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Letter ReferenceOlive Schreiner BC16/Box8/Fold4/MMPr/AssortedCorres/FredPL/21
ArchiveUniversity of Cape Town, Manuscripts & Archives, Cape Town
Epistolary TypeLetter
Letter Date26 February 1911
Address FromSomerset East, Eastern Cape
Address To
Who ToFrederick ('Fred') Pethick-Lawrence
Other Versions
PermissionsPlease read before using or citing this transcription
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. A typescript only of this letter is available. The transcription here follows this typescript and includes any uncertain dates, ellipses, mistakes and so on.
1 Somerset East
2 February 26th, 1911
4 Thanks very much for the books, all of which I have received. I have
5sent out a number of "Votes for Women". I hear the Cape Government are
6from next month going to take over all the Railway bookstalls in the
7country which have hitherto been in the hands of the Central News
8Agency. If we could get them to exhibit "Votes for Women" on the
9Railway & other bookstalls, they might easily sell some hundreds a
10week. I will find out what member of the Government the bookstalls
11will be under and (if it is not Mr Burton who is a bitter opponent) I
12am sure any minister will give permission for it to be sold. Write me
13a short business letter on what terms the Government bookstalls 50,
14100, or 200
copies, & I will send it to the Minister, or to the man he
15tells me to send it to.
17 I am staying in this lovely little village now. I got ill at Graaf
18Reinet, & to my great sorrow had to leave the dear Murrays. The place
19was too high for my heart. If you get hold of one of Mrs Billington
20Grieg’s books attacking your organization send it to me. I saw
21something she had written in the "New Age" which seemed to me very
22uncouth. I do none of you will answer her. Silence is the best answer!
23This is a lovely part of South Africa, I wanted you to travel in when
24you were out here. It is glorious.
A three part swingeing critique of the Women's Social & Political Union and militant tactics was published in New Age; see: Teresa Billington Greig "Emancipation in a Hurry I" New Age 12 January 1911, pp.246-8; "Emancipation in a Hurry II" New Age 19 January 1911, pp.270-1; and "Emancipation in a Hurry III" New Age 26 January 1911, pp.292-4. The book referred to is: Teresa Billington Greig (1911) The Militant Suffragette Movement London: Frank Palmer.

The Women's Social & Political Union's newspaper Votes for Women was edited by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. Schreiner's involvement in facilitating railway station sales of Votes for Women in South Africa was prompted by a formal public letter from Fred Pethick-Lawrence typescripted and interfiled in the archival sequence at this point, dated 31 March 1911:

'Dear Mrs Schreiner,

I shall be glad if you will enquire whether the bookstalls in South Africa would be willing to exhibit for sale, 'Votes for Women', published weekly in England for 1d. I understand that the English 1d. papers are usually sold at 2d. in South Africa, and that it is customary for the sale to be outright that is, no returns are exhibited. I would be willing to pay carriage and supply the paper at half the selling price, that is, at 1d. net. I shall be glad to know if these terms are accepted and if so what quantity, we are to send weekly.'