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Alex Hepple Papers

Identifier: 002

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Scope and Contents

The Alex Hepple Papers are divided into seven main categories: Biographical, Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, Conferences and Tour, Governmental, Committees and Research, and are housed in 15 boxes.

A folder of news clippings, dating from 1948 to 1957, provides information on Hepple's governmental activities.

The Correspondence category of four folders contains a considerable amount of correspondence between Hepple and E.S. Sachs (Secretary of the Garment Workers' Union), Ambrose Johannesburg, H.F.C. Thorpe, J. Lewsen and Jessie McPherson. Other correspondence is from organizations such as SABRA, the Campaign for Right and Justice, Defence and Aid Fund, Congress of the People and the African National Congress; also a small amount from trade unions, such as S.A. Typographical Union, S.A. Tin Workers Union and Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers of S.A. Topics covered are the Industrial Conciliation Bill and the Industrial Legislation Commission Report, Native Law Amendment Bill of 1957, the Group Areas Bill, among other bills, and also several telegrams concerning the May 1, 1950 workers demonstration.

Included among Hepple's Writings and Speeches are six folders of newspaper articles by Hepple, an incomplete manuscript of a book, several unidentified typed manuscripts by Hepple, debate questions (printed transcripts of House of Assembly debates), speeches (incomplete) on the colored vote and a folder of handwritten and typed notes and charts pertaining to Hepple's articles and books. Along with the published news articles are the appropriate typed manuscripts of these articles, which appeared in such newspapers as Forward, The Democrat, Fighting Talk, Sunday Times and Natal Mercury, and cover topics such as housing, native representation, legislation, Tomlinson Report, and education.

Conference materials include a folder of programs for SABRA conferences dating from 1951-1957 and reports from the African National Congress and Transvaal Indian Congress Conference (1957-1962). There is also a folder which includes an itinerary, maps and mimeographed notes and reports (in Afrikaans) relating to Hepple's 1957 tour of South West Africa. Hepple's Governmental papers consist of three boxes of a mimeographed transcript of the Garment Workers Union case presented to the Garment Workers Union Commission of Enquiry, appointed on Sept. 9, 1948, and related statements from E.S. Sachs and the Garment Workers Union, and a report from the Department of Labour. Following are seven folders containing memos and reports relating to the Industrial Legislation Commission; agenda and minutes of a Special Conference on the Commission's Report; materials from the Trade Union Unity Committee of 1953, which was formed to consider provisions of the Industrial Conciliation Bill; and lastly a draft of the Bill, annotated by Hepple, the Minister of Labour's second reading of the Bill (1956) and a memo, notes and Assembly debates of 1955, relating to the Bill.

The following box contains eight folders of Committee materials. This includes notes and reports from the Native Areas Zoning Committee, which are in Afrikaans, and newsletters, memos, minutes of meetings and agendas, and other similar materials from the following: Defence and Aid Fund, Campaign for Right and Justice, Home and School Council and the Education League -- all groups which Hepple was involved or interested in. The remaining two folders in this box and the next 10 boxes contain research files of Hepple's.

Newspaper and magazine clippings occupy eight out of these 10 boxes. News clips can be found in the front of each subject file, with magazine clips following. A few of the clippings are in Afrikaans. The majority of the clippings are from newspapers such as the Rand Daily Mail, the Star, Forward, Evening Post, Die Transvaler, Cape Argus, Die Burger, Cape Times, Tribune, World, and Saamtrek; and from such magazines as Bantu, Drum, The Forum, Fighting Talk, The Garment Worker and Optima.

In addition, there are five folders containing clippings from the House of Assembly debates, and one folder of clips from the Government Gazette Staatskoerant, which is arranged chronologically from 1941 to 1963.

Included in the Research files is one box of published official memoranda, bills and reports relating to legislation, such as the Group Areas Bill of 1950, Native Laws Amendment Bill of 1957, Native Consolidation Act of 1945, the South African Constitution, and also South West African reports of the discussion and proceedings of the United Nations (1947-1955). A folder of complete issues of the Government Gazette Staatskoerant, from 1954-1964, can also be found in this box.

Lastly are nine folders of miscellaneous materials, including South African Institute of Race Relations publications, some annotated by Hepple, and dating from 1950 to 1964; a few pamphlets, also annotated; mimeographed statements and speeches; printed flyers, typed book excerpts, and other miscellaneous items.

See also separation record for listing of items removed from the collection.


  • 1937-1964



15.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Alex Hepple Papers contain materials about his association with South African trade unions, particularly the Garment Workers' Union. Hepple's concern for equality of opportunity, especially for the African labor force, is evidenced in his newspaper articles and other writings, and in the parliamentary debate records.


The Alex Hepple papers are organized into: clippings; correspondence (in chronological order); writings and speeches; conferences and tour materials; governmental papers (in approximately chronological order); committee materials; and research materials (including additional clippings, arranged under headings assigned by Hepple).

Separated Materials

All items included in the Separation List can be found in the Africana Collection and in the Northwestern University Library. Separated materials include 294 pamphlets, 61 "Fact Papers" (Digest of South African Affairs and South African Institute of Race Relations), and 71 magazines, including:

Illustrated bulletin, Johannesburg: Labour Party Editorial Board, Sept. 26, 1945 - Feb. 27, 1946 (Fourteen issues)

Race relations news, Johannesburg: S.A. Institute of Race Relations, 1940-1961 (Twelve issues)

The anti-slavery reporter and aborigines’ friend, London: The Anti-Slavery & Aborigines Protection Society (Eleven issues)

Race relations journal, Johannesburg: S.A. Institute of Race Relations, 1955-1962 (Seven issues)

Labour-Arbeids bulletin, Johannesburg: South African Labour Party, June - August 1944 (Six issues)

Unitas, Johannesburg: Unity Publications Ltd., 1958 (Four issues)

The Democrat, Johannesburg: Proprietor of the Democrat, Jan. 11, 1947, Nov. 25, 1947, Jan, 1948

Journal of racial affairs, Stellenbosch: SABRA, Jan. 1951, July 1951, April 1952

Bantu education journal, Pretoria: Union of S.A., Government Printer, Sept. 1955, Oct. 1955

Optima, Johannesburg: Anglo-American Corp. of S.A., March 1956

Socialist review, Johannesburg: Delta Publishing Co. June 1945, Oct. 1945

The South African tatler, Johannesburg, July 1962

The forum, Johannesburg: Central News Agency, April 3, 1948

The Black Sash, Cape Town: Black Sash, June/July 1959

Veldtrust Johannesburg: National Veld Trust, Vol. XV, No. 11

Guide to the Alex Hepple Papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Library Details

Part of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Repository

Main Library, 5th Floor, East Tower
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US