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Mary-Louise Hooper papers

Identifier: MSS 293 large
Within the Mary-Louise Hooper papers are original letters of Albert Luthuli and his wife, Nokukhanya, and eldest daughter Albertina Luthuli, and other prominent South Africans such as Moses Kotane, Oliver Tambo, M.B. Yengwa, Alfred Hutchison, Eskia (Ezekial) Mphahlele, G.M. and M.P. Naicker, Stephen Dlamini, Alan Paton, as well as letters from the Mandela and Tambo law firm, Trevor Huddleston, Joshua Nkomo of Zimbabwe, and Tom Mboya of Kenya. There is also correspondence with San Francisco organisations such as the International Longshoremen Workers Union, active in anti apartheid campaigns in that city. Also included are files on tours of the U.S. by prominent South Africans such as Robert Resha and Dennis Brutus. numerous publications of African liberation and anti-apartheid movements (many annotated by Hooper), tapes (including the Nobel Prize speech of Albert Luthuli and a talk on the Freedom Charter) and photos (including those of Luthuli, and of Hooper underground with the FLN of Algeria, and of various ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, and later in exile in Tanzania or Zambia).


  • 1950s-1980s


6 Linear Feet (6 boxes) ; 27 x 14 x 32 cm.

Biographical / Historical

Mary-Louise Hooper (1907-1987), an American Quaker, in 1956 went to South Africa and soon became a secretary of Chief Albert Luthuli of the African National Congress (ANC), for whom she worked for two years. She was arrested as part of the repression around the Treason Trial and deported in 1957. In the United States she worked at the American Committee on Africa (ACOA) in New York and from 1958 as the West Coast Representative of the Africa Defense and Aid Fund, an organization set up and administered by ACOA. She officially represented the ANC at the All-African Peoples Conferences held in Accra, Ghana, in 1958, in Tunis, 1960, and Cairo, 1961; and also underground in Algeria in the early 1960s, before independence. She worked on many anti-apartheid and related camapigns, editing South African Bulletin (later Southern Africa Bulletin), and co-coordinated the Committee of Conscience against Apartheid, which campaigned against the financial support to apartheid given by banks.

Related Materials

There are additional archival material that relates to Mary-Louise Hooper in the archives of the ACOA at the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University. This includes letters she sent to ACOA while in South Africa using the name “S H Norris” or “S H N” is which she simply identifies Lutuli as “the boss.” It also includes the material related to her work at ACOA.
Finding Aid for the Mary-Louise Hooper papers
Finding aid prepared by Peter Limb.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48824 USA