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Margaret Gillett (nee Clark)

Margaret Gillett (nee Clark) (1878 - 1962) was member of the prominent Quaker and shoe-manufacturing Clark family, and a sister of Alice Clark. Her most obvious connection with Schreiner resulted from her involvement with Emily Hobhouse’s activities in South Africa following the South African War (1899-1902) and Hobhouse’s  work in the ‘ruined areas’ of the country. Clark Gillet was closely involved with Hobhouse’s  ‘home industries’ initiative, which attempted to stimulate craft work for younger women in weaving woollen cloth, so they could both stay on family farms and contribute to a market-based economy. However, Schreiner thought such initiatives flew in the face of world economic changes, something which surfaced in particular in a disagreement between Schreiner and her close friend Alice Greene. Amongst her achievements as an internationalist, Gillett helped to found the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (which later became Oxfam). There are a small number of extant letters from Schreiner to Gillett, which suggest that they were friendly acquaintances, in particular because Gillet seemed to hold the kind of pacifist views that enabled Schreiner to maintain a bond with her during the First World War. Gillett sent Schreiner a book in 1913 on the eve of her departure from South Africa, and in subsequent letters Schreiner suggested that she hoped to see Gillett in England, and asked after Gillett’s children.

For more information see:
Rykie Van Reenan (ed, 1984) Emily Hobhouse, Boer War Letters Cape Town: Human & Rousseau
Jennifer Hobhouse Balme (1994) To Love One’s Enemies: The Work and Life of Emily Hobhouse Hobblehill, British Columbia: Hobhouse Trust
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