James Herbert Curle, mining engineer, inspected gold mines in the Transvaal, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), India, Western Australia, Queensland (Australia), New Zealand and British Columbia (Canada), and wrote The gold mines of the world... (London, 1899). His descriptions of the South African gold mines was based partly on the annual reports of the government mining engineer of the South African Republic (Transvaal) up to 1898. The book was aimed mainly at investors. Subsequent expanded editions appeared in 1902 and 1905, after he had visited mines in many other regions of the world. In 1907/8 he contributed a paper on "The origin of the gold in the Rand banket" to the Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa (Vol. 8, pp. 198-202).
Curle published several books on his travels. The first, in 1912, was titled "The shadow show" and ran to 13 editions. Others were published in 1921, 1935 (including a journey from the Cape to Cairo), and 1937. He also wrote on social and race problems (1926, 1942). He was a well-known philatelist and a specialist in the stamps of the Transvaal. In 1940, with A.E. Basden as co-author, he wrote Transvaal postage stamps, which was published under the auspices of the British Philatelic Society. His stamp collection was left to the Africana Museum, Johannesburg. He was not married.