Missionary Archives from Lesotho, 1832-2006 Online
Archives of the Morija Museum Lesotho and Other Documents
Missionary Archives from Lesotho, 1832-2006 contains both the ethnographic and historical archives of the missionary-historian in Lesotho, D.F. Ellenberger, as well as the complete run of the bi-weekly magazine, the Leselinyana, from 1863 till 2006. The collection also includes historical maps, church archives, personal registers (birth, baptism, and marriage), missionaries’ correspondence, and it features the first written documents from the region. The collection is an important source for historians, theologians, anthropologists, ethnographers and linguists, working on Southern Africa or with an interest in Southern Africa.
The archives at the Morija Museum are one of the most important resources of the area. In Morija, French missionaries settled at the beginning of the 19th century, influenced by the strong connections at Cape Town with Dr John Phillip, Superintendent of the London Missionary Society. They started a printing press and published, amongst others, a bi-weekly magazine: the Leselinyana, which started its first publications in 1863. A complete run of this publication is available in this archive. The missionaries documented not only the history of Basotho/Lesotho but also created dictionaries, bible translations and linguistic publications in and about the Sesotho language.
The collection of mostly unpublished documents by David Frédéric Ellenberger, completed by his son René Ellenberger, covers the history of the Basotho from early times until 1854 and includes handdrawn maps and monographs. Together with church archives and some travel reports, these documents form a unique collection on the history of this region.