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J.E. Middlebrook South African souvenir, 1898
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: J.E. Middlebrook South African souvenir
    Date (inclusive): 1898
    Collection number: 94/58
    Creator: Middlebrook, J.E., photographer.
    Publisher: D'Urban & Kimberley [South Africa] : The Premier Studio, [1898].
    Physical Description: 1 album ([26] leaves) : 52 platinum photoprints ; 20 x 26 cm (album)

    Title, photographer, and place of publication from upper cover.

    Edition statement from Middlebrook's introduction preceding photographs.

    Photographs are mounted on rectos and versos of leaves of stiff white card stock, with some foxing on most leaves; interleaved with leaves of glassine; printed caption below each photo.

    Bound in remnants of original grained roan morocco padded leather covers, with gold-stamped title "South African Souvenir" on upper cover; inner gilt dentelles; all edges gilt; blue, gold, and brown marbled endpapers.

    Spec. Coll. copy: date, Dec. 23, 1898, added in pencil in upper margin of Middlebrook's introduction to the second ed. Last two photographs dated in pencil Jan. 28, 1899 and June 11, 1898 respectively. In modern beige cloth clamshell box.
    Abstract: Souvenir album from 1898 of platinum photoprints, or platinotypes, by J.E. Middlebrook, documenting South African cities and towns at the turn-of-the-century.
    Language: Finding aid is written in English.
    Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Access

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], J.E. Middlebrook South African souvenir (Collection 94/58). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233582 


    Late 19th-century South African photographer. The flourishing diamond mines in Kimberley brought hundreds of workers and photographers to the area beginning in 1867. J.E. Middlebrook followed soon thereafter in the early 1870s, and set up his photography studio, The Premier Studio, on West Street West ; he had a second studio in Durban, "Opposite the Club." Middlebrook photographed the landscape, farms, cities, and people of South Africa. His photographs of the Zulu people are considered to be theatrical, deliberating portraying the native people in an idyllic, romantic, and exotic light.

    Scope and Content

    The fifty-two platinotypes--prints made from a photographic process using ferric oxalate in combination with platinum salts deposited directly on the paper (rather than in an emulsion like the silver print process)--are arranged by the photographer following the itinerary of a route proceeding clockwise from Capetown up the eastern coast of South Africa, through Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, and East London, to Durban, and Pietermaritzburg, and provide views of the churches, parks, harbors, and main streets of these cities. Also included is a portrait of a local "cabby," a Zulu boy, wearing animal horns on his head, with his rickshaw. Continuing up the coast into what is now Mozambique, Middlebrook photographs Delagoa Bay, and the towns of Inhambane, Beira, Chinde, at the mouth of the Zambezi River, and Quelimane. As he crosses west into the Matoppo Hills towards Bulawayo, he records "Mr. Rhodes' Farm Buildings," with a photo of "C.J.R."--Cecil Rhodes--in the entrance of one of his conical "huts". Shots of Kimberley include a bird's eye view of the city from the De Beers Floors, and the Kimberley Sanitorium built by Rhodes. In Johannesburg, Middlebrook records a bird's eye view of the city, the imposing new post office, Commissioner and Pritchard Streets, Joubert Park, the vast produce market, and processing buildings of the Randt Gold Mining Companies. There are also views of Pretoria--including a scene of "Naachtmaal," when Boer farmers and families come to town for church services, and camp out in the town square--and the hills near Barberton, where Sheba G.M. Company mines quartz. Seven of the photographs portray native people, such as Chief Khama of the Batlapins, well-known for his friendship with Livingstone; Zulu men wearing head gear of rickshaw pullers in Durban; Zulu families in front of their homes in Natal, Zululand; an Amaxosa family in Cape Colony (Cape of Good Hope); a Matabele cane seller; a woman from Swaziland in native garb; and an east coast man, known as a Zanzibaree. The final two photographs are steamships: U[nion] S[steam] S[hip] Company's "Briton"; and C[astle] M[ail] P[ackets] Company's "Carisbrook Castle."

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Rhodes, Cecil, 1853-1902 --Photographs.
    Briton (Ship : 1898) --Photographs.
    Carisbrook Castle (Ship : 1898) --Photographs.
    Union Steam Ship Company.
    Castle Line (Firm)
    Zulu (African people) --Photographs.
    Indigenous peoples --South Africa --Photographs.
    Colonists --South Africa --Photographs.
    Harbors --South Africa --Photographs.
    Paddle steamers --Zambezi River --Photographs.
    Steamboats --South Africa --Photographs.
    Rickshaws --South Africa --Durban --Photographs.
    Gold and gold mining --South Africa --Johannesburg --Photographs.
    Quartz mines and mining --South Africa --Johannesburg --Photographs.
    South Africa --Photographs.
    Mozambique --Photographs.
    Port Elizabeth (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Cape Town (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Grahamstown (South Africa) --Photographs.
    East London (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Durban (South Africa)
    Pietermaritzburg (South Africa)
    Beira (Mozambique) --Photographs.
    Chinde (Mozambique) --Photographs.
    Quelimane (Mozambique) --Photographs.
    Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) --Photographs.
    Kimberley (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Johannesburg (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Pretoria (South Africa) --Photographs.
    Barberton (South Africa : Region) --Photographs.
    Zambezi River --Photographs.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Platinum photoprints --South Africa --1898.
    Photographic prints --South Africa --1898.
    Photograph albums --South Africa --1898.

    Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

    Premier Studios (Durban and Kimberley, South Africa)

    Related Material

    Part of the Photograph Album Collection (Collection 94)   in UCLA Library Special Collections.
    For historical background on the development of photography in Africa, and a brief mention of J.E. Middlebrook, cf. Silver images: history of photography in Africa / A.D. Bensusan. Capetown: H. Timmins, 1966. For information on Middlebrook's Zulu photography, cf. Virginia-Lee Webb, "Fact and fiction: nineteenth-century photographs of the Zulu," African Arts 25, no. 1 (Jan. 1992), p. 50-59, 98-99, available online through JStor.