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Visual resources for African Studies: Home

Visual Resources Relating to Africa at Yale

Yale University Art Gallery

Headdress (Chi Wara)
Bamana, Mali, late 19th-early 20th century
Wood, brass tacks, 10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm) high
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art

Ross Archive of African Images

Welcome to the James J. Ross Archive of African Images presenting approximately 5000 pictures of African art published before 1921. RAAI is the result of an eight year collaboration between James J. Ross and Susan Vogel, the project's co-directors, assisted by an editor, researchers, a software developer and others. The Archive aspires to include all the figurative African objects in books, periodicals, catalogues, newspapers, and other publications appearing in 1920 and earlier - the oldest dates to 1591. The Archive does not include postcards or pamphlets of limited distribution, and focuses exclusively on figurative art. It is based mainly on the James J. Ross library augmented by publications from the libraries of Yale University and a few other institutions.

Arts Library, Visual Resources Collection

Wool Blanket:detail, woven & strip-sewn in the West African manner

African Collection Online Exhibits

The David E. Apter Collection

Photo by David E. Apter
Ashanti headman from Nigeria






The Casimir Zagourski Postcard Collection


 Photo by Casimir Zagourski
M'Bouaka child in Province de l'Equateur (now Equator Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo)






The Immanuel Wallerstein Collection of African Liberation Posters

Poster commemorating the Associacao de Amizade Portugalo






Divinity Library, Visual Resources

MADAGASCAR. - Les Religieuses de la Providence en Pirogue." ("The Sisters of Providence in a canoe")


Postcard Collection

The Manuscripts and Archives Department has an impressive collection of postcards from Africa, probably numbering 13,000 or so. The collection continues to expand as more items are added by the African Collection Librarian. The postcards are arranged by country or regional grouping, and date as far back as the beginning of the 20th century. A great number of them were produced during the period of European colonization, and many were even printed in Europe—mostly France, Germany and Italy. No one country is favored within this collection, there being excellent representation throughout the continent.
While many postcards were used for correspondence and as such provide an interesting resource for establishing Western ideas of Africa and Africans (not to mention their extreme interest to philatelists), others, such as the famed Zagourski postcards, were never mailed and obviously collected for other reasons. Many of the cards were taken and/or produced by skilled photographers/publishers such as Ern. Thill, G. Lerat, Peter Freres, and Rene Moreau to name a few.Themes cover a wide spectrum of topics, and provide a fascinating resource for students of enthography, historical geography, environmental history, cultural practices relating to the arts, such as ceremonies and costumes, as well as production methods of items for everyday use.



The Curator makes every attempt to collect the finest films made about Africa as well as films from Africa. These films are entered into the Library Catalog (Orbis) and are either in the library stacks or at LSF.

The Film Studies Center at the Whitney Humanities Center has thousands of films. Most of these should also appear in the Orbis catalog. If you know the title, you may look it up in ORBIS . If you wish to do a keyword search, here are some hints:

K=South Africa and video

K=aids and video and Africa