Collection C009 - S. A. Rochlin collection of South African political and trade union organizations

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

S. A. Rochlin collection of South African political and trade union organizations

General material designation

  • Textual record

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Title statements of responsibility

Compiled by S.A. Rochlin

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the collection and the name of its collector.
  • Variations in title: The collection was identified by Frank Thorold Booksellers as the Rochlin collection relating to left wing political movements in S. Africa.

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Edition statement of responsibility

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1912-1960, predominant 1920-1950 (Creation)
    Rochlin, Samuel Abraham

Physical description area

Physical description

0.73 m of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(July 9, 1904-November 14, 1961)

Biographical history

Samuel Abraham Rochlin was born in Cape Town July 9, 1904 to Isaac Gershon Rochlin and Dora Rochlin (nee Daniller). His parents moved from Rostov on Don in South Russia to Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1896. They later moved to Cape Town where Samuel and his brothers Harry and Israel were born.

Rochlin, a historian, archivist, and researcher, witnessed the development of socialist and labour movements and the formation of the Communist Party of South Africa. Rochlin was a member of the Young Communist League in South Africa in the 1920s. Later he was involved in the Zionist movement, working for the Zionist Federation in Johannesburg and on the Zionist Record in the 1930s. He was also the first archivist of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), where he worked from 1947 to 1961. Rochlin is renowned for his research into South Africa’s Jewish settlers and was the chief research specialist of the South African Jewish Historical Society. Rochlin died November 14, 1961. In 1986 the SAJBD archives was renamed the S.A. Rochlin Archives in his honour.

Custodial history

The material was moved to the private home of an unnamed individual affiliated with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies after Rochlin’s death in 1961. It is likely that some of this material was then offered to Frank Thorold Booksellers in Johannesburg. The collection was purchased at a cost of £250 from Frank Thorold Booksellers by Donald Savage in 1965 for the Vanier Library at Loyola College, which merged with Concordia University in 1974.

Scope and content

This collection contains documents collected by S.A. Rochlin in the course of his activities as a historian, archivist, and researcher. The documents in this collection were mainly created in South Africa between 1912 and 1960. This collection contains the documents of communist and labor organizations active in South Africa during the 1920s through the 1940s, including the Communist Party of South Africa, United Communist Party, South African Labour Party, Industrial Socialist League, South African Trades Union Congress, and South African Association of Employees Organizations. This collection also contains the papers of Cecil Frank Glass, a member of the Industrial Socialist League in Cape Town and the Communist Party of South Africa. C.F. Glass’s documents were given to Rochlin around 1939 by Glass’ first wife Fanny Klenerman.

Collection consists of 607 documents, including 90 pamphlets, 46 newspaper or periodical titles, and folders containing 471 miscellaneous documents, including minutes, accounts, flyers, news clippings, correspondence, and handbills. Many of the documents in this collection are unique. As a result of their ephemeral nature it is unlikely that they are to be found elsewhere.

This collection is organized according to the following series:
C009/A Pamphlets
C009/B Periodicals and newspapers
C009/C Folders
C009/D Microfilm reels

Notes area

Physical condition

Documents are extremely fragile. Many records are yellowed and faded. Other records are torn, discolored, and foxing. Brittle documents are cracked and flaking.

Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased for the Vanier Library by Donald Savage in 1965.


Original order of the material has been maintained.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

    Location of originals

    Availability of other formats

    Restrictions on access

    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Reproduction for scholarly purposes is permitted.
    Use of material in a publication is only possible with the authorization of the copyright owner.

    Finding aids

    Box and item listings are available.

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    Related materials


    No further accruals expected.


    Documents were placed in acid-free file folders, envelopes, and archival quality boxes.


    Copyright held by the creator(s).

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