SWAHILI MANUSCRIPTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES
Part 1: The Taylor, Hichens and Werner Collections
The Library of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London holds the largest collection of Swahili manuscripts in Britain. Dating from the 1790's to the 1970's, these record a literary tradition dating back at least to the 12th century. Many are in Arabic
and many contain poetry composed in northern Swahili dialects. Letters, stories, notes, essays on history and culture and drafts of published and unpublished books number among the collection’s offerings. The manuscripts are organised into seven distinctive groupings, named for the scholars who collected them.
Part 1 covers the collections of W E Taylor, William Hichens and Alice Werner in their entirety (81 manuscripts), and includes African aphorisms, Giryama proverbs, hymns in Swahili, Folk tales, Swahili verses, the Mombassa Chronicle, the Liyongo Saga, Hamziyya, the history of Pate, notes on language, and photographs.
The collection is supported by a comprehensive online database prepared by SOAS. This can be reached at www.swahilimanuscripts.soas.ac.uk