Hans Cory, 1888-1962, in his years as Tanganyika government sociologist, produced a collection of papers and monographs in the general field of political anthropology that rank as an important primary research source concerning that nation. The documentation, as do Cory's published writings, reflect the diverse interests of the author and the many sides of his character. The son of a Viennese musical family, his early interests were in African songs and dances, in composing Swahili poetry, and in collecting African drawings and figurines. Largely self-taught in the field of social anthropology, he had an abiding interest in ceremonies and rites, in the composition of secret societies, and in the use of plant medicines for religious and magical purposes. As an official he advised the government on a myriad of social problems. Outbreaks of murder, venereal disease, cattle theft, or armed revolt often brought administrative requests that he investigate the problem in depth and make policy recommendations.
The composition of the Cory collection, which is housed at the University College Library, Dar es Salaam, is predominantly typewritten papers, interviews, observations, and correspondence. Some of the field notes are handwritten, and a few papers are in German. There are also important subfiles of plant samples, drawings, paintings, and song texts. Cory's own bibliographical collection annotates and cross-indexes other writings by ethnic group, region, and individual author. The material falls into seven general categories: (1) local government, including native administration, constitution, and reform; (2) agricultural economics and land tenure; (3) magic, religion, secret societies, and related medical practices; (4) arts and crafts; (5) ethnography and tribal history; (6) customary law; and (7) language. The regional foci of much of the work are on the ethnic groups around Lake Victoria, particularly the Sukuma, Haya, Zinza, Kerewe, and Kuria. The peoples of central and western Tanzania, the Nyamwezi, Gogo, Nyaturu-Rimi, Ha, and Fipa, are represented in the collection, and some data exist on the eastern and coastal ethnic groups, particularly the Pare, Luguru, Zaramo, and Sambaa. Aside from a few monographs dealing with the Ngoni and Hehe, most ethnic groups of the southern regions of the country are not treated.