Over the course of her lengthy career as an Africanist scholar, Cherry built a vast and impressive collection of published and unpublished research material, including books, periodicals, newspapers, government and non-government reports, conference and seminar papers, correspondence, teaching material, research journals and field notes that filled her house and overflowed into the back shed.

The best description of the ‘Gertzel collection’ comes from Cherry herself.  In 2009 she wrote a very useful three page description of her Library entitled My African Library: A Note   (download as pdf)

We are currently in the process of fulfilling Cherry’s request that a more detailed inventory of her Library be created and a permanent home found for the material with an appropriate educational institution (kept together if possible), allowing Africanist scholars to have the maximum benefit from what is undoubtedly, a remarkable and valuable collection.

The inventory is ever-growing as we work through the collection.  It is a time consuming, often overwelming but very interesting and enjoyable task.  To give you a sense of the breadth and size of her collection, see the mostly completed list of the periodicals (which amounts to only a small portion of the collection). The large proportion of this material is not available electronically.  We anticipate that the complete inventory of ‘published’ material will be finished during the first half of 2018.

In consultation with archivists from Curtin University, we have also been sorting the unpublished, or archival, material.and discussing developing it as a ‘teaching collection’ for archives students to work with for practical, ‘real life’ archival tasks.  We are collaborating with teaching staff from the Humanities faculty at Curtin University to develop opportunities for archives students to engage at all points of the process of creating a useful and accessible archive, such as assessment, appraisal, preservation, description, and digitisation. Part of this involves building a digital archive of a selection of material from the collection.

The work on both the published and unpublished material, (the library and the archive) is also receiving support and subject expertise from The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific  (AFSAAP).

We are also very grateful for the support of Cherry’s family.


A tiny portion of the estimated 4000 book titles


We’ve filled 80 of these tubs so far, with more to come!


Some of the open access, digitally available material, destined for the recycling depot