Start main page content

Historical Papers Research Archive

Welcome to our platform for Research and Community Engagement!

The Historical Papers Research Archive is one of the most comprehensive public archives in Southern Africa, with over 3400 collections. We are the official repository of the South African Institute of Race Relations, and the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. Over and above we have in our custody collections which we received from trade unions, political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), women's organisations, church bodies, as well as records of political trials and the personal papers of individuals, many of which have shaped South Africa's past and present.

More recently the University has received two large historical archives, the Rand Mines archive from Barlow World and the archive of the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment company (JCI) from Anglo Platinum Rustenburg. These large holdings are now housed in the basement of the Education Library, which is a new archival space under the oversight of Historical Papers.

Our digitisation activities initially have been made possible with generous funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. We have since built a formidable digital resource, based on the archival application 'AtoM', an acronym for Access to Memory. This platform not only allows for displaying our full collection inventories, but also the digitised collections and collection items, such as photographs, oral interviews, and other audio and audio-visual records.

We assist remote enquiries, particularly for researchers who do not reside in South Africa, including:

  • telephonic or email-based guidance through our online platforms
  • verification of requests relating to our archival collections, including genealogical enquiries relating to the Anglican Church in Southern Africa
  • limited scanning and document provision of archival documents where possible and reasonable

Please consult sections 'Finding Aids' and 'Digital Archive' for access, guidance and searching.


Featured Images

  • Gallery Item 1
  • Gallery Item 10
  • Gallery Item 11
  • Gallery Item 12
  • Gallery Item 2
  • Gallery Item 3
  • Gallery Item 4
  • Gallery Item 5
  • Gallery Item 6
  • Gallery Item 7
  • Gallery Item 8
  • Gallery Item 9