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Caribbean Studies: Archives

The Caribbean Studies page aim is to offer information on this subject to researchers and students. Different types of resources including books, journals, theses and films can be accessed from this page.

Key resources

Archives Hub provides descriptions of archives held in over 150 UK universities and colleges.  Many archives that contain relevant information on Caribbean studies are listed.

BBC Caribbean Archives: Audio archive of the BBC Caribbean programmes: 1988-2011.

CAMP - guide to its collections

Caribbean Collections held at the British Library. 

Caribbean Studies Archival Resources: a guide for those interested in the culture and history of the Caribbean by New York University.

Digital  Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera : a steadily growing repository containing a previously unavailable subset of Princeton's Latin American Ephemera Collection as well as newly acquired materials being digitized and added on an ongoing basis.

The National Archives: the history of the British Caribbean is explored in this exhibition through government documents, photographs and maps dating from the 17th century to the 1920s and discovered during a cataloguing project at The National Archives of the United Kingdom.

National Register of Archives is an essential tool for locating manuscripts and archives in the UK.

Caribbean archives in the Bodleian Libraries

The Bodleian Library holds a range of manuscripts and archives which are relevant to the study of the Caribbean. They comprise the papers of individuals, families and organisations and include correspondence, diaries, papers and photographs. Online catalogues and collection-level descriptions can be found here and A Guide to Manuscript Sources for the History of Latin America and the Caribbean in the British Isles edited by Peter Walne (OUP, 1973) remains a useful guide.


How to find archives in Oxford

The principal finding aid for locating Caribbean archives held in the Weston Library is through the Online catalogue for Western MSS. Hardcopy catalogues, for collections which only have collection-level descriptions online, are available in the Charles Wendell David Reading Room where archives can be ordered from the stacks for consultation.

Early Modern Papers

From the early modern period the following manuscripts are important sources and detailed hardcopy catalogues are available.

The Clarendon manuscripts 

The Clarendon deposited manuscripts include the Barham Papers relating to the Barham family and their estates in Jamaica.

The Tanner manuscripts

The Rawlinson manuscripts 

The Ashmole manuscripts 

The Dawkins manuscripts also contain material on estates in Jamaica

These collections are consulted in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room on level 1 of the Weston Library.

Modern Papers

The papers of the Anti-Slavery Society contain information on the abolition of slavery, the apprenticeship system and the treatment of indigenous people in the Caribbean.


The archive of the Anglican missionary organization, the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel founded in 1701, is a rich resource particularly for education in the Caribbean.


The archive of the Fabian Colonial Bureau, founded to research and advise on colonial policy, contains papers on the Caribbean dating from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s.


The archive of Oxfam GB is a vital resource for research on development and disaster relief in the Caribbean from the 1960s to the early 21st century, particularly the programme policy records and the project files.


In addition there are many collections (many with the shelfmark beginning MSS. W. Ind.) relating to administration, military affairs, legal matters, agriculture, trade, education and medicine which came from individuals who lived and worked in the Caribbean in the 19th and 20th centuries.

These collections are consulted in the David Reading Room on level 5 of the Weston Library.

Subject Guide

Rebeca Otazua's picture
Rebeca Otazua
Bodleian Latin American Centre Library
1 Church Walk
01865 2 74483


The dLOC Caribbean Map Collection's maps represent only a small part of the wealth of historical and archival treasures held by the contributing archives, libraries, and museums. Maps collected here date from 1564 through the present. The majority of maps in this collection document a colonial past.


Royal Commonwealth Society Library Photograph Collection, University of Cambridge, contains over 70,000 images dating from the mid-1850s to the mid-1980s.  Many of them are of caribbean islands and document developments in a wide variety of fields including medicine, education and industry.