Malcolm MacDonald photograph collection
Scope and Contents
1. Those received with the papers temporarily received by the historian of the Royal Commonwealth Society prior to their transfer to the University of Durham, where Malcolm MacDonald was Chancellor 1971-1981. These photographs comprise the bulk of MM 1-13, 24, and 27-30.
2. A small number of photographs which had been included in the papers and listed with them. It was agreed by the Trustees of the papers that these should form part of the photograph collection, but to avoid confusion notes were inserted in the papers at the appropriate points, and photocopies of the photographs included there. Subsequently, duplicate photographs have been sent to Durham, and the position is summarised in an addendum to this introduction.
3. Further items given by Mrs. Sheila Lochhead, MacDonald’s sister and the MacDonald family trustee of the papers, in 1989 and 1991 included prints added to MM 6, 7, and 11, and the whole of MM 14-23, 25-26.
4. A few miscellaneous items from various sources, e.g. a framed photograph given by Sir Ralph Hone (MM 5/49), some other photographs of Malaya from the RCS collection, and several prints of the University of Malaya transferred from Y3011UU.
However, the collection contains very few of MacDonald’s own photographs, whereas it is clear from several of his published books, e.g. ‘Borneo people (1956) and ‘Angkor’ (1958), that he was a keen photographer. Many of the photographs are routine official records of receptions at airports etc. - this is particularly so in MM 6 - or of official routine visits, e.g. MM 19 and MM 23.
A few of the photographs are captioned by MacDonald, several of the official photographs have descriptions attached, and some have presentation inscriptions, but the majority lack any identification.
MacDonald’s early career, to 1941, when he went to Canada as High Commissioner, is covered by MM 1, together with albums MM 2, on his visit to Fiji in 1925, MM 14, photographs of New South Wales presented to him in 1936, and MM 3, a visit to the Royal Canadian Air Force in Britain before departing. MM 4 covers the years in Canada 1941-1946, with one or two earlier photographs of that country. MM 5-6, 15-18 relate to his years in South East Asia, 1946-1955. The loose prints have been divided into two sequences, MM 5 dealing with Commonwealth Asia and MM 6 with non-Commonwealth countries which he visited following the extension of his responsibilities as Commissioner-General in 1948. In each case, the section has been broken up to leave gaps for added material on different territories. MM 5 has Malaya and Singapore (see also MM 16), Sarawak; North Borneo; Brunei; and Hong Kong. MM 6 has French Indo-China (also in MM 17-18); Burma; Thailand; and Indonesia. MM 16 was an album (relating to 1950) in bad condition which has been discarded, and the contents stored as separate prints. Three photographs of MacDonald’s work at the Geneva Conference on Laos 1961-62 are at MM 6/251-253; scenes during his visit to South East Asia late in 1962 are at MM 5/140-143 and 346-348.
MM 7 contains the loose prints relating to India 1955-1959, and albums MM 8-10, 19-22 are also from this period. MM 11 has loose prints of Africa, chiefly Kenya, during MacDonald’s period as Governor 1963, Governor-General 1963-64 and High Commissioner 1964-65. MM 12-13 and 23 also relate to this period. There are some photographs from his time as Special Representative in Africa which ended with his retirement in 1969. MM 27 and 28, on Cambodia, probably relate to this period.
MacDonald’s retirement years are covered in MM 24 (loose prints), MM 25 (loose photographs of China) and albums MM 26 and MM 29. MM 30 contains a miscellaneous collection of photographs and paintings.
Photographs too large for inclusion with the main sequence have been housed in a separate box as follows: MM 5/48-50, 316, 330, 332-335; MM 7/90; MM 24/13-15.
MM 31-44 were numbered and boxed subsequent to their arrival at the Cambridge University Library.
- 1930 - 1981
Conditions Governing Access
Biographical / Historical
His party political career ended with his appointment as High Commissioner to Canada in 1941, though he remained an M.P. until 1945. In 1946 he became Governor-General of Malaya and in 1948 his title altered to Commissioner-General for the United Kingdom in South East Asia. From 1955-60 he was High Commissioner in India, from 1961-2 co-Chairman and Leader of the British Delegation at the Geneva Conference on Laos. His last official posts were in Africa, as Governor and then Governor-General, of Kenya, British High commissioner to that country and finally Special Representative of the British Government in Africa - a post from which he retired in 1969. From then until his death in 1981, he was active in a variety of voluntary posts, particularly those concerned with the Commonwealth and with young people.
1800 item(s) (1800 images)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Existence and Location of Copies
Duplicate copies of the following were also sent to Durham in August 1993:
MM 1/22 MM 5/50 MM 6/40, 41, 43, 47, 50, 52, 56, 58, 60, 62, 67-69, 72, 76, 122-126, 128-136, 136A, 137-139, 141-142, 147, 150-164, 170-174, 177-178, 180-181. MM 7/3 MM 20/1-5, 7 MM 25/68
For the published catalogue of the Malcolm MacDonald papers see: Cory, Elizabeth (1988), ‘List of the Papers of Malcolm MacDonald,' Durham: Department of Palaeography and Diplomatic, University of Durham.
The following of Malcolm MacDonald’s works were consulted to establish the identity of some photographs, or to provide his own account of episodes or people portrayed:
MacDonald, Malcolm (1956),‘Borneo people,’ London: J. Cape.
MacDonald, Malcolm (1958), ‘Angkor’, London: J. Cape.
MacDonald, Malcolm (1969), ‘People and places: random reminiscences of the Rt. Hon. Malcolm MacDonald,’ London: Collins.
MacDonald, Malcolm (1980), ‘Inside China,’ London: Heinemann.
MacDonald, Malcolm (1972), ‘Titans & others,’ London: Collins.
- 2006-11-03 16:31:34+00:00
- Language of description
- Script of description