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James L. Ruchti Kenya Collection Audio Tape Notes

In his audio recording on his donation of books and assorted ephemera on Kenya and of Kenyan origin, Ruchti makes the points:
  • The importance of Kenya in the British Empire: Kenya was considered a “Crown Jewel” in the Empire, meaning it was an area to hold onto at all costs as opposed to some other countries that were colonial possessions of Britain. Due to its rich resources and favorable sociological factors (in other words, that made it favorable for Britain to subjugate by colonialism) it was considered more important to some other of Britain’s colonial holdings, such as Gambia, for example.
  • The characteristics of Kenya’s leadership is stressed by Ruchti, as well as its social structure and its history. He goes onto mention which books of the collection support these points. It serves as an exteded annotaated bibliography of sorts!
  • Ruchti talks about Jomo Kenyatta, first prime minister of the autonomous state of Kenya in 1963. Ruchti discusses Kenyatta’s style of leadership, his relationship to Europeans within Kenyan borders - he let them stay, whereas in many new countries emerging from under colonial rule, Europeans were told and/or forced to leave and/or killed.
  • Ruchti discusses his experience as an agent in Kenya in the African Bureau to Kenya under the United States Department of State. Ruchti talks about his relationship with many of the country’s early officers in post-colonial times.
  • Ruchti mentions that part of his inclination to donate the collection is to help people learn from the past to build a better future.


Last Reviewed: 03/2014