FOSSIL COLLECTING IN CAPE COLONY
SCHWARZ, Ernest Hubert Lewis (1873-1928), geologist. Autograph letter signed to George William Card, 4 sides of a bifolium, 8vo, Geological Commission, South African Museum, Cape Town, May 14th 1899, thanking Card for an “extremely interesting” group of photographs he sent him, following which he gives details of the topography of a particular locality photographed by [Dr A.W.] Rogers who “has a special camera with lens by Zeiss”. Schwarz goes on to report on finds he has made in the Bokkeveld, which include “an Orthoceras and several trilobites which are new to S.Africa; I think we can now double the number of Devonian fossils hitherto found in S.Africa and described, and considering the thoroughness with which A.G.Bain, our first geologist, worked these beds, we have good matter for congratulating ourselves”, and talks of his recent return from “one of the most delightful spots in the Colony, the Knysna Forest” which he describes in some detail, including reference to two large herds of elephants which “are becoming a great nuisance now, and they have killed several people lately”. His letter concludes talking of a return trip into the Karoo “as the 5 year drought has broken”. Discoloration to the edge of the final side margin from previous mounting.
Ernest Schwarz was born and educated in London. He went to South Africa about 1895, initially spending a year in Johannesburg as editor of the Scientific African. He then joined the newly formed Geological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope under Dr A.W.Rogers, for whom he worked for ten years, notably studying the older rocks of the southern and western regions of Cape Colony, and the Cretaceous rocks of its eastern region. In 1905 he was appointed to the chair of geology at the Rhodes University College of Grahamstown, a post which he occupied until his death in 1928. Amongst his published works were Causal Geology (1910) and South African Geology (1912), and he spent much time on a proposal to reclaim part of the drought-ridden Kalahari by re-establishing atmospheric humidity over the Kalahari by diverting the Kunene and other rivers to Ngamiland, which he published in The Kalahari ; or, Thirstland redemption (1920). His reference to A.G.Bain is the pioneer Andrew Geddes Bain (1797-1864), recognised as the father of South African geology, who compiled the first geological map of Cape Colony and was the first to discover the fossil remains of mammal-like reptiles in the rocks of the Karoo System.
Schwarz’s correspondent George William Card, FGS, ARSM. (1865-1943) was an Australian geologist, responsible for the collections of the Mining Museum in Sydney. Card published the Handbook to the Mining and Geological Museum, Sydney in 1902.