The Sam Cohen Library was mainly established to give a safe haven to the famous and precious Africana collection of Ferdinand Stich. He was one of the first bookshop owners in Swakopmund, Namibia, in the early 20th century. During his life he collected about 2050 Africana items dating back to 1658. These books and documents relating to Africa, are not only in German and English but also in other languages. Due to the uniqueness of the collection of her late husband Mrs Stich received good offers from all over the world for the books. Ferdinand Stich’s friend Alfons Weber (the founder of the Swakopmund Museum) realised how important it would be to keep this treasure in Namibia, but neither he nor the Society for Scientific Development, Swakopmund (now called Scientific Society Swakopmund) had the financial means to purchase the collection. The Rotary Club of Swakopmund came to the rescue, purchased the Africana Collection and donated it to the Society with the requirement that an appropriate venue would be provided to safeguard the books and make them available to all Namibians. The successful businessman Sam Cohen generously sponsored the (then) state-of-the-art library buildings to the Society for Scientific Development, Swakopmund. The Sam Cohen Library was built close to the historic buildings of the Otavi Railway Station and the OMEG house, which now all belong to the Scientific Society Swakopmund. The Ferdinand Stich Africana collection is the heart of the library. Since then numerous additional donations of books and funding have contributed to the present extensive collection of the Sam Cohen Library.
A to Z of the Ferdinand Stich Africana collection (click on the image to view it larger)