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Dennett mss., ca. 1885-1910

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Lilly Library
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Dennett, R. E. (Richard Edward), 1857-1921.

Dennett mss., ca. 1885-1910

Collection No.
LMC 2629

1,500 items

Materials are in English.

The Dennett mss., ca. 1885-1910, consists of the personal papers of author and businessman Richard Edward Dennett (1857-1921).

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Richard Edward Dennett (1857-1921) was born in Valparaiso, Chile, but was educated in England at the Marlborough School from 1869-1874. After completing his education, Dennett began working for Thomas Wilson, Sons & Co., a shipping company based in Kingston-upon-Hull. In 1879, Dennett left England and began working in West Africa for the Hatton & Cookson trading company. During this time he started writing a newspaper called the Congo Mirror, in which he addressed human rights issues faced by the Congolese people. Dennett wrote and published three books and numerous articles between 1886 and 1906. His writings focus on African culture, language and religion, though he wrote other articles discussing trade. In 1918, Dennett returned to England; he died in 1921.


Organized into the following series: I. Biographical Information; II. Research Materials; III. Writings.

Scope and Content Note

Biographical information details Dennett's education, career in Africa and published works. Research materials include notes and charts from Dennett's studies relating to West African languages, cultures, customs and religions. Notes also contain information on Dennett's commercial activities in West Africa.

The Writings series includes notes and outlines during various stages of Dennett's work. Drafts include handwritten and typed copies with revisions. While his writings focus on West African ethnography, these articles lead from factual information to Dennett's own hypothetical speculations on religion and government.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired: 2008
Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
[Item], Dennett mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
Processing Information
Processed by Staff.

Completed in 2013

Series: Biographical Information

Box 1 Biographical information and notes on Dennett's writings, undated 

Series: Research Materials

Box 1 Notes, Dennett's commercial activities in West Africa, undated 

Notes, West African alphabet, undated 

Chart, West African alphabet and language, undated 

Notes, West African language, undated 

Notes, Congo language, undated 

Charts, six spiritual and linguistic, undated 

Notes, West African culture, undated 

Charts, Nigeria and its seasons, undated 

Notes, African seasons, undated 

Notes, Yoruba astrology, undated 

Box 3 (Oversize) Charts, African language, undated 

Series: Writings

Arranged alphabetically by title.

Box 1 African Male Offspring and Intelligence, undated

The Alphabet of Life, Light and Love, undated

The Alphabet and Universal Order, undated

Authority, Progress, and Government, undated

Authority, Conservation, Progress, and Government including notes, undated

Bibila or Notes on the Sacred Groves and Kingly Office in the Congo, rough draft, undated

Bibila or Notes on the Sacred Groves and Kingly Office in the Congo, undated

Black and White, undated

The Breaking Up of Nationalism and the Coming of Imperialism and Internationalism, undated

Change in West Africa, undated

The Chief Agency, undated

A Coronation Ceremony, undated

The Creative Alphabet, early draft, undated

The Creative Alphabet: Review in Seven Seasons, undated

The Creative Alphabet or The Spirit in the New Age, with revisions, undated

A Day in a Yoruba Town, undated

Diviners and Their Formula, undated

Diviners and Their Formula, duplicate pages, undated

The Elements of Primitive Religion, undated

The English of the Powers at the Back of the Bavili Seasons, undated

(2 folders)

The Family of Seven Elemental Factors in Government. Includes notes and revisions, undated

(2 folders)

A Few Notes on the Ogboni and Yoruba Forms of Government, with revisions, undated

A Few Notes on the Right of Way by Road or River in West Africa, undated

KIA: Dawn that is Light Before the Sun Rises, undated

Kings by God Inspired, undated

KuVANGA, undated

The Language of the Bavili, including revisions, undated

The List of Queries of the German Scientific Expedition for Central Africa, undated

Macnah in Africa, undated

The Mystic Seven, including notes and revisions, undated

The Mystic Seven or Religion in West Africa, with revisions, undated

(2 folders)

The No. 7, undated

Natural or Self-Evolved Religion, undated

Nigeria and Its Seasons, undated

Notes on the Evidence of Messrs Belfield, Thompson, and Alexander on Land Tenure, undated

Notes on the Folklore of the Bini, including revisions, undated

Notes on the Language of the Bavili including the pamphlet Bavili Alphabet Restored, 1905, undated

O Africa!, including revisions, undated

(2 folders)

The Order in Genesis Psychological, undated

The Plaint of a Scab, undated

The Powers in Nature and a Few Astonishing Signs in West Africa, undated

The Professor, undated

Reconciliation, rough draft includes alternate titles, undated

(2 folders)

Box 2 A Reminiscence of Miss Kingsley, 1893

The Seasons, undated

Self and Personality, undated

The Seven Elemental Factors in Government, early draft, undated

Some Opposites, undated

The Soul in the Sand, including revisions, undated

A Story with a Moral: Philanthropy in West Africa, including revisions, undated

A Study in Yoruba Cosmological Philosophy, undated

Thoughts on the "Philosophy" of the Carpenter's Workshop, undated

Various poems, undated

West African Genesis including notes, undated

West African Oil Seeds and the Oil and Margarine Trade, undated

West African Religions, including notes and revisions, undated

West African Religion, undated

Yoruba and Bantu Prefixes and Sir Harry Johnston's Latest Great Book, undated

The Yoruba Kingdom, undated

Yoruba Language Guide, including linguistics, vocabulary and grammar, undated

Yoruba numbers 1-200, including notes and revisions, undated

(2 folders)

The Yoruba Seasons, undated

Untitled manuscript, a discussion on Bantu and Bavili religion against the Book of

Genesis, undated

Untitled manuscript, African religion, undated

Untitled manuscript, western religion, undated

Untitled manuscript, including various West African religious verses, undated

Untitled manuscript, government and religion, undated

Untitled manuscript, notes on the Sacred Grove of the Bavili, undated

Untitled manuscript, on Yoruba culture, undated

Untitled manuscript, undated

Unidentified correspondence, undated