Fonds BC587 - Leo Marquard Papers

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Leo Marquard Papers


  • 1920-1979 (Creation)

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26 boxes

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Biographical history

Leopold Marquard, b. 15.6.1897 at Winburg, O.F.S., was the son of Dr. J.J.T. Marquard, moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Orange Free State, and of Margaret Murray, who was the daughter of Professor John Murray of the Theological Seminary at Stellenbosch and granddaughter of Rev. Andrew Murray. After his father's death in 1904, at his own request he was apprenticed at the age of eight to a Dutch carpenter for 2 years from 1905-1907. He attended schools at Winburg and Ficksburg from 1907-1914 and after that the Grey University College, Bloemfontein until 1917. In 1918 he joined the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force) but had not completed his training when the War ended. From November 1918 to June 1919 he was regional officer (Captain) in charge of Army Education at Cranwell. In 1919 he taught mathematics at Grey College School, Bloemfontein, and was a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford, from 1920-1923, gaining a B.A.(Hons.) in Modern History and a Diploma in Education, and later an M.A. From 1923 to 1940 he taught History at Grey College School, Bloemfontein. In June 1940 he joined the Military College Staff as an instructor with the rank of lieutenant and from 1941 assisted Dr. E.G. Malherbe to establish Army Education Services and from 1942 until the end of the war he was in charge of Army Education Services for the Defence Force and rose to the rank of Lt. Col. He was awarded the M.B.E. (Military) in 1944 for his work with the Army Education Services. At the end of 1945, together with J.H. Hofmeyr, he represented South Africa at the inaugural meeting of UNESCO in London, and went to Holland at the invitation of the Dutch Government to discuss cultural relations with South Africa. From 1946 to 1962 he was the Editorial Manager of Oxford University Press in Cape Town. In 1924 he founded the National Union of South African Students and was its president for seven successive years. In 1927 he founded, in Bloemfontein, the Joint Council (of Europeans and Africans). He was a member of the Merle Davis Commission of enquiry into urbanisation on the Rhodesian Copperbelt in 1932 and wrote part of the published report. He organised tours for Free State schoolboys to England and Europe in 1927, 1936 and 1938. He was one of the founders of the Institute of Citizenship in 1947 and in the early 1950's he helped to found the Civil Rights League and the Liberal Party. He was a life member of the S.A. Institute of Race Relations and its president in 1957, 1958 and 1969. He and his wife were awarded a joint Carnegie Travelling Fellowship in 1958, and he was a visiting fellow of St. Cross College, Oxford.
After the second World War he did a weekly current affairs survey for the S.A.B.C. and also for the B.B.C. He wrote articles on current affairs, political and historical themes from the 1920's until 1974 and contributed regularly to the "Baltimore Sun" for many years. He was also the author of many books some of which ran into several editions.
An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred on him in 1973 by the University of the Witwatersrand and an honorary Doctorate of Letters was conferred posthumously by the University of Natal. He was a member of the University of Cape Town Council from 1952 until his death. He married Nellie Joan van der Merwe in 1927 and they had one son and one daughter. He died in Cape Town on 27th March 1974.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Mrs Nellie Joan Marquard, 1974.

Scope and content

Leo Marquard (1897-1974), is founder of the National Union of South African Students, and co-founder of both the Liberal Party of South Africa and the South African Institute of Race Relations; historian and author of several books and pamphlets on South African political and racial affairs.
Material on organizations such as the South African Institute of Race Relations, the Liberal Party, the National Union of South African Students, and many others.
Letters (2732), from family, friends and associates. The letters to his wife are of particular importance, but are closed at present.
MSS and TSS of his articles, speeches and books on current affairs, politics and history from the 1920s to 1974.
The Leo Marquard Papers were presented to the University of Cape Town Libraries by Mrs. N.J. Marquard in 1974 and number over 9 000 items.
The papers fall into various categories which clearly reflect his work and interests from an early age until his death. There is a large section of letters, an important part of which are his letters to his wife. This section is closed at present. There are also letters which he wrote to his family from Oxford and some letters from his Mother to him while he was in Oxford, and several hundred letters from his friends and associates.
The rest of the papers clearly show his deep and continued interest in education and political matters. Many copies of his talks for the S.A.B.C. and B.B.C. have been preserved as well as manuscript and typescript copies of texts for speeches, articles and books. Included are copies of the interesting surveys of current affairs which he contributed to the "Baltimore Sun" from 1960-1974.


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