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African Papers of Sir John Gray

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 126

Scope and Contents

Published and unpublished works on African history written by Gray, accompanied by research notes from archives and secondary sources.


  • Creation: 1950 - 1971

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Sir John Milner Gray (1889-1970) was educated at Dover College, Perse School and King's College, Cambridge. After training as a solicitor, he joined the Colonial Administrative Service in Uganda in 1920. He was transferred to Gambia in 1934, where he became Judge of the Supreme Court, and was Governor in 1935 and 1940. He became Chief Justice of Zanzibar in 1943, and was knighted the following year. After his retirement, in 1952, Gray remained in Zanzibar to carry out research in the Consular archives. He moved back to Cambridge in 1960, where he died in 1970.

During his time in Africa, Gray investigated the untouched parts of the continent, taking a particular interest in local languages, and publishing his findings in the 'Uganda journal' and 'Tanganyika notes and records'. He was the author of 'A history of the Gambia', 'The British in Mombasa, 1824-1826', 'Early Portuguese missionaries in East Africa', and a 'History of Zanzibar from the Middle Ages to 1856'.


.1 cubic metre(s) (10 archive boxes) : paper

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Good condition unless otherwise specified

Former / Other Reference


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by A.T. Matson during 1970-71.

Related Materials

The RCS Manuscripts Collection contains other papers relating to Sir John Gray: RCMS 125, 150/5/1/1, 150/8/1, 150/9/3 and 155. Cambridge University Library also holds papers of Gray concerning Africa, MS.Add.7739.

Related Materials

Jesus College, Cambridge, holds the papers of John Milner Gray's father, Arthur Gray, a former Master of the College.


Donald H. Simpson, ed., 'The manuscript catalogue of the library of the Royal Commonwealth Society' (London, 1975), pp. 98-99.

'The Papers of Sir John Gray', 'Library Notes', no. 172, June 1972, 1-2.


This description was created by MJC.


Gray, Sir, John Milner, 1889-1970, Knight and colonial administrator

2014-02-25 16:47:03+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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