Scope and Content
Organization and Arrangement
Title: White Fathers Records
Records relating to Table d'enquète sur les moeurs et les coutumes indigènes [An Enquiry into the Indigenous Traditions and
Customs of Peoples of West and Central Africa],
Date (inclusive): 1950-1960, bulk 1951-1952
Collection number: 246
11 boxes (5.5 linear ft.)
University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Abstract: The White Fathers (a Catholic society also known as the Society of Missionaries of Africa) was founded in 1868 by Charles
M. Lavigerie, Archbishop of Algiers. The members of the White Fathers are bound by an oath to the establishment of the Catholic
Church on the African continent. The collection consists of a typed carbon set of responses to a 1950 inquiry sent by the
White Fathers to its missions in West and Central Africa. The inquiry's purpose was to gather ethnographic data from each
mission and to increase priests' familiarity with the customs of the indigenous people.
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department
of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including
copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds
the copyright and pursue the
copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Restrictions on Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.
Additional Physical Form Available
A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Department of Special Collections for in-house
consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
- Public Services Division
- UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
- Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
- Box 951575
- Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
- Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Padri Bianchi / Via Aurelia 269, 00165 / Roma, Italy. Original carbon copy set of manuscripts bound in volumes.
Provenance/Source of Acquisition
Gift of Archives of the White Fathers, 1993.
Another set of carbon copies of these records is in the Archives of the White Fathers (Padri Bianchi) in Rome, Italy. The
location of the original typescripts is unknown.
[Identification of item], White Fathers Records (Collection 246). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research
Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Founded in 1868 by Charles M. Lavigerie, Archbishop of Algiers, the White Fathers is a Catholic society also known as the
Society of Missionaries of Africa; after Lavigerie died in 1892, Léon Livinhac became superior general of the White Fathers;
in 1908, the Holy See approved the society's constitutions; members of the White Fathers are bound by an oath to the establishment
of the Catholic Church on the African continent.
Scope and Content
Collection consists of a typed carbon set of responses to a 1950 inquiry sent by the White Fathers to its missions in West
and Central Africa. The inquiry's purpose was to gather ethnographic data from each mission and to increase priests' familiarity
with the customs of the indigenous people.
Expanded Scope and Content
The purpose of the enquiry was two-fold: first, to gather ethnographic data from each mission or stations; and second, to
increase the familiarity of the priests with the traditional customs of the indigenous people of their flock through the process
of gathering the data. A sample of a blank enquiry/questionnaire is included (see Box 11, Folder 6)
The enquiry is divided into 6 parts with 12 sub-chapters (see the Questionnaire Outline at the beginning of the container
list for further information on the break-down of the enquiry). The responses to the enquiry are filed with the enquiry questions.
They comprise the bulk of the records and vary significantly in both length and content from mission to mission. They are
mostly dated 1951-1952, the few later dates are indicated in the finding aid.
In a few cases there are papers supplementing the responses, and manuscript notations in ink and pencil to the typed record.
The supplemental papers have been noted in the finding aid, as have the minority of instances where the return has been made
by a named individual.
Following the arrangement of the bound set in the White Fathers Archives noted above, the records have been arranged generally
by area: West Africa, which includes Mali, Burkina Faso, northern Guinea, northern Ghana and a small section of Nigeria; and
Central Africa which includes eastern Zaire, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, western Tanzania, western Zambia, parts of Malawi and
Mozambique. Within the geographical areas, the arrangement follows that of the organizational structure of the White Fathers
missions The organizing entities for the White Father's missions are the Apostolic Vicariate (V.A.) and the Apostolic Prefecture(P.A.).
The answers to the enquiry are collected by V.A. or P.A. Within each V.A. or P.A. the answers are sorted by ethnicity and
then a listing of the parts answered.
Organization and Arrangement
Arranged in the following series:
- West Africa.
- Central Africa.
The records comprise a typed carbon set of responses to an enquiry sent in 1950 by the White Fathers, a Roman Catholic Church
missionary order, to its missions in West and Central Africa, with related materials. The extent of records is estimated at
French, except for one paper and one part (see Cewa, Box 9, Folder 2) in English.
The ethnicities have been Anglicized and standardized by Dr. Christopher Ehret, UCLA. The standardized ethnicity is followed
by the ethnicity indicated in French on the records, put in brackets , when they differ significantly. In the cases of Bantu-speaking
people, the Bantu prefix of Wa, Ba etc. has almost always been omitted, unless necessary for identification. For less well-known
ethnicities there are linguistic identification in italics, based on George Murdock's
The Peoples of Africa, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1959.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Africa, West--Social life and customs.
Africa, Central--Social life and customs.