The collection almost entirely contains handwritten notes for speeches, talks and addresses. Dr Mary McLarty was a Transvaal Provincial Councillor and educationist, and the speeches are prepared in that capacity. Apart from politics, she was vastly interested in education, churches, Hospitals and nursing, girl guides, the role of women and adolescents, race relations and literary subjects, plus a range of notes on various places of the world.
A keen observer, Edward Bushnan Rose in his notebook records everything of interest, including an interview with General Smuts when the Boer forces were about to surrender. He included a number of photographs, which he must have obtained from the Barnett's shop in Johannesburg, which was by then run by David Barnett after the death of his brother Joseph. Rose gives an account of the exodus from Johannesburg prior to the outbreak of war on the 11 October 1899; the alarm in the town; the journey in coal and cattle trucks; the effect in Johannesburg of the declaration of war and under martial law; looting; formation of the Uitlander corps; manufacture of ammunition; commandeering of horses and gold; government proclamations affecting rents and foodstuffs; how the news of Stormberg, Scholtzuch and Colenso was received; Christmas at Johannesburg; cautioning of rumour mongers, relief and other funds; the ambulance corps; hospitals; President Kruger and the British; conduct of Uitlanders; behaviour of the Boers during the war; Boer withdrawals, and casualties up to the relief of Kimberley and Ladysmith; the great explosion at the Begbie's Foundry, which had been used for armaments production by Boer forces, on the 24 April 1900 ; restarting the mines; Smuts ultimatum; termination of the war; condition of British prison camps; surrender of Johannesburg; Dr. Krause's proclamation; hoisting the Union Jack and the surrender of Pretoria.
The collection contains the Papers of Sylvia Brererton Neame (also known as Sylvia Neame-Jahn after her marriage in the 1980s to Gerhard Jahn), who was a political activist and member of the South African Communist Party.