SOAS University of London

SOAS Library

Welcome to Special Collections, SOAS Library

Here you can consult archives, manuscripts, photographs, maps, audio-visual material, rare books and SOAS PhD theses relating to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.

Broadly speaking, our collections reflect the British interaction with Africa and Asia over the last 250 years, and include archives of missionary societies, NGOs and campaign groups, and business organisations, as well as papers of individuals, including diplomats, campaigners, and academics.

Contact Details

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Access to Special Collections

The Special Collections Reading Room is now open to SOAS students and staff on Level D in the Library, giving access to the Library's archives, manuscripts and rare books. We have made some changes to our Special Collections Reading Room procedures, so even if you’ve visited us before, please read our guidance explaining what you can expect from your visit. 

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to provide in-person access to non-SOAS researchers due to COVID-19-related restrictions. SOAS Special Collections will be providing an enhanced remote enquiry service for non-SOAS researchers during this period. Please contact us via for further details. We are keeping our reading room service under review and plan to extend access to all our users when it is possible to do so. Please visit this page for updates. 

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