A LADY TRADER IN THE TRANSVAAL presents the South African adventures of Sarah Heckford, a once famous but now forgotten Anglo-Irish gentlewoman. After treking to the Transvaal in 1878, this intrepid woman served as governess, doctor, builder, nurse, and farmer. When her farm failed, she broke through the barriers of gender and class to make her fortune as a smous or peddler -trading with the Africans and Afrikaners of the remote bush-veldt. Caught up in the Anglo-Boer War of 1879-1880, she survived the hundred-day siege of Pretoria only to find the British dishonored and herself financially ruined. Silver's introduction to SARAH HECKFORD: A LADY TRADER IN THE TRANSVAAL examines Heckford's eventful life both before and after the events of her book and contextualizes her both as a "traveler in petticoats" and an atypical trader. It explores Heckford's attitudes to war and empire and to Africans and Afrikaners as it seeks to reveal the private selves of this unique and multifaceted woman. CAROLE G. SILVER is Professor of English at Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women. A recipient of a PhD from Columbia University and of Woodrow Wilson and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, she has written widely on Victorian literature, art, and culture, notably on William Morris and Pre-Raphaelitism. Her recent works include STRANGE AND SECRET PEOPLES: FAIRIES AND VICTORIAN CONSCIOUSNESS (Oxford, 1999), an introduction to an international exhibition of the paintings of William Holman Hunt, and a forthcoming collection of Southern African folk tales.
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