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Oates Collection (Africa), Special Collections, Hartley Library: Home

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Contact:

Jenny Ruthven

email: archives@soton.ac.uk or tel. 023 80593335

Address:

Special Collections, Hartley Library, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ

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Bookplate of Frank Oates O.B.E.

bookplate

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Oates Collection (Africa)

The Oates Collection on Africa has as its focus accounts of European, primarily British, travel and exploration in Africa from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The writers recount their experiences as travellers, hunters, soldiers and missionaries in titles such as To Lake Tanganyika in a Bath Chair / Annie Hore (1889), African Hunting from Natal to the Zambesi / W.C. Baldwin (1863) and Soldiering and Surveying in British East Africa 1891-1894 / J.R.L. Macdonald (1897). The lives led by those who were resident in Africa for lengthy periods are also included, as in J. Mackenzie's Ten Years North of the Orange River (1871). 

The books commemorate Frank Oates (1840-1875), the explorer, whose journal was published posthumously as Matabele Land and the Victoria Falls (1881) and Frank Oates O.B.E. (1890-1945), the geologist, who worked on both the Gold Coast Geological Survey and the Tanganyika Geological Survey.

Extent: Over 250 books on Africa and Rhodesia ranging in date from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.

Location and Access

The books are part of the stack collection and can be requested via WebCat. See Stack Requests.

If you are not a member of the University you can use the books for reference in the Hartley Library. Please contact the Loans Service loanhart@soton.ac.uk or telephone 023 8059 3452 to make a request.

You will need to show photographic I.D. on entering the Hartley Library.

Borrowing Books

The Oates Collection (Africa) books are available for Long Loan and if you have a University I.D./Library Card you can borrow books at the Loans Desk or at the self-issue units on level 2.

Catalogues / Library Resources Search

  • WebCat includes records for all Oates Collection books. 
  • DelphiS enables you to search across WebCat and the Library's electronic databases and is especially useful for subject searches. You will need a University login to access full-text resources.

See Oates Collection (Africa) for a complete list of titles.

Collection History

Robert Washington Oates (1874-1958) was born in London and educated in Belgium and Germany. He served in the First World War as a private soldier, at the same time amassing a considerable fortune through his financial interest in a firm of industrial chemists. After the war he became an antique dealer, gaining an international reputation in the antiquarian book-trade.

In 1954 Oates was instrumental in securing Gilbert White's home, The Wakes, as a permanent memorial to the naturalist and author. There he established the Oates Memorial Museum and Library, which commemorated two members of his own family, his cousin, Captain Lawrence Oates (1880-1912), a member of the Scott's Antarctic Expedition and his uncle, Frank Oates (1840-1875) who was one of the first Europeans to see the Victoria Falls. At that time, the Library was reported to amount to 40,000 books.

Two collections of books from the Oates Memorial Library were acquired by the University in 1970.

Frank Oates Matabele Land and the Victoria Falls (1881)

book cover

Rare Books DT 970.M3

Photocopying

There are printer-copiers on each level of the Library, apart from level 5. The charges are 5p per A4 sheet and 10p for A3.

If you are not a member of the University, you will need to obtain a Guest Account login from either the Special Collections Enquiry Office or Hartley Library Reception.



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