The Historical Papers research archive, situated in the William Cullen Library, was established in 1966. Its first holdings were the Jan Hofmeyr collection and the Gubbins collection as well as manuscripts which were transferred from the Africana section in the William Cullen Library.
Geographical and cultural context
It has since become one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in Southern Africa. We house over 3400 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompassing the mid 17th Century to the Present.
Mandates/Sources of authority
Our primary aim is to serve the broader community as well as the university and to transform archives into accessible centres for research. Historical Papers tries to promote archival awareness and debate nationally. We also provide advice to NGOs, CBOs and trade unions on the management and preservation of their non-current records. In this way we help to build the capacity of human rights organisations through the sharing of knowledge on technical issues such as digitalization and basic techniques for organising and preserving materials.
Included are the records of many human rights NGOs, trade unions, labour federations, political parties, women's organisations, the Anglican Church and church bodies, and the papers of human rights activists. We are also home to a huge volume of political trials, photographs, press clippings, oral interviews, and material collected by several research institutions and individual researchers.