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Enquiries regarding archives and manuscripts

The primary purpose of Special Collections at UCT Libraries is to provide access to research resources for academic research by UCT’s students and staff as well as the broader national and international academic research community. The function of staff of Special Collections is to facilitate the work of researchers by providing information on the resources available by means of finding aids and rendering services to them in the Reading Room of the Jagger Library.

Special Collections is not in a position to carry out research on behalf of any user, or to search through quantities of primary sources physically to locate individual documents or determine their relevance to a user’s quest. The holdings are however open to any user without charge, irrespective of their subject or the purpose of their research.

Enquiries which comply with the above mandate may be sent by e-mail to Michal Singer, Manager of Primary Collections and enquiries by telephone may be directed to the Special Collections Information Desk,  021 650 4089.

In respect of other enquiries, and especially those of persons who are not able to conduct research on site themselves, it is suggested that the use of an experienced freelance researcher be considered.    

The reading room of Special Collections is situated in the historic Jagger Library on UCT’s Upper Campus and is accessed from University Avenue immediately left (south) of Jameson Hall, when facing the Hall. Please see block C5 on the map. Directions regarding temporary parking for visitors may be obtained from the Information Centre (block E10 on the map). Users with mobility impairments are able to access the Jagger Reading Room either through the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, or through the staff entrance on Library Road.

General information about Special Collections and some useful Digital Resources are accessible on the Special Collections page.

 A top-level overview of the manuscript holdings is accessible online.

Many of the archival finding aids are contained in the online database of finding aids Access to Memory, AtoM@UCT. Where information on particular collections is not yet contained in AtoM@UCT, users may enquire whether off-line finding aids could be sent to them by e-mail.

Selected archival material has been digitised and can be accessed through our Digital Collections platform.

The published holdings of Special Collections such as books and periodicals may be searched in UCT Libraries’ online catalogue, Primo. A search may be restricted to the African Studies Library and a number of other facets.