Fonds BC1559 - Spilhaus Family Papers (Karl and Nellie)

Reference code



Spilhaus Family Papers (Karl and Nellie)


  • 1641-1973 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 archive boxes and oversize folder

Name of creator

Biographical history

Karl Antonio Spilhaus (known as “Carlos”) was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in December 1876 but was brought up by is grandparents in Lübeck, Germany. He came out to the Cape, South Africa in 1896 to join his uncle in the Cape Town business already established as Wm Spilhaus & Co.

In November 1903 he married in Cape Town Nellie Brown Muir (1878-1972). Nellie, who was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, was the daughter of the Superintendent General of Education in the Cape, Dr Thomas Muir (knighted in 1915, so becoming Sir Thomas Muir).

The children of Carlos and Nellie Spilhaus were Karl William, Thomas Muir, Margaret Virginia (married name “Barry”), Mary Antonio (married name “Elliott”) and Athelstan Friedrich.

Peter Elliott , a grandson of Karl and Nellie Spilhaus, is publishing privately in November 2015 a booklet entitled “ The Spilhaus Family, Their Origins in Germany and how they came to the Cape, South Africa, Five hundred years of history (1450-1950)”. A limited print run of this booklet, illustrated with photos, will be produced for a Spilhaus Family Reunion at the old Spilhaus family residence, Hohenort, Constantia, in November 2015.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated in 2015 by Peter Elliott and Kay Coetzee (née Barry).

Scope and content

The Spilhaus Family Papers contain the papers of Karl Antonio Spilhaus and Nellie Brown Spilhaus, and other members of the family. Papers included personal documents, and genealogical information. There are included a number of family photographs.


System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

Contact University of Cape Town Libraries: Special Collections for information about accessing this collection.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes


Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Only a high-level description of the collection is maintained in AtoM. For a list of contents, go to
A separate list of metadata for digital photographs in the collection is available.

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Spilhaus Family Papers, BC319

Crawford Family Papers, BC1240

Jacobus Rodger Donation, BC108

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Accession area