The Book & Pamphlet Collections

The book and pamphlet collections include the old, the rare and the unusual, hand-coloured illustrations and fine bindings. The books number about 22 000 volumes. The two pamphlet collections contain respectively about 2 100 items on a range of mostly historical subjects, including some rarities, and the Munger Collection, which contains about 1 450 items concerning 20th-century political activity, including previously banned items from the Apartheid era. Valuable contemporary works are backed up by modern publications and current scholarship.

The oldest item in the collection is an incunabulum, published about 1488, the first printed reference to Portugal’s maritime discoveries, as explorers found routes down the West African coast. There is a comprehensive travel collection of the voyages and journeys through Africa from the 16th century to the late 19th century. The inclusion of southern African material in old works of wider geographical scope gives the collection other dimensions. The Frontiers Wars of the Eastern Cape, the Zulu War of 1879 and the South African War, 1899-1902, are well represented. There is an exceptional collection of rare and visually beautiful folios on natural history, all of which include some southern African flora or fauna.

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