Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Personal Act of Thanksgiving.

My butterfly Madonna.

I scoped the Internet the other day for an image of the Madonna, Mary with butterfly wings. Couldn't find one. I even put in foreign languages.

Found a lot of pictures of Madonna the singer and all kinds of lovely images of Mary, but none with butterfly wings.

So I created this one, as a Thanksgiving exercise. The Madonna is in a shrine at Rigaud, Quebec.

I spent some time in the basement trying to find my grandmother's Mary that passed down to my aunt and when I got it 15 years ago, all cracked and such, I decorated her up in many colours.

I don't know where she is, tho.

The butterfly Madonna is meaningful to me, because when I was a tiny girl, about three, and going through a frightening time, I saw a giant yellow Monarch butterly on the fence and it spoke to me, saying everything will be all right.

I lived in farm country, lots of milkweed. Lots of grasshoppers, too if I recall. Rememer them?

Not all that far from where this Madonna is today. Just down the river. She could fly there.

That's how I recall it, anyway.

I didn't have TV in those days and I didn't get read to a lot, so I don't know how  this came to me, but it did.

Anyway, I want this image on the web, so I write about it here on a website about the suffragists.

Friday, October 9, 2015

McGill, Cotton and the Kenney's of Suffragette Fame

Emmeline Pankhurst beings whisked away at a suffrage demonstration in the UK.

In 1909, Miss. Hurlbatt, new Warden at McGill's Royal Victoria College for Women,addressed a women's club in Montreal on the issue of woman suffrage.

   Hurlbatt says she is against the militancy, yet she certainly appears very sympathetic to Mrs. Pankhurst's Suffragettes.

Hurlbatt figures prominently in Furies Cross the Mersey, about the invasion of militant suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13..

And once again, in this 1909 speech, the cotton mills are mentioned, British cotton mills, as a reason why women want the vote.

On the Canadian side, it was said by some that the 'textile interests' were against woman suffrage (not because of worker-rights) but because they thought if women got the vote, then they would use it to have the Canadian tariffs on British and American cotton dropped so that they could get cheaper dresses.

Now, 1909 was the year Nell Kenney and her journalist husband, Frank Randall Clarke, moved to Montreal and got married in the city.

Nell Kenney was the sister of militant Annie Kenney, and like her, a former Mill girl - and militant suffragette.

1909. Sarah "Nell" Kenney marries Frank Randall Clarke at All Saints Anglican in Montreal. Drouin Collection

This is from the Montreal Gazette, 1909:

"If I might make a suggestion as to the work in Montreal, I would advise a revival of interest in the Canadian organization, but I would also work by other means than these. I would recommend the formation of women’s suffrage discussion circles in various societies throughout the city, let us say in connection with various churches and clubs. By this means we should be educating women to an understanding of the whole question in a way and upon a scale which could not be achieved by the action of the Women’s suffragette society, because you would be reaching those who have not already expressed themselves in favour of the movement. What we need today is to educate opinion. Those who act noisily in Great Britain are doing so because the work upon women’s suffrage lines has not been wide enough. The lesson for Canada is to awake in time and work for your needs. Do this before there is put upon Canada a condition of change in which women suffer in the labour market the intolerable grievance of the need of dependence upon themselves. Let us on this side of the Atlantic be forewarned and forearmed; begin our education early, and pursue it constantly, so that we may win by constitutional methods which need no turbulent influence behind them.

This expression of opinion was uttered by Miss Hurlbatt, warden of Royal Victoria College at the close of an address she delivered yesterday on Women’s Suffrage before the Social Department of the Montreal Women’s Club, which was very largely attended, those present including ladies representing all lines of thought in the city. Mrs. S. C. Marsan, President of the Department, was in the chair.

Miss Hurlbatt commenced by motioning the fact that the press gave full reports of matters connected with woman’s suffrage, and that the magazines also printed articles on the same subject. It seemed, therefore, that the women of Montreal should be in possession of a very fair knowledge of the general lines of the subject. Nevertheless, there was no very widespread or organized movement in Montreal, but there was a national society, the Dominion Women’s Society, headquartered at Toronto. It could not be said, however, that much active work was carried on in Montreal or in Canada as a whole. But some of the women in Montreal were turning their attention to the subject, for the reason that it had become a matter of practical politics in the Dominion, and that it was believed that it would inevitably advance, because it was a result of better education and greater liberty of action which had been accorded women in the nineteenth and twenties centuries, and it could not be logically opposed, in view of the changed conditions under which women lived. "

Ethel Hurlbatt, McGill. Her fonds at McGill have nothing about her suffrage activities. But she does work for the Serbs during WWI, a pet project of Emmeline Pankhurst's- and that is mentioned.

 In 1909, with moderate suffragist Mrs. Snowden speaking in Montreal, her students acted as ushers. But, in January 1912, the Montreal Gazette ran an editorial saying that women's colleges were a hot bed of suffragette activity and soon after, Hurlbatt cooled her suffrage activism with the Montreal movement, citing 'work pressures.' She came back on board during the War and afterwards, with La Ligue des Droits de la Femme. That will be explained in Service and Disservice, my book about the 1917 Conscription Crisis and the iffy involvement of the Canadian suffragists.

Speaking of the militant suffragette movement in England, Miss Hurlbatt expressed the hope that there was no one in her audience who did not lament the noisy and violent proceedings of the last two years, but who did not likewise more truly lament the circumstances which had driven women to adopt these violent measures. It could not be thought Mrs. Pankhurst any of her followers really rejoiced in any of these noisy methods; they must feel it to be a waste of energy and a marring of women’s development. The lesson to be learned from the militant movement was not to condemn or despise the women who, at great sacrifice of feeling and inclination, took part in these demonstrations, but so to labour that these things might not be forced on other countries. Miss Hurlbatt then briefly referred to what had led to this form of propaganda, and said that within the last four years women had been the victims of violence. It was not until deputation after deputation had been refused a hearing and hundreds of women had been sent to prison on trumped up charges; not until they were excluded even from the street by the erections of barricades and not until every other way was barred that women in the early stages of this campaign had to resort to stone-throwing and the means use by men on the slightest pretext. It must be remembered that these women had not the means of commanding a hearing which men had and they looked upon the struggle as vital..

Touching on some of the grounds which women’s suffrage had been defended, Miss Hurlbatt contended that women had for all time been workers, creating and supporting the home by their domestic industry. These industries had been removed into the factory and the workshop and women followed their labour. Women had always been essentially concerned in politics as consumers, as well as producers. When a woman entered a factory she became more conscious of the influence of politics as it affected her labour. And she was affected by changed conditions of the state. The cotton spinning and weaving industries were now mainly in the hands of women, and they thought they would suffer if tariff reform were introduced in England.They desired to express themselves in this matter and protect their industry, and they believed that no action on their part without the vote would protect their action."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Trouser Government

She was a writing Jack-of-all-Trades. Aren't we all? She was the married (but separated) daughter of a Montreal stock market executive.

In 1913, she joined the Montreal Suffrage Movement. She figures in my Furies Cross the Mersey, giving a Pro-suffrage speech at the Montreal Suffrage Exhibit in February 1912.

Fenwick Williams gave a lot of speeches on Women's Rights in the era, and unlike the mostly Maternal suffragists of Montreal, she was an Equal Rights  suffragist - and a bit of a rogue, although she fell in line nicely with the UNION forces during WWI, calling for more recruits at any cost.

Three of her novels are online, and although the books have their fine moments, they are very difficult to digest in one swallow. No Georgette Heyer, she.

But. I found a 'patriotic' poem she wrote during WWI that is quite beautiful. Perhaps that was her real calling.

And I found this bit, too, in a small local rag aimed at the "Anglo-Elite" of Montreal.

It's a role-reversal satire about woman suffrage: and it was written in June 1913, six months before Nellie McClung thought up the same kind of thing for her mock parliament.

It features Fenwick WIlliams' signature style.

Ad advert from 1913 for the Edinburgh Cafe, the headquarters of the Montreal Suffrage Association for a time in 1914.

Trouser Government

Some people were for giving a few men the vote. “Why should men who are really intelligent and able be represented? they asked.

“Of course we can’t let in the rabble, but men who have a stake in the country should be represented.”
“Nonsense. Men hang together. Give the college men the vote and they will be demanding that the dock-hands get it, too. And then, mark my words, they will want to be members of Parliament.

Fancy living under trouser government.

That rather settled it.

For men who were by habit hard-drinkers and hard-swearers, smokers, and in many cases, makers of dubious jokes, for such beings, I say, being admitted to the legislature “reeking of the bar and the smoking salon” as one woman put it, was clearly incompatible with the dignity of the Mother of Parliaments.

Moreover, men did not care about politics and would be more likely to sell their votes for a glass of beer.
They might even go drunk to the polls.

And as for Parliament: why would would naturally rely upon their charms to win the votes of susceptible women, and would rely, when they got into Parliament, upon their physical strength.

They would, in consequence, ignore the authority of The Speaker;when they got hot in argument they might even threaten each other with their fists; and Parliament, instead of being a deliberative institution, would become a bear-garden.

It was even rumoured that in a far, distant and cold Canada, where men did have the privilege of sitting in Parliament, these disorders had actually occurred.

Men had gone so far as to shake their fist in the Speaker's face and insist on speaking against a ruling.

“There,” said the people of Happy Parallel triumphantly,”now you see the results of allowing men to leave their proper sphere.Even the women in the Canadian Parliament were not sufficient enough to quell these riots by calling out their inconsistency with all the pretentions to self-government and dignity.”

“There are no women in the Canadian Parliament,” explained an authority.

“Oh, then, of course, you can’t wonder at anything,” said the Happy Parallelers, laughing consumedly at what they thought a mere traveller’s tale.

For how could anyone imagine a land ruled solely by men?

Men with mutton-chop whiskers and pipes and high collars crawling up to their ears.


Have you heard the one about the MIlitant and the Pacifist?

Barbara Wylie. She was pretty and well-dressed, so she confused the Montreal Press, who thought all British suffragettes were supposed to be battle-axes. 

The Carrie Mulligan/Meryl Streep movie Suffragette is about to be released, in October - and if you think that a tale about beautiful suffragettes playing cat-and-mouse with the police is a "Hollywood" fiction, you are wrong.

It really happened.

And the truth is stranger than fiction.

A few years ago, while working on my book Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13 I traipsed over to the library at McGill to find a copy of Annie Kenney's 1930's autobiography.

Annie Kenney was Mrs. Pankhurst's First Lieutentant, a working class mill girl from Lancashire.

Two of her sisters, Nell and Caroline, lived in Montreal in the 1912 era and they got involved in the local movement. This, of course, intrigued me.

Well, the Kenney book tells a funny Cat-and-Mouse anecdote. Apparently, Annie Kenney once put on a grey wig and stuffed two plums in her cheeks to escape the police.

Very visual, eh? It would make a good scene in a movie, right?

As it turns out, all this crazy Cat-and-Mousing had an effect on the Canadian Suffrage Movement - and by extension on Canadian politics - and in a very specific way.

In August, 1913, Flora Macdonald Denison, President of the Canadian Suffrage Association, an organization started by the legendary Emily Howard Stowe, was in London, visiting with the militants.

In one day she attended two rallies. The first was at the London Pavilion, where she witnessed a very weak Annie Kenney speaking and where she also saw Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, who was on the lamb, whisked away by police when she unexpectedly turned up. (Pankhurst had come just to meet with Flora McD.)

Denison then saw some suffragettes taken to a back room and heard violent noises and learned the next day that 'blood had been shed, by both suffragettes and police'.

That same day, Miss Barbara Wylie, her hostess (you can read about her in Furies Cross the Mersey) took her to the East End of London to a rally where Sylvia Pankhurst, also playing Cat and Mouse, was to speak.

Denison wrote a powerful description of the scene in her Toronto World column, a description that likely scared the bejeezus out of suffragists back home in Canada because she was deposed as CSA President soon thereafter and effectively pushed out of the Canadian suffrage movement.

Torontonian Constance Hamilton, a future Win-the-War fanatic, would launch her own National Equal Franchise Union and use her influence to help Premier Borden fix the vote in the 1917 election.

Canadian suffrage politics was a very complicated business during the World War One years and I will explain it all in my next book Service and Disservice. That ebook will be about the iffy involvement of all the Canadian Constitutional Suffragists in the 1917 Conscription Crisis, where they got plenty of youthful male blood on their hands.

Premier Borden banned the militant suffragettes from coming to Canada in 1912, but they came anyway. Barbara Wylie came for a year long cross-country tour in September 1912.  Caroline Kenney came over in November, 1912 and stayed for four years and started her own Equal Suffrage League. This REALLY scared the Canadian suffragists. 

Here's an excerpt from Denison's Toronto World Column, August, 1913

The crowd was filed with poorly clad women, but also was made up of 3/4 men, apparently. (This suffragette business in the East End was more about class, I guess.)

Syliva P had turned up disguised in a 'grand woman's clothes' and then peeled them off to reveal her humble dress of khaki. (Very theatrical.)

"What Sylvia Pankhurst had to say, she read from a paper. She had arranged, if it were possible, to escape the police, to take refuge in a small baker's shop directly opposite the hall. She said the police were many, but the men of Bow and Bromley were more and if they believed her cause to be right she believed they would protect her. The audience was a difficult one to manage, but to a man they shouted they would protect her.

First the nurses and two of these other women half carried her. Then a half dozen big strong men locked arms about the center group and then another group around them. They had a flight of stairs to go down before reaching the street. When they were about at the street door, the fire hose was turned on by policemen who were outside guarding the entrance. This caused a commotion. A girl dressed as Miss Pankhurst hurried up a side street with many of the crowd protecting her, the police followed and in the meantime, Sylvia Pankhurst was being put to bed in the humble bedroom of the poor baker's shop in Bow.

A spray of water made me turn around and the hose had become disconnected and a two and a half inch stream of water was fast flooding the hall. Miss Wylie and I started to leave the hall. Cries on all sides were "Heaven bless the angel." "Praise the Lord she has escaped." "Curses on the government."

When we got outside, the police were trying to disperse the crowd. The automobile of the WSPU was standing in front of the hall and Miss Emmerson asked me to get in. Miss Wylie thought it might be dangerous but I thought if a young woman like Miss Smith could drive the car through such a crowd, I could at least be a passive spectator, so I got in amid the cries of "We'll not let the police touch you."

As a matter of fact, the police had no wish to touch anyone. They were busy assisting women with babies, old lame men and protecting anyone who needed them in a terrible crush."

Well, you could imagine how Canadian Suffragists felt when reading this. Most thought that a peaceful march down the street was too militant. 

Have you heard the one about the poet and the dying soldiers?

Frances Fenwick Williams was a Montreal author and suffragist who will figure large in my book Service and Disservice about the 1917 Conscription Crisis in Canada - and the iffy involvement of the Canadian suffragist movement.

It's the follow up to Furies Cross the Mersey, about the 1911/12 British Invasion of Suffragettes to Montreal, an invasion Ms. Fenwick Williams helped bring about, I suspect.

I've written about Ms. Williams a lot on this blog. She was clever and nervy - an outlier who was part of the social elite but who made fun of these people in her books.She was the daughter of a Montreal stock market official and from a distinguished Nova Scotia family.

Her second novel, A Soul on Fire was published in 1915 when she sitting on the Executive of Board of Directors of the Montreal Suffrage Association, although she wasn't a social reformer like her co-members.

Frances Fenwick Williams, about 30 years old, was an 'equal rights' suffragist, not a 'maternal' suffragist.

 She was married in 1910  but was estranged from her American husband.

Being married gave FFW the right to be a member of the MSA.  Young single women were not invited into the Montreal suffrage movement. They were too 'excitable.'

FFW was a bit like the famed American author Edith Wharton, if you think about it, but she was not nearly as good a novelist. A critique of her 1915 novel, A Soul on Fire, claimed the characters didn't resemble any  in real life.

Hmm. Ivy Compton Burnett was a Dame Commander of the British Empire, Post-War novelist and member of the Women's Writers Suffrage League.  FFW went to London in 1912 to visit with the suffragettes. And, then, she joined the very 'sane' and 'reasonable' Montreal Suffrage Association, as a kind mole.

FFW liked to give speeches. She was an able debater at the February, 1912 Montreal Suffrage Exhibit. Her speech is in my book Furies Cross the Mersey.

During  the 1917  Conscription Crisis, she was there when Borden needed her, giving a speech in Montreal on the first day of December, a day after riots in Sherbrooke, Quebec among other towns.

"I am a suffragist, a socialist and half a soldier," she told the 100 ladies assembled at the 1917 rally. She also said she had no political affiliation but was for the Union government because it was the closest thing you can get to a non-partisan government.

She said anyone against the Union Government and Conscription was a  "Traitor to the Dead."

(Grace Richie England, Montreal born President of the Montreal Council of Women, stumped for Sir Wilfrid Laurier and suffered an impeachment hearing in 1918 for her troubles.)

At least FFW wasn't a hyprocrit like so many of the other suffragists during WWI.

In 1913, she wrote a piece in her column The Feminist, called Women and War  stating: "It is generally believed that since women don't take part in military actions that they are opposed to war. It would be a similar thing to say that since men don't take part in Spring Cleaning, that they are opposed to it."

But she also wrote this 1917 war poem that seems to show two enemy soldiers dying together.

Before Verdun

No prayer can help, no agony atone,
As I came into life I go  - alone!

Another man is lying by my side,
Another, caught in death's fast-brimming tide.

Mine was the hand that struck his life away,
And his the hand that laid me low today.

Yet now, as nearer draws the dreadful end,
He seems to me a brother and a friend.

What is he thinking as his life ebbs fast?
(How lonely each poor soul is at the last!)

If I could hear him speak before he dies I should not feel so desolate,  but he lies,
Silent and spent.

His lips grow slowly white.

I hate to look upon the piteous sight!

(There's more.)

Have you heard the one about the eugenicist and the Prime Minister?

Carrie Derick of the Montreal Suffrage Association who managed to stay out of trouble during the Conscription Crisis by making ambiguous statements in the Press, rather than ambivalent ones.

In June, 1917 the Press was reporting that Prime Minister Borden was likely going to give Canadian women the vote for the next election. So, a huge deputation of suffragists from all around Canada, who were about to descend on Ottawa, cancelled their plans.

By September, 1917, it was clear only women with men at the front, brothers, sons, husbands, would get to vote.

What happened in between?

Well, that narrative will provide the climax of the book I am working on, Service and Disservice, a follow up to Furies Cross the Mersey.

Furies Cross the Mersey covers the Canadian Suffragists from 1910 to 1913 and Service and Disservice will cover the WWI years.

Mrs. Pankhurst and her troops figure in both books, in spirit and, occasionally, in body.

According to Pierre Berton, in his book Marching As to War, what happened was that Arthur Meighen, Borden's Right Hand Man, met Nelly McClung out West and she warned him that many women living out there would not support Conscription.

Berton claims McLung was the one who floated the idea of some kind of limited franchise.

Borden could have limited the franchise to women who had been in Canada a certain length of time,  but then Quebec women would get the vote and that was no good either, in the minds of Win-the-War types.

And some weren't shy about saying it, either.

So, on Augusts 2, 1917, at the Win-the-War meetings in Toronto, Borden  took a few Women's leaders aside (leaders of the WCTU, IODE, The National Council of Women and the National Equal Franchise League run by Constance Hamilton) and asked them to poll their Canada-wide membership to see if women would support his Union Government and, by extension, his Conscription Bill if they were allowed to vote.

The Leaders did just that and the answer came back a resounding NO.

I recently read a hairy account of these very Win-the-War meetings in Toronto in the Women's Century, the organ of the National Council of Women.

It seems the women leaders were only given 48 hours notice, which means that inviting them was a last minute decision on the part of the Borden Government.

A few speakers were invited especially to 'educate' the women. One woman who had three sons at the Front was blunt about why Conscription was necessary: to increase the odds of her own sons surviving.

Not a very noble reason, if you think about it. More of a selfish one.

"If we don’t send men to the front, we can’t get back our boys who are there. Those men who have kept our home and our liberty for us."

A "great war veteran" said:

“What we want is a union, a common platform of sacrifice and duty to be distributed all over the country."

So, these Social Work women got all caught up in the emotion of it and then, later on, the suffragists among them got caught up in their own ambivalence/hypocrisy.

Some suffrage leaders had to backtrack, claiming publically that they OPPOSED limited franchise on principle, because many among their membership did.

The minutes of the Montreal Council of Women show that they supported WWI from the start. The yearbooks says, "most women were away in the country when war broke out' but they soon got their act together and started a Khaki League, to provide soldiers with convalescent care, clean laundry and 'wholesome' entertainment. Miss Derick was appointed President.

Most Suffrage leaders had long expressed their support of Conscription, but in Montreal, the Local Council was forced to say in 1918 in the Press that it never supported Conscription, not technically at least. It supported Mandatory National Service for both men and women.

Their minutes show otherwise. In 1916 the MSA Executive passed a strong resolution in favour of Conscription and sent it on to the National who sent it on to all locals, who voted on it  16 yes to 11 no. It was even referred to as "the Montreal Resolution." LOL.

Still, President Grace Ritchie England stumped for Wilfrid Laurier in the 1917 election and suffered an humiliating impeachment hearing for her efforts.

Mrs. Torrington, the President of the National Council of Women, also had an especially hard time of it. She too was chastised for speaking (and writing letters to the editor) on behalf of the entire MCW membership on these touchy political issues when she hadn't been given the mandate. It was easy to see why she did, though.

The Woman's Century Magazine printed another article in September, 1917, revealing that an official resolution was passed by the National Council of Women protesting against Borden's Dominion Franchise Bill - and sent to his office.

Then the article immediately goes on to explain why Limited Franchise is a very good thing. Did you know that many POW's caught by the Allies were Canadian Germans fighting for the enemy?  Did you know that 'foreign' women voted in greater proportion than British born or Canadian-born women, in the provincial elections?

"The greater is hidden in the lesser" with this Dominion Franchise the author of the article, suggesting  the Suffragists of Canada had found a way to trick Borden into giving women the vote, one parcel at a time.

(Borden told the lawyer for the Montreal Suffrage Association, Lansing Lewis that this Limited Franchise was a way to let fighting men vote, through their relations. Lewis bought the explanation but the MSA Executive still passed a Resolution condemning the bill.)

Whatever excuse worked.

I have a letter Borden sent to the Fédération St. Jean Baptiste in Quebec, in reply to their letter of protest. Borden says he is busy with war work, so is sending her a copy of another letter he sent to another group.

The PM sounds very frazzled in this letter. "Don't you realize how hard it is for me?" he writes. "Would you want a woman who had been in Canada just 3 months to be allowed to vote, because she married a British Subject?"

In the Press, he was claiming that "the Women of Canada support my Dominion Franchise Bill."

He wasn't exactly lying, was he?

Have you heard the one about the Reporter and the Suffragette?

The Suffragette Movement is a 'romantic' movement, in that we've romanticized these social activists, to a degree.

It will be interesting to see how Carrie Mulligan/Meryl Streep's new movie, Suffragette, will deal with history. The movie is slated for release in October.

We forget how much these suffragettes were feared and loathed in 1912/13 by many people, even by those people who wanted women to get the vote.

But I've just uncovered a TRULY romantic Hollywood-Style romance about one  of Mrs. Pankhurst's troops.

And, yea, it's got a Montreal angle!

I've written an ebook, Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13.It's available on Amazon.

Mrs. Pankhurst visited Canada on two occasions to speak. She made just one visit to Montreal, in late 1911.  She was the guest of the Montreal Council of Women. Carrie Derick, Past-President, had requested that she be invited to the city, 'to hear the other side of the question.'

Barbara Wylie of the WSPU came to Canada in early September, 1912 and stayed until 1913.  In her speeches, Wylie  bragged about having been to jail.

The pretty suffragette traveled all the way to British Columbia, during a winter of record cold.

 Then she returned to England and became the spokesperson for Mrs. Pankhurst for a while - and then she got arrested in a protest in front of His Majesty's Theater in London.  You can read all about her Canadian escapades in Furies Cross the Mersey.

Caroline Kenney, sister of prominent militant Annie Kenney, came to Montreal, Canada in December, 1912 and stayed a few years.

Iconic Image of Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst.

I'm the one who figured this out: no biographer had done so before.

 I write about Caroline in my Furies book, too, and will write more in the follow up, Service and Disservice about the years 1913-19 and the Conscription Crisis of 1917.

Caroline came to stay with her older sister Nell in St. Lambert. I have seen her immigration documentation. She intended to stay in the country and work as a teacher.

While in Montreal, she helped found, in late 1913, the Montreal Equal Suffrage League. It was to be a group made up of militants and non-militants.The ESL didn't get much press. Caroline, herself, gave a couple of talks upon her arrival, to a Jewish Group and to the Women's Temperance Union.

She got bad press for her first talk, about the "Evolution of Militancy." Militancy was a very dirty word in Montreal and Canadian suffrage circles in 1912/13, even though many, many women sympathized with Mrs. Pankhurst's WSPU.

Caroline's sister, Nell, had immigrated to Canada in 1909 and married Frank Randall Clarke, a journalist, late of the Daily Mail of London.

 I figured out that Nell Kenney had acted on behalf of Mrs. Pankhurst's militants in 1908 in England. There are mentions of her meetings in Votes for Women Magazine.

And, just lately, I read an account of that romantic 'suffragette' story I told you about.

 Lyndsey Jenkins, an Oxford scholar, soon to release a new biography of prominent British Suffragette Lady Constance Lytton (and now researching the Kenney Family) sent me a certain biographical document saying that Frank Randall Clarke met Nell at an election rally for Lord Asquith, one she disrupted on behalf of the suffragettes.

The police fell on Nell hard, apparently. (Naturally!)  And who came to her rescue? A young reporter covering the Asquith speech, one Frank Randall Clarke.

Clarke fell in love with the suffering suffragette, followed her to her 'safe haven' in England and ...well... the document says he married her in England.. but, that's not right.

I have seen their marriage certificate. They came to Canada in 1909 and married here in Montreal.

It seems that they had to get out of England quickly.

Now, isn't that romantic? Reeealllly  romantic? Hollywood-style romantic?

I'd say so.

I see nothing in the newspapers to indicate Nell worked for the suffrage cause while in Montreal, but by 1913 she had two infants.

Frank Randall Clarke's new place of work, the Montreal Witness Newspaper, was for woman suffrage, but covered the British Suffragettes in the most sensational way! See the pic at top.

Still, I can see from the membership list of the Montreal Suffrage Association that St. Lambert, a community of Anglos south of Montreal Island, was an enclave of suffragists. The MSA had lots of members from that place. (The MSA, upon launch in 1913, promised to be peaceful and reasonabland to go about a quiet education of the people.)

 That seemed weird to me at first.  Why St. Lambert, of all places?

Now, I know why. A dyed-in-the-wool militant suffragette moved there in 1912-13, at the height of the movement, at the height of all the controversy.

Anyway, Frank Randall Clarke became a prominent social activist in Montreal, lobbying for better labour conditions, and the author of the biographical document assumes that Nell helped him along.

His fonds are at the McCord Museum in Montreal. They include photos of the Royal Princes on their Montreal visits, wearing suits so sleek, so finely threaded, they shimmer, and also pictures of homeless men during the Depression sleeping in their rags on park benches.

Whatever, Frank Randall Clarke appeared to adore his wife all through their time together. They had more children.

Nell accompanied Frank on a cross-country assignment  of behalf of CP Rail in the 1930's. A McGill Thesis was written on the project by Ann Lynne Becker. You can read it here.