Archive of the Colenbrander family

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Amanda Hill, Lucy McCann and Marion Lowman
2010, EAD version 2018



Department of Special Collections
Contact Information
Search Online Catalogues


Table of Contents

Introduction
A   Correspondence of J.W. Colenbrander and his family 1870-1918
    A.1   Correspondence 1870-1918
    A.2   Press cuttings 1904-95
B   Correspondence of J.C.A.L. Colenbrander concerning biographies of J.W. Colenbrander 1948-77
    B.1   Correspondence 1948-1977
    B.2   Other papers 1929-77
C   Transcripts of documents relating to J.W. Colenbrander 1952-85
D   Photographs c.1870-1990
E   Annotated books and other printed material 1893-1994


Archive of the Colenbrander family

1870-1995

Abstract:
Papers of Johan William Colenbrander (1856-1918), his son, J.C.A.L. Colenbrander (1913-99) and other papers collected on J.W. Colenbrander's life.

Extent: 1.5 Linear metres, 7 physical shelfmarks
Language(s) of Material: English

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1-7

Biographical/Historical

Biographical history compiled with reference to the Dictionary of South African Biography, Volume IV.

Johan William Colenbrander was born in Pinetown, Natal on 1 November 1856 to a Dutch family who had settled there in 1849. He led a varied and renowned life, participating in key events of the time such as the Zulu War, the visit of Lobengula's indunas to Queen Victoria, Rhodes' expansion into Mashonaland, the Ndebele Rebellion and the Anglo-Boer War. During the latter he raised and commanded a unit named 'Kitchener's Fighting Scouts'.

Various business ventures were started by Colenbrander in the periods between his military expeditions, including a big game hunting expedition targetted at Americans, but none of these proved successful. He tried hard to gain permission to raise a force during the First World War, but was denied the opportunity. In 1917 he obtained employment with I.W. Schlesinger's film company, helping to organise labour for the filming of 'The Symbol of Sacrifice'. He also played the part of Lord Chelmsford and was drowned as he tried to cross the Klip River on horseback on 10 February 1918.

Colenbrander was married three times: to Mollie Mullens in 1883 (she died in 1900), to Yvonne Nunn in 1902 (died 1904) with whom he had a daughter, Geraldine, and lastly to Catherine (Kathleen) Gloster in 1911, with whom he had a son, called Johan.

For a more detailed biography, please see the Dictionary of South African Biography, Volume IV.

Scope and Content

The material has been arranged as follows:

Acquisition

Received in several accessions from the early 1980s. Johan Colenbrander's son, J.C.A.L. Colenbrander, gathered a large amount of material on his father's life, much in preparation for a biography which was to have been written by the Marquis del Moral in the 1950s. The Marquis died in 1955 and the work was taken up by Tom V. Bulpin, who published The White Whirlwind in 1961. J.C.A.L. Colenbrander sent material to the Killie Campbell Library in Natal and to the Zimbabwe National Archives as well as the Bodleian. Many of the papers are photocopies of research notes and correspondence between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and the various biographers, but there is a significant amount of original material relating to J.W. Colenbrander, particularly in the way of photographs. Some of this early material is in a fragile state as a result of a house fire in 1968. J.C.A.L. Colenbrander rescued the documents, but many are singed.

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1, fols. 1-2].

Related Material

J.C.A.L. Colenbrander sent photocopies of material relating to his father to the Killie Campbell Library in Natal, South Africa, the Zimbabwean National Archives, and Yale Library, U.S.A. Yale Library also received some original photographs. Some artefacts relating to J.W. Colenbrander were housed at the Rhodes Memorial Museum, Bishops Stortford. A collection of love letters between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander's parents were retained by the family estate.

Personal name(s) (NCA Rules)

Colenbrander | Geraldine | 1904-
Colenbrander | Johan C A L | 1913-1999
Colenbrander | Johan William | 1856-1918 | frontiersman
Colenbrander | nee Gloster | Catherine | d 1982 | 3rd wife of J.W. Colenbrander
Colenbrander | nee Mullins | Mollie | d 1900 | 1st wife of J.W. Colenbrander
Colenbrander | nee Nunn | Yvonne | d 1904 | 2nd wife of J.W. Colenbrander

Place name(s) (NCA Rules)

Africa, Southern -- History
South Africa
Zimbabwe

Subject(s)

South African War, 1899-1902
Zululand (South Africa) -- History

A   Correspondence of J.W. Colenbrander and his family 1870-1918

A.1   Correspondence 1870-1918

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/1-4

Correspondence
Date: 1870-1908
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 11 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters from J.W. Colenbrander and other family members, including Colenbrander's account of his visit to London with Lobengula's indunas, 1 March 1889 (fol. 5), and letters appointing him as Companion of the order of the Bath, 1903 (fols. 7, 8).

Correspondence
Date: 1911-18
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 31 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters and telegrams from J.W. Colenbrander to members of his family and his fiancee, Kathleen Gloster. Includes copies of letters from Schlesinger's film company concerning arrangements for Colenbrander to move to Johannesburg before the commencement of filming 'The Symbol of Sacrifice'.

Promotional material
Date: 1913
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 23 leaves

Scope and Content

Draft promotional material for J.W. Colenbrander's 'Big Game Hunting Expedition' venture, with notes by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

Correspondence
Date: 1918
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 55 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters and telegrams of condolences after J.W. Colenbrander's death [damaged by fire], with fragments of undated letters from Colenbrander family members.

A.2   Press cuttings 1904-95

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/5-8

Press cuttings
Date: 1904-1918
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 44 leaves

Scope and Content

Press cuttings relating to events in the life of JW Colenbrander, with typescript transcripts made by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

Press cuttings re 'Symbol of Sacrifice'
Date: 1918-94
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/6
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 47 leaves

Scope and Content

Original printed film booklet of 'The Symbol of Sacrifice', with pictures from the film and explanation of the story (fols. 1-10); notes by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander; photocopies of newspaper cuttings about the making of the film; article by Mark Coghlan about the re-discovery of the film in 1994.

Press cuttings
Date: 1918, c.1924
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/7
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 53 leaves

Scope and Content

Press cuttings relating to the death of J.W. Colenbrander and the subsequent public enquiry into the accident; typescript transcripts of some of the cuttings.

Press cuttings
Date: 1951-95
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/1/8
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 48 leaves

Scope and Content

Press cuttings of articles relating to J.W. and Mollie Colenbrander and the opening of Colenbrander Park in Pinetown, Natal, in 1956.

B   Correspondence of J.C.A.L. Colenbrander concerning biographies of J.W. Colenbrander 1948-77

B.1   Correspondence 1948-1977

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2

Correspondence
Date: 1948-55
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 129 leaves

Scope and Content

Correspondence between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and the Marquis del Moral, who started work on a biography of J.W. Colenbrander in 1950. Includes research notes by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and some letters from the Marquis to Miss Ledeboer, daughter of Anna, the favourite sister of J.W. Colenbrander. The final item in the folder is a list of the papers accumulated by the Marquis for the biography, which had been deposited in the Central African Archives, Salisbury, Rhodesia [now the National Archives of Zimbabwe, Harare].

Correspondence
Date: 1952-53
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 38 leaves

Scope and Content

Correspondence between the Marquis del Moral and C[harles] A[pthorpe] Wheelwright about J.W. Colenbrander and also about the affair of the Bushveldt Carbineers. Moral had been an intelligence officer in the Northern Transvaal at the time of the scandal involving the Carbineers, who had killed Boer prisoners of war and were accused of shooting a German missionary. These papers include his recollection of the events surrounding the gathering of evidence for the trial. Wheelwright [1873-1954] had been a magistrate in Zululand (see also 9/3).

Correspondence
Date: 1952-53
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 35 leaves

Scope and Content

Correspondence between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and Rev. Mahambo Sithole, who was assisting him in research on J.W. Colenbrander's Zululand days.

Correspondence
Date: 1952-57
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 47 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters from Guy V Essery, a Zululand magistrate, concerning J.W. Colenbrander's activities in that region. Includes a copy of a letter written by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander [to Charles Wheelwright?] which mentions the circumstances in which the photograph of Queen Lozekey [Box 6/4] was taken (fols. 33-35).

Correspondence
Date: 1952-58
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 80 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopies of letters exchanged between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and Guy Essery, C A Wheelwright and Mahambo Sithole [many of them duplicates of the letters in 2/3 and 2/4 above], with annotations by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander. The order of the papers has not been altered since their receipt, so they are not arranged chronologically

Correspondence
Date: 1952-77
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/6
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 40 leaves

Scope and Content

Correspondence between J.C.A.L. Colenbrander and Killie Campbell concerning documents copied by the latter and deposited with her library, 1952-58. Summaries of the Colenbrander family history, written by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander. Also two letters from the National Museum of Southern Rhodesia about J.W. Colenbrander's shotgun (fols. 39, 40).

Correspondence
Date: 1954-57
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/7
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 38 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters from T V Bulpin about the progress of his fictionalised biography of J.W. Colenbrander, The White Whirlwind [available at Rhodes House Library : 610.16 r. 94]. Also a photocopy of an unpublished chapter of the book, concerning the Boer War activities of the unit commanded by Colenbrander: 'Kitchener's Fighting Scouts'. Sections of this have been deleted by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

Correspondence
Date: 1939-71
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/2/8
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 37 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopies of correspondence relating to publications which featured J.W. Colenbrander, including letters from Ruth Zillen in 1968 and Eric Goetzsche in 1971.

B.2   Other papers 1929-77

Scope and Content

Other papers of J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/3

Correspondence
Date: 1929-86
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/3/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 19 leaves

Scope and Content

Replies to J.C.A.L. Colenbrander's requests for information on the whereabouts of J.W. Colenbrander's autobiography, given to Steven Black for possible publication before Colenbrander's death.

Rhodes Centenary celebrations literature
Date: 1953
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/3/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 10 items

Scope and Content

Invitations and souvenirs of the 1953 Rhodes Centenary celebrations in Bulawayo.

Correspondence
Date: 1953-56
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/3/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 11 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters from Neil Pascoe (known as Holger Petersen when he played the part of the villain in 'Symbol of Sacrifice') about Colenbrander Park in Pinetown, with an invitation to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the park in 1956.

Correspondence
Date: 1951-77
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/3/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 118 leaves

Scope and Content

Letters written in response to requests for information on J.W. Colenbrander and transcripts of interviews with people who knew him.

C   Transcripts of documents relating to J.W. Colenbrander 1952-85

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/4-5


Transcripts
Date: c.1952-85
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/4/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 235 leaves

Scope and Content

Typed, photocopied and handwritten extracts from books, correspondence, newspapers and archives concerning the life of J.W. Colenbrander made by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

Transcripts
Date: 1982
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/4/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 144 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopies of typescript transcripts of letters, newspaper articles etc. relating to J.W. Colenbrander and made by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander. The photocopies were made in 1982.

Transcripts
Date: 1983
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/4/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 141 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopies of typescript and manuscript transcripts of letters relating to J.W. Colenbrander, made by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander. A list of the items, also made by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander, is to be found at the beginning of the file.

Transcripts
Date: 1984
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 227 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopied transcripts of material found in archive collections in Rhodesia and Natal relating to J.W. Colenbrander, photocopied by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander in 1984. fol.1 is a photocopy of a photograph of Colenbrander with his Kitchener's Fighting Scouts. The original is now badly damaged and in file 6/3.

D   Photographs c.1870-1990

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/1-/7/3


Photographs
Date: c.1870-1918
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 31 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of J.W. Colenbrander, including some taken with his first wife, Mollie Mullins and his third wife, Catherine Gloster. Many of the photographs are mounted studio portraits, including several of Colenbrander in his Kitchener's Fighting Scouts uniform. Also includes (fol.12) photographs of Bulawayo hospital and Jameson and Colenbrander at an indaba [on both sides of a card mount].

Photographs
Date: 1918
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 8 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of J.W. Colenbrander's funeral and his grave in Brixton Cemetery, Johannesburg.

Photograph
Date: 1900
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 item

Scope and Content

Photograph of Colenbrander with his Kitchener's Fighting Scouts unit: also see full-sized reproduction in MSS. Afr. s. 2330/5.

Photographs
Date: c.1917-18
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 9 items

Scope and Content

Photograph of Lobengula's queen, Lozekey (and his other surviving wives) with Harold Shaw, who was connected with the film company which made 'Symbol of Sacrifice' [c.1917, RHL negative 1084]. Photographs of scenes during the filming of 'Symbol of Sacrifice', 1918.

Photographs
Date: c.1884-c.1920
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/6/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 11 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of J.W. Colenbrander's wives and children.

Photographs
Date: c.1879-1900
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 44 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of J.W. Colenbrander's parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.

Photographs
Date: c.1879-1900
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 44 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of J.W. Colenbrander's parents, siblings, nieces and nephews.

Photographs
Date: 1942-72
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 56 items

Scope and Content

Photographs of Colenbrander family members, the 1953 Rhodes Centenary celebrations in Bulawayo, the opening of Colenbrander Park in Pinetown, Natal in 1955 and the unveiling of memorials in Bulawayo and Pinetown in 1956.

Photographs
Date: c.1980-90
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 72 items

Scope and Content

Copies of Colenbrander photographs, most of which are in the foregoing sections, but some are copies of photographs now in the Zimbabwe National Archives.

E   Annotated books and other printed material 1893-1994

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/4-/10/4


Catalogue
Date: c.1960
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/7/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 49 leaves

Scope and Content

Photocopy of a catalogue of J.W. Colenbrander's papers in National Archives of Rhodesia; with biographical notes, sorted by classes (correspondence, diaries, notebooks, photographs etc.).

Johan William Colenbrander: a history of his time and the people and events with which he was associated; 1879-1896 by Bernard Harley Kemp
Date: 1932
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/8
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 2 volumes

Scope and Content

Thesis by Bernard Harley Kemp, Natal, Pietermaritzburg, submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of History, University of Natal.

Volume 1, pp. 1-309 (with two loose pages of Colenbrander ancestry)

Volume 2, pp. 310-602

Copied typescript of 'Some reflections on the Kingship of Mpande' [King of the Zulus] by Pelin John Colenbrander
Date: [c.1984]
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 21 pages

Scope and Content

Pelin John Colenbrander, grandson of J.W. Colenbrander.

Typescript transcript of the record of the court of enquiry on the Shangani expedition
Date: 20 December 1893
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 83 pages

Scope and Content

Taken from CT 1/14/3 of the Zimbabwe Archives (includes a statement by J.W. Colenbrander, civilian contractor, on pp. 72-75).

Scapegoats of the empire: the story of the Bushveldt carbineers by George R. Witton
Date: 1907
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 240 pages

Scope and Content

This book (Melbourne: Paterson) includes some photographs. This copy was owned by C.A. Wheelwright (see file 2/2 above) [in very poor condition].

Rhodesia: information for tourists & sportsmen issued by the British South Africa Company
Date: 1909
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 133 pages

Scope and Content

5th edition - London, with illustrations, maps and annotations by both J W and J.C.A.L. Colenbrander. [In poor condition due to fire damage].

Brochure for the ‘Vryheid jubilee 1884-1934’
Date: 1934
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 59 pages

Scope and Content

Text in Afrikaans and English, with an introduction by Councillor Douglas E Green, Major of Vryheid.

Sibebu ka mapita: a study in the problems of Zulu leadership in the years 1979-1884 by P J Colenbrander
Date: 1972
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/6
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 73 pages

Scope and Content

Essay by P J Colenbrander, Natal, Pietermaritzburg (grandson of J.W. Colenbrander) submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the B.A. Honours degree in the Department of History and Political Science, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

Dingane’s kraal, Mgungundlovu, by J J Oberholster and James Walton
Date: [c.1980]
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/9/7
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 9 pages

Scope and Content

Brochure prepared by J J Oberholster and James Walton and published by the Commission for the Preservation of Natural and Historical Monuments, Relics and Antiques, in Afrikaans and English.

Historic Natal and Zululand by H.C. Lugg
Date: 1949
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/10/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 176 pages

Scope and Content

By H C Lugg, Pietermaritzburg, Shuter & Shooter, with notes by J.C.A.L. Colenbrander.

‘Zulu articles’ by Guy Essery
Date: 1958
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/10/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 63 pages

Scope and Content

Including articles on Zulu medicine men, Zulu words for parts of the body, and the murder of Shaka Zulu. Compiled and introduced by J Colenbrander, September 1958.

J.C.A.L. Colenbrander’s autobiographies, handwritten notes, some photocopied
Date: Jan 1985-Jul 1990
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/10/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 87 leaves

Scope and Content

J.C.A.L. Colenbrander’s autobiographies, handwritten notes, some photocopied 1985 Jan – 1990 Jul

Video tape copy of the surviving segments of 'The Symbol of Sacrifice'
Date: 1994
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2330/10/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 item

Scope and Content

Video tape copy of the surviving segments of 'The Symbol of Sacrifice' made in 1994. Copied with permission by Mark Coghlan, Kwa Zulu-Natal, Provincial Museum service.


Transformation from XML (EAD 2.0) to HTML
13 February 2018