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The Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860-1960

The website for the Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs: 1860-1960 was created in order to increase access to the materials in the collection, which includes of 7,610 photographs, 230 glass lantern slides, and various other materials


Content on this site is drawn from a broad range of historical sources including materials that may contain offensive images or language reflecting the nature of European colonialism in Africa. Such materials should be viewed in the context of the time and place in which they were created. The images and text in this site are presented as specific, original artifacts recording the attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of a different era. Northwestern University does not endorse the views expressed in this collection which may contain images and text offensive to some researchers.

Approximately 55 images have been suppressed from the Winterton collection website because of issues related to cultural sensitivity. The descriptive text for these images is accessible in the website using the search function. These photographs themselves are accessible to researchers on site in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies. For further information contact

There are many similarities between the Winterton collection's content and the exhibition In and Out of Focus; Images from Central Africa, 1885-1960, which was on view at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art from December 6, 2002 until March 16, 2003. The text in the exhibition catalog (In and Out of Focus; Images from Central Africa, 1885-1960 by Christraud M. Geary. Washington, DC: National Museum of African Art, 2002) addresses the issue of cultural context of African colonial photographs. The exhibition website, accessible from the National Museum of African Art's website, includes commentary in four brief and focused categories that relate to the Winterton Collection and questions of cultural context.

These are:

These two brief bibliographies provide access to literature regarding photography and colonial Africa as well as additional information about the scope of Humphrey Winterton’s East African collecting focus.

Photography and Colonial Africa

  • Anthology of African and Indian Ocean Photography. Paris: Revue Noire, 1999.
  • Delivering Views; Distant Cultures in Early Postcards, edited by Christraud M. Geary and Virginia-Lee Webb. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, 1998.
  • Images d’Empire, 1930-1960; Trente Ans de Photographies Officielles sur l’Afrique Francaises, edited by Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard and Francis Delabarre. Paris: Editions de la Martinière, 1997.
  • In and Out of Focus; Images from Central Africa, 1885-1960, edited by Christraud M. Geary. Washington, D.D.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2003.
  • Photographs as Sources for African History; Papers Presented at a Workshop held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, May 12-13, 1988, edited by Andrew Roberts. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1988.
  • Picturing Cultures; Historical Photographs in Anthropological Inquiry, edited by Joanna Cohan Scherer. New York: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1990. (also published as Visual Anthropology, Volume 3, numbers 2-3)

Humphrey Winterton’s Collecting Focus

  • Abyssinia to Zanzibar, 1850’s-1950’s; Catalog of the Photographic Archives of the Winterton Africana Collection. London: Allsworth Rare Books, 2003.
  • From the Abyssinian Expedition to the Mau Mau Insurrection; 100 Years of military and Naval Operations in Eastern and North-Eastern Africa (1860s-1960s); Books, Maps, Artifacts, Artwork, Photographs, Manuscripts, Articles, Pamphlets and Ephemera from the Africana Library of Humphrey Winterton. London: Maggs Bros., 2003. (Maggs Bros. Catalogue 1343.)
  • The Library of Humphrey Winterton; East Africa, The Sudan, Egypt, Arabia and the Indian Ocean; London, Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 May 2003. London: Sotheby’s, 2003.