Showcasing the James Currey Collection

james currey photo

The College held the James Currey Collection Open Day on Friday 29 April, to showcase all the books in the collection to scholars both in Oxford and from elsewhere. James Currey has been called "The Godfather of African Literature", whose publishing house is responsible for producing a vast number of academic books, journals, and other literature about Africa.  

The collection comprises a complete set of first editions of every book published by the James Currey imprint, primarily literature on African history and politics. It continues to expand under the pledge from the publishers Boydell and Brewer, who agreed at the inception of the collection to provide the St Cross Library with every new first edition for at least the next 10 years. 

The entire catalogued collection was available to view throughout the Open Day and over 60 academic scholars and other specialists across the fields of African history and politics signed up to attend - some coming from as far afield as the north of England. 

There were many lively discussions throughout the afternoon as attendees engaged with this flagship collection of books and made connections together on their shared research interests. 

In general, books in the collection, which is housed in the Douglas & Catherine Wigdor Room (opposite the Library), can be accessed by contacting the Librarian, Philippa Taney at to arrange a time to come and study these. She can also facilitate requests for scans of particular chapters within allowed copyright limits and to send these as PDF files by email. 

The Open Day was organised by the Senior Tutor (Academic Affairs & Programmes), Dr Jo Ashbourn and the Librarian, Philippa Taney.