Dictionary Project for the Digital Bleek and Lloyd Archive

10 Feb 2023
Archival boxes for the Bleek & Lloyd lexicon collection
10 Feb 2023

The digital archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd’s African languages studies has been growing in light of its current digitization project, directed by Professor Pippa Skotnes, on the thousands of dictionary cards collected by Lloyd and later her niece, Dorothea Bleek. The Digital Bleek and Lloyd archive that is accompanied by a 280000-word searchable index, cross-referenced and including notes and summaries for each of the stories listed from the Bleek and Lloyd notebooks, is undergoing an enormous update to comprise of new comparative dictionaries from the archive for each of the languages they documented and studied

The archive in its entirety includes scans of the 114 Lucy Lloyd |xam notebooks, 13 Lloyd !kun notebooks, 28 Wilhelm Bleek |xam notebooks and 32 Dorothea Bleek notebooks. It also includes Jemima Bleek’s !kun and Korana notebooks, and all the drawings and watercolours made by |han≠kass’o, Dia!kwain, Tamme, |uma, !nanni and Da.


The Bleek and Lloyd archive comprises material housed in a number of national and other collections, including the National Library of South Africa, Iziko South African Museum, the Western Cape Provincial Archives and Records Service, the University of Cape Town and Unisa. While Bleek’s descendants have donated or sold the bulk of the collection, mainly to UCT, several items, particularly objects, still remain with family members.