Robert Hepburn Wright began his career in the British Colonial Administrative Service. In 1936 he joined the Northern Nigerian Service, and four years later became private secretary to the Governor. But in 1946, when he returned to Northern Nigeria after serving in the Second World War, he wanted to do work that he felt would be more immediately and practically useful than administration, and switched to education. He began as principal of a teacher-training college, then rose to become Provincial Education Officer and finally Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education. During this period he became a confidant of and mentor to Nigeria's first Federal Prime Minister, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and forged close and lasting links with many Nigerian friends and colleagues. His letters are a unique record of the period leading up to the end of empire and Nigeria's emergence as an independent nation.