The Hunwick Collection contains 569 items, the majority of which are market and printed editions and photocopies of original manuscripts. Most items were produced in the 20th century, although some of the photocopies are of older items. Northwestern Professor John Hunwick and his students purchased these materials during research trips and donated them to the library.
Market editions of Arabic texts written by Nigerian authors make up a significant portion of this collection. The writings of Shaykh ‘Uthman b. Fudi, his brother ‘Abd Allah and his son Muhammad Bello are well represented as are the works of the noted contemporary Sokoto historian, the wazir Junayd. Another of the collection’s strengths is printed works and market editions by major Sufi scholars of Senegal, including most of the works (devotional poetry and prayers) of Ahmadu Bamba.
Items 535-545 of this collection are parts of a tome purchased by John Hunwick in Rabat in 1990 and containing works by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti and other Moroccan authors, some yet to be identified. Most notably, it also contains a copy of famous Timbuktu jurist Ahmad Baba’s Ghayat al-amal fi tafdil al-niyya ‘ala al-‘amal (“The highest hope, on preferring intention to action”) (item 541). Only two other copies are known to exist (one in Morocco and one in Tunisia). This copy may be the original dictated by the author to one of his Moroccan students in 1595.
Language: The majority of the items are in Arabic, while some are in Hausa, Wolof, Fulfulde, French, and English.
Authorship: Approximately 70% Nigerian authors, with 30% by other authors, including Senegalese and North Africans.