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Letters from David Livingstone, William Cotton Oswell and Richard Thornton (photocopies)

 Single Item

  • Request

45 letters from David Livingstone, 2 from William Cotton Oswell, and 1 from Richard Thornton. A large number of the Livingstone letters are addressed to William Cotton Oswell. Photocopies.


  • Creation: 1841-1874


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS.Afr.s.18].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.



Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 2949

Biographical / Historical

David Livingstone (1813-1873), Scottish missionary and explorer of Africa. His career can be split into four distinct parts: the early missionary explorations during which he travelled into the Kalahari region, discovered Lake Ngami, and demonstrated that the Kalahari could be crossed by oxen and wagons (1841-1849); the expedition from Angola to Mozambique during which he discovered and named the Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River (1850-1856); the explorations along the Zambezi River (1858-1864); and his unsuccessful search for the source of the Nile River during which he disappeared but was found in 1871 by Henry Morton Stanley on Lake Tanganyika (1866-1873).

William Cotton Oswell (1818-1893), English explorer, hunter and sportsman. He was part of David Livingstone's expedition into the Kalahari which discovered Lake Ngami. The kuabaoba, or straight-horned rhinoceros, was named Oswellii after Oswell, who also received the medal of the Societé de Géographie de Paris for his share in the journey. He accompanied Livingstone again in 1851 on an expedition to meet the Kololo paramount chief Sebituane. On that occasion they first sighted the Zambezi River.

Richard Thornton (1838-1863), English geologist. Thornton was the geologist on David Livingstone's expedition along the Zambezi River. He left the expedition between c.1859-1862 and continued with his own explorations. He also accompanied the explorer Baron von der Decken on his first attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (1861).

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Listed as no. 22 in Manuscript Collections of Africana in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, compiled by Louis B Frewer (Oxford, Bodleian Library, 1968).

Existence and Location of Copies

The originals are held in the Livingstone Museum, Zambia.

Letters from David Livingstone, William Cotton Oswell and Richard Thornton (photocopies)
Marion Lowman
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom