Dr David Livingstone Rare Books
David Livingstone was a Scottish-born missionary and Victorian explorer, whose ventures into Africa and the fame resulting therefrom was to have a considerable destabilising impact on the slave trade.
His rags-to-riches life started in a cotton mill, where he worked from the age of ten. He went to college and received a medical degree leaving the UK for South Africa as a medical missionary.
Livingstone’s fame as an explorer and his obsession with discovering the sources of the Nile river was founded on the belief that by solving that age-old mystery his fame would give him sufficient influence to end the African Arab-Swahili slave trade. “The Nile sources,” he told a friend, “are valuable only as a means of opening my mouth with power among men. It is this power which I hope to remedy an immense evil.”
He discovered Lake Ngami (1849), the Zambesi River (1851), The Victoria Falls of the Zambesi River (1855) and Lake Nyasa (1859).
David Livingstone first editions remain highly collectable to this day, notably his first book ‘Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa’ (1857) and ‘Narrative of an Expedition to the Zanzibar and Its Tributaries’ (published upon his return to England in 1865), both of which are scarce complete with all maps present. These works should be cornerstones for any serious collector of Africana or British Exploration, and are particularly sought-after in the original cloth in great condition, or even signed or inscribed, which can see prices paid for such works increase to many thousands of pounds.
Appointed British consul in central Africa, he went back with the express purpose of wiping out the slave trade and determining the watershed for the draining of the Nyasa-Tanganika region. Exhausted and near death he spent some months in Ujiji in 1871 an expedition was sent out under Sir Henry M Stanley to find Livingstone and their famous encounter began with Stanley’s anticlimactic “Dr Livingstone I presume?”
Livingstone died in an African village in 1873. His body was taken to England and buried in Westminster Abbey. ‘The Last Journals of David Livingstone’ was published posthumously in 2 vols in 1874 by Livingstone’s friend and staunch fellow anti-slavery campaigner Horace Waller, and this work is also considered a key work in his canon, again rare to find bound in very good or better condition publisher’s cloth.