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Collection Overview

Bathurst, Walter Dundas, 1859-1940
Walter Dundas Bathurst Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box B-001180


Consists primarily of three diaries that William Dundas Bathurst (1859-1940) kept while serving as an officer of the Association Internationale du Congo (AIC) from December 1883 to September 1886.

Collection Description & Creator Information


Principally, this collection consists of three diaries kept by Walter Dundas Bathurst (1859-1940) during his time as an officer with the Association Internationale du Congo (AIC) from December 1883 (with his departure from England) until September 1886. They offer a detailed, first-hand account of Bathurst's involvement in Belgium's colonization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also included is some correspondence and ephemera related to Bathurst's time with the AIC as well as other professional correspondence and personal documents. Photographs, documents, and ephemera related to the Bathurst family are also included.

Collection Creator Biography:

Walter Dundas Bathurst (1859-1940) was the son of Henry Thomas Dundas Bathurst (1811-1891), a career civil servant, and Margaret Ann Dundas Bathurst (1834-1916), of London. In 1883, he signed a contract with the colonizing entity Association Internationale du Congo (AIC) to serve for three years as an assistant at one of the association's stations.

Bathurst started his assignment in February 1884 at Vivi beyond Boma on the Congo River, where he came under the direct command of Sir Henry Morton Stanley. One of Bathurst's first tasks was to supervise road-building to link trading posts that had been established. In August 1884, Bathurst was sent to Kinshasa and worked alongside Anthony Bannister Swinburne, H.M. Stanley's former assistant. By the end of his term, Bathurst's role involved engaging in high-level negotiations, including those with high-ranking representatives of the Teke people.

After his service with the AIC, Bathurst, with help from his father, continued in his father's footsteps as a civil servant with the Exchequer and Audit Department. He started out as a senior clerk auditing the accounts of the Gold Coast and Lagos in 1889. His service required his residency in Gibraltar for a time in the early 1890s.

Bathurst was married to Alice Matilda Willis (b. 1862) from 1891 until her death in 1917. They had one child, Marjorie Dundas Bathurst (b. 1892). In 1919, Bathurst married Rhona Batstone (1887-1977) with whom he had a son, Thomas Dundas Bathurst (1919-2006).

Collection History


Purchase, 2017 . (AM 2018-55)

Archival Appraisal Information:

No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in February 2018. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in February 2018.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Walter Dundas Bathurst Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
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