The Hichens Collection includes the collected papers of William Hichens of the Kenya Administration.

William Hichens, of whom we have no certain date of birth, was in East Africa during the first decades of 1900 as an employee of the Kenya colonial administration.   While based there he began collecting Swahili manuscripts, and he edited many of them.   His collection of manuscripts, dating 1792-1943 (some undated), was gathered thanks to his collaboration with scholars like Sir Mbarak Ali Hinawy, Liwali of the Coast, Muhammad bin Abu Bakr Kijumwa of Lamu, and Alice Werner, herself a Swahili manuscripts collector.

Hichens' interests included the history of the Swahili poetry.   He produced a manuscript bibliography of Swahili poets with relevant poems, some of which he translated and published himself at his Azania Press.   He also compiled a biography, with poems, of the famous Mombasan poet Muyaka bin Haji al-Ghassaniy (Johannesburg, 1940).   His other publications at Azania Press include 'The Azania classics' (1932-34) edited with Alice Werner, and 'The Advice of Mwana Kupona upon the Wifely Duty' (1934).   His interests also touched upon the history of the East Africa Coast.

Hichens died in 1944 in Mombasa, Kenya.



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