Rare Book Collections

Home » UJ Library » Information Resources » Special Collections » Collections » Rare Book Collections

[BOYA] Boyazoglu collection of French Africana

Named after Prof J.G. Boyazoglu, former Counsellor (Agricultural/Technical) at the South African Embassy in Paris, collector and donator of this unique collection of French Africana – the most comprehensive on the subject in South Africa.

The collection comprises material illustrating French involvement in South African history, including the following:

  • material relating to the early French journeys to the Cape and South African interior;
  • descriptions of the role played by French missionaries in Southern Africa in the early
    nineteenth century;
  • documents regarding the French attitude to and observations during the Boer War;
  • documents on French involvement in the development of the mining industry in South Africa;
  • a collection of Boer-War memorabilia, e.g. porcelain, toys, etc.
LanguageThis material is available in French (95% of documents) and English
UseHumanities. Research on early 19th century history of Southern Africa; French missionaries in Southern Africa; the Boer War 1889 – 1902 and French involvement; development of the mining industry in South Africa and French involvement.
TypeBooks, bound newspapers and memorabilia.


[DEV] De Vleeschauwer’s collection of rare books

The collection of Prof. H.J. de Vleeschauwer, librarian and philosopher, consists mainly of books on philosophy.

LanguageThese books are available in Latin and French, as well as Dutch and English.
UseHumanities. Research on Philosophy and the art of bookmaking before 1850.

[B12] Eugène Marais collection of manuscripts

The collection includes the original hand-written and typed manuscripts of The soul of the ape, as well as the manuscript of Nag – his drama, written just before his untimely death by suicide. There are also some letters from Marais to his son (1916 – 1923), and correspondence between his son and the editor of an overseas journal regarding the alleged plagiarism of Marais’ book Burgers van die berge (1952).

Another interesting item in the collection is Marais’ sketch- and note-book, containing notes, ideas for articles and pencil sketches (inter alia of a young lady called Suzanne), which realised during his sojourn in London at the time of the Anglo Boer War, 1899 – 1902.

LanguageAfrikaans, with some translated English versions and some English correspondence.
UseLiterature and biographical research on Eugene Marais.
TypeBooks, diary and manuscript documents.

[JES] Jesuit collection (The Society of Jesus)

In 1990, The Society of Jesus entrusted to the library, on a permanent loan basis, the safe-keeping of their book collection.

The bulk of the collection comprises

  • works on theology and church history, as well as
  • valuable Africana and old prints
LanguageThis material is available in English (95% of documents) and Afrikaans.
UseHumanities. Research on early 19th century history of South Africa; the Boer War 1889 – 1902 and the Catholic religion.

[MYC] Konrad van Warmelo collection on Mycology

Prof. Konrad van Warmelo has been a professional mycologist since 1960. He taught Mycology at the former Rand Afrikaans University and trained students up to doctoral level. He was the former Head of the Department of Botany (RAU) and Advisor to the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg. Of the few mycologists in South Africa, Prof Van Warmelo could be regarded as the most experienced.

Mycology is the study of Fungi (the moulds and mushrooms) and is considered a sub-section of Microbiology, which focuses more on Bacteriology. Since the mid-1990’s the teaching of Mycology at South African universities has declined drastically. South African expertise to identify fungal specimens is becoming scarce …… and books about it similarly.

UJ is privileged to have renowned botanists like Professor Ben-Erik van Wyk (specialist in medicinal plants) and Professor Konrad van Warmelo (mycologist) associated with the University. Their publications and a special collection of books and documents on Mycology and plant genetics are available in the Rare Book collection.

[NP] N P van Wyk Louw collection

N.P. van Wyk Louw was not only an author and poet, but also one of the most well-read people on the Afrikaans literary scene, as his book collection, which includes about 7 500 monographs and 58 journal titles, proves.

Roughly half of the collection consists of literary works:

  • The Afrikaans section reflects Afrikaans literary history from its inception to 1970.
  • The Dutch literature section includes all the important works from the Middle Ages to circa 1970 – exquisite parchment bound tomes by P.C. Hooft, Joost van den Vondel, J. Cats, etc.
  • English, French and German literature are also well represented.
  • The extensive history section proves that Van Wyk Louw was fascinated by the tales of nations and their destinies.
  • Other prominent subjects in the collection are religion, philosophy, education and politics. The most important thinkers in these fields are well represented.
Language50% Afrikaans and Dutch. French, German and some English.
UseHumanities. Research on Afrikaans ad Dutch literature to 1970; French and German literature (influences of three language on Afrikaans); history, philosophy (unique sources), education and politics in South Africa up to 1970.
TypeBooks, journals and memorabilia.

[WARM] NJ Van Warmelo’s Anthropological & Language collection

Dr NJ van Warmelo was an anthropologist-linguist of international standing who recorded ethnographical and ethno-historical data on the indigenous peoples of South Africa and Namibia. Facts are presented in an unadorned, oral-history type style, recording the verbatim information of the spokesperson with a translation and an interpretation.

His extensive personal library includes works on languages and anthropology of Southern Africa in books and periodicals to 1950. The rest of the Collection consists of artefacts, e.g. beautiful beadwork, now historical photographs then taken in situ, microfiches, negatives, files containing ethnological data and working material used in the compilation of the Van Warmelo dictionaries.

LanguageEnglish, numerous African languages, German, Afrikaans and other languages.
UseHumanities. Research on anthropology, African languages, land rights, tribes and trade, genealogy.
TypeBooks, dictionaries, journals, photographs, microfiche and memorabilia.

[NRC] or [WNLA] TEBA Mineworker collection

The Archives of The Employment Bureau of South Africa (commonly known as TEBA) was moved from TEBA to the UJ Kingsway Campus at the end of 2004 on a semi-permanent loan basis. TEBA Ltd was established with the objective of assisting the growing Witwatersrand mining industry in recruiting mine workers. TEBA started as two different companies, i.e. WNLA (Witwatersrand Native Labour Association) in 1901, and NRC (Native Recruiting Corporation) in 1912. WNLA recruited mineworkers outside South Africa, and NRC recruited mineworkers within the borders of South Africa.

LanguageThis material is available in English and Portuguese (1%).
UseThe collection is a unique primary information source for research on labour recruitment for the gold mines as well as the coal mines and farm labour (the latter was a spinoff of the mine recruitment) and contains information on diverse subjects such as migration patterns, weather patterns, social conditions, health related matters, transport and many others.
TypeDocuments, bound volumes, photographs, architectural drawings, journals, pamphlets, press cuttings, framed photographs and painted portraits, as well as textiles and memorabilia