"Angry exchange with Little, Brown & Co, 'Stray Thoughts on South Africa' is not published" Read the full letter
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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box6/Fold4/1918/29
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter DateSunday November 1918
Address From9 Porchester Place, Edgware Road, Westminster, London
Address To
Who ToWilliam Philip ('Will') Schreiner
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
Legend
The Project is grateful to Manuscripts and Archives, University of Cape Town, for kindly allowing us to transcribe this Olive Schreiner letter, which is part of its Manuscripts and Archives Collections. Schreiner was resident at Porchester Place from early April 1917 until August 1920, when she left Britain for South Africa. The content of this letter follows a 31 October 1918 letter from Schreiner to Will Schreiner with related content, and so it has been dated as November 1918.
1Sunday
2
3Dear old Man
4
5I am waiting anxiously to hear your boy is safe at home with you. I
6expect he will come today.
7
8Have you heard any more from the Lady who wrote to you about putting S.
9A.F. on as picture show? If she were in London I might call & see her
10if you could give me her address I enclose a letter Cron has just
11forwarded to me from de Aar. I don’t know but I think I would do
12better to have it done in this country where I might help the people
13who took the photographs by my advice helping them if they wished to
14make it more South African. Little touches make such a difference In
15one of Black’s South African plays a Boer woman comes on the stage
16carrying an English made basket. Of course an old Boer tante would
17have her things tied in a check handkerchief to not a basket. I never
18saw an up-country Boer woman carrying a basket in my life. These
19little things make a difference. May the boy arrive safe & well today.
20
21Thine ever
22Olive
23
Notation
The letters referred to are about ‘putting S. A. F. on as a picture’ they are addressed to Will Schreiner but concern Olive Schreiner’s writings.

The first, dated 7 September 1918, is from the African Film Productions Ltd of Johannesburg and states that the company is interested in acquiring the filming rights to The Story of an African Farm but has been unable to get in touch with Olive Schreiner directly and would Will Schreiner pursue the matter. This letter also comments on the company’s filming credentials, contrasting the films made of books by Cynthia Stockley by another company, which is said to portray the African atmosphere as ‘ludicrous in the extreme’. The letter also states that the company has contacted its London Agent, the International Variety & Theatrical Agency in Leicester Square, to made headway in this matter.

The second letter, dated 7 October 1918, is from the International Variety & Theatrical Agency, and it follows up the attempt made by African Film Productions Ltd to acquire filming rights and again asks for Will Schreiner’s assistance.

‘Black’s South African plays’ cannot be traced.