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Biography & Autobiography Historical

A Canadian Girl in South Africa

A Teacher’s Experiences in the South African War, 1899–1902

by (author) E. Maud Graham

edited by Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney & Susanne M. Klausen

The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
May 2015
Historical, Women, History, Philosophy & Social Aspects
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2015
    List Price

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As the South African War reached its grueling end in 1902, colonial interests at the highest levels of the British Empire hand-picked teachers from across the Commonwealth to teach the thousands of Boer children living in concentration camps. Highly educated, hard working, and often opinionated, E. Maud Graham joined the Canadian contingent of forty teachers. Her eyewitness account reveals the complexity of relations and tensions at a controversial period in the histories of both Britain and South Africa. Graham presents a lively historical travel memoir, and the editors have provided rich political and historical context to her narrative in the Introduction and generous annotations. This is a rare primary source for experts in Colonial Studies, Women’s Studies, and Canadian, South African, and British Imperial History. Readers with an interest in the South African War will be intrigued by Graham’s observations on South African society at the end of the Victorian era.

About the authors

DeceasedE. Maud Graham (1876–1949) graduated from the University of Toronto in 1896 and taught in a variety of settings before becoming principal of the Girls’ High School in Quebec City in 1907.

E. Maud Graham's profile page

Michael Dawson is Professor of History at St where he teaches courses on Canadian History, the global history of sport and tourism, and the comparative history of national identity and popular culture in Canada, New Zealand and Australia.In 2014 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Michael Dawson's profile page

Catherine Gidney is a professor of history at St. Thomas University. She writes about youth culture and students in revolt over everything from vending machines to curfews to war. She is the author of Tending the Student Body: Health, Youth and the Rise of the Modern University, 1900-1960 and A Long Eclipse: The Liberal Protestant Establishment and the English-Canadian University Campus, 1920-1970.

Catherine Gidney's profile page

Susanne M. Klausen is Associate Professor in History at Carleton University, and Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg. She lives in Gatineau.

Susanne M. Klausen's profile page


  • Unknown, New York Book Show/Professional & Reference
  • Winner, AAUP Book, Jacket & Journal Show — Scholarly Typographic

Editorial Reviews

This is a contemporary presentation of a historic document with graceful typographical details. The full bleed archival images and unexpected treatment of page numbers and running shoulders, though unusual for a travel memoir, add to its interest. The consistent use of the grid is satisfying. Daphne Geismar, Juror, Association of American University Presses: Book, Jacket, and Journal Show 2016

"This book is recommended for those who wish to learn more about South African history and early race relations or tensions. Graham’s opinionated writing will amuse and interest those researching women’s studies." African Studies Quarterly, Volume 16

African Studies Quarterly

"Maud Graham’s 1905 book about her experiences in South Africa (1902–04) offers a fascinating perspective on the country.... Historians Michael Dawson, Catherine Gidney, and Susanne M. Klausen have made this primary document accessible by republishing it, adding footnotes to Graham’s text to help contemporary readers, and writing an extensive fifty-page introductory analysis of her account. They have included many of the wonderful photographs that appeared in Graham’s original publication and have added more from Graham’s private collection and relevant archives.... Graham’s account will help others understand how the British and English-speaking Canadians in South Africa perceived Boers and native southern Africans at the turn of the twentieth century, and her descriptions reveal details about everyday life in South Africa at an important moment of transition.... Graham’s book represents the perspective of a well-embedded outsider reporting to far-removed readers, rather than that of a female teacher involved in international or imperial education."  

Historical Studies in Education

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