History and Politics

Collections and archives

To get scientific information and permission to consult the archives and other collections of the service, please contact the 'Scientific Coordinators'.

For requests for loans, or the use and reproduction of materials from the archives and the service’s other collections, contact the Archives and Collection Management service: see ‘Contacts’ below.



  • The Henry Morton Stanley Archives

65 diaries and notebooks, around 10,000 letters, some 800 drawings, photographs, slides and maps, manuscripts and press cuttings which constitute the personal archives of the journalist and traveller Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904).
Inventory of the Stanley archives
Collection of photographs of Stanley
Contact: Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi, scientific coordinator

  • Specific archives
    • Colonial History
      About 400 private original archive items which concern the exploration of Central Africa from the middle of the 19th century, the colonial expansion policy of Léopold II, the Congo Free State, the Congo under the Belgian colonial regime and the Congo after it gained independence in 1960.
      General inventory of these 400 archive items and detailled invotries for some of them
      Scientific coordinator: Dr Patricia Van Schuylenbergh. Contact: Tom Morren
    • Decolonisation and independent Congo
      20 archive collections concerning political developments in DR Congo between 1950 and the present day and representing more than 400 boxes, from individuals who stayed and worked in Congo or who have conducted research on Congo.
      Among the most important are the Benoît Verhaegen collection (founder and former director of CEDAF), the Kithima bin Ramazani collection (archives of the MPR), the Jules Gérard-Libois collection (president and founder of CRISP and CEDAF; partly consultable in the online catalogue), the Renée Fox collection (former professor at the University of Pennsylvania, specialising in the sociology of medicine) and the Honoré Paelinck collection (documents relating to ONATRA).
      Scientific coordinator: Jean Omasombo Tshonda. Contact: Lore Van De Broeck
  • Archives of the Royal Museum for Central Africa

    RMCA institutional archives include a rich collection of documents, the oldest of which date to 1910.  These archives are an important source for researchers and offer many avenues of historical investigation. Of particular note are the mission reports of scientists who travelled in Africa at the very beginning of the colonial period.
    Scientific coordinator: Dr Maarten Couttenier. Contact: Tom Morren

  • Corporate and institutional archives
    In the years following Congo’s independence, several large mining, forestry and railway companies and certain Belgian institutions that had been active in the country submitted their administrative archives to the museum; some were narrowly saved from destruction. Some of these archives have been catalogued by the Association for the Promotion of Corporate Archives (AVAE-VVBA).
    More information
    Scientific coordinator: Dr Patricia Van Schuylenbergh. Contact: Tom Morren
  • Photographs
    These fall into several categories:
    • photographs produced by the museum itself,
    • photographs of individuals and companies,
    • official propaganda photographs (CID-Inforcongo).
    In particular, a collection of 600 photographs of politicians from the years 1959 to 1969 is held, originating from the Jules Gérard-Libois collection.
    Scientific coordinator: Dr Anne Cornet. Contact: Anne Welschen
  • Audiovisual sources
    The audiovisual collection contains some 650 archive films (35, 16 and 8 mm), mostly from the former Information and Public Relations Office for the Belgian Congo and Rwanda-Urundi (Inforcongo), the Haut-Katanga Mining Union (UMHK) and individuals. The films address various aspects of the Belgian Congo and the colonial world between 1940 and 1960 and associated propaganda. See also: The filmed heritage of Central Africa.
    The collection also brings together documentaries and reports in a variety of media and sound recordings broadcast on the Congolese and Belgian airwaves between 1952 and 1960. In addition, there is a large collection of interviews on DVD with Belgians and Congolese who experienced the colonial period. These interviews were conducted in French by the non-profit organisation Mémoires du Congo asbl and in Dutch by the non-profit organisation Afrika Getuigenissen vzw, as well as by the RMCA in connection with several exhibition projects.
    Scientific coordinator: Dr Patricia Van Schuylenbergh. Contact: Sophie de Ville
  • Maps
    • About 3,000 maps of Africa, from the 16th to the 20th century. The approximately 500 ‘old’ maps represent a first-rate iconographic resource for the history of Europe’s relations with Africa from the 16th to 19th centuries. The historiated cartouches illustrate perceptions of Africa among the ruling classes in modern Europe, while the cartography demonstrates with increasing precision the geographical progression from the imaginary to the real. The administrative or thematic maps of the colonial era (19th-20th centuries) primarily relate to the Congo and its neighbours.
    Scientific coordinator: Mr Wulf Bodenstein. Contact: Nancy Vanderlinden

    • Some 133 ethnographic, road, geological, population density and other maps of the Democratic Republic of Congo, provinces, areas and cities (Kisangani, Kinshasa, Elisabethville [Lubumbashi]) from 1948 to the present day. These maps are listed in the Online catalogue of the Library of Independent Congo.
    Contact: Lore Van De Broeck
  • Specific historical objects and collections
    It includes objects connected with the European presence in Central Africa, for example
    • uniforms
    • colonial material
    • everyday objects made of ivory
    • a small stamps and postal history collection
    • hundreds of rare or unique pieces shedding light in particular on postal policy and stamp design policy for the Belgian Congo, by means of preparatory images, essai coins and test plates.
    Scientific coordinator: Dr Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi. Contact: Nancy Vanderlinden
  • Press, periodicals
    The Library of Independent Congo subscribes to the main newspapers published in Kinshasa: Le Soft International, Le Phare, La Référence Plus, Le Potentiel, La Tempête des tropiques and L’Observateur. It also holds over 700 Congolese newspaper titles from the 1950s to the present day, including Le Palmarès, Elima and Salongo, as well as press agency bulletins (AZap, ACP, APA). It also has a large collection of periodicals such as Congo-Afrique (Kinshasa), Likundoli (Lubumbashi), the Annales of various Congolese university faculties, the Cahiers économiques et sociaux (Kinshasa), the Etudes congolaises (Kinshasa), the Problèmes sociaux zaïrois (Lubumbashi), L’Africain (Charleroi), and others.
    Contact: Lore Van De Broeck
  • Congolese official publications
    • Moniteur congolais and Journal officiel de la République démocratique du Congo
    • annual reports of the Central Bank
    • documents from various ministries and the provincial assemblies
    • etc.
    Scientific coordinator: Jean Omasombo Tshonda. Contact: Lore Van De Broeck
  • Thematic files
    1,200 files of newspaper clippings from Le Soir, La Libre Belgique, De Morgen, De Standaard and Le Monde (1960-present day).
    Scientific coordinator: Jean Omasombo Tshonda. Contact: Lore Van De Broeck
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