This collection contains the papers of Edward C. Tabler, Africanist and author. Over half of the collection consists of letters to Tabler from Africa, England, and the United States devoted primarily to research and publication of his writings on the early history of South Africa and Rhodesia. In connection with these writings he corresponded not only with other scholars but with descendants of early explorers and settlers in order to trace family correspondence, diaries, and accounts of southern Africa, a number of which he subsequently edited for publication. Enclosed in several letters are hand-drawn maps of Southern Africa (folders 17, 27, 63), while one letter from George L. Harrison (1940 Jan 2: folder 33a) encloses correspondence and receipts from 1842 to 1919.
Also reflected in the correspondence is Tabler's interest in collecting Africana and antiquarian books, and in big game hunting. One other recurrent topic is contemporary politics in Rhodesia and South Africa, especially the changes in the Rhodesian government from the 1950s through the 1970s, discussed from the point of view of the white citizenry.
The remainder of the collection is made up primarily of looseleaf notebooks of research notes and bibliographies compiled by Tabler, as well as typed transcripts of diaries and other manuscripts from nineteenth century southern Africa. There are also a biographical sketch and clippings about Tabler, a bibliography of his writings and reviews of them, several photographs, and other miscellaneous items.