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James Carmichael Smith Sierra Leone Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y30446A-E

Scope and Contents

A collection comprising:

Y30446A 92 postcards of Sierra Leone, Belgian Congo and Canary Isles
Y30446B Album containing 45 prints
Y30446C Album containing 38 prints
Y30446D Album containing 25 prints
Y30446E 6 mounted prints (3 also framed).

The collection is a valuable record of Sierra Leone in the early years of the twentieth century. The majority of the photographs in Y30446B-E are the work of the Lisk-Carew Brothers (Alphonso and Arthur) who established their business in Freetown in 1905. As well as working as commercial photographers, the Lisk-Carew's also traded as stationers and sellers of fancy goods and toys from their premises at 3 East Brook Lane and 30, corner of Westmoreland and Gloucester Streets. The brothers also made a photographic trip to the Gambia circa 1914 (see Y30447A). The date of the firm's demise is unknown but they were still flourishing as 'clever exponents of photography in all its branches' when MacMillan (1920) was published. Other photographers whose work is featured include Dionysius Leomy and the firm of J.W. Paris and Co.


  • Creation: 1890 - 1911


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

James Carmichael Smith, the compiler of this collection, was born in the Bahamas where his father, originally from Yorkshire, had shipping interests. His mother was of French origin. After an education at Nassau Grammar School, Smith spent four and a half years at sea and may afterwards have taught in a New York School for a short period. On his return to Nassau he entered Government service and was appointed Chief Clerk and Storekeeper of the Imperial Treasury and (Military) Commissariat Departments in 1876. In 1882 he was elected a member of the House of Assembly for Western District, New Providence, a seat he held for seven years, and in 1884 he became a Life Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute. From 1886-92 he was a member of the Board of Education and Postmaster from 1889-93.

In 1896 he took up the position of Assistant Postmaster in Sierra Leone. On the death of John Cleugh, a British Postal Officer, in 1900 he was appointed Postmaster General and Manager of the General Savings Bank and remained in these positions until his retirement in 1911. During this period he also acted as Collector of Customs (1902-03) and Colonial Treasurer (1906 and 1907). On his retirement he settled in Jersey but later moved to London where, during the First World War he worked in the Treasury and was associated with Lord Kindersley in the establishment of the War Savings (later National Savings) Movement. In the latter part of the war he served in the Ministry of Food. A keen student of economic affairs, he published five books and numerous pamphlets on these topics.


5 archive box(es) (206 images in 5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Ranging from good to fair, with some fading and yellowing.

Other Finding Aids

The postcards are housed within the Postcard Collection, box 3.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was presented by James Carmichael Smith's daughter, Miss Kathleen Walton Smith.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 57-60.

Related Materials

The R.C.S. Manuscripts Collection includes material relating to James Carmichael Smith, RCMS 113/27.


A detailed biography of Smith came from: Simpson, D (ed.) (1970), 'Mr. Smith of the Colonial Service', The Royal Commonwealth Society, Library Notes, New Series no. 181. Portraits of the Lisk-Carew brothers can be found, with further information, in: Macmillan, Allister (1920), 'The red book of West Africa', London, W.H. and L. Collingridge, p.267.


This collection level description was entered by SG using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Smith, James Carmichael, 1852-1919

Includes index.
2004-01-08 11:54:21+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom