Rare Book Collections

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[B37] Amina Cachalia personal collection

As a member of the ANC in the early 1950s, Amina Cachalia worked hard to make the Defiance Campaign a success by distributing leaflets, making home visits and recruiting volunteers. She was arrested and sentenced to 14 days in Boksburg Prison for her participation in the Germiston March.

Cachalia was particularly concerned about the oppression of women. In 1948, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Progressive Union, an organisation that aimed to make women financially independent. In 1954, she took the lead in launching, together with other leading women of the movement, the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW) of which she became Treasurer.

The bulk of the donation consists of documents such as the manuscript of Amina Cachalia’s book, When hope and history rhyme, correspondence (with Nelson Mandela), photographs, cards and audio-visual material such as CDs, DVDs and VHS. Ms Coco Cachalia and Mr Ghaleb Cachalia donated the collection in 2015.

[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.

[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.

[B36] Sydney Press collection on family business & Edgars

The collection consists of Family Trust documents, correspondence and photographs regarding Edgars (founded by Sydney Press), family documents and letters covering personal matters as well as hobbies – e.g. Tree Society of South Africa.

[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

[A] Witwatersrand collections

At the founding of the former Rand Afrikaans University in 1967, a research project on the history of the Afrikaans community on the Witwatersrand was launched under the auspices of the History Department of the University.

UseResearch on the Afrikaans culture, political, economic, social, educational and religious activities; specific organisations, specific personalities of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand during 1886-1961.
TypeDocuments, diaries, photographs, press cuttings, private and official correspondence, memoirs, biographies, manuscripts, annual reports of organisations, their minutes and annexures, financial reports, speeches, framed photographs, painted portraits, and memorabilia.


A few interesting smaller collections under the umbrella collection of Afrikaners on the Witwatersrand have separate inventories:

Anglo Boer War collection

Language: Afrikaans

  • personal memories;
  • minutes of the Debating Society at St Helena POW Camp;
  • correspondence;
  • mounted photographs of the Anglo-Boer War.


[A132] History Department donation

Language: Afrikaans

Internal documents of the RAU History Dept. regarding the Afrikaner Project 1968-1980 e.g.

  • contracts and proclamations of 1886-1899 regarding farms on the Witwatersrand;
  • deeds of transfer of these farms;
  • seminars on the Afrikaners;
  • statistics on churches and schools on the Witwatersrand in 1924-1961.


[A126] Van Hoepen documents

Language: Afrikaans

Dr E C N van Hoepen was a photographer during the Anglo-Boer War. Afterwards he qualified as a mining engineer and geologist at the University of Delft. Back in South Africa he worked at the National Museum, Bloemfontein as a palaeontologist and did valuable research on fossils in the Karoo.

LanguageThis material is available in Afrikaans, English, Dutch, French and German.
UseResearch on palaeontology and some correspondence on the Karoo fossils.
TypeDr Van Hoepen’s correspondence, diary and some cuttings and manuscripts.

W B Vosloo Small Business Development Corporation collection [B16]

Finding Aid

Dr. W.B. Vosloo was the first Managing Director of the Small Business Development Corporation and this collection comprises his extensive document collection.

LanguageThis material is available in Afrikaans (50% of documents) and English
UseThe documents provide a unique insight into the South African political economy during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and are valuable research material for various disciplines, e.g. Economics, Political Studies and Historical Studies. The change in the relationship between the SBDC and the Government is, for instance, well documented.
TypeApart from the official SBDC documents, correspondence, training programs and publications, the collection also includes Dr. Vosloo’s speeches (1986-1995), as well as information on the small business policy and climate in other countries, e.g. in some European countries, Australia and the U.S.A.