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School of Oriental and African Studies

Bargery, George Percival


Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 380516

Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies

Title: Bargery, George Percival

Date(s): Created c1946

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 2 boxes

Name of creator(s): Bargery | George Percival | 1876-1966 | missionary and linguist


Administrative/Biographical history:

George Percival Bargery was born in Exeter on 1 October 1876. He was educated at Hele School, Exeter, Islington College and the University of London. He was ordained as a chaplain to the Church Missionary Society in 1899. In 1900 he went to Northern Nigeria, where he served as a missionary until 1910. In that year he was invalided home as unfit for further service in the tropics, but within two years he had been accepted for a post in the Colonial Education Service and was back again in Northern Nigeria, where he remained until 1930. It was for his work during this period that he is best known. After founding the first government school among the Tiv people on the Benue, he turned his attention to the Hausa language and was appointed Government Examiner in it. In 1921 he was seconded by the Governor, Sir Hugh Clifford, to compile a dictionary of that language. His Hausa-English Dictionary was published in 1934 and included the first tonal analysis of the Hausa language. For his work he received a Doctorate in Literature from University of London in 1937.

While he was still working in London on the final stages of the dictionary, Bargery was appointed as Lecturer in Hausa to the School of Oriental Studies. He was made Senior Lecturer in 1935, and Reader in 1937. He did not retire from this post until 1947. After his retirement from the School he continued similar teaching under the Colonial Office at both Oxford and Cambridge until 1953. In 1953, at the age of 77, he returned to Kano at the invitation of the British and Foreign Bible Society, to superintend work on a new Hausa translation of the New Testament. He was awarded the OBE when he returned to England in 1957. He outlived both his wives: Eliza Minnie, whom he married in 1906 and who died in 1932, and Minnie Jane, whom he married eight years later, and who died in 1952. He had one son by his first marriage. Towards the end of his life he was plagued by ill health and became almost totally blind. He died on 2 August 1966.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, c1946, of George Percival Bargery, comprising Hausa grammar and vocabulary notes.


Language/scripts of material: English and Hausa

System of arrangement:

The items are arranged chronologically where possible.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated c1987 by the Africa Publication Trust Library


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies also holds papers on African languages of Roy Clive Abraham (Ref: MS 193280) and Frederick William Parsons (Ref: PP MS 50).

Publication note:



Date(s) of descriptions: 15 May 2000

Academic teaching personnel | Teachers | Educational personnel | Personnel | People by occupation | People
Clergy | Religious groups
Grammar | Linguistics
Hausa | African languages
Ordained missionaries | Missionaries | Religious groups
Vocabularies | Lexicography

Personal names
Bargery | George Percival | 1876-1966 | missionary and linguist

Corporate names

Nigeria | West Africa | Africa