Here at The Women’s Library we have huge collection of letters related to women’s history. However, there is one collection of letters in particular that has drawn the attention of our Out of the Archive artist, Helen Cammock.
Cammock, who is a co-director of the Brighton Photo Fringe and studying an MA in photography at the Royal College of Art, is currently looking at the stories and experiences of female emigrants to South Africa. In particular, Cammock is interested to see what sort of relationship developed between colonial emigrants and subaltern, or marginal, South African women.
This has led the artist to begin reading through the letters and papers related to South African emigration, of which the above is an example. This letter describes the circumstances of several women, journeying to South Africa. For instance:
“Beatrice Jane Letcher who is a refugee from Johannesburg and is now going out to her married sister. During the time she has been in England she has been working at Bradford for the Bradford Hosiery Co and her employer gives her an excellent character. She is bright and capable and of the right stamp.”
Cammock is currently working on producing a semi-fictional narrative for the exhibition, to further explore the relationships that formed between such women.