Scope and Content Note
Title: Tom Mboya papers,
Date (inclusive): 1950-1969
Collection number: 2002C32
73 manuscript boxes
(30.4 linear feet)
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Correspondence, speeches, memoranda, reports, studies, minutes, and printed matter, relating to political, social and economic
conditions in Kenya, trade unions and education in Kenya, Kenyan foreign relations, and pan-Africanism. Also available on
microfilm (82 reels).
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Box 73 CLOSED. Use copy available in Box 41 Folder 5. The remainder of the collection is open for research.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Tom Mboya papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.
Alternative Form Available
Also available on microfilm (83 reels).
Increments may have been received since this finding aid was prepared. Please check Stanford University's online catalog at
to find the full extent of the collection.
||Works for Nairobi City Council as a sanitary inspector
||Attends Third World Conference of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in Stockholm
||Becomes Secretary General of the Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions, subsequently the Kenya Federation of Labor
||Studies at Oxford University
||Undertakes first speaking tour of the United States
||Elected Member of the Legislative Council of Kenya
||Serves as chairman of the All African Peoples Conference in Accra, Ghana
||Visits the United States and forms the African-American Students Foundation in conjunction with William Scheinman. This foundation
initiates the student airlift program that brings Kenyan students to the United States and Canada
||Becomes Secretary General of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), a political party which supports Jomo Kenyatta
||Supervises second student airlift program
||Participates in the Lancaster House negotiations on Kenyan independence, in London
||Participates in second Lancaster House conference on Kenyan independence
||Becomes Minister for Labor
Freedom and After
||Serves as Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs
||Serves as Minister for Economic Planning and Development
|1969 July 5
||Assassinated in Nairobi
Scope and Content Note
Until his untimely death in 1969 at the hands of an assassin, Tom Mboya was a major figure in the political landscape of Kenya,
being widely viewed as a likely successor to the first president of independent Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. In a relatively short
but extremely busy lifetime, Mboya assumed a variety of often overlapping roles: labor leader, nationalist militant, politician,
Pan-Africanist, and educator. His many activities brought Mboya to prominence, both across Africa and internationally, and
his numerous travels and speaking engagements further enhanced his image as rising star of African politics.
Acquired in 2001, the Tom Mboya collection in the Hoover Institution Archives provides a documentary record of this varied
career, and as such represents a significant resource for scholarship on modern Africa. It is, of course, especially relevant
to the study of Kenya, both before and after independence, but the collection also contains materials that illuminate aspects
of Cold War politics in Africa, as well as extensive documentation on programs bringing Kenyan students to the United States
for university study.
Mboya first achieved recognition as a trade unionist in a Kenya that was still a British colony, and his involvement with
the Kenyan independence movement drew him into politics on a wider stage. He used his position as Secretary General of the
Kenya Federation of Labor to press for the detained Kenyatta's release from British custody, and was instrumental in the formation
of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the main political party of the African population in the country, winning a seat
in the Kenyan parliament as a KANU candidate. Mboya became Secretary General of KANU, and participated in the two rounds of
negotiations with Britain that resulted in the achievement of Kenyan independence in 1963.
Mboya served in a number of ministerial posters under the presidency of Kenyatta, and was Minister for Economic Planning and
Development in the years immediately prior to his death. While in government, Mboya retained his position as head of KANU,
and was a firm opponent of tribalism as a factor in post-colonial Kenyan politics. It is believed that tribal rivalries, and
their influence in the struggle to succeed Kenyatta, were a factor in Mboya's assassination, the full story of which has never
been explicated. The Mboya collection itself does not provide any further answers to the questions surrounding Mboya's killing.
The unorthodox series and subseries headings in the Mboya register reflect the original arrangement and description of the
materials as established by Tom Mboya and his heirs. The series order reflects the shipping manifest accompanying the collection.
The original reference number for each subseries is provided in parenthesis after each subseries heading in the register,
and discrepancies are noted when the contents of the subseries are at variance with the heading. There is no separate series
for speeches and writings, but significant speeches and articles by Tom Mboya are listed in the register as they occur in
the collection. There is a PUBLIC AFFAIRS series that contains a number of speeches and writings by Mboya.
Throughout his public career, Mboya conducted an extensive official correspondence, and in the collection this is grouped
largely according to organization or government department. There are separate TRADE UNIONS and KANU series, as well as one
for foreign correspondence (see GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE WITH FOREIGN COUNTRIES). Materials can be found in these series concerning
Mboya's relations with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and his correspondence in these series with American
officials such as Jay Lovestone and Irving Brown is of importance in understanding American policies toward Africa. The extensive
MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE series at the end of the collection contains both official and personal correspondence, much
of which is grouped by country. This series also contains materials concerning Mboya's official visit to Australia in 1964.
There is a large amount of materials in the collection that pertains to Kenyan domestic politics, some of which provide a
glimpse into the role played by tribal divisions within the country. The PARLIAMENT and POLITICS series also record Mboya's
many dealings with constituents as a Member of the Legislative Council, and in his ministerial posts.
In 1959, Tom Mboya initiated a significant effort to provide Kenyan students with opportunities to attend universities abroad,
especially in the United States and Canada, and there is a great deal of material concerning the student airlift program associated
with his name (see especially the INSTITUTES AND BURSARIES and the UNIVERSITIES series in the collection).
Additional materials concerning the airlift and about Mboya himself can be found in the William X. Scheinman collection in
the Hoover Institution Archives. The Scheinman collection contains drafts and proofs of Mboya's autobiography,
Freedom and After, and a number of speeches and articles by him. There are also audiovisual materials concerning Mboya in the Scheinman collection.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.
Kenya--Politics and government.