AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Boyd, Jean

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 36
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Boyd, Jean
Date(s): (1789-1934) c1900-1992
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 19 boxes and 3 volumes
Name of creator(s): Boyd | Jean | fl 1978-2000 | author


Administrative/Biographical history:

In 1804 Usuman dan Fodio (1754-1817), a Fulani and Muslim, began a holy war to reform the practice of Islam in northern Nigeria, conquering the Hausa city-states. In 1817 his son, Muhammad Bello (d 1837), established a state centred at Sokoto. Under these two rulers Muslim culture and trade flourished. Sokoto controlled most of northern Nigeria until in 1900 British forces under Frederick Lugard began to conquer the area, taking Sokoto in 1903. By 1906 Britain controlled Nigeria, which was divided into the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria and the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria (amalgamated to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914). Nigeria attained independence in 1960.

The central subject of this collection, the Nigerian woman poet Nana Asma'u (1793-1865), was the daughter of Usuman (Shehu) dan Fodio (1754-1817). Her poems, 65 in number, constitute an important literary legacy of this period. She wrote in Arabic for formal pieces, Hausa for didactic verse, and Fulfulde when addressing her contemporaries within the ruling circle.

Jean Boyd's publications include: with Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Uthman Dan Fodio: the theory and practice of his leadership (1978); The Caliph's sister: Nan Asma'u 1793-1865: teacher, poet and Islamic leader (1989); with Hamzat M Maishanu, Sir Siddiq Abubakar III: Sarkin Musulmi (1991); with Beverly B Mack, One woman's Jihad: Nana Asma'u, scholar and scribe (2000).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers, c1900-1992, collected by Jean Boyd, relating to northern Nigeria from the late 18th century to the 1990s.

Papers on Nana Asma'u include copies of her manuscript poems (1820-1865) and later papers relating to her work, including translations, 1976-1984. Papers on works by Shehu dan Fodio include copies of his poems on male-female relationships (1789 and undated) and later papers relating to his work, 1975-1981. Papers on works by Asma'u's female relatives and descendants include copies of poems and writings by various authors (c1860-1934 and undated) and later papers relating to the subject, c1950-1990. Other material comprises field notes on the remnants of Asma'u's disciples, the Yan Taru, 1973-1990; papers on the milieu in which Asma'u lived in Gobir, c1900-1984, including Gobir chiefs; papers, including press cuttings, on the situation of women in northern Nigeria in the 1980s, the subjects including Muslims, prostitution, women's organizations, medical matters, and women's education.

Papers, 1903-1992, including articles, reports and press cuttings, on Sokoto relate to geological history, prehistory, palaeontology, archaeology, pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history, the subjects including the social and economic history of the city of Sokoto, colonial administration, British fears over Mahdism, and local government and economic issues in Sokoto state in modern Nigeria.

Three volumes contain over 500 postcards, many in colour, relating to Nigeria, including images of people, cultural events, various places, and other aspects of Nigerian life [late 20th century].

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English, Fulfulde, Hausa, Arabic

System of arrangement:

The collection is arranged in the following sections: papers on Asma'u (Ref: A); Shehu (Ref: S); women writers (Ref: WW); Yan Taru field notes (Ref: YT); Gobir (Ref: G); contemporary material (Ref: C); Sokoto papers (Ref: SP); Postcard Collection.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

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

Finding aids:

Two unpublished handlists (one relating to the Sokoto material) by the depositor, giving detailed descriptions.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited on loan by Jean Boyd.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project. Sources: British Library OPAC; on the history of Nigeria.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2002

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Personal Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"