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Werner, Alice

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 380393
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Werner, Alice
Date(s): Created c1876-1926
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 box
Name of creator(s): Werner | Alice | 1859-1935 | linguist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Alice Werner was born in Trieste on 26 June 1859. In her youth she lived in New Zealand, Mexico, USA and Europe. She was educated partly in Germany, and later in England, where she attended Newnham College, Cambridge University. Her interest in Africa began with visits to Nyasaland in 1893 and Natal in 1894. In 1899 she taught Afrikaans and Zulu in London. Between 1911-1913 she toured East Africa, where she came into contact with Swahili and other languages of the region. In 1917 she joined the School of Oriental Studies as one of the original members of staff, initially as Lecturer but later as Reader and eventually Professor of Swahili and Bantu languages. She continued in this position until her retirement at the end of the 1929/1930 session. During this time, she also taught at Oxford and Cambridge, in co-operation with her sister Mary Werner. In 1928, Alice Werner received the degree of D.Litt from the University of London. After her retirement in 1930, she received the title of Emeritus Professor from the same University. In 1931 she was awarded the Silver medal of the African Society, of which she was Vice-President. She died on 9 June 1935.

Alice Werner made contributions on African subjects to the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, in addition to other journals. She also produced works on African philology and mythology. Her own publications included: The Natives of British Central Africa (1906); The Language Families of Africa (1915); A Swahili History of Pate (1915); Introductory Sketch of the Bantu Languages (1919); The Swahili Saga of Liongo Fumo (1926); Swahili Tales (1929); Structure and Relationship of African Languages (1930); The Story of Miqdad and Mayasa (1932); and Myths and Legends of the Bantu (1933). She also translated a number of works.


Scope and content/abstract:

Documents and papers, c1876-1926, relating to African languages and folklore, collected by Alice Werner. Includes several postcards to Archibald Tucker, discussing African language folklore.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
In addition to English, this collection contains material in African languages including Swahili, and European languages including German.

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

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

Finding aids:

Unpublished handlist.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred from the Africa department at SOAS in 1983.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds papers of Archibald Norman Tucker (Ref: PP MS 43).

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:

Date(s) of descriptions:
15 May 2000

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