The Cathedrals Collection consists of the libraries assembled in the 19th and early 20th century at the Cathedrals of Bloemfontein and Umtata by the bishops of the Church of the Province of South Africa. These libraries were purchased in 1974 and 1975 by the University of South Africa from the cathedral authorities.
The bookstock of the libraries represents the Anglo-Catholic interests of the bishops. The collection is very strong in the following areas;
- Works of Church fathers, containing many Benedictine editions and series such as the Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology and the Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
- Works of Anglican divines of all persuasions, but especially of the Tractarians and Cardinal Newman in particular
- An almost complete set of Tracts for the Times
- Books such as the Biblia Sacra Polyglotta (1657)
- The English Hexapla (1841)
- the Revised Version of the Bible (1885), representing a milestone in English church history
- Liturgical works, including many different versions of the prayer book and the historical works of the Henry Bradshaw Society
- Individual volumes containing many inscriptions of ownership, providing a fascinating insight into the history of the early pioneers of the Church of the Province of South Africa
- Volumes which contain the bookplate and inscriptions of the well-known bibliophile, Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford.
The Bloemfontein collection is fully described and catalogued in Sylvia Williams' MBibl dissertation.
The collection may be consulted in the Archives. Only books published after 1850 may be issued. Cataloguing of these items is intended in 1999.
Contact number: +27 12 429 2560