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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:History, She Wrote: A Reappraisal of Dear Louisa in the 1990s. (Ellen McLeod and Louisa McLeod)
Author:Parle, Julie
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
historical sources
letters (form)
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
About person:Ellen MacLeod (1813-1888)
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582479508671846
Abstract:As the starting point of a broader study of white women in colonial Natal, this article takes a closer look at one important source for the history of women in 19th-century Natal: the letters written by Byrne settler, Ellen McLeod, to her sister, Louisa, in England, which span the 38 years of Natal's history from 1850 to 1888. (The letters were first edited and published in 1970 by Ruth E. Gordon.) The first two sections of the present article focus on white women's work in the 19th-century economy, and on motherhood, and the social control of white women. They reflect issues which appeared to be some of the central concerns of British immigrant women's lives in Natal in the mid to late 19th century. The following sections, on colonial identities and on representations of Africans, represent the present author's own attempt to frame questions about white women in the colonial project. The final section looks at the commentary added by Gordon to the 1970 publication and briefly considers this book as a historical 'text', one which portrays a particular view of the nature and role of white women. The letters of Ellen McLeod can serve not only as a valuable source for the historian of colonial Natal, but also as an illustration of how the past is constructed and reconstructed. Notes, ref.