This archive was the product of a joint project between the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) and the Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA), which aimed to improve access to and use of their extensive collections of political ephemera. These collections are fully searchable, and in addition a selection of items can be viewed through the online gallery. Whether you are interested in politics, ephemeral material or the mechanics of organising a project of this kind it is hoped that this site will be of use to you.

The political archives at ICWS include more than 270 boxes of material from over 60 countries, including current and former members of the Commonwealth and former British and European colonies. The material largely dates from the 1960s and 1970s which, for many of these countries, thus covers the hugely significant period of the transition to independence. Most of the material is comprised of ephemera such as pamphlets, newsletters and posters.

South African materials are particularly well represented in this collection, with deposited items originating from an extraordinarily wide variety of political parties, trade unions and pressure groups. There are also extensive materials from Canada, New Zealand, India and various Caribbean states. 

Visit the archive