Because photographs are integral to the study of Africa, the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies includes photographs in its collections and is committed to making them available for scholarly research and curricular support. In December 2002, the Herskovits Library acquired the Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African photographs. The Winterton Collection includes about 7,610 photographs organized in 76 separate albums, scrapbooks or loose collections. The photographs depict life, primarily in East Africa, between about 1860 and 1960. The Winterton Collection adds immeasurably to the breadth and depth of the Herskovits Library’s photographic collections.
Assembled by the British collector Humphrey Winterton over about 30 years, the collection depicts the breadth of African experience; documents African life; European life in Africa in all its manifestations; and the African landscape, in particular as it changed over time. Included are photographs showing the building of East Africa’s railways, the growth of its urban centers and the development of European colonial administration. The photographs extensively document rural life as well as the travels and work of European colonial officials and private businessmen. There are outstanding examples of portraiture, some of which were taken by commercial studios. Other photographs produced by commercial studios were specifically taken for sale and distribution in Europe and North America. The Winterton Collection also provides an unsurpassed resource for the study of the history of photography in East Africa. The Winterton Collection complements the exhaustive resources in print and microform in the Herskovits Library for the study of East Africa.
Purchase of this extraordinary collection was made available through use of the Charles Deering McCormick Endowment for Special Collections and the George and Mary LeCron Foster Endowed Fund. Digitization of the Winterton Collection and creation of this website was supported by a national leadership grant made by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in September 2006.
David L. Easterbrook
George and Mary LeCron Foster Curator Emeritus
Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies