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Inventory of the Nigerian Pamphlets and Other Publications Collected by Simon Ottenberg
DT515.8 .E13 N68  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Related Materials
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Processing Information Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: Nigerian Pamphlets and Other Publications Collected by Simon Ottenberg
    Dates: 1904-1967 (bulk 1940-1965)
    Call Number: DT515.8 .E13 N68
    Collector: Ottenberg, Simon (collector)
    Collection Size: 18 microfilm reels (2.7 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Library
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Pamphlet and serial publications from Nigeria, particularly the Eastern Region, relating to Nigerian culture, history, literature, and politics. Includes works written by people of Ibo background and Onitsha Market Literature.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library
    Languages: In English

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library.

    Acquisition Information

    Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Library after 1970.

    Related Materials

    Simon Ottenberg Papers, Northwestern University Library

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Anthropologist Simon Ottenberg was a faculty member at the University of Washington, Seattle, from 1955 to 1991. He specialized in West Africa, particularly southeastern Nigeria, and is noted for his knowledge of African art. He received his PhD from Northwestern University in 1957.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Many of the pamphlets assembled by Ottenberg are known collectively as Onitsha Market Literature. Often written in pidgin English or Creole, these booklets were popular literature and have become an important reflection of the social lives and customs of Nigeria at midcentury. Although collections of Onitsha Market Literature are available elsewhere (for example, University of Indiana has 170 titles, the University of Kansas lists 101 titles [21 digitized], and the Digital Library of the Caribbean had digitized 21), this microfilm collection presents a wide number of otherwise unavailable or difficult-to-obtain titles.
    The 343 publications in this collection are chiefly of Nigerian origin, although a few items of interest published elsewhere are included. They include a large number of works published in the old Eastern Region of Nigeria and written by people of Ibo background. Ottenberg collected them while conducting field research in Nigeria in 1952–53, 1959–60, and during a visit there in the summer of 1966.


    The collection is arranged in five series: (1) Serials; (2) How-to-do-it booklets; (3) Literature; (4) History, culture, language; and (5) Politics and social change.

    Processing Information Note

    The Hoover Institution Library acquired two microfilm sets of the Simon Ottenberg Collection. Both sets appear to have been originally filmed by Cascade Microfilm Systems of Seattle, Washington. One set (also held by four other institutions), however, was made up of fourteen reels and was accompanied by a list of contents referred to as an index. The second set was initially thought to be a duplicate of the first although made up of seventeen reels. Only one library (University of Washington) in WorldCat lists a seventeen-reel set of the Ottenberg Collection.
    On closer examination, it was discovered that the seventeen-reel set included titles not found in the fourteen-reel set. Conversely, some titles in the fourteen-reel set were not included in the seventeen-reel set. In addition, it was discovered that some pamphlets and other materials from both sets were not listed in the accompanying list of contents.
    As a result, in 2015 the Hoover Institution created yet a third microfilm set (composed of eighteen reels) by combining all the titles on both microfilm sets. The list of contents was reworked and updated, with two addenda to reflect the additional titles not listed in the original index. The updated list of contents (35 pages) is also available at the head of reel 1.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Igbo (African people)
    Nigeria, Eastern--History