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Olive Schreiner Letters Online

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Olive Schreiner

The National Library of South Africa, Special Collections, Cape Town, and its Collections

Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations and persons pertaining to the Cape area of South Africa. Its Special Collections are extensive and include recent as well as historical materials. Its website provides some helpful information, including a non-searchable list of some of its manuscript collections. Accessing information about its manuscript holdings will however require visiting or a detailed email inquiry. See

The Schreiner/Schreiner Related Collections held by the NLSA are:

Anna Purcell: There are a small number of Olive Schreiner letters in this collection. There is no finding aid.

Earp Family: Schreiner’s handful of letters to her niece Emma Earp, with a few to Emma’s husband Charlie, are part of the Earp Family Collection. There is a brief finding aid.

John X. Merriman: The papers of Cape liberal politician John Xavier Merriman are extremely extensive and well-documented by useful finding aids. They are primarily concerned with his political activities but with a significant component his letters to his wife Agnes and mother Julia. Schreiner’s letters to Merriman are important ones, while also being but a small part of this huge collection. There is a detailed useful finding aid.

James Rose Innes: The papers of Cape liberal judge and former politician James Rose Innes are focused on his political activities, although the collection also includes some letters, among them a handful from Schreiner. Most of the Rose Innes papers and correspondence were taken to the US by his grandson Helmuth James Von Moltke’s widow Freya. Their present location has not been traced. There is a useful finding aid to the NLSA collection.

Olive Schreiner: The Olive Schreiner Collection is extensive and includes manuscripts, photographs and press-cuttings as well as letters, including some letters between various of Schreiner’s friends as well as Schreiner’s own letters. The collection includes large numbers of letters to Hermann Kallenbach, Mary Sauer John and Mary Brown, Ruth Alexander, Jessie Rose Innes and others. There is a useful finding aid.

W.P. Schreiner: Olive Schreiner’s brother Will (William Philip Schreiner) was a Cape liberal politician and lawyer who was Prime Minister of the Cape for a two year period in the late 1890s. His papers at the NLSA focus on his political activities at this time, together with some letters, including a handful from Olive Schreiner. There is a detailed useful finding aid.

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