Click to return to the H. Rider Haggard homepage

H. Rider Haggard Works

Click portrait to return to the H. Rider Haggard homepage

Signatures & Letters

An 1883 letter that HRH wrote to Cordy Jeaffreson

See the bottom of the webpage for DAWN  for more information about this letter that is in my collection

A letter dated December 29, 1886 (not in my collection) from HRH to Mr. Barrett Smith about SHE, the serialization of which in THE GRAPHIC was nearly at an end, and which had been published in New York 5 days earlier, and which would be published in London in 3 days. 

29 Dec 86

Dear Mr Barrett Smith,

I am sending you a copy of my new book which I hope that you will accept. I don't know how you will like it. It is a humble attempt to deal with the probable effect of the immortality informing the substance of the mortal - not an easy subject. I fear that the atmosphere of gloom & terror necessarily surrounding such a subject may prevent the book from being as popular as K[ing] S[olomon's] Mines with the general as distinguished from the cultivated public. Myself however I think that 'She' is worth 20 K.S. Mines, certainly it has cost me nearly twenty times as much thought & labour.

Hoping that you may like it, believe me, 

very truly yours

H Rider Haggard

A letter from the John Anthony Miller Collection, from HRH to his brother, Alfred, discussing reviews of SHE

After Haggard finished writing KING SOLOMON'S MINES, ALLAN QUATERMAIN, JESS, and SHE (all between January 1885 and March 18, 1886), in January 1887 he "went to Egypt seeking knowledge and a holiday." He wanted to "write a romance on the subject of 'Cleopatra.' " (quoted from Volume 1 of his THE DAYS OF MY LIFE).

Below: images of the actual letter and an accompanying transcription.

(Address Shepheard's Hotel)CairoLuxor22 Feb 1887My dear Mr Loftie, I hope to get downto Suez in time to catchthe boat of the fourthin which case I trustthat I shall see you.Egypt impresses me beyondwords. What do you think ofthe enclosed cartouche ifit is a cartouche. It is ona magnificent signetring compounded apparentlyof gold & bronze whichcame off a mummy & whichI have bought. I wish that you wouldkindly tell me what itreads & what you think of it.Also of the second enclosedwhich has struck me much.It is really too dreadfullyhot to write. With much regards Sincerely yrs. H. Rider Haggard

The stationery of the letter above was provided by Cook's Nile Steamboat Service. Additionally, HRH wrote at the top of the stationery that he was staying at the Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo.

Shepheard's Hotel was the leading hotel in Cairo and one of the most celebrated hotels in the world from the middle of the 19th century until it was burned down in 1952 in the Cairo Fire. Five years after the original hotel was destroyed, a new one was built nearby and was named the Shepheard Hotel, but this hotel closed for renovations in 2014, and it doesn't appear the hotel is open again even though it has been 5 years. 

I doubt Cook's Steamboat Service exists today. 

Below: some photos of Shepeard's Hotel as it would have looked when HRH stayed there.

Below: A letter from HRH to Mrs Phoebe Anna Traquair dated December 14, 1887, regarding her possibly illustrating the at-the-time forthcoming 1888 edition of SHE

This letter is in my collection, accompanying a copy of the "seventh edition" of SHE  that HRH signed and presented to Mrs Traquair. HRH misspelled her surname as "Traquiar" swapping the "a" and the "i."

Dear Mrs Traquiar,Many thanks for sendingme the Blake which I shallread attentively. I don't thinkwhat you say nonsense atall, but these things areso difficult to put into words.Language was made todeal with things materialit fails when applied to thingsspiritual & there art stepsin.  About the picture - I thinkyou have chosen a goodsubject, the light flowingupon that face & formof agonized loveliness oughtto make a very fine picture.Please if you will, sendme the original to see& not a photograph. Ishould be glad to meetas soon as possible &for this reason - The bookis now about to be illustrated& the lady who hasbeen asked to try Shehas sent some specimenheads. They are lovelybut a little weak, toolike Frank Miles. Conse-quently if Messrs Long-man liked your pictureI might be able to putsome work in your wayshould you care to have it,but of course this ispurely hypothetical, so Ihope you will not bedisappointed if I can't.It depends on them.But I should haveto get the picture beforevery long as of coursethey will have to givean answer to the otherlady. Believe me Sincerely yours H Rider Haggard

HRH lived at Redcliffe Square 1888-1891

A signed card/bookplate inside an 1885 edition of KING SOLOMON'S MINES, and a letter about rotten eggs

A letter to Mrs Graham, dated 1892

My Dear Mrs Graham,

I am sorry to say that I cannot accept your kind invitation. I shall be busy here with election matters till the middle of July. I expect to go to Hanbury to doctor up my liver after various doses of the influenza. I shall hope to give you a book however sometime when I am your way. I hope that you,  Mr. Graham, and your children are all well.

With very kind regards believe me ever sincerely yours.

H. Rider Haggard

How would you like to be the recipient of the letter below?

Below: copies of the American first editions of MOON OF ISRAEL and WHEN THE WORLD SHOOK given to Ronald Ross