- 1960s-1970s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
9 archival boxes, 8 larger photographic boxes, negatives and contact sheets
Name of creator
Ernest Cole (1940-1990) was born as Ernest Levi Tsoloane Kole, in Eersterust, Pretoria. He joined the DRUM group of journalists, and thereafter started working as a freelance photographer. In 1966 he eventually decided to leave South Africa, as his work and movements became increasingly restricted by Apartheid laws. He managed to take with him a body of work which he had collected, including his negatives, which he used for the book "House of Bondage", published in New York in 1967, and one year later in London. He continued living and working in the USA, where he received a grant from the Ford Foundation to support a photographic project mainly on Afro-American issues and race relations in the USA. He also travel and lived in Sweden. He died from cancer in a hospital in New York in 1990.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited by the Ernest Cole Family Trust in 2019.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The collection contains the photographic work of the South African photographer Ernest Cole, some of which culminated in the iconic book "House of Bondage", published in 1967. Also included are his notes, correspondence and research material, as well as his photographic work which he continued in the USA.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
All Rights to the photographic work of Ernest Cole are held by the Ernest Cole Family Trust and permission to publish must be obtained from the Ernest Cole Family Trust.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Uploaded finding aid
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
House of bondage, Ernest Cole (photographs) and Thomas Flaherty (text), New York : Random House, 1967
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
The processing and sorting of the negative and contact sheets, which are not subject to the images in the Portfolio folder, and their description and uploading remains a work-in-progress.
Digital object metadata