Collection 009 - Mary Benson Papers

Identity area

Reference code

GB UL MR-RT-009

Title

Mary Benson Papers

Date(s)

  • 1948 - 1999 (Accumulation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

7 boxes. Rivonia Trial material is a part of this ; Text-based documents

Context area

Name of creator

(1919-2000)

Biographical history

A friend of Mandela’s, Benson was a journalist, author, and anti-apartheid activist. After serving as an aide to various generals in World War II she settled in England. She returned to South Africa in 1957 and worked to raise funds for the defence of Mandela and 155 other accused in the Treason Trial. Mandela visited her in London on his clandestine trip
out of South Africa in 1962. Among her books is Mandela: The Man and the Movement (New York: W. W. Norton, 1986).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Mainly correspondence between Benson and fellow South African activists and large amounts of newspaper cuttings collected by Benson relating to South Africa and the struggle against Apartheid.

Records related to the Rivonia Trial:


  • Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock at the Rivonia Trial (ICS6/5/3)
  • Elias Motsoaledi's statement (ICS6/5/7)
  • Correspondence, reports and statements about the treatment of political prisoners in South Africa, including reports by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and Amnesty International
  • Papers related to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, collected by Benson when writing her biography of Mandela, "Nelson Mandela: the Man and the Movement."
  • Correspondence between Mandela and Mary Benson. There is also correspondence between Benson and others, mainly related to Mandela and campaigns for his release from prison. Correspondents include Helen Suzman, Elinor Birley, Hilda Bernstein, Oliver Tambo, Winnie Mandela, Denis Healey and Ismail Ayob.
  • Typed notes on Mandela and other prisoner
  • News clippings concerning Mandela, mainly from British newspapers. Subjects covered in particular detail include the Rivonia Trial and campaigns for Mandela's release (ICS6/8)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

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Conditions governing access

Restrictions apply. Contact repository. Permission required from Ruth First Memorial Trust for access to some records.

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Inventory available from repository

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