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James Allardyce Ewing papers

Call Number: MS 1469

Scope and Contents

The James Allardyce Ewing Papers consist of correspondence and legal and financial papers, which document James Allardyce Ewing's commercial activities and interests in southern Africa. While the earliest item in the papers dates from 1892, the bulk of the material dates from 1909 to 1919.

The papers, which the Yale University Library purchased from Charles Apfelbaum in 1987, are composed of material relating to Ewing's companies in England and South Africa. Included in the papers are correspondence, ledger accounts for J. A. Ewing and Company, legal agreements concerning such issues as the transfer of shares in the South African Mutual Life Assurance Society, partnership arrangements with South African businessmen, and agency arrangements with individuals and outfitters all over South Africa. The materials cover trade in lumber and cattle and reflect the disruptive effects of World War I on commercial activity.

Folders 33 to 37 contain incoming letters from James Allardyce Ewing's nephew, Vincent Ewing, which concern the management of Vincent's Braemar Ranch in Rhodesia. The letters present a detailed account of the development of a homestead and the problems encountered in raising cattle. Vincent's letters include family and local news, as well as discussions of weather and market conditions, outbreaks of disease among the populace and the livestock, water supply problems, and the effects of World War I on the area.

The general correspondence in folders 38 to 51 includes incoming letters to James A. Ewing. Folder 52 contains a letter book with copies of Ewing's outgoing letters from 1912. Among the miscellaneous items at the end of the papers are printed financial records from South Africa and a surface survey map for a mine in German Southwest Africa.


  • 1892-1938
  • Majority of material found within 1909 - 1919


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Charles Apfelbaum, 1987.


Arranged by record type.


1.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of correspondence and legal and financial records documenting James Ewing's commercial interests in southern Africa. Correspondence between James Ewing and his nephew Vincent Ewing concerns the day to day management of the ranch Vincent owned in Rhodesia. Additional correspondence, financial accounts and agreements relate to J. A. Ewing and Company's investments in cattle, lumber, insurance and other ventures, particularly in South Africa and Rhodesia. The papers reflect the effects of World War I on such commercial activity.

Biographical / Historical

James Allardyce Ewing was born in Fraserburgh, Scotland in 1857. He emigrated to Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1877 and worked for Mackie, Dunn and Company. In 1890 he established the firm of J. A. Ewing and Company, with headquarters in London, and commercial interests in South Africa and Rhodesia. Ewing exercised great influence on the shipping and financial trade in South Africa. He died in 1924.

Guide to the James Allardyce Ewing Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Diane E. Kaplan
July 1989
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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