Livingstone's 1871 Field Diary

A Multispectral Critical Edition

Scope of the Present Edition
1. The Nyangwe Field Diary (23 March – 11 August 1871)
This portion of the diary records Livingstone’s journey from the village of Kasongo, an Arab settlement near the Lualaba River, to the village of Nyangwe (23-30 March 1871), his entire sojourn in Nyangwe (30 March – 20 July 1871), and the initial part of his return journey to Ujiji (20 July – 11 August 1871).
The Nyangwe Field Diary proper contains 34 folia, which take the file prefixes DLC297b (20 folia) and DLC 297c (14 folia). The folia of this portion are all written across the pages of a single, eight-page issue of The Standard (London) of 24 November 1869, which Livingstone cut up into 16 smaller leaves. (Download high-resolution TIFFs provided by the National Library of Scotland of a clean copy of the 24 November 1869 Standard: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8)
Livingstone received the newspaper from his friend and future editor Horace Waller along with 3 letters dated October, November, and December 1869 and a proof copy of The Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, 14.1 (8 Nov. 1869) on 4 February 1871. Livingstone notes these details in the Letter from Bambarre, a letter to Waller of 5 February 1871, which we have also published in a multispectral critical edition.
Figure 1. Livingstone, Letter from Bambarre, fol. 1r. Livingstone writes
to Waller regarding the copy of The Standard that the latter sent.
The set of folia comprising the Nyangwe Field Diary is complete: Livingstone’s numbering is continuous and the individual folia can be reassembled to form the entire eight-page newspaper. Each of the folia, with four exceptions, contains two adjacent, but not continuous pages of the diary. All together there are 64 numbered diary pages. Livingstone has numbered the diary pages consecutively in Roman numerals from CII to CLXIII (both CXXXII and CXXXIII are repeated).
Figure 2. The Standard, 24 Nov.1869, page 1, reconstructed from the folia of the 1871 Field Diary and showing Livingstone's overtext The entry covering the Nyangwe massacre is the second page up from the lower left-hand corner. Download a high-resolution JPEG (30MB) of this image.
Although the leaves of the Nyangwe Field Diary are now disassembled, their layout sequence indicates that Livingstone originally assembled the leaves into two "copy-books" (Waller, in Livingstone 1874,2:114n.). Each copy-book consisted of eight leaves (with two diary pages per folio, or four diary pages per leaf) placed one on top of the other, then folded along the middle to make a 32-page copy-book. It is not clear if Livingstone pre-numbered all the diary pages, but there is evidence that he pre-numbered at least some of them (see the section on Composition). Whatever the case, at some point the leaf containing (recto:) CXIX - CXVI and (verso:) CXVII - CXVIII was torn along the middle, and one leaf became two, each with only a single diary page per side:
first leaf: (recto:) CXVI / (verso:) CXVII
second leaf: (recto:) CXIX / (verso:) CXVIII
As a result, this portion of the diary consists of 34 folia containing 64 diary pages, rather than 32 folia as would be expected.
Finally, it is worth noting that all the leaves of the Nyangwe Field Diary proper – those under DLC297b and DLC297c – have been laminated with a heat-set document repair tissue by the Stirling University Library Conservation Unit. The Unit is known to have treated and surveyed other paper items at the David Livingstone Centre, and held the Nyangwe Diary from about March 1986 to April 1987. This tissue had no impact on the spectral imaging and processing of the diary pages in 2010-11.
Figure 3. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, magnified detail showing the
heat-set document repair tissue as a faint white film over the printed text.
The holes in the manuscript show the tissue particularly well.
2. Additional Diary Pages (11 August – 3 November 1871)
The second, fragmentary part of the 1871 Field Diary picks up where the Nyangwe portion leaves off and continues the narrative of Livingstone’s journey back to and arrival in Ujiji (11 August – 3 November 1871). This part ends just before the famous Livingstone-Stanley meeting. In fact, in one of the last entries Livingstone records a rumour he has heard about Stanley’s approach: "26th News from Garaganza many Arabs killed – road shut up – one Englishman there" (26 October 1871). The leaves of this part of the diary are held by the David Livingstone Centre, the National Library of Scotland, and the Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
Figure 4. Livingstone, 1871 Field Diary, 16-1/172ar, 26 Oct. 1871.
In this passage, Livingstone records the approach of Stanley.
This part consists of 10 folia that take the NLS10703, DLC1120b, and RHOLAfrs16-1 file prefixes. The folia are written on various envelopes and enclosures sent to Livingstone during his travels (see the sections on Composition and the page-by-page transcriptions for additional information). It is not clear whether this part is complete. Livingstone has not numbered the folia, but there are significant chronological gaps. The surviving folia span the following dates:
NLS10703: 11 August – 9 September 1871
DLC1120b: 28 September – 7 October 1871
RHOLAfrs16-1: 23 October – 3 November 1871
It appears that Livingstone stacked the two leaves that fall under NLS10703 and folded them in half to make an eight-page copy-book. Four consecutive pages of this copy-book contain diary entries, while the remaining four (also consecutive) – which were composed both before and much later than the embedded diary entries (at least 10 March 1871 to 15 November 1871) contain various calculations and astronomical observations.
The 1872 Journal, which Livingstone wrote up from his field diaries, does contain entries for some of the missing dates, a point which suggests that there may have been other diary fragments that have not survived. Furthermore, the opening of DLC1120b – "28 Septr 1871 cont = Journal" – suggests that this entry continues from a previous page that has not survived.
The Manuscript (cont)