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Northern Rhodesia

Identifier: Series 14

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The Vernon McKay Papers document McKay's career as a scholar, teacher, administrator, and employee of the United States Department of State. Fundamentally a research file, the collection mainly consists of printed materials, government documents, seminar papers, research data, reports, broadsides, and newsclippings collected by McKay. These materials, as well as some correspondence, are foldered together in three subseries: the Country File, the Topical File, and Personal Papers.

Country File. This file contains miscellaneous information about African nations. Files on Pre-Independence Africa are followed by those on African nations; within each group, arrangement is alphabetical. The country file contains correspondence, government documents, reports, seminar papers, research data, and newsclippings. Some material included here documents McKay's work with the United States Department of State.

Topical File: African Studies and Research. This large file is divided into six subsections. Organizations contains information about numerous organizations concerned with African affairs and African studies, arranged alphabetically by organization name. This file consists primarily of printed material issued by particular organizations to publicize their respective programs or activities.

Universities consists chiefly of printed material issued by various colleges and universities to publicize their African studies programs or conferences, arranged alphabetically by university name.

Universities: African States contains correspondence and printed materials pertaining to higher education in African nations. Arrangement in alphabetical by nation.

Foundations documents the activities of various foundations with an interest in African affairs and illuminates McKay's activities as a consultant for several foundation. Arrangement of the material, which includes correspondence, reports, printed materials, and newsclippings, is alphabetical by name of foundation.

United States Government contains correspondence, reports, government documents, and curriculum materials documenting McKay's role in various agencies and programs of the United States government.

Conferences and Committees is composed of correspondence, printed materials, and newsclippings pertaining to scholarly conferences on African affairs, and meetings and other activities of advisory committees to the United States government.

Topical File: Background of Modern Africa. The arts, economics, politics, and religion in modern Africa are the focii of this file, which consists of correspondence, research notes and papers, printed materials, newsclippings, and reports.

Topical File: Foreign Policy in Africa. This file is divided into three subsections. The first, United States, contains information about interests affecting the formulation of American foreign policy in Africa, about foreign policy issues facing the United States, and about the policy machine that plans and implements American foreign policy. Correspondence, government documents, reports, research notes, articles, newsclippings, student research papers, and printed materials are included.

Soviet Union is composed of correspondence, reports, printed materials, newsclippings, and seminar papers concerning Russian foreign policy toward Africa.

Other includes principally Arab, European, Canadian, Indian, Israeli, and Japanese foreign policy in Africa, although information about the Arab slave trade and the concept of Eurafrica is included as well. The file consists of correspondence, newsclippings, printed material, reports, and seminar papers.

Topical File: International Organizations. This file deals mainly with the United Nations and the various African issues brought before it, including the Cameroons and Togoland colonial issues. Correspondence, reports, government documents, newsclippings, seminar papers, and printed materials are included.

Topical File: Pan Africanism. This file, consisting of printed materials, newsclippings, seminar papers, and correspondence, contains information about the political organizations and conferences that have arisen out of the Pan African movement. Material is filed alphabetically; folders filed under political conferences are arranged chronologically by date of conference.

Topical File: Propaganda About Africa. This file includes not only propaganda, but also information about the propaganda issued by various groups attempting to influence public opinion about African (particularly southern African) issues. There is also a considerable amount of information about American conservatives and their role in the determination of their nation's foreign policy regarding Africa. The file contains correspondence, printed materials, newsclippings, research notes, and seminar papers.

Topical File: Southern Africa. Apartheid, economics, education, politics, and social relations are among the topics covered in this file about southern Africa. Correspondence, newsclippings, reports, printed materials, letters, notes from McKay's southern Africa trip, and research notes and papers make up the file.

Personal Papers: Correspondence. This file, consisting of correspondence regarding professional activities, is subdivided into three sections: correspondence, position queries, and memos. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the correspondent's surname and, within this framework, arranged chronologically. Position queries (requests for information about possible vacancies) follow correspondence and are in chronological order. Memos to and from the Academic Board Committee, which McKay chaired at Johns Hopkins University, are followed by administrative memos, also dating from McKay's tenure at Johns Hopkins.

Personal Papers: Research Trips. This file documents McKay's various research trips to Europe and Africa through notes, correspondence, and printed material. Also included in this file is information about McKay's participation in the Research Liaison Committee of the African Studies Association, which visited Africa around 1967. The file is arranged chronologically by date of trip.

Personal Papers: Publications and Research. This file contains correspondence; drafts of papers, speeches, and articles by McKay; printed material and newsclippings; a bibliography of McKay's publications; and a biographical sketch. McKay's publishing activities are illuminated by the considerable correspondence with his publishers. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject.

Personal Papers: Photographs. These visual images of African life, apparently collected by McKay, are arranged in alphabetical order by country. Unidentified photographs are found at the end of the file.

Personal Papers: Instructional Materials. This file is separated into two segments, the first concerning McKay's course entitled “African Issues in International Relations,” the second concerning his course entitled “History and Politics of Southern Africa.” Each segment consists of printed materials, reports, correspondence, course syllabi, and seminar papers, arranged according to a topical scheme devised by McKay.


  • ca. 1935-1977


Conditions Governing Use

To inquire about access to this collection, please contact the Herskovits Library at

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval.


From the Collection: 121.00 Boxes

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Library Details

Part of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Repository

Main Library, 5th Floor, East Tower
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US