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Papers of H.B. Thomas

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 150

Scope and Contents

Material concerning H.B. Thomas and his academic work on Africa. Much of the collection is comprised of correspondence relating to Thomas' involvement with different organisations, projects and publications.


  • Creation: 1780 - 1973


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

Harold Beken Thomas (1888-1971) entered the Colonial Service in 1911 as a cadet in the Land and Survey Department in Uganda. He spent nearly thirty years in Uganda, retiring as Director of Surveys in 1940. During this time he developed an extensive knowledge of Uganda and an interest in East Africa in general. He contributed articles, notes and reviews to the 'Uganda journal', mainly on historical subjects, and also provided editorial assistance. He was a leading figure in the Royal Commonwealth Society's development of a 'Dictionary of East African biography', in which he cooperated with his old friend Sir John Gray. Thomas served as Vice President of the Uganda Society and of the Church Missionary Society. He died on 12 August 1971.


20 archive box(es) (20 boxes) : metal/paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

MSS 468

Other Finding Aids

MSS Addenda, vol. II.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

H.B. Thomas' papers were collected and sorted by his literary executor, Dr A.T. Matson. When, owing to illness, Dr Matson handed his own papers to Rhodes House, Dr Anne Thurston arranged that the H.B. Thomas material should come to the R.C.S. The papers were received in 1984.

Related Materials

The R.C.S. Photograph Collection includes photographs of H.B. Thomas, including those taken in Rome at the canonisation of the Uganda Martyrs in 1964.


An appreciation of H.B. Thomas can be found in the 'Royal Commonwealth Society library notes', no. 184, August 1971.


This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Thomas, Harold Beken, 1888-1971

Includes index.
2003-10-24 10:58:25+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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