of the Hakluyt Society in 1964. Between 1962 and 1966 he researched and wrote the four volume Missions to the Niger (published for the Hakluyt Society at the University Press). He died on 19 December 1966.

Other publications included Caravans of the Old Sahara , 1930; East African Agriculture , 1950; The Battle of Alcazar , 1952; The Golden Trade of the Moors , 1958; The England of Nimrod and Surtees , 1959; English Country Life, 1780-1830 , 1962; The Bornu Mission (ed.), 1965.


The papers have been arranged into notebooks; files of xeroxed materials, and correspondence relating to Bovill's papers. The original number of the files appears in square brackets at the end of each entry.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Donated through the Royal Geographic Society in 1973.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance


Missions to the Niger, Edward William Bovill, Hakluyt Society, 1962-66.

Geographical Names