COPE, John Patrick (b 1906)

Scope and Content

Correspondence and papers of John Patrick Cope on his work as a journalist in South Africa, Abyssinia and China; comprising printed, typescript and manuscript material including articles by Jan Hendrick Hofmeyr, 1919-1914, papers on the Afrikaner Broederbond, 1941, note of discussion between J P Cope and Hofmeyer on Hofmeyr's relationship with Jan Christian Smuts, 1948, report on Mau Mau outbreak in Kenya [c 1952]; correspondence, mainly letters from Jan Hofmeyr to Cope on South African politics, 1929-1948, letters from R J Kingston Russell, editor, Natal Mercury , on journalism, 1929-1937, and correspondence on his decision to leave the United Party and to found the Progressive Party, 1959; books of press cuttings on articles by Cope in the Rand Daily Mail , Natal Mercury and Cape Times , 1924-1932; papers on his vist to Abyssinia, 1937, including copies of his articles, and photographs; papers on his visit to China 1937, including account of his experiences during the bombing of British, US and Chinese ships on the Yangtze River, Dec 1937; papers on political weekly Forum , 1948-1951.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Patrick Cope, the son of C F J Cope, was born on Mooi River, Natal, South Africa, on 17 Mar 1906. He was educated at St Andrews College, Grahamstown and in 1924 joined the Rand Daily Mail as a reporter. In 1930 he joined the Natal Mercury as their parliamentary and political correspondent, and became friendly with Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr, and other prominent political figures.
In 1935 he went to Abyssinia and discovered the Italian Plot to annex the country. In 1937 he went to China to cover the Sino-Japanese war for three South African papers. In 1937 he joined his former editor, R J Kingston Russell in his venture to found a political weekly Forum . On Russell's retirement through ill health he assumed the editorship, which he retained for 14 years under the chairmanship of Hofmeyr.
In 1951 Forum closed, and Cope rejoined the Rand Daily Mail as editorial assistant. He entered politics and was returned for Parktown in 1953 and 1958 as a United Party MP. In 1958 he was one of a group of UP members who broke away to form the Progressive Party, but he lost his seat after a smear campaign in the 1961 election.
Cope married Margaret Nancy Rouillard in 1939 and they have 3 children.


Papers are divided into series as detailed above.

Access Information

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or Freedom of Information legislation.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued to item level (see link to repository catalogue).

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the ICS Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or quote from original material shoul dbe submitted to the Information Resources Manager.

Custodial History

Source of acquisition by ICS unknown.