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Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 193299
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies
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Full title: Johnston, Sir Harry Hamilton
Date(s): Created c1919
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 3 boxes
Name of creator(s): Johnston | Harry Hamilton | 1858-1927 | Knight | explorer, colonial administrator and linguist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Harry Hamilton Johnston was born on 12 June 1858, in Kennington, London. He was educated at Stockwell Grammar School, Kings College London and from 1876-1880 he was a student of the Royal Academy of Arts. He travelled to North Africa, 1879-1880. He explored Portugese West Africa and the Congo River, 1882-1883. In 1884 he commanded a Scientific Expedition of the Royal Society to Mt. Kilimanjaro.

He served in the Consular Service in Africa from 1885-1901. He was H.M. Vice-Consul in the Cameroons, 1885; Acting-Consul in the Niger Coast Protectorate, 1887; Consul for the Province of Mozambique, 1888. In 1889, his expedition to Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika led to the foundation of the British Central Africa Protectorate. He became Commissioner and Consul-General of the British Central Africa Protectorate in 1891; Consul-General for the Regency of Tunis, 1897-1899; and Special Commissioner, Commander-in-Chief and Consul-General for the Uganda Protectorate, 1899-1901.

He was married to the Hon. Winifred Irby, O.B.E. He was awarded the K.C.B. in 1896, and the G.C.M.G in 1901. He died on 31 July 1927.

Harry Hamilton Johnston published numerous works including A Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages (Oxford University Press, 1919).


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscripts of the collected vocabularies, c1919, of Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston. The manuscripts were used in the compilation of A Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages, and were contained in the first of the two-volume set, the second volume being an analysis and comparison of the phonologies, syntax and word roots detailed in volume one.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Bantu languages

System of arrangement:

For each language a set of 250 vocabulary items was collected, and they are classified according to Johnston's own geographical groups. This original arrangement has been retained. There is an alphabetical index of languages at the back of the handlist.

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:

Donated in c1966.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The School of Oriental and African Studies holds letters of Harry Hamilton Johnston, 1888-1891, among the papers of Sir William Mackinnon (Ref: PP MS 1).

Correspondence and papers (1871-1927) held at the National Archives of Zimbabwe (see HMC Papers of British Colonial Governors 1782-1900, 1986, JO1-2). Travel journal (1887) held at Royal Geographical Society (see Bridson, Natural History MS resources, 1980). Letters to Sir J S Keltie (1896-1923) held at Royal Geographical Society (see RGS Archives, p 113). Notes on African languages held at Cambridge University Library, Royal Commonwealth Society Library (see HMC Private Papers of British Diplomas 1782-1900, 1985). Letters to R T Coryndon held at Oxford University, Rhodes House Library (Ref: MSS Afr s 633). Correspondence with Lord Lugard held at Oxford University, Rhodes House Library (Ref: MSS Lugard, Brit Emp 30-90). Letters to Sir Edmund Gosse (1894-1907) held at Leeds University, Brotherton Collection (Ref: Library Publications no 3). Correspondence with E D Morel (1903-1913) held at London University, British Library of Political and Economic Science (Ref: Morel). Letters to W T Stead (1888-1908) held at Cambridge University, Churchill Archives centre (Ref: STED). Letters to Frederic Whyte (1901-1927) held at Newcastle upon Tyne University, Robinson Library.

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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