Agnes Maria Wilson (1867-1957), known as Amy, was the sister of Sir Henry Francis Wilson (1859-1947), Colonial Secretary of the Orange River Colony. In November 1901 she sailed to South Africa to act as her brother's hostess. She remained until 7 May 1902, when she accompanied him back to England on leave. Harry Wilson married Isabelle Anderson in August 1902, and Amy Wilson returned to South Africa on her own account in 1903. She bought property near Pietermaritzburg, and engaged in farming until just before the Second World War.
The diary, 100 x 120 mm, is comprised of several notebooks bound together totalling 374 pages, and is lettered 'A.M.W. South Africa 1901-2'. There are entries on most of the right-hand pages, and notes, photographs, passes, tickets, cuttings and other souvenirs on the left-hand side. The diary describes life on board ship, visits to the Cape, travels in the interior, and events of the period in South Africa, including comments on the war, which had entered its guerilla phase. There are two pages of reflections on her work with knitting classes in the refugee camps in Bloemfontein and elsewhere, written by Wilson in 1952.
Presented by Christopher Wilson, nephew of Miss Wilson, March 1976.
Elizabeth Hammerton, 'Amy Wilson's South African diary 1901-2', in 'Royal Commonwealth Society library notes', no. 220, October-December 1976, pp. 2-5, describes the diary and includes some extracts.
MSS Addenda, vol. III. The photographs from the diary are described at Y305Q in the R.C.S. Photograph Collection. Indexed
This collection level description was created by RAS using information from the original typescript catalogue.