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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.

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.

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

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

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.

Key resources