For newsletter number 121, our first of 2015, we would like to draw your attention to a major catalogue, The Collection of R. de R. Jooste: The Anglo-Boer War, South African History and Related Subjects (Part I). There are few South African War collections of similar substance in private hands, and several of the items in the catalogue have not come on to the market in many years.
Dr Tielman Jooste exemplifies the very best attributes of book collectors. Inheriting from his father an interest in the Anglo-Boer War, he sought to discover all he could about the ‘Last of the Gentlemen’s Wars’ and its antecedents. On his maternal De Villiers side, Dr Jooste’s forebears entertained the Boer leaders in their Cape Town home following the War. The family also extended hospitality to such Boer sympathisers as Roger Casement and Alice Stopford Green.
However, in his thirst for the truth about what happened, Dr Jooste did not satisfy himself with a collection presenting only one version of events. His wide-ranging library is particularly strong in Republican accounts, such as Davitt’s The Boer Fight for Freedom (63), Hiley and Hassell’s The Mobile Boer (115), Hofmeyr’s Zes Maanden bij de Commando’s (120), Jordaan’s Hoe zij stierven (131), Kritzinger and McDonald’s In the Shadow of Death (150), Muller’s Oorlogsherinneringe (194), Seiner’s Ernste und heitere Erinnerungen (265), and Wrangel’s Mit den Boeren gegen Albion (336). There are many titles on the Boer heroes, such as Danie Theron (30) and Jack Hindon (220). Others – notably Emily Hobhouse’s War Without Glamour (118) – deal with the War’s toll on the civilian population.
Then again, there are hundreds of books from the other side of the conflict. As one would expect, With the Flag to Pretoria and After Pretoria: The Guerilla War (333) feature, as do Ian Hamilton’s March (47), and Sir Charles Warren and Spion Kop (70). There are many regimental histories relating to the campaign – many exceedingly obscure, such as Bufton’s Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (36), Lewis’s On the Veldt (159), and M’Caw’s With the Ayrshire Volunteers (178).
There are books signed by authorities, protagonists or sympathisers on both sides, such as J. H. M. Abbott (2), J.H. Breytenbach (29), Oswald Pirow (213), Julian Ralph (234), and F. W. Reitz (243).
Ask the doctor about any book in his collection, and he will be able to offer you an opinion on its merits. He eschews jingoism, and can inevitably see both sides of a matter. In his company, one is reminded of the reception afforded Rayne Kruger’s Good-bye Dolly Gray upon its release, when the author was praised for “a lack of bias in handling a subject still controversial … years after the event.”
Given his medical background, it is understandable that Dr Jooste has also focused much on the treatment of the sick and wounded between 1899 and 1902. He has become something of an authority on the subject. In his standard reference work Healers, Helpers and Hospitals – A History of Military Medicine in the Anglo-Boer War, J. C. (Kay) de Villiers says: “Some individuals deserve special mention because of their untiring and valuable assistance over many years. The first among them is Dr Tielman Jooste with whom, after many years of geographic separation, a boyhood friendship was rekindled through our shared interest in the Anglo-Boer War. He put his vast knowledge of military and medical facts pertaining to this war at my disposal, and appeared to take a delight in going to endless trouble to search for information on my behalf.”
Medical highlights include, from the British perspective, Bowlby’s A Civilian War Hospital (25), Fremantle’s Impressions of a Doctor in Khaki (94), Inder’s On Active Service with the S.J.A.B. (126), and Makins’s Surgical Experiences in South Africa 1899-1900 (171). The treatment of Boer casualties is covered in Fessler’s Unter dem Roten Kreuz in Transvaal (86 and 87), Met het Roode Kruis mee in den Boeren-Vrijheidsoorlog, by Zuster Hellemans (111), ’s Unter dem Deutschen Roten Kreuz im Südafrikanischen Kriege (155), Suter’s Under dem Schweizerischen Roten kreuz im Burenkriege (291), and Tilemann’s Tagebuchblätter eines deutschen Arztes aus dem Burenkriege (294).
Rare books providing a context for the second Anglo-Boer War include Geschiedenis van de Emigranten-Boeren en van den Vrijheids-Oorlog, by Weilbach and Du Plessis (330), and Notulen der Verrichtingen van den Hoog-Edel Achtbaren Tweeden Volksraad der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek …1897 (340). Outstanding works more tenuously connected with the subject are Fischer’s Die Rehobother Bastards (88), and Preller’s Voortrekkers van Suidwes (224).
It is with great pleasure that, along with Dr Tielman Jooste, we offer for sale the first part of an important collection. To get a head start, you can find the liberally illustrated catalogue by clicking http://christison.co.za/wp-content/uploads/JoosteCat1.pdf , or, go to our website and click through from the caption of the catalogue thumbnail on the homepage. It really is worth it.
Lindsay and Wendy