French and Francophone

6. French resources in Sub-Saharan Africa

6.1 Libraries and Archives

Les Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer 

Archives on the colonial presence in French Overseas Territories.

The Archives Nationales d'Outre-Mer keeps two large collections

1) The archives of the Secretariats of State and the Ministries responsible for the French colonies from the 17thCentury to the 20th Century;

2) The archives transferred from the former colonies and Algeria when independence took place between 1954 and 1962, apart from the management archives which remained in the countries concerned.

All fields of colonial history are represented from the exploration of territories and the creation and administration of the colonies, the economic relations with Metropolitan France and the training of colonial administrators to the monitoring of political and liberation movements, wars and independences. Over 38 km of dossiers, 150,000 photographs, 60,000 maps and plans and a library of 120,000 books, periodicals and press titles.

Gives access to the Archives' online research tool IREL (Instruments de recherches en ligne).


Les Archives du Musée Branly

The collections of the Les Archives du Musée Branly offer combined access to the institutional and private resources of the Musée de l’Homme, the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, and other resources.


Bibliothèque de la Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme

The Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme is a research site specializing in the human and social sciences based on inter/pluridisciplinarity with a marked international dimension. The organization of the collections, which are multilingual and available on different supports, respects the principle that presided over the Fondation’s creation: promoting the most innovative and creative research.  The current documentary policy continues to align itself with the main research orientations in the social and human sciences.  Direct access to the catalogue Babylone.

Bibliotheque interuniversitaire Cujas

Library related to the subjects of law theory, economics and politics. The Library is also a depository for the United Nations publications.


Database “Voyages en Afrique” — Gallica (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

«Voyages en Afrique» contains a variety of information and resources covering the colonial history of the African continent and the Pacific islands (Madagascar, la Réunion, l'Ile Maurice). 

Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine (BDIC) (Nanterre)

Access to documentary sources and books on colonial and postcolonial history of Francophone, Anglophone andLusophone Africa.

Médiathèque du Musée du Quai Branly

The Médiathèque’s collections mainly come from two institutions: the Musée national des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie, formerly the Musée des Colonies founded in 1931, and the Musée de l’Homme, created in 1937 and heir to the Muséed’Ethnographie du Trocadéro. The collections are continually growing as a result of new acquisitions. It is possible to search the catalogue online.

The media library is a centre of excellence on ethnology and offers a wide choice of works on the art and civilisationsof Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas.  It also conserves documents relating to their cultural heritage: photographs, archives, documentation on the collections.

La Bibliothèque du Musée de l’Homme

The Musée de l’homme is closed for renovation until 2015.

It is possible to search the collections of the library by searching the central catalogue of the Muséum Nationald’Histoire Naturelle.