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Durham University

Special Collections

Resources for Sudanese Studies in Durham

Camel post in the Sudan

The range of material in Durham University Library provides a first class research resource for scholars in all disciplines of Sudanese studies. It is available to all bona fide enquirers.


The Sudan Archive, a collection of the papers of former officials, soldiers, missionaries, businessmen and individuals who served or lived in the Sudan (modern-day Sudan and South Sudan) during the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium period (1899-1955), was begun in 1957. The Archive contains official, semi-official and private papers which document the Sudan under Mahdist and Condominium rule for the period 1883-1956. The Archive holds some 300 Mahdist documents in Arabic and there are also substantial numbers of papers relating to Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and African states bordering on the Sudan and South Sudan. Large individual collections include the papers of General Sir Reginald Wingate (1861-1953) and the Sudan papers of Sir James Robertson (1899-1983), together with over 320 smaller collections, many of which are the papers of former Sudan Political Service officials. The Archive currently comprises approximately 800 boxes of papers, 50,000 photographs, 1,000 maps, portraits, cinefilms, museum objects and a large amount of related printed material. New material is still being added.

For full information about access and facilities, see Detailed catalogues for the collections are available in Durham, and a growing number are also accessible online. Copies of the Summary Guide to the Sudan Archive (price £5) and volume one of the Wingate Papers catalogue (price £10), may be ordered by post. A searchable database of the Archive's photographic images can be accessed at Durham.

Printed Material

There are four main groups of printed material relating to Sudan and South Sudan, two on public access housed at the Bill Bryson Library in Stockton Road, and two which can be consulted at the Palace Green site; additionally, printed items which are particularly associated with archival material are listed as part of the Sudan Archive (see above).

The Library's holdings of printed material no matter where they are located, are recorded in the catalogue at At the Bill Bryson Library in Stockton Road, the main loan and reference collection on level 4 provides a good base for work in the humanities and social sciences and has substantial holdings of Sudanese imprints and Arabic material, and the Middle Eastern Documentation Unit (MEDU) on level 1 covers modern official publications, including Sudan Government publications, bank reports, population censuses, publications of Sudanese institutions, some consultancy reports and a wide range of newsletters and other serials relating to Sudan and South Sudan since independence in 1956. MEDU holdings are recorded on the catalogue.

At Palace Green the early printed books collection includes material published up to 1850 and rare, sensitive and fragile material of later date as well as Sudanese newspapers, while the Condominium "grey" literature collection is an extensive body of published and semi-published titles, issued mainly between 1890 and 1955 in the Sudan, and includes a wide range of Sudan Government publications, army and staff lists, journals, missionary literature, lectures, speeches, timetables, directories, and publications of Sudanese societies, companies, clubs and associations.