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Dolly Radford (nee Maitland)

Caroline (known as Dollie or Dolly) Maitland (1858 - 1920) was a British writer and poet. In 1883 she married Ernest Radford, a lawyer, and they had three children. Dollie Radford, as she was generally known, was a close friend of both Eleanor Marx and Amy Levy, and came to know Olive Schreiner during the 1880s through these mutual friends. There is a handful of extant letters from Schreiner to Radford archived at the National Library of South Africa, donated by Petronella van Heerden, a younger friend of Schreiner’s mentioned in some of her letters, during the 1970s, and one at the British Library. From these it is clear that Schreiner attempted to find out from Radford the full circumstances surrounding the death of their mutual friend Eleanor Marx. Eleanor Marx’s biographer, Yvonne Kapp, provides a bowdlerised form of Schreiner’s June 1898 letter and misreads Schreiner’s comment “I am so glad Eleanor is dead” by taking this literally, instead of reading it in context, with Schreiner following this remark with “It is such a mercy she has escaped from him”. ‘Him’ here is a reference to Edward Aveling - from Schreiner’s other letters it is apparent that she blamed Aveling, Eleanor Marx’s common law husband, for Marx’s death and felt that only in death was Marx at last able to be free of him. 

For further information see:
Yvonne Kapp (1976) Eleanor Marx: The Crowded Years, 1884-1898 London: Lawrence & Wishart.
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collection icon National Library of South Africa, Cape Town: Special Collections at the NLSA provide one of the leading locations for archival papers across many periods, organisations a... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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