Skip to main content
Click logo to go to Libraries homepage

HIST 187: The Making of Modern South Africa - Finding Primary Sources: Overview

Why this guide?

This guide hopes to point you to easily-obtained primary source material on 20th-century South Africa. It lists online, microform, and print materials that provide firsthand accounts or documentation. There are, of course, many more collections than what's presented here!

Good Starting Places - Primary Sources

South African press and media sources

Finding Biographies and Personal Accounts in Franklin

Two Penn Libraries research guides offer suggestions for searching Franklin:

Franklin's subject headings for biographies use two patterns. NOTE: Neither subject heading pattern uses the word "Autobiography"!

  1. Personal names - last name first!
    Subject Heading Browse: mandela nelson - Too many choices!
    Keyword expert search: subject:("mandela nelson")
  2. [Class of person]--Biography
    Examples of relevant subject headings:
    Anti-apartheid activists--Great Britain--Biography.
    Anti-apartheid movements -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Civil rights workers -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Political activists -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Political prisoners -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Communists -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Journalists -- South Africa -- Biography.
    Police -- South Africa -- Biography.
    South Africa -- Exiles -- Biography.
    Keyword expert search: subject:(biography AND "south africa")
    Keyword expert search: subject:(biography AND "south africa") AND subject:(apartheid OR rights OR political OR communists OR exiles)

Franklin uses several subject heading phrases to identify firsthand accounts by individual people.
The most common of these are:

Memoirs. Personal narratives. Diaries.
Correspondence.
Oral history. Interviews.
Keyword expert search: subject:("south africa") AND subject:(police OR military OR soldiers OR army OR force) AND subject:(memoirs OR "personal narratives" OR diaries OR correspondence OR "oral history" OR interviews)

Put it all together to find works that focus on individual South Africans:
subject:("south africa" AND women) AND subject:(apartheid OR rights OR political OR communists OR exiles) AND subject:(biography OR memoirs OR "personal narratives" OR diaries OR correspondence OR "oral history" OR interviews)

Research collections

Late arrivals

These were received after the course need passed. They're here to help future readers!

Librarian & Coordinator of Social Sciences Collections

Lauris Olson's picture
Lauris Olson
Contact:
University of Pennsylvania Libraries
203 Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
University of Pennsylvania
3420 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
U.S.A.
215-898-0119
Website / Blog Page