Understanding a collection, what its main components are and its most important analytical and interpretational features are all important to analysing the meaning of particular documents or traces, and also of sets of documents drawn from across a number of collections. Information needed for this understanding is provided on the Collections pages. Collections located in different archives have worked on in one of three different ways.

  1. A large number have had all their letters and other contents read and fieldnotes written about them and have been discussed in various WWW analysis and publications.
  2. Around twenty-five large or very large collections have been worked on in greater detail. Here all of the contents have been read and a searchable database compiled, containing detailed information for a 1 in 5 Sample of letters, with the same detail recorded for many Extra items that contain particularly interesting material, usually on ethnicity and race.
  3. Around five smaller collections have been recorded in totality, with all of their contents recorded in detail within a searchable database.

In addition to letters, a few linked diaries are included in the research databases. ‘Farm diaries’ were a required way of recording information to be returned to government sources. They have some attributes of letter-writing, in particular in having an implicit external third-person addressee, and the information recorded from them concerns labour, the African people who did it, and race matters.

The information accessed via the links below is for the collections worked on in detail (2 and 3 above) and for which fully searchable databases are available. These discussions contain interpretive overviews of the work carried out on each collection, the analysis made and the key features of interest arising. The interpretive overviews therefore provide the first-level analysis of the data in each collection, while the Traces pages analyse specific documents in depth, and Figurations concern the analysis made of the configurations of letter-writers and their addressees over time.

David Chalmers Aiken Diary, Killie Campbell Library, Durban

Apartheid Archive Narratives, University of Witwatersrand

William Ayliff Letters, Killie Campbell Library, Durban

Cape Colony Letters, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Findlay Family Letters, University of Witwatersrand

Forbes Family Letters, National Archives Depository, Pretoria

Forbes Family Diary, National Archives Depository, Pretoria  NEW!

Henry Francis Fynn Letters, Killie Campbell Library, Durban

James Henderson Collection, Cory Library, Grahamstown

May Hobbs Letters From Jan Smuts, National Archives Depository, Pretoria

LMS Matabeleland Letters, London Missionary Society Collection, SOAS, University of London

LMS South Africa Letters Set 1, London Missionary Society Collection, SOAS, University of London

LMS South Africa Letters Sets 2 and 3, London Missionary Society Collection, SOAS, University of London

John Lys Diary, Pietermaritzburg Archive Depot

Mary Moffat Letters, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Parkinson Family Letters, Pietermaritzburg Archive Depot

Elizabeth (Bessie) Lees Price Letters, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Pringle Family Collection, Cory Library, Grahamstown

ME Pringle Diaries, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Rhodes Papers, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Gottlob Schreiner LMS Letters, London Missionary Society Collection, SOAS, University of London

Schreiner-Hemming Collection, Manuscripts & Archives, University of Cape Town

RHW Shepherd Letters, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Southey Family Collection, Killie Campbell Library, Durban

Joseph Stirk Journal, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Voss Family Collection, National Archives Depository, Pretoria

Robert White Letters, Cory Library, Grahamstown

Last updated: 28 August 2019


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