Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Milk of Human Kindness and Social Responsibility

Advertisement for anti wrinkle cream at the back of the Report of the National Council of Women 1913. Well, the brochure for the 1912 Child Welfare Exhibit had an ad for Nestles baby formula, even though the exhibit greatly recommended breast feeding.

I just discovered this 1913 report (on archive.org) and was thrilled. In 1913, the National Council of Women had an 8 day meeting in Montreal and I know for a fact Edith Nicholson, of my Flo in the City book, attended, at least one night.

The night Mrs. Philip Snowden gave a speech. The exact speech is paraphrased in the report (I'll transcribe it next). Anyway, Edith writes about her speech in a May 1913 letter and says, "She is not militant, and for that I am very sad."

Edith is not working in 1913. She quit her job at Ecole Methodiste in Westmount and only got another teaching job the next year, in Richmond. In May 1913, Marion got engaged to Mr. Blair (my husband's grandfather) and that's where Flo in the City will end.

As I have written before on this blog, Edith Nicholson, the pious, fashion conscious and gossip loving Edith, was a militant suffragette sympathizer.

I suspect she also attended the November 1912 speech by Barbara Wylie, the unapologetic militant from England. (She cut out a clipping about her arrival in Montreal, which I have posted on my http://www.tighsolas.ca/ website. It seems when reporters went to greet Ms. (he he) Wylie at the station, they missed her. They were looking for a dowdy angry type to detrain but Mrs Wylie was tall and attractive and walked right by them all.

Anyway, The Montreal Council of Women (part of the National Council) supplied a report to this Report (as did many other Chapters from all over Canada.) I transcribe the first part of the Montreal Report here...


The Montreal Local Council closes its nineteenth year with a roll of forty-four affiliated societies, forty-five patrons, and one hundred and twenty four associate members of whom forty five are new members.

Miss Derick, Past President, has been made a Life Patron of the National Council as a recognition of her services and three new Annual Patrons of the National Council have been obtained.

Six regular and four special Executive meetings have been held.

The Annual Meeting of May 1912 was rendered especially noteworthy by the presence of HRH the Duchess of Connaught who was graciously pleased to attend and to receive flowers and an address in French. Short addresses were made by Principal Peterson of McGill University, Dean Moyse of the Faculty of Arts; Mr. Godfrey, City Commissioner and Mr. W. A. Coote of London, England.

A public meeting was called the following day, to hear Mr. Coote speak of his mission. At it were heard a number of earnest men, whose public work had brought them a knowledge of local conditions. Later, at a men’s meeting, a committee was chose to act with the Local Council in opposing the traffic in women.

Last year, Tag Day, undertaken jointly with the Federation Nationale, brought in $14, 936.00, o f which the Council got $7,468.00. Of this amount, 3,000 was given to the milk station, leaving 4,200 to be distributed among the affiliated charities. In September, a lecture was given under the auspices of the Council on the right to the teaching of sex hygiene to young people. The proceeds were used to child welfare work.

On November 4, Miss Barbara Wylie was given an opportunity of speaking on suffrage and later on Mrs. Forbes Robertson Hale was brought in to lecture on the same subject. During the summer, the United League of Women Workers of the United States made a visit to Montreal and was entertained at tea by members of the Council, on whose representation, the City Council gave the workers a ride around the city park.

The Milk Station has been carried on in its new location throughout the summer and winter, with an average attendance of 100 children. The modifying is now done at the station by an Argyle Nurse, the council having expended 493 dollars for the necessary equipment. The Victorian Order nurse takes full charge for the rest of the work,with excellent results. She has a record of an average of 280 visits a month which does not include the babies seen by her at the station in the afternoon. 291 gallons of milk a year have been given without charge.

While 3, 280 gallons have been paid for, though frequently at a price before cost. The death rate has been only 1 percent, including the babies which died within 24 hours of being brought to the station. The city official to whom this report was made, found this percentage so low, he refused to accept it until he could examine the records, then assured the nurse that if the Council were to open other stations, the City would be very ready to help. An interesting evidence of appreciation is shown by the Maternity hospital which has sent many of its discharged patients to the station for baby food. At Christmas time a Christmas tree with presents and Christmas cheer was provided to the mothers and babies and older children.