Sanders, Bella

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Sanders, Bella

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This collection of 37 letters was donated to Manuscripts and Archives via the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, by Derrick Lewis in 2009. The letters were written to his grandmother, Bella Israelsohn (Sanders, 1875-1968), who was living in Oudtshoorn between 1893 and 1937. Her parents had emigrated from Latvia to South Africa in 1882. The letters are from Bella’s brother, Lazarus, who was working for the departmental store of Cleghorn Harris in Cape Town and in Port Elizabeth; and also from her girlfriends who were living in Kimberley, Calvinia and Uniondale. They provide interesting insights into how young people amused themselves in those days, with visits to the theatre, balls and dances, music and amateur theatricals, contrasting life in the small towns and the cities of South Africa. There is passing mention of Jewish festivals and of the South African War; one letter mentions the celebration of “The Relief of Ladysmith” in Uniondale.


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