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Betty McGinnis Fradkin collection of research materials on Olive Schreiner

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SSC-MS-00299

Scope and Contents

The Betty McGinnis Fradkin collection of research materials on Olive Schreiner consist primarily of research materials gathered by Betty Fradkin (later known as Betty Tetlow) for a proposed biography. In addition to Fradkin's own manuscript drafts and correspondence with writers such as Doris Lessing, Marilyn French, and other scholars and biographers of Schreiner, these papers include published articles about Schreiner; newspaper clippings; notes; transcriptions, photocopies, microfilms of Schreiner's letters from other repositories, and Schreiner's writings. Schreiner's significant correspondents include Eleanor Marx, Havelock Ellis, Karl Pearson, and H. Bryan Donkin. Major themes addressed by the collection include 19th century feminism, Victorian sexuality, 19th century English literary circles, South Africa, peace, 19th century medicine, and women writers.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1874 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical Note

Olive Schreiner was born on the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1855, the ninth of eleven children born to missionaries Rebecca Lyndall and Gottlob Schreiner. Schreiner moved frequently with her family and received no formal education but she was intensely curious, read widely and, on her own, became a "free-thinker." From the ages of 14 to 26 she worked as a governess for various European families in Africa. In 1881 she went to England intending to study medicine at the Royal Infirmary but after a short stay there she gave up on medicine and decided to be a writer instead.

She published Story of an African Farm in 1884, which became a best-seller, and formed important relationships with people such as Edith Nesbit, Eleanor Marx, and Havelock Ellis. Schreiner returned to South Africa in 1889 and, after suffering from bad health and writer's block, she published Dreams (1891), Dream Life and Real Life (1893), and the polemical, pro-Boer Trooper Peter Halket of Mashonland (1897).

In 1894 she married Samuel Cronwright (who hyphenated his name with hers and became Samuel Cronwright-Schreiner) with whom she campaigned for suffrage, racial justice, and for the Boer cause. She was interred during the Boer War, during which she wrote Women and Labor (1911). She returned again to England in 1913 and was active in the peace movement. After her death in 1920, her husband published her novels Undine and From Man to Man.


2.167 linear feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Born on the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, Olive Schreiner was a writer in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This collection consists primarily of research materials on Schreiner gathered by Betty McGinnis Fradkin for a proposed biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Betty Tetlow (previously Betty Fradkin), 1987-1989.

Finding aid to the Betty McGinnis Fradkin collection of research materials on Olive Schreiner
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2019-05-16: Updated legacy finding aid and published.
  • 2023-05-04: Changed title to reflect name Fradkin used during this period

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063