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Boer War - Natal photograph album

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0610

Scope and Contents

This album has 73 photographs taken 1899 - 1904, (most 14 x 20 cm/5.5 x 8 inches), which portray the British side of the Second Boer War in the colony of Natal. Many pictures are credited to photographers 'J.E.M photo' and 'B.W. Caney' (possibly Benjamin William Caney, 1842 - 1918, Durban's first jeweler and an enthusiastic amateur photographer). The album includes portraits of British soldiers, such as Major-General Sir William Fry (1858 – 1934, who later served in World War I and in retirement became Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man). Other images show panoramas of battelfields: the Battle of Colenso, the Battle of Spion Kop, the Battle of Pieters, the Battle of Krantz Kloof, the Battle of Monte Christo; with captions and notes indicating the position of the British Infantry. The second half of the album has snapshots of British military life taken by an unidentified photographer. But a few self portraits indicate he was a soldier in the British Army.


  • Creation: 1899-1904

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

The Second Boer War was fought from 1899 until 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and the Orange Free State. The war resulted from the century long conflict between Boers (the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer) and the British Empire and from the question as to which white nation would control gold mines in the region. These photographs were taken in the former British Colony of Natal, where Boers won a series of battles (such as the Battle of Colenso, portrayed in these images). But after the British increased their troops, they secured Natal and Cape Colony, and were able to invade the Transvaal in June 1900. In the next two years the Boers launched a guerrilla war and the British responded by cutting off supplies to the raiders and moving civilians into concentration camps. The Boer forces finally surrendered in May 1902, signing the Treaty of Vereeniging.


0.167 Cubic Feet (1 volume)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in February 2012.

Physical Description

A fine black leather album with 73 clear and well preserved pictures.

Processing Information

This is no known processing information for this collection.


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA