Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Suffragette Omnibus


As the Montreal Suffrage Association was founded 100 years ago, with an inaugural meeting in the Redpath Library of McGill, I have put together some of my suffrage articles here in on long post.

 

Read Furies Cross the Mersey on Amazon about the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13



Isadora Duncan in Greece

According to a 1913 book Women as World-Builders, sold to local women by the Montreal Suffrage Association, "the women's movement is a product of the evolutionary science of the 19th century" and Isadora is the living embodiment of the perfection of evolution with respect to the body. (or Something Like That.)
Today we have the Tunisian feminist Amina risking a lot to make her point. And a ballerina at the Bolshoi describing that place as a brothel.


Must ask Melvyn Bragg about all this as he wrote the script for the movie Isadora with Vanessa Redgrave and he knows about everything :) The Minoans, Imaginary Numbers, William James. (I love the show.)

A Floyd Dell authored the book. Apparently, he was a  man 'expert' in the feminist movement (or was it a pseudonym?)



 Here's the full list of feminists he writes about:



I found a  copy  of Women as World-Builders on Archive.org and wrote about it earlier. What I have just found out is that this book was for sale at the Literature Bureau of the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913.

They were right up to date!

I know because the Montreal Daily Herald published a section on the new Montreal Suffrage Association in its November 26, 1913 issue, which I took a peek at last week at the National Archives.

I wrote about it earlier on this blog.

This section included  a short article about the Literature Bureau which focused on this biographical volume.

(The Minutes of the Literature Bureau revealed that Montreal Suffragists made good money selling pamphlets and books. Indeed, it was their main means of income. They often lost money bringing in speakers even British Suffragettes like Barbara Wylie.

Cristabel Pankhurst's book about the Scourge of VD also was a big seller. "Votes for Women: Chastity for Men")

Jane Addams is the social reformer from the US who didn't like the motion pictures but who, (I think) might have have been the first to describe Hollywood as a Dream Factory, well, House of Dreams.


(A scene from Everywoman, a very popular play of the 1910 era, which featured beautiful young actresses in clingy clothing warning about the dangers of vanity, pride, the acting profession, and THE BIG BAD CITY. Flora Nicholson, 19, attended at His Majesty's on Guy and wrote home to Mom saying Everywoman was the best play she'd ever seen!)


I think this book explains a lot about the Montreal Suffrage Association, launched almost exactly 100 years ago today.

The Executive (made up of  members of the Montreal Council of Women and McGill Profs and Protestant Religious leaders) described the organization as an 'education' organization.. also a 'reasonable' organization as opposed to a 'militant' one.




Here's a paragraph from an opening chapter:





 Do you think this is the kind of material that inspires young women like Edith Nicholson of my story Sister Salvation to pick up a sign and start marching down Sherbrooke Street shouting "Votes for Women?"  NO!

Hmm. The author is saying here that he is going to 'show' not 'tell' - but his writing style is a bit (might we say?) overblown, so this book certainly is not aimed at average women. Montreal Suffragists pretended to be inclusive, but they kept their membership confined to an educated well-connected social elite.

The Minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association. They brought in a speaker to talk about "Women and Social Purity" Lower class women were all in danger of becoming prostitutes, they seemed to feel.



Holiness of its parts.. beauty but no sexuality? (The suffrage movement in Canada was mostly about promoting Social Purity and Pure Women.)   But Isadora had already had her two children out of wedlock by 1913.  No mention in this book of that fact.

Yet, here's another snippet from the chapter on Isadora.  It sounds kind of 60's ish.



.....


This is a clip of the constitution of the Montreal Suffrage Association, 1913-1919, that has gone down in history, well, Canadian Women's Studies history, as an important organization.

I've been disputing this on this blog and now, after finally finding and reading the minutes and such, I still think it was a shady organization.

The association's mission statement is a simple open-ended one: the object of the association is to advance the cause of woman suffrage. 

Point four is an example of shadiness: Any member may become an ordinary member by nomination of the Executive Committee and election at a general meeting.

What's that about?

Considering that the Executive Committee of the Montreal Suffrage Association is the same group that guides the Montreal Local Council of Women, with a few McGill profs and dear author Mrs. Fenwick Williams. (Mention is made of that in the Minutes, actually.)

Really! Here some women are clamouring for the women's vote - believing in democracy, but it appears their organization isn't very democratic at all.

Oh, it goes through the motions of good governance, but basically the exec does what it wants. It's a tool for Carrie Derick, mostly, to promote her interests, even though the story goes she took on the Presidency of the MSA reluctantly.

That's  my opinion anyway and I'll explore it more before I write the untitled wartime sequel to Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster my ebooks on Amazon.com kindle.

I mean, it wouldn't be the first time a social-advocacy organization is driven by one powerful personality.

And considering that this Montreal Suffrage Association was started up after Emmeline Pankhurst was invited to speak by the Local Council (at Carrie Derick's suggestion) and her talk was a great success, although they had to give away 200 free tickets.

The reason for starting a Suffrage Association was 'to keep the interest of suffrage alive' after this event where they had to fill the seats themselves.

No, there wasn't that much interest in suffrage in Montreal, except among the Protestant evangelicals, who wanted women to have the vote so they could turn back the clock in a time of convulsive change and promote Traditional  Protestant Values.

So they likely meant interest within the press, because of course Panhurst's speech was covered. How could it not be? (By the English Press, not sure about the French.)

The list of members exists, and it amounts to about 250-300. You can't tell who joined when. But at the first meeting there appears to be problems with the membership committee and just ONE suggested potential member.

 Edith Nicholson is not on the list. (I am a little surprised.)

Nor are Marion and Flora and this despite the fact they lived in the city, were keenly interested in Suffrage, cutting out clippings and going to see Mrs. Snowden speak and also Barbara Wylie. And they were Protestant Evangelicals.  It's true, they were for the militant suffragettes, but so what? Or, maybe that was the problem.

So why aren't they on the list , I have to ask. They lived near Miss Mabel Brittain, teacher on Tower. Edith got to know Miss Derick and Miss Hurlbatt (the warden of RVC and a principal in the Montreal Suffrage Organization although not on the executive) somewhere along the line, but when?

I'm going to carefully read the notes...



The auto show. The Montreal Suffrage Association set up a booth at the auto show which sounds counter intuitive.  They say in the minutes it was a success, but no details. The M.S.A. did a lot of  war war in 1913-1919, and according to the minutes, they kept their noses clean with respect to the 1917conscription crisis, staying true to their principles.

But Carrie Derick was their President, as well as Honorary Life Member and Education Committee Leader on the Montreal Local Council of Women as well as V.P. of the Canadian Council, whose executive supported (if only secretly) the War Time Elections Act, according to the minutes of the Montreal Council of Women.


Anyway, I had to laugh a bit. Early in the minutes there's a mention of Edward Beck, editor of the Herald. He's the one who offered to publish a special suffrage issue in 1913. The same Edward Beck, who tried to capture my grandfather in a bribery sting a little bit later.

The suffrage insert was published I assume (and the Montreal Suffrage Association even held a monthly meeting in the Herald Building) but soon after a rift developed over money. Beck wanted the Council to pay him 250 (which would have been half their money) and they wanted 90 dollars.

And soon Beck would no longer be at the Herald. He'd start up Beck's Weekly, a crime tabloid, entrap my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, the Director of City Services, and then write it up the whole business  in flowery Detective Novel Style.

A weird line to scratch out. They mention they want to subscribe to Votes for Women, the Pankhurst publication, WSPU. Then a note that the association is non-militant is scratched out. That's what Lady Drummond assured the press at their launch press conference in April. (It took a year to organize the association as Pankhurst spoke in December 1911 and shortly after they decided to spin off this org.

Bringing in speakers was a PR device, not very lucrative.Selling pamphlets was profitable.The tried twice to get Anna Howard Shaw, but she couldn't make it.

What does militancy mean in this context? It means being loud, throwing bricks and flour at politicians, staging a lot of parades and such. It means GETTING PRESS ATTENTION at all costs and then when arrested, making the most of it!

The Montreal Suffrage Association was all about Press Attention too, but the newspapers of the time didn't print many photographs... so what use would it have been to stage events. They would have had to count on reporters being good enough to paint Word Pictures.. (I just thought of that... Actually, I think only the Tabloid press had lots of real pictures, the French Tabloid Press.)

So any Montreal Suffragettes would have had to take their own photos and put them in their own magazine. Expensive. (I think I will go back in time and suggest this.)

A few British Suffragettes mentioned Bombs Next Time... but alas.



Well, I visited McGill and the main library there to take a look at this hardcover copy of  a book written in 1915 about the Montreal Council of Women.

I'm researching a documentary on the suffrage movement in Canada, Quebec point of view.

Why this 21st anniversary edition was created, I don't know. What's a 21st anniversary, anyway? And it doesn't contain much more than the Annual Reports of the years 1909-1915.

But those are important years as that's when the Montreal Suffrage Association was created, in 1912/13.

Carrie Derick from the book. Edith Nicholson of Threshold Girl stepped out with Miss Derick, I have it in a letter. Edith worked in the Registrar's Office at McGill (likely overseeing female applicants) and as Assistant Warden at Royal Victoria College.

Now, the only two books Canadian Women's Suffrage are the master's thesis by Catherine Cleverdon and another 1970's book.   Catherine Cleverdon, an American, had a chance to interview real people, like Edith Nicholson of Threshold Girl, but she didn't.

So the The Montreal Suffrage Association has gone down in history as a footnote - a footnote I am fleshing out. Oh, if I only could invoke Dear old Edie, my husband's great aunt.

Her favourite great niece says she never mentioned her feminist days, although she told her niece a woman could be anything she wanted to. This was in the fifties when women were being encouraged to go back into the home and wax their floors.

So, this little tome is all that is left for scholars to refer to and they do, often, I can tell.

Now, the Montreal Suffrage Association is often cited on the Net, (footnote) 1912, Montreal Suffrage Association founded. Carrie Derick first President.

What I can see from this book of annual reports is that Carrie Derick was much more interested in the problem of 'mental defectives' than in the suffrage movement per-se.

It is written here (and has been oft repeated) that Emmeline Pankhurst's 1911 visit to Montreal sparked the creation of the Montreal Suffrage Association, but I think that could be taken in two ways.

Perhaps some members of the Council were inspired but others likely were appalled and so the Association might have been created to keep the issue 'at arm's length.'

I suspect this and am looking for clues.

The clue might reside in information about the 1913 Suffrage Exhibit. Derick doesn't appear to have been a convener. And the Exhibit is not mentioned in this book.

In the 1915 Annual Report there are a few paragraphs about the association and its activities, most of the info I've already gleaned from Newspaper Reports.

Here it is.


It appears any outreach during that war years was done in the E.T. including in Derick's home town of Clarenceville.  They say 100,000, pamphlets were distributed during the year.

"Notwithstanding the absorption in the war, the progress made by the suffrage movement is marked. There is growing recognition of the devotion and self-sacrifice of women and a belief that they have, as perhaps never before, demonstrated their worth as citizens of a great empire and their right to equality with men in all the natural places."

In Threshold Girl I have Barbara Wylie speak at St. James Methodist. She spoke at the YMCA actually. Alas.

Anyway, Mrs. Hurlbatt, Warden of the Royal Victoria College, whom Edith would eventually work under as Assistant Warden, was active in the movement. Lots of other McGill Profs too, along with Derick. (The Montreal Herald created a special insert about the new organization when it was inaugurated in November 1912, but McGill has no Heralds for that era. That insert might not exist anywhere.)

One scholar I read, a French one, claims that the Montreal Suffrage Association was made up of mostly McGill Profs and their students. A Gazette article says the membership reached 800.  I will have to see if the other texts on Microfilm of the Council confirm that.


Outside the McGill Library yesterday, a campus that was once a hot bed of suffrage and eugenics. The Montreal Council stopped its work on mental defectives in 1950.


......



"A brilliant speaker" writes Flora in pencil on this clipping from January 14, 1918 from the Montreal Gazette. So no doubt she attended the Rev. Dr. Dawson's speech at St. James Methodist (where I have her hear Miss Barbara Wylie Suffragette in 1912 in School Marms and Suffragettes. In 1916 Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst (no slouch as an orator herself and also a social reformer, or social conservative, one and the same thing back then) spoke in the same church, no doubt in support of the war effort.


Here's the article slightly abridged

In St. James Methodist Church last night Dr. W.J. Dawson, formerly of London England and for eleven years of Newark New Jersey preached the doctrine, at once terrifying and comforting, that the nations are being redeemed and regenerated through war.

If one looked up from the details of the surgery of war to the higher synthesis of these details he would see the cosmic processes which work towards regeneration and redemption.

The noted preacher and author spoke in a high, easy, calm and deliberate voice, now and then dropping hoarse and sombre, wonderfully arresting just at those passages which the speaker desired mainly to impress on his hearers.

Major the Reverand  C.A. Williams, pastor, conducted the service and the Rev. Principal Major Smyth introduced Dr. Dawson.

The Reverend Dr. Dawson's sermon was taken from St. Luke XXI, 2 and 36, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh... Watch ye, therefore and pray always  that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man." Jesus in trying to prepare his disciples to meet without dismay and despair  the impending world catastrophe of that time which was to shake the world empire of the Romans and bring about the ruin of Jerusalem, taught two things: that the redemption of the world and souls of men might come through war, and second, that the one supreme aim of prayer of men who walk through these dark vales of catastrophe should be so to act that they would be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man.

The preacher admitted that while men looked down at the mutilated men lying on the fields of France and Flanders, the doctrine, that war is working for redemption and regeneration seemed a terrible one.  one had to look up to see the loom of God weaving with many a blood-stained thread a new liberation of man in order fully to grasp it.

One should not look at the cemeteries of the slain to realize this idea but at this new strength of spiritual idealism and passionate patriotism animating the Allied countries.

....

Peace was the mother of prosperity, and best for the individual development, but what only a very few men had been able to see was that civilized nations were apt to become over-ripe with a prolonged peace, and at last, rotten, making civilization a putrifying carcass and where the carcass is, there the avenging eagles go as ministers of purification.

One could mean to arrest decay by other means,such as education and pacific ideals of humanitarianism. It was hard to convince pacifists that these were only emollients applied to a cancer which had to be cut away by a surgeon's knife - God's awful surgery of war.

As signs of the coming redemption the Reverend mentioned the fall of czarism in Russia. Other signs, the death of the party spirit, a unity of sentiment and purpose through the British Empire, prohibition, arriving or coming everywhere and countless other reforms that without war could not have been achieved for 100 years.


11:30 pm


January 17, 1917

Edmonton, Alberta

My dear Flora,

The hour may look late but I'm getting desperate about not having written you and Edith to thank you for your very kind Christmas remembrances.  We have really been busy the last two months so that my correspondence has dwindled down to my weekly letter home. My intentions were good but there are only six hours in the day so you see I must plead guilty for not finding time.

Your little book "Hello" was very much appreciated and touched the spot.

I could almost here you say it and believe me I would have liked very much to hear you say it around Christmas Day.

It was one of the quietest holidays for me in some years.  "Nuff said."

Then again Flora, any girl that can write a SECOND long letter without reminding the recipient that that the first is still unanswered - well, she's a trump and both you and Edith proved that.

Our Victory Loan certainly made some work for me. I took practically all the handling of that work in our office so as to not disturb the ordinary routine and it kept me on the job many nights.

Then around the end of the year was savings interest and a number of special statements so that matters are just getting normal again.

As I said before, Christmas was a quiet day. Our manager from Camrose (who was an accountant in Vancouver when I was there) came in Christmas eve, so he and Cronyn (our acting manager) and I took in a show.

After that we sat in front of the grate well into the morning, talking over any old thing.

Your know how easy it is to stay up and keep the conversation and the fire going. Christmas was darn cold, about 35 below, so we only stirred out from the bank rooms to get meals and into a movie.

But the New Years' Eve was the gay party. Seven of us had a table at the Macdonald and while the meal was nothing extra, the dance and general doings were very enjoyable.

They had about 350 there and one of the best dressed parties I had seen for years.

Talk about a riot, the scene in the rotunda around midnight was something to remember. They let down balloons and streamers from the mezzanine floor and the crowd struggled to capture the balloons or else knock them up again.

The dance lasted until 3.30 and I stayed till the finish and I paid up for it. Can't stand the racket like I used to or else I've been out of practice for too long.

Perhaps I'm getting back to it again though.

For instance, last night, it was 11.30 when Cronyn and I quite going over a lot of inspection reports on customers.

On going upstairs, I sat in front of the grate with two other chaps and we talked until 1 am. We then retired but had only been in bed a few minutes when the Fire Reels came along.

The fire was a real one, JUST across the street, so we got up and trotted out to see it. (Please note we dressed properly as the weather was 14 below.)

Well that little excitement kept us up to 2.30 so you see there is always something that takes up our time.

You may have wondered why I never sent the picture or enlargements. Well, I asked my brother for them last fall and again at New Years, but so far haven't heard anything of them.

So that really was no my fault. I know Art has been busy too. He was relieved of military duties for six weeks to help in the Victory Loan organization and he said that soldiering was a peaceful sleep compared with the rush and work that the loan business caused his office.

I have since met the Nicholson family that I told you about. I hardly think there are close relations as they are PE Islanders originally but very Scotch.

Mr. and Mrs. Nicholson indulge in the Gaelic when the occasion warrants it. There are two girls (both teachers) and one boy now in France.

I tell you there are few families from the Presbyterian not represented overseas.

Over 350 went from our congregation and the young people's society sent about 200 Xmas boxes overseas.

Well, Flora, it is after 12 but I must still write Edith so will close for now.

Many thanks indeed for the Christmas greetings and New Years wishes.

I sincerely hope you have a happy New Year.

Sorry I cannot greet you in the orthodox manner but that is the penalty of becoming a Westerner once more.

Hope this finds you well,

Your sincerely,

Ross



France, February 14, 1918

Dear Flora

Just a few hasty lines to let you know that I am still alive and that I haven't forgotten you yet.

I have just written home, so don't expect an exciting letter as I am over-working my poor knowledge box by writing two letters in one night.

I wrote you a letter the same night as I received your parcel. I got a letter from Biddie last night and she says you wouldn't go to church and pray for me.

Mr. Craig wrote me a very interesting letter telling me about the fine work done by the Aid Society and all the other branches of relief societies in which I am very interested.

How is the world using you?

I went to the picture show tonight and had a very exciting time. There isn't much to do now, so there is nothing much to write about.

I got a letter from Percy at last.

He is now an officer and is expecting to come back again soon.

I started to write this letter last night and had to stop. I got another letter from Percy tonight.  He is in Bramshott.

Well, Flora, I guess I will quit. Remember me to Marion and the rest of the family.

Take care of yourself and drop me a line any time you can.

Love,
Herb

...


From an April 25, 1913 Gazette Report


At a 1941 Quebec Suffrage Meeting Therese Casgrain introduces Miss Carrie Derick, who is to speak on the history of the Suffrage Movement in Canada (they'd already forgotten it by then, I guess) and predicts that Carrie Derick will go down in history as one of the "Great Canadian Women."

She did not. Therese Casgrain did. (She is to be included in those new holographic passports.)

Politics, you see.

Now all 'heroes' Canadian or otherwise have their dark-sides, even Gandhi and Mother Theresa, no doubt, got their operatives to sign confidentiality agreements :) but Derick's dark side became very politically incorrect as it was eugenics.

(It's also a dark side of Tommy Douglas, voted on the CBC a while back as "The Greatest Canadian")but Derick's dark side seems racist, especially to French Canadians.

Margaret Gillett, an education historian, did write a bio of Miss Derick, No Fool She, but it's been lost to history, I think. I couldn't even find it in the stacks at McGill. It was a Master's Thesis and is likely in the stacks at her alma mater, an American University.

Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to dig out quite a bit about Derick, who was a friend of Edith Nicholson, the heroine of my story Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. Edie is also my husband's great aunt Edie or DeDe.

Edith worked at Mcgill in the 1920's, but she knew Derick before that. I have a 1917 letter where she tells her mom she stepped out with Miss Derick for a McGill Concert.

So it is clear to me that Edith was active in Derick's Montreal Suffrage Association. I am not surprised.


Edith (second from right) in around 1917-19) She knew Carrie Derick BEFORE she worked at McGill, so was likely involved with the Montreal Suffrage Association.

Just today I managed to find the report on the Inaugural Session of this organization, which lasted from 1913-1919, the org not the session.

Derick was President, but at the session all the usual suspects were present. Mrs. Julia Parker Drummond, Dr. Herbert Symonds and dear Mrs. Hurlbatt the Warden at Royal Victoria College, who I am guessing now helped Edith get her job at McGill.

Here's the rub, it's made clear at this opening session that this organization is NOT MILITANT. Lady Drummond puts it this way "would start upon its work invincibly determined to keep to sweet reasonableness." Sweet reasonableness, the phrase just flows off the tongue, doesn't it, unlike the shrieking of an hysterical suffragette whose just battered the window of an MP's house.

Indeed the two male speakers rail against the suffragettes, Dr. Symonds saying they have hurt their cause in England, that there would be woman suffrage were it not for the militants, and another man saying "He thinks it better if they starved to death. " Some boos were heard in the Church Hall.

Except that not 6 months ago the Montreal Council of Women had invited Militant Barbara Wylie to speak (its in my book) and in December 1911 Hurlbatt and Derick had presided over a speech by Emmeline Pankhurst in the Windsor Hotel Hall, a speech attended by the Mayor a Dr. Guerin who didn't stay in office long.

Now, by 1913, as I have written, the Suffragettes were getting into big trouble and it was being widely reported in the newspapers, right beside reports like this one. The Gazette was filled with stories about suffragettes, usually on the sensational side.

And my husband's great aunt Edie was all for the militants, even in 1913. I have it in a letter.

Oddly, the Montreal Council of Women soon mounted a Suffrage Exhibit, and Derick did not give a talk or work as explainer. That tells you something, I think, but I have to do more research.

Anyway, in one of her speeches, Derick claims that it was the Montreal Council of Women that first promoted woman suffrage to the Canadian Council and that the Toronto Council resisted. She says that the women's movement in Montreal started at McGill, with women wanting equal education to men. (I think it also got a kick-start with the immense social problems, the infant mortality, prostitution, and as a reaction to the wave of immigrants arriving into Montreal. (That's the negative side of the suffrage movement.)

The minutes of the Montreal Council of women exist on Microfilm in Ottawa. The minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association exist nowhere, as far as I can see.


.....




A cartoon in Votes for Women making fun of something Winston Churchill said about the WSPU. He liked playing with words even then. In fact, Churchill visited Montreal in 1900 or abouts, and like Emmeline Pankhurst, gave a speech at  the Windsor but in praise of his exploits during the Boer War, and before the Canadian Club. (I'm guessing in the same room at the same dais.)The Gazette said "Lord Randolph's son has a very taking way with him."

Well, I had to make a change to my story School Marms and Suffragettes.  In the opening story, Threshold Girl, I have Edith and Flora Nicholson see Barbara Wylie, British Suffragette, in May 1912. (She actually came in September.)

But I just discovered, through devious means, that suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst spoke in Montreal on December 12, 1911.

The Montreal Local Council of women likely sponsored, since Carrie Derick and Mrs. Hurlbatt were there. (Or did they?)

(That I still have to figure out. There was a rift at that time between women who supported the militants and women who didn't, but they didn't want to make it too public..)

The Mayor of Montreal, a Dr. Guerin also attended Pankhurst's speech, which probably explains why he lasted only two years in office. What was he thinking?? It also explains how he got into office, with the women's groups supporting him. They were active in the 1910 election, I am told. And Guerin was a doctor (who appears to have English first names although his last name is French and he is educated at French universities.)

(The Mayor of Toronto also attended Pankhurst's speech in his city, giving her the keys, but the politics of that place was very different then as it is today.)

Anyway, Emmeline (can I call her that?)  spoke at the Windsor Hotel - and a Dr. McPhail of McGill was also there. In the same year this man gave a speech to the Canadian Club about the psychology of the suffragette. Frankly, I can't understand what he says in the speech, but I guess he was against woman suffrage. Well, in the speech he seems to say that women cannot change politics with the vote (so true) as politics will always be corrupt. (Interesting!)

Anyway, I didn't have to change much in my story.. In December 1911 Edith is overworked at her school and so she can't go out anywhere. So I have her miss the talk and be angry about it! She has already met Miss Derick at a meeting of prominent men who want to erect a woman's hotel.

Pankhurst was on a North American tour. In the WSPU magazine, Votes for Women, she claims she has had more success on this trip in Canada than in the US. "Her convincing arguments have won many converts." (Not really true, there never was an active suffrage movement, militant or merely noisy, in Canada and certainly NOT in Montreal.)

Here's what the Herald wrote about Emmeline:

"The frail, staunch fighting Englishwoman undeniably created a sentiment of sympathy for the cause to which she has devoted her life. Her eloquent address was frequently interrupted by applause.
It must be admitted that if a man were to go about work of advocating a political cause in the way Mrs. Pankhurst goes about her work we would think pretty well of him. The men who leave the impression of their personality upon the minds of the people do go about it just her way. It is the way of Cobden, of Bright, of O'Connell, of Parnell, or Wendell Phillips of Henry Ward Beecher. It is the hard way, not the easy way. It is the way of forcing opinion not of waiting for the current. THere are risks about it, discomforts about it, even dangers attendant upon it. It takes a lot of heart to carry on such a campaign. Braving occasional rowdyism is bad enough, but it takes  a pretty high order of courage to face the tedium involved in ceaseless railway journeys, in meeting not always to intelligent sympathizers, in putting up with the squeamishness of faint-hearted friends. This is desperate work for  a man. How a woman manages to do it is beyond the imagination."

Hmm. They didn't endorse her methods, just her skill and character!



....




Unfortunately, Edith Nicholson did not cut out any clippings of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst's trips to Canada. Hard to believe.

I think this is because, when Pankhurst came to Canada (and if I am right she came in 1909 and late 1911) she kept a fairly low profile.

Of course, there were some factions who wanted any militant suffragettes who came to Canada arrested as criminals and deported. (I suspect the British Government put some pressure on the Canadian Government.)

I found a social note in an American Paper that claimed Mrs. Pankhurst came to Montreal in early January 1912 and spoke before a HUGE crowd which included the Mayor of all things! And she may have also visited in 1909, right plunk in the middle of the Typhoid Epidemic (see Milk and Water my eplay) and kept it MILD.

(So I must go to the library and check out the Newspapers of that time.)

Apparently, according to Mrs. Denison of Toronto, leader of the suffrage movement there, the Mayor of Toronto was pro-women suffrage, so much so, he started the Men's Woman Suffrage League. Maybe Mayor Martin didn't want to be left behind.

Mrs. Denison, in 1913 (when the British Suffragettes and Mrs. Pankhurst were getting in big trouble in England) gave an interview to the New York Times.

She said almost all the Toronto Papers were in support of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst. She said so were the women of Canada, although they were not into "open meetings' and demonstrations" so they were 'conservative' in their way.

She said Canadian Suffragists weren't into militant methods (although the Canadian Council of Women endorsed Woman Suffage) either, although "some young women were coming to understand the need for publicity that they must make sacrifices for the cause."

Isn't that interesting? She understood that all the histrionics was about publicity.

Yes, very interesting. And it's not such a surprise to me now, that Edith Nicholson, prim and proper school teacher, was a militant suffragette sympathizer.

Mrs. Pankhurst came to Canada often afterwards, during the War and such, speaking from pulpits, in 1916 at St. James Methodist. (During the war the Suffragettes were very patriotic, and their particular brand of violence seemed meek and mild compared to what was going on in Europe.)


Also, many British Militant Suffragettes seemed to come to Canada "to rest and recreate" after doing jail time. The editors of the WSPU Votes for Women magazine, the Lawrences, came in 1912, (to visit a brother) and while away their home was confiscated.


Is Militancy a Disease? Most articles in the Montreal Gazette about the Suffragettes were wired in Cooperation with the New York Times.

Upon her death in 1928, the Montreal Gazette explained that  Emmeline Pankhurst lived in Toronto for a while, in 1921 and later Victoria BC. (Canadian women had the vote by then as did British women over 30.)

The obit described her as 'slight in stature, but with a fighting spirit, who at 50 had preserved much of her girlish beauty. She reveled in pretty clothes as much as any woman, loved music and children, and made the 'best lamb' in England.' (And then the obit talks about her family in Manchester  and their long fight for social justice. (I recall hearing on a BBC Radio doumentary, that the Pankhurst's became social activists when they noticed that so many young girls were arriving at their clinic pregnant by their own fathers.)

It always comes down to looks, doesn't it?  She's a suffragette, but she's SO PRETTY. The papers said the same about Mrs. Snowden and Barbara Wylie

Still, one wonders if she had been a big woman if she would have had a chance. Helen Gurley Brown was a ballsy woman, and ground breaker, but she was tiny too. There's something about being tiny and feminine that gives a strong woman an advantage. She doesn't intimidate with her looks and size, so she can make sneak attacks, or something.

Oh, and I learned something else, as I research my YouTube documentary about the Suffrage Movement in Canada, that a woman who had worked with Mrs. Pankhurst later led the Montreal Suffrage Association.

So the British Suffragettes clearly had influence in Canada, back room political influence, people in Canada were just careful about associating themselves with the militants in England.


.....



St James United, once St. James Methodist. The 1913 meeting of the Canadian Council of Women was held in the lecture hall.

"As England was the storm-center of the suffrage movement, she thought it well to refer chiefly to that country, and said that while the suffragists at times could not help feeling sick at heart at the difficulty in obtaining their aims, in reality during the past century their cause had made great strides. For their progress dated from 1832, when the successful agitation in favour of adult male suffrage had been the first step in the direction of political emancipation. A hundred years ago, there had been no profession open to women, but now they could be doctors, accountants and clerks, while other professions would be open in time; even the ministry, she thought would be open before many years. Women could now sit on public bodies of every kind, except in Parliament, while in the Civil Service, they were paid on the same basis as men. There had been two women on the recent Divorce Commission, and it had been owing to their pressure that it had been decided to recommend equal cause for divorce for men and women. While on the last occasion, when the Suffrage Bill was brought up in Parliament the Government had refused to give it any time; they had offered to introduce any other bill suggested by the suffragists, and through the efforts of the latter the Criminal Amendments, or White Slave Traffic Bill had been passed, legalizing flogging of procurers and allowing them to be arrested without a warrant, while owners as well as tenants were made responsible for the use to which their property was put."

These steps reflected a big change in the attitude towards women and had resulted from the efforts of suffragists."

This is a the first part of a summary of the 1913 speech given by Mrs Philip Snowden British Suffragist to Montrealers at Stanley Hall.

 The Montreal Suffrage Association, led by Miss Carrie Derick, had invited her to speak on the occasion of the Canadian Council of Women's Annual General Meeting.

Edith Nicholson of Diary of a Confirmed Spinster was there. (Or at least she wrote in a letter she was planning to attend. "I am going to hear Mrs. Snowden speak, but she is not militant, and for this I am very sad."

This synopsis is very interesting in that it shows that Mrs. Snowden, the wife of of a British M.P. a beautiful woman and eloquent speaker by all accounts, used the same arguments to promote woman suffrage as some of the anti-suffrage forces, that women already had it all.

So I can add Mrs. Snowden's speech  to the long list of items from 1910 where it is claimed a woman of the era could enter any profession she wished. Carrie Derick, President of the Montreal Suffrage Association, and former President of the Montreal Council of Women, said the same thing in her report to the Royal Commission on behalf of the Montreal Council.

As if having one woman lawyer meant ANY woman could become a lawyer. Nonsense.

Even in the early 30's, it has been shown, the graduates of McGill's arts program, the Donaldas, had little option but to enter teaching. The professions did not open up to them as they did to male graduates of the same program. They were not part of the Old Boys Network.



Well, well.

I'm reading this Annual Report from 1913 (re-reading it actually) and conducting more research because I've decided to create a YouTube documentary on the Canadian Suffrage Movement.

I've already posted a little 'test item' on YouTube.

In my story, School Marms and Suffragettes I have Miss Barbara Wylie speak in the same St. James church in 1912.

Yesterday, I visited downtown to take pictures and realized the church is just a few yards from Phillip's Square, so I have to change that in my book. I have Edith and Flora taking a tram from Phillip's Square to the church. Whoops!!!

Anyway, the next part of Snowden's speech is also very interesting. She talks about how the suffragists helped change the laws with regard to the White Slave Traffic.

(The Montreal Council wanted such laws put in in Canada as well.)

Flogging and arrest without a warrant...Hmmm.  In Canada at least, so called white-slavers were almost always immigrants.. or perceived to be so. Immigrants preying on OUR women.

(Yesterday, looking up stories on the suffragettes in the Montreal Gazette, I saw a 1912 story about a Chinese restaurant that hired White Waitresses. Apparently the morality people were appalled. The waitresses shot back, "if the restaurant is good enough for white women to eat in, it's good enough for white women to work in."

A poor woman in those days either had to work as a domestic or in a factory. Maybe waitressing was indeed a better job. The waitresses claimed as much.)

And still another point made by Mrs. Snowden speaks volumes about the times. She says that anyone owning an establishment has been made responsible for what goes on within its walls.

Well! That was the reason Marion Nicholson, a teacher in Montreal, had so much trouble finding a place to live in the city..  Boarding house matrons were suspicious of any woman, (especially feisty independent women like Marion.). They had to be. They could be accused of being Madames (and then flogged???)

Were the suffragists really helping the cause of women by putting in such laws????? No, of course not. Hmm. White Slavery, the name says it all. Today it is called Human Trafficking and is as prolific as ever despite women having the vote.  It's about class, not race or gender.





Treated better than some white employers, say the women at this Chinese Cafe.



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Edith Nicholson in 1910 era, wearing a tie and shirtwaist, the latest fashion for working women. It said so in the Delineator Magazine!  Edith was a suffragette sympathizer, but she still loved fashion and pretty things.


You can find just about anything on the World Wide Web these days, including the WSPU (Women's Social and Political Movement) magazine. And YouTube has an interesting selection of videos created mostly by students about the Woman Suffrage Movement. It has been observed by some that women getting the vote didn't change much,  and that is a matter for debate. 

Certainly, it didn't change things in the way most Suffragists and even suffragettes envisioned. The suffragists were socially conservative, for the most part: that was the point. Their argument: All men care about is money (and drinking and whoring). Women care about the family and society and values and morals so that's why they must involve themselves in the wider political sphere.

There still aren't many women in politics.  But a recent headline suggests women voters are making a mark: President Obama is ahead in the polls and largely thanks to women, who give him an 18 point advantage! Men choose the other guy, who is all about money. Right?


Canada's Suffrage Movement was 'backward'. According to era commentators, this was  either because Canadians were an independent people 'on the make' and not concerned with equality; or because unlike in the UK Canada didn't have so many unmarried women; or because women already had 'enough' rights in Canada.



And if Canada had suffragists, the certainly had no SUFFRAGETTES, no militants. God forbid! Those unruly social anarchists were not wanted in Canada, even as speakers.

This video I posted on YouTube explains Canada's Backward Suffrage Movement.Sister Salvation  a YouTube video about the Backward Suffrage Movement in Canada.


Below is a list of 1910 era suffrage articles. Most of the articles are from clippings I found in the Nicholson family trunk, which means that this list has been edited by a woman of the time, Edith Nicholson, born in 1884. 

These are the issues she felt were important, when she was a young woman, in the era of shirtwaists, Model-T Fords, Nickelodeons and Victor Talking Machines.

As explained in the Nicholson Women 'bio' School Marms and Suffragettes, Edith was all for the militant branch of the suffragettes, which was unusual. (Or so they say now.) She also was very interested in women's equality. Was she the exception, as historians now think, or was Edith's stance more the rule among young working women? 




Letter to the Editor: Montreal Witness 1910 Pro Suffrage  Edith's clipping

Montreal Suffrage Exhibit 1912 Edith's clipping

1913 Suffrage "Round Up" of events, UK, US, Canada. Edith's clipping


Margaret Nicholson Votes in 1920 (I did not feel degraded! How I love this country!)

"Billy and votes for women" Newspaper Clipping 1910 era (Edith's)

Robert Burns on the rights of women: Edith's Clipping from 1912

Suffragettes and the Servant Problem (Edith's Clipping)

Future Union Leader Marion Nicholson's 
1907 DIARY, during her first year of teaching, age 18. Excerpts.  The "push-pull" of biology and ambition,  Marion had many suitors at 18: it was still believed the Nicholsons were well-off

1909 Anti Suffrage Editorial, Ladies' Home Journal

Barbara Wylie comes to Montreal 1912 (And she's so pretty!) (Edith's Clipping)


Miss Barbar Wylie, lesser known British Suffragette, who visited Montreal and Canada in 1912 and didn't pull her punches. SSome Canadians wanted women like this arrested and deported. The Canadian Press thought she was too good  looking to be a suffragette! Ethel Snowden, suffragist and wife of a UK MP, also visited Montreal to speak, but she wasn't militant (which made Edith Nicholson very sad.) The press also praised her beauty and poise and oratorical skills.


An advertisement for clothing in the WSPU magazine. The early suffragettes didn't see any problem with being fashion conscious and a militant suffragette.

An advertisement for a Talking Machine from the Richmond Times Guardian, the local newspaper in the town the Nicholson's lived in. Edison had to work hard to convince Moms that talking machines weren't frivolous or immoral. Mothers in the middle class were the guardians of morality and often portrayed by Edison in such ads as goddesses at the gate. See, the Mom's hair is 'down'...Married women wore their hair up, always!


Women's Rights Through the Ages from 1911 Britannica.

Australia and Votes for Women: Suffrage Pamphlet, article by McGill Prof 1908
 (Edith's clipping)
Women and Work 1910              Women in the Silent Film Industry

Outside link to where you can purchase Angels of the Workplace, article on Canadian garment workers, 1890=1940 and read a short synopsis.



Away from Nature: Clipping. Factory Conditions for women workers. (Edith's clipping)
(Ironically, my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, was Director of Public Works in Montreal in the 20's.)

Woman's Proper Sphere                        Is the Society Woman a Parasite? (Edith's clipping)

Women and Vanity

Hats Feminism and Royalty

Adultery and the Social Evil 1910 (Montreal Council of Women)

The Perfect Lady is a Pig 1913 Edith's clipping.

The New Profession of Homemaking

Why Teachers Hate Their Jobs

The Dawn of the Age of Mass Publicity


1910 Women's Magazines

Does Love Matter to a Suffragette? Gertrude Atherton

Advice to Girls  
Carrie Derick (sometimes misspelled Derrick) was President of the Montreal Council of Women 1909-1912 and the founder of the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913.  She was also Canada's first female full professor!  Click for an outside link to one of many Derick biographies online. In the clipping below, she is listed as Evening Speaker. The Montreal Suffrage Association was not militant (although some members were militant suffragette sympathizers) and worked for the right of women to vote in Federal elections. Quebec women didn't get to vote in provincial elections until 1940. Click here to read how Mrs. Montgomery of Richmond embarrassed everyone at a 1921 election meeting at the Town Hall asking about this very thing. Edith got to know Derick at McGill later on. No wonder they got along, Edith was a militant suffragette sympathizer.
.....

Barbara Wylie, From WSPU. She was on her way in September 1912 to convert Canadians to the cause, taking the Empress of Ireland (which would soon sink, I think).

Well, earlier I referred to Barbara Wylie as a rogue suffragette for the brazen way she promoted militant values in the speeches, when all the other visiting suffragists were much more careful to tone down  their rhetoric.

But she wasn't rogue. She was sent by the WSPU as their representative.  They mentioned it in their magazine. Of course, one wonders why they sent her away to the colonies at all.

A short biographical paragraph about her I found on the Net from a book on the Suffragettes says she stayed in Canada from 1912-14, but not true, as I saw another article where she entertained a US journalist in her London home in August 1913. And she becomes spokesperson for the WSPU for a short while in 1914, with the Pankhursts in Jail again.

She had been the head of the Glasgow  branch of WSPU (some say Edinburgh) and then she came to London. She was one of the suffragettes put in jail for civil disobedience, window smashing in 1912,  but apparently she was allowed out due to her mother's ill health (ie. her parents had pull.)

She came to Canada as a brother was a MLS in Sask (some accounts say BC). (Perhaps she had dreams of becoming THE Suffrage Leader in Canada, as there was a vacuum, but that didn`t pan out.)

Anyway, Wylie figures in my story Threshold Girl. I fidget with dates, tho, bringing her to Montreal in May of 1912.  Flora Nicholson and Edith Nicholson go to see her speak in a church but miss the actual speech. I use dialogue from the Montreal Daily Star account in the book, the account I have on a news clipping belonging to Edith.  Yes, Wylie was militant, as in unapologetic about the more violent acts of the suffragettes, including attacks on the Prime Minister.

And the WSPU magazine, Votes for Women, figures in the follow up Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. Edith reads the article about women being tortured in jail and gets inspired to act out on an injustice in her own life, a perceived injustice.

Canada's official women suffrage history centers on the Famous Five out west, Emily Murphy and Nellie McClung and those others :)  And like Carrie Derick in Montreal, who founded the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1912 maybe after meeting Wylie, their women's rights activism is all tied in with murkier things, like eugenics and temperance and moral and social reform.

Emily Murphy also got into the 'war on drugs' business, in the 20's, a decade later than the Americans, but with the same racist slant.

That's probably why they didn't teach about suffrage movement  in City schools in my day.

As I've written, the Nicholsons of Richmond were tea-totalling Presbyterians, but only father Norman ever wrote about the dangers of drink. The women seemed more intent on getting all they  could out of life for themselves, love, nice clothes, great jobs, lots of travel, the right to earn a proper living, suffragettes in the truest form, wanting the same rights as the men.




Biology and Ambition, the epistolary novel about Marion Nicholson's early life reveals that this future union leader just wanted an even playing field. She was willing to work for the rest. (Boy, would she have made a great suffragette!)

Anyway, the press covered Miss Wylie (that was the point and she was so PRETTY! sic) in Toronto her speech is reported on and in Calgary I found an article that makes fun of her militancy, light of it.





Actually, a 'snippet' tour I just took of Google Books shows that Miss Wylie has left a legacy as a suffragette, in the scholarship, mentioned in Dame Pankhurst's 1930's autobiography.
And her Canadian tour aroused interest, at least converting women journalists to the cause. One account said she received a cold shoulder in the East but a nicer reception out West. After the Calgary talk, a suffrage association was started up, so even with the mocking, it worked. And she was active in BC. Her brother, the MLA, pushed for women suffrage in Saskatchewan.


....






My improvised work station.

I have set up a workstation where my arms and wrists and gaze are all properly aligned. Hopefully, I can get to typing Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, my story about Edith Nicholson of Richmond, Quebec, a prim and proper Presbyterian teacher who was all for the militant suffragettes.

The other day I listed to some installments of a BBC Radio Four re-run, called History We've Forgotten to Remember.

The series reminds us that history gets rewritten, often by omission, and often on purpose.

I listened to the episodes called "The Suffragettes." I wondered what part of the Suffrage Movement they'd focus on, so much of it has been rewritten and/or forgotten.

Well, they focused on that fact the suffragettes were militant, even committing 'acts of terrorism' over and above the window-breaking that has been remembered in popular culture such as TV shows like Upstairs Downstairs etc.

Well, nothing I don't go around telling people. The suffragettes were the militant arm of the suffragists.

As I Canadian I learned NOTHING about the suffragettes at school. *I'm pretty sure, anyway. I took two years of British History in High School.

 Indeed, I only started learning about them when I started researching the background to the Nicholson Family Letters I found in 2005.

I couldn't help it. The Nicholsons left behind plenty of Montreal press clippings about the suffragettes. Some I transcribed and put on the Tighsolas website.

One such clipping told the story of British suffragette Barbara Wylie's September 1912 trip to Canada.  As she detrained in Montreal's Place Viger, reporters asked her about the hurling of the axe at Asquith. (It would have knocked some sense into him had it landed, she replied.) Also about a bombing at a Dublin Theatre.

1912/13 was when the militancy was at its height, over and above the famous theatrics of Pankhurst's WSPU.

Indeed, the suffragettes became militant because the government over-reacted and sent them to jail for acts that were not criminal, just effective in getting good press, in getting the word out. If they were going to be persecuted for non-criminal acts, such as chaining themselves to buildings, they  might as well do criminal acts. That was the thinking.


Asquith getting 'pied' with flour

The BBC Four Story focused on a possible assassination attempt by some suffragettes on Asquith. Not all the scholars interviewed agreed this happened for certain. Somewhere on this blog I have an press image of the suffragettes throwing flour at his car. Today that probably would be considered an act of terrorism - and not mere theatrics.

One scholar who disagreed thought that the Pankhursts were far too image conscious to allow this to happen. That's another thing, apparently, forgotten by history about the suffragettes.

Again, nothing I haven't figured out myself. The suffragettes were masters of the media image, for their time.

Hence this Miss Wylie, a fairly unknown almost rogue? spokesperson, dazzled reporters with her wit and good looks. Suffragettes made sure to dress well. Even their magazine was full of dress ads. The WSPU magazine is online and I just had to read a few issues to realize how clever these suffragettes were.



I have put something about Wylie's visit in Threshold Girl  my story about Flora Nicholson in 1911/1912. I will put something from WSPU magazine in Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. I have her reading the article on Russian Treatment of Women in Prison, the force-feeding.

On her trip, Wylie tells reporters that there are many members of the WSPU in Canada. I know Edith was a militant suffragette supporter because she writes so in a May 1913 letter. I guess I have to go through all era issues to see if her name is listed as a donor.

All to say, there is a great deal to be learned from History, REAL history. The protests happening right now in Quebec could be analyzed from that angle, but won't be.


Edith's clipping of the Wylie Visit from September Montreal Daily Star. "Will Canadian suffragists adopt militant tactics?" the headline asks.

Well, I also listened to another edition of the History program on BBC. This one about the Great Depression. Their conclusion, the New Deal did not end the Depression, WWII did. Hmm. I read so much about the mass youth unemployment in the Western World. It scares me because they had the same problem in the 1910's... and that's probably why there was a War. To kill off these excess souls rendered unemployable by the change over from an agrarian to industrial economy. (At least some historians say.)

But they can't do that now, right? They learned their lesson. WWI killed off many unemployable men and then also the best and the brightest.

My BBC Program claims that  history has forgotten the militancy of the British Suffragettes because it was soon followed by the carnage of WWI that made the violent actions of the militants seem like harmless child's play.




.....



(This is  the kind of thing I did for a living a few years ago. I got good press too, often front page stories. I was amazed at how my 'pressers' were often used verbatim or practically verbatim by the busy reporters. Top reporters, too! It's a good way to ensure the info in the article is correct, as reporters always make mistakes.)

British Suffragette Barbara Wylie gets arrested in front of Buckingham Palace 1913

A Novel Approach to Genealogy


Anne-Kitty Wells
Montreal - May 22, 2012


One day, way back in the early days of this century, author Dorothy Nixon sat at a garden table with her friends, slurping back sangrias and she asked them a ‘trick’ question: “When did women get the vote in Canada?” No one knew the exact date.

Strange, you’d think, when her friends were all highly educated, most with graduate degrees.
It was clear there had been a gap in their education.

Dorothy wasn’t surprised. She had just learned about Canadian Women Suffrage lately after finding a treasure trove of family letters from the 1910 era, belonging to her husband’s mother’s family.
Indeed, she even knew why no one knew the date Canadian women got the vote.

She had found a copy of their Canadian History Book in a local V.O.N. thrift shop. Canada Then and Now, published in 1954, the year of Dorothy’s birth, incidentally.

There was no mention of women and the vote within its pages. In fact, there was no mention of women at all.

Dorothy now knows when Canadian women got the vote, thanks to these letters she found in 2004 and the many of years of research she has conducted for background for her ebooks Threshold Girl, Diary of a Confirmed Spinster and Biology and Ambition, a digital trilogy to make up the omnibus edition titled School Marms and Suffragettes.

The letters she found in 2004 belonged to the Nicholson Family of Richmond, Quebec, consisting of parents Norman and Margaret, and ‘children’ Edith, Herbert, Marion and Flora. Marion, who rose up to be President of the Protestant Teacher’s Union in Quebec, is her husband’s grandmother.

All of the girls were ‘new women’ of the era, looking for jobs while looking for love, and following the antics of the British Suffragettes.

As Nixon explains, there was really no Suffrage Movement in Eastern Canada, no parades, no window-breaking civil disobedience.

But there were occasional lectures by visiting suffragettes, often promoted by the Montreal Council of Women, a powerful organization in the 1910 era. And some of these meetings got pretty rowdy with participants almost coming to blows according to newspaper accounts.

The Nicholson women, all 'prim proper Presbyterians' working as teachers in the big city, often attended these meetings. They also clipped newspaper reports of the events, storing them with their letters.

This bit from the Nicholson collection is from the 1912 Montreal Standard according to Nixon:


Miss Barbara Wylie, the English suffragist, whose visit to Canada has aroused so much interest and speculation as to what it may eventually lead to, arrived at Place Viger Station at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, but looked so unlike one who had twice been in prison and was willing to fight again for 'the cause' that the small group of newspapermen waiting at the gate had a hard time finding her, and actually let her walk past.  Miss Wylie (it turns out) is a tall really beautiful looking woman with every appearance of refinement and intelligence above the ordinary. She spoke intelligently of the suffrage movement…

Barbara Wylie, a minor suffragette who has only a tiny presence today on the Internet,  came to Canada on a lecture tour in 1912 because her brother was an MP out West and she figures in the ebook Threshold Girl. This volume also contains a factory-labour theme.

Dorothy’s Marms and Suffragette novels all contain important (if forgotten) historical themes such as women labour in factories, the eugenics movement, and anti-Semitism in the school system.

You can read Threshold Girl and Biology and Ambition,(the first and third of the School Marms and Suffragettes series) here.

Dorothy Nixon has also written Milk and Water, about 1927 Montreal Municipal Politics and Looking for Mrs. Peel, about women prisoners of war, civilian internees, at Changi in Singapore in 1942.


....



In my ebook Threshold Girl I have Flora and Edith Nicholson visit St. James Methodist Church in Montreal in early May 1912, a few days after the Titanic sinks, to see a 'real British Suffragette'.

The suffragette is Barbara Wylie, one that has been forgotten by Herstory and History.   Wiley had a brother who was an MP out West and she visited Montreal and Canada  in 1912 and probably said more than she should have. (I guess she was a bit of a rogue suffragette.)

You see, the militant suffragettes had to be careful what they said in their speeches in Canada, as 'militants' were not looked well upon.

Barbara Wylie

Most suffragettes visiting Canada began their speeches by saying "I am not militant". Not this Wylie, who told reporters in Montreal that British Prime Minister Asquith deserved getting an axe hurled at him." I quote her in my Threshold Girl book, for the Nicholson women cut out an account of her arrival in Montreal in September 1912. From the Montreal Standard.

The Suffragettes were careful about many things, including the way they dressed. They were media savvy, that's for sure. (Read my book for more.)

Anyway, as we all know, women got the vote in Canada (some during and all after the First World War).  But despite the high hopes of the suffragettes, who believed that women would change the world because 'all men cared about was making money',  did anything really change?

Many have argued "NO." Women vote like men. For the most part.

But there's an interesting article in Salon today.  According to an ABC New Washington Post statistic, if only men had the vote, Romney the Republican Nominee would win handily over President Obama.

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/10/the_biggest_gender_gap_ever/singleton/

So today, almost 100 years, later the suffragettes appear vindicated. All men do care about is money. And women do care about more than money.

Well, maybe.

Except it's more complicated than that:  the suffragettes were right wing when it came to some social policy (as I've explained elsewhere on this blog.) The Woman Suffrage Movement was strongly aligned with the Temperance Movement, especially in the States and Canada.

And here in Canada, in Montreal, Miss Carrie Derick, a suffrage leader, was a supporter of eugenics. I write about her in my book.

(Ironically, I found an article in the 1927 Montreal Gazette that claimed women voted more conservatively than men. I guess to 'vote against' vice in 1927, the age of speakeasies, was to vote conservatively, when, in 1910, it was 'progressive.')

As I wrote on another post on this blog, Christabel Pankhurst believed that prostitution would end if women got the vote, but it didn't. Indeed, brothels are now legal in Ontario. (Sort of.)

http://flointhecity-aworkinprogress.blogspot.ca/2010/11/votes-for-women-chastity-for-men.html




Emily Davison throws herself under the Kings Horse, by mistake, maybe. The 'first suffragette martyr" claims the press.



Here's a clipping from the 1910 Montreal Witness, a letter to the Editor that one of the Nicholson women, probably Edith, clipped.

"There is no suffragette movement in Canada, but there is an movement for the enfranchisement of women." You see, 'suffragette' meant militant, and many women, even those who wanted the vote, distanced themselves from the militants. Edith Nicholson did not. She liked the militant suffragettes.

http://www.tighsolas.ca/page27.html

Below is an advert from Votes For Women, the magazine of the WSPU in the UK. April 1912, the Titanic era.So it's Titanic fashion.  Yes, many fashion ads in this very political magazine. The Suffragettes knew that to be taken seriously, they had to dress well.  But they were damned if they did and damned if they didn't. "Why do you look so good?" I have a reporter ask Barbara Wylie in Montreal.







....


Lady Julia Grace Parker Drummond from National Archives of Canada.




I am writing the scene where Edith takes Flora to a meeting of the Montreal Council of Women. It will be the time when Miss Wylie, British Suffragette speaks, but they will miss her speech (just catching the reporter's scrum at the end) and only be there for 'business' arising.






I will have Julia Parker Drummond (Founder and First President of the Council) read a bit from the Far From Nature editorial(which is about child labour in Canada) and Flora will be enraptured by her elegance and speaking skills and attire, but miss out on the substance of her speech.






The girls will hear a woman from the Immoral Materials Committee expound on the evils of the nickelodeon. (The woman in question, a Mrs. Liddel, lives on Lorne, which is a short street where the Cleveland's live...So I will use that somehow.) I will use a funny line from a Canadian Council Report that describes vaudeville as having a rather low tone.






Then they will hear a woman bring up the subject of Technical Schools and Women. This will capture Flora's interest, because she will hear the words MacDonald College and say THAT IS MY SCHOOL.






She will listen closely to what is said this time, but leave before the conclusion of the discussion - which will cause her to do something stupid at Macdonald College when Robertson comes around.






Anyway, I got to thinking. In the 1910 era, it was the job of society women to work on the social problems of the day. Lady Aberdeen, Lady Drummond, Mrs. Reford...These are three of Canada's leading figures in the social welfare movement.

Society Women had the education, energy, time and connections to do the work.

Many of these women were feminists who worked to give women equal opportunities. Now women have won these opportunities, but the ones with the brains and drive are too busy running the rat race and don't have the time to fight for social justice, if they want it.

Movies stars now are the equivalent of 'society women'. Only they have the time and prestige.


Just a thought.


Now Julia Parker Drummond was clearly a 'good looking woman' but she had androgynous features and a huge male chin in profile: she wasn't a beauty (although a little makeup might have helped. So Flora will make this observation...not about the makeup...but that she is handsome, not beautiful.




But she did have charm and eloquence and Grace, like her name. Apparently. And she had smarts too. After all, I have posted a letter she wrote in 1909 in answer to a query from the Moral Reform Association of Canada who wanted 'living in sin' to be criminalized. She wrote: You cannot make people 'good' by acts of parliament.






She was the second wife of Sir George Drummond, whose first wife was a Redpath, which was a help to him, no doubt. She was presented to Queen Victoria and also got some face-time with Edward and Alexandra. This will impress Flora of course.



The Redpath Refineries were not far from where Marion taught. I'll use that too, but probably in the Marion story.
She was a wise woman.


....






Miss Wiley under arrest, from a puzzle.

Who is this Miss Barbara Wylie, who took a tour of Canada in 1912, on behalf of Emmeline Pankhurt's WSPU and who converted Edith Nicholson, my husband's great aunt, to the cause of militantism?

She's not a prominent Suffragette. Indeed, she doesn't warrant a Wikipedia page.

But Edith Nicholson cut a report out of the November Witness upon her arrival in Montreal to give a speech for the Montreal Council of Women:

"Miss Barbara Wylie, the English suffragist, whose visit to Canada has aroused so much interest and speculation as to what it may eventually lead to, arrived at Place Viger Station at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon, but looked so unlike one who had twice been in prison and was willing to fight again for 'the cause' that the small group of newspapermen waiting at the gate had a hard time finding her, and actually let her walk past. Miss Wylie (it turns out) is a tall really beautiful looking woman with every appearance of refinement and intelligence above the ordinary. She spoke intelligently of the suffrage movement, explaining the larger significance of the demand for votes for women and what she called 'the absolutely unjust, cruel and disgraceful conduct and trickery of the Asquith government. She spoke as a highly intelligent woman burning with the conviction that her cause was right. She also showed plainly a spirit of resolute intention not to give up the fight for minute until the battle had been won."

I have no proof Edith attended her speech, but since she attended the May 1913 speech of Mrs. Snowden, also promoted by the Montreal Council of Women, I assume she did. I certainly will make it so in my novel, or play,Threshold Girl (available on Amazon.com.)

The Montreal Gazette gives a blow by blow account of Wiley's speech. "The address given by Miss Barbara Wylie at the YMCA on Drummond Street (Why not the Women's Y)under the auspices of the local council of women on the subject of women suffrage called up such unexpected warmth from the audience, for and against militant methods, that only the decision of the President, Mrs. D. Richie England, prevented the two parties from locking horns and deciding the question then and there."


According to a brief bio I discovered, Wylie joined the Women's Social and Political Union in 1909, worked in the Glasgow arm (this might have impressed Edith) and then came to Canada in 1912. She was injured protecting Pankhurst at a Glasgow rally in 1913 and arrested in front of His Majesty's Theatre during a rally, at a function for the Czar with King and Queen attending.

According to another snippet I dug up, Pankhurst sent her to Canada to convert the Canadians to militantism, but it failed for the reasons I've blogged about earlier. This is because Wylie had a brother who was an MLA in Saskatchewan. She visited him at Christmas and gave some talks and met Nellie McClung, for McClung mentions her in her bio.

Barbara Wylie was very militant. Alluding to a 'raid' on Buckingham Palace she said this would encourage women to 'cast off their chains.'

In the speech in Montreal she counselled women to go see Mr. Borden, but use all constitutional methods first. (She likely had to say this, or be deported.)

Wiley had already seen Mr. Borden earlier in the year in England. The suffragettes had met with him and asked him about the vote in Canada. From the reports in the paper he was quite, well, politician-like. He said it was a matter for the provinces to decide, as the Federal Government was bound by the constitution to conduct government as the provinces did. (Something like that.)

The Toronto arm of the WSPU put out a press release saying that they would not endorse her militant ways.

I wonder if Miss Wylie knew Gertrude Harding, the New Brunswick woman who went to England to join the Suffragettes.
.....

Advertisement for anti wrinkle cream at the back of the Report of the Canadian 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 Canadian 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 Canadian 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 whome 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 ben 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.
....





The Montreal Local Council of Women spun off the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913. The reason to create this new organization (an act that directly contravened their own by-laws)was 'to keep the interest in suffrage alive' after a visit by British Militant Emmeline Pankhurst.

So it was written in the minutes.

I suspect the reason was to find some way to 'control' the suffrage issue in Montreal. Pankhurst's visit didn't stir that much interest (they had to give away 200 tickets) and much of the interest that was stirred was negative (according to Therese Casgrain's autobiography).

But Pankhurst's visit to Montreal likely stirred some unwelcome interest,  too, in the form of Romantic Young  "Restless" Women (like Edith Nicholson) who wanted to take to the streets with placards to shout VOTES FOR WOMEN!  (Right at this time the British Suffragettes were getting put in jail and force-fed which made for great headlines in the news.)

How Un-Canadian of Edith and her ilk! After all, there was no militant suffragette movement in Canada. We didn't need one. Or so it was pronounced from the editorial pages, pulpits and lecture halls. Our suffrage movement was 'reasonable' and about educating the public.

Like Emmeline Pankhurst, who wrote her autobiography in 1913, right in the middle of the fight, Carrie Derick also sought to control the legacy of the short-lived Montreal Suffrage Association and, from what I see, most historians have taken Derick at her word, even if they see the Canadian suffrage movement for what it was: one hijacked by the so-called "maternal" faction.

I've decided to write a book or a TV drama about the Montreal Suffragists, using family letters to describe the more personal side of life in Montreal during WWI. A follow up to Threshold Girl

In Miss Derick's (1930's?) synopsis of the women's rights movement in Quebec (included in the Montreal Council of Women archives in Ottawa ) she states that in October 1917 there was a discussion of the War Time Elections Act by members of the Montreal Suffrage Association "and although the majority  thought it was undemocratic, the association decided to take no part in the dispute."

(Montreal Council of Women President Dr. Ritchie England published a letter in the press in 1917 saying "the War Time Elections act is a piece of unsurpassed effrontery which sets at defiance every fundamental of British Justice" and got into big trouble for it.)

 .
Funny, this is one time when it would be quite proper for the Montreal Suffrage Association to get involved as their mission statement says they exist to To Promote Suffrage, but they don't.

They get involved in plenty of other areas, all outside their mission. As Derick further writes, "The Montreal Suffrage Association's  activities were varied, working in cooperation with others for social, political and economic reform; they assisted in getting out the women's vote in the municipal elections and threw themselves heart and soul into war work."

....


Dresses from the Eaton's Catalogue 1917. With their corsets donated to the war cause, the middle class silhouette spread out a bit. I have no pictures of the Nicholson Women from that era, except in winter coats - and one of Edith in her Naval League uniform. Military styles were big in 1917.



We drove down York Avenue in Westmount to snap a picture of where Marion Nicholson Blair lived in 1917 (and where my husband's mother was born, probably at home, but I'm not sure, or maybe in a local hospital.)

They lived in the flat on the left but it likely looked like the one on the right, and that means just one two storey house.

York Avenue is a short street on the edge of Westmount, literally on the edge of a cliff, and today it overlooks the massive imposing half-finished English Super Hospital complex. What a glistening eyesore!

Back then in 1917 the street overlooked the rail yards. This massive hospital complex looms large over the entire neighbourhood, like its own brick and mortar Mount Royal.  It's right in your face as you take the train at Vendome station.

Yesterday I emailed an influential person in film production in Canada to pitch a story about the Nicholsons in 1917 and the person emailed back and said the project sounded very interesting.

So I will hold onto that bit of encouragement and continue writing my script...As the above photo shows, the key locations still exist!!

You would just have to take care not to get the new SUPER hospital in the shot!

Summer hats 1917. No longer these huge confections that so many movies (like My Fair Lady)have poked fun at by stylizing them big time. 

Now, for the all-important costume aspect of any period piece. I just watched Parade's End, as I said, a story with a similar setting to my own,  but the main characters are aristocrats so there were some stunning dresses on view and that is important when it comes to period pieces.
....



In 1913 Emmeline Pankhurst's Suffragettes were getting sensational Press in Montreal. (The Gazette and New York Times shared the same newsfeed, apparently. It would be interesting to compare headlines.)


As I research my documentary on the Montreal Suffrage Movement, I have been down a bit on Carrie Derick, the President of the Montreal Suffrage Association (reluctant President, it is said), especially for her obsession with mental defectives.

Carrie Derick, of course, is an interesting character. She proves that few dynamic people actually come down 100 percent on the side of history, when all is said and done. That's why they write their autobiographies, or have someone write their biographies for them.

Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst wrote her biography in 1913, while the fight was still going on and when her reputation was at its most negative, what with the widely publicized antics of her WSPU.

Carrie Derick didn't write an autobiography, although she gave numerous lectures about the history of the Suffrage Movement in Canada, some of which are available to posterity in the form of news reports. Margaret Gillett, McGill historian, penned an autobiography of Derick for a thesis, but I cannot find it anywhere.

Yesterday, I started scripting my documentary and, looking for a specific article, I came across a few more articles on Derick, which show that she was a humanist and tolerant, at times.

(Let's forget her statement, something to the effect, that "laws are only for the worst people, the best people don't need them."

Apparently, in 1917, the Vancouver and Victoria local councils of women wanted the Canadian Council to support their call to bring in indentured Chinese to work the fields out there during the war.

Carrie Derick strongly objected, saying indentured work was slavery.

Well, my grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, who I wrote about here was a 'land girl' in 1917. Funny that the Montreal Council didn't suggest that women work the fields and such.

My grandmother didn't work on a farm during WWI. She worked in forestry and I heard a family story about how funny she looked, as a tiny woman, leading the giant Clydesdales, who pulled the logs, through the forests.

Also in 1922, as an executive member of the Protestant School Commission, Derick was the only person who stood up for the Jewish population of the Montreal Board, according to a report in the Canadian Jewish Times. Another member of the board had described Jewish students as foreigners and their reps had replied that this was not fair as only 20 percent of students were not Canadian born.
....




Well, I found a copy of Thérèse Casgrain's  a Woman in a Man's World and that book explains how she got into the fight for women's votes.

She said she was first approached by Gerin-Lajoie and by Lady Drummond after the 1917 Conscription Election where she got involved in her husband Pierre's  Liberal Campaign, which he won.

She was conscripted, herself, so to speak. Onward Suffrage Soldiers.

Her book also gives a short history of the Montreal Suffrage Movement which it appears many people have taken word for word.

Never does it say she was a member of the Montreal Suffrage Association and frankly, the page under C's, in the Membership Book, doesn't have her name and the minutes don't mention her either.

It is kind of implied however.

During the later days of the war, she an apprentice suffrage advocate, a member of the elite but not a leader. That's how I see it.

 She says that after the Montreal Suffrage Association disbanded "after serious consideration" sic, a new bilingual suffrage organization Provincial Suffrage Committee was started up with Derick, Lyman, Gerin Lajoie, Ritchie England, Mrs. Scott and Idola St-Jean HERSELF and then she writes that  Gerin Lajoie took her under her wing.

She says she was part of a 400 some delegation who went to Quebec to demand suffrage and that she was scared to death when it was her turn to speak. (I'll check the newspaper accounts.)

I didn't go over every bit of the Gerin Lajoie fonds  (with info about the Suffrage Committee founding) word for word for 1922 onward. I saw Casgrain's name first mentioned only in 1926. (So I guess I have to go back and double check.)

It seems, like any good leader, Casgrain had a good apprenticeship; she wasn't just thrown in there as a leader and that is very probably a good thing. I guess she was being groomed as a potential leader.

In 1917, she said she and her newly elected MP husband dined often with the Lauriers. Now, that would have been interesting, to hear what they had to say. But she writes nothing.
...











I found this very odd pre-war piece, written by Christabel Pankhurst, on archive.org. Plain Facts about a Great Evil,1913. She claims that giving women the vote will eliminate prostitution. Hmm. A 2005 survey in the UK claimed that the use of prostitutes had actually doubled in the previous decade. Go Figure.

Then just lately, as I read over the original minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association, I saw a mention of this very same book. Apparently, Pankurst's book was a big seller in Montreal, at least among those who followed the suffragists. How interesting!

"This book deals with what is commonly described as the Hidden Scourge, and is written with the intention that this scourge shall be hidden no longer, for if it were to remain hidden, then there would be no hope of abolishing it.

Men writers for the most part refuse to tell what the Hidden Scourge is, and so it becomes the duty of women to do it.

The Hidden Scourge is sexual disease,which takes two chief forms — syphilis and
gonorrhoea. These diseases are due to prostitution —they are due, that is to say, to sexual immorality. But they are not confined to those who are immoral. Being contagious, they are communicated to the innocent, and especially to wives. The infection of innocent wives in marriage is justly declared by a man doctor to be "The crowning infamy of our social life."

The sexual diseases are the great cause of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy, and of race suicide. As they are very widespread (from 75 to 80 per cent, of men becoming infected by gonorrhoea, and a considerable percentage, difficult to ascertain precisely, becoming infected with syphilis), the problem is one of appalling magnitude.

To discuss an evil, and then to run away from it without suggesting how it may be
cured, is not the way of Suffragettes, and in the following pages will be found a proposed cure for the great evil in question. That cure, briefly stated, is Votes for Women and Chastity for Men."

The minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association reveal that they were bringing in a speaker to discuss Women and Social Purity...

I read somewhere that the Pankhurst's got into social activism in Manchester because they saw that so many young girls were coming into social agencies (or the equivalent) pregnant by their own fathers. Oh, I heard that on BBC Radio 4. In Our Time, I think.

Anyway, in Montreal the Suffrage Association 1913-1919 (whose mandate was merely "to promote Suffrage") got involved with the prostitute problem around soldiers' barracks in WWI. 

Before they were sent to Valcartier recruits were stationed in the City, apparently attracting prostitutes. 

This problem led to a huge study conducted on Montreal's Commercialized Vice in 1919 and 20, by a Committee of Sixteen different groups led by Dr. Herbert Symonds of Christ Church Cathedral who was the President.  Dr. Herbert Symonds of Christ Church Cathedral was also an honourary V.P. of the Montreal Suffrage Association, so that explains a lot.

This report and a sensational speech given by a Montreal General doctor in front of the Canadian club in early 1923, led to the 1924-25 Coderre Commission into Police Malfeasance and Misconduct, an exhaustive inquiry into all aspects of commercialized vice, as they said, including motion picture houses that were letting in children unattended by an adult.

A Constable Trudeau, who testified, was very much against the motion pictures in general. He thought boys picked up bad habits from the flicks.

He further said that he Director of City Services, Jules Crepeau was guilty of controlling the police and forcing them to look the other way when movie houses broke the by-laws and let in these children, mostly boys.

Trudeau warned that the places were crowded and that 'one day there is going to be a catastrophe."

Shortly after, while the inquiry was still on-going, the City Executive fired Trudeau for a bribery incident.  Juge Coderre brought it up in his final report, saying it was Crepeau who fired Trudeau. (Who was this civil servant who told the Chief of Police what to do? Coderre asked.)

And sure enough, coincidentally? there was a catastrophe in a Montreal movie house, in January 1927. 70 children died in the fire, crushed in a rush to the exit.

Jules Crepeau was the first person to testify at the hearing into the Laurier Palace Theatre Fire, for he was the one who knew all there was to know about the City by-laws.

The Laurier Palace had had a suspended licence at the time of the fire, or more precisely, its license status was in a kind of limbo.

Trudeau's testimony from the recent Coderre Commission, as far as I can see, was never brought up. Ever. 

But Crepeau, my grandfather, was eventually forced to resign in 1930 by Camillien Houde over an entirely different issue, the Montreal Water and Power Purchase.  At the City Hall debate among alderman over Crepeau's resignation, Houde brought up the Laurier Fire, but only incidentally, but not coincidentally, I am fairly certain.

Read Milk and Water, about Montreal in 1927.
...


In May 1919, in  a deferred Annual General Meeting of the Montreal Suffrage Association voted to disband in order that a bilingual group could be set up to fight the Provincial Suffrage Battle.

After all, Borden had given most Canadian women the federal franchise in 1918.

No mention is made in the minutes of who attended this meeting, (against the rules of governance) although a letter to the Editor of the Montreal Gazette questioning the disbandment claimed only 9 members (out of 300 membership) showed up.

There was only one dissenting vote, that of Mrs. Fenwick-Williams, the Press Secretary, an author, and also the only member of the Executive who was a pure suffragist and not a Social Reformer with other fish to fry -as in ulterior motives for wanting women to have the vote.

Perhaps  Fenwick-Williams was the one who wrote that anonymous letter to the editor of the Montreal Gazette wondering about the break up of the Association and asking why the funds remaining in the treasure was going to help 'mental defectives.'

(In 1917 or 18, Carrie Derick offers to give a talk on the connection between mental defectives and social vice, but only as a fund-raiser of the MSA. She believed that about half of prostitutes were mentally defective.)

This little financial item isn't mentioned in the 1919 minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association, but then something else important isn't mentioned in the minutes, the fact that the  the Montreal Suffrage Association  sent a letter to the Montreal Council of Women in 1918 asking that prostitution around soldiers barracks be halted with active intervention, by women police etc.

That didn't have much to do with woman suffrage (except for the fact that many suffragists, including the British Suffragettes, thought that prostitution or the traffic in women would be stopped as soon as women got the vote. Christobel Pankhurst's the Great Scourge, about venereal disease was a big seller for the MSA.)

As it happens, Rev. Dr. Symonds of Christ Church Cathedral was the pre-eminent man on the Executive of the Montreal Suffrage Association.

During the later war years, 1918, 1919,  he was also the head of the Committee of Sixteen a group looking into "commercialized vice" in Montreal.

The Committee published a  report in 1919 (Dr. Atherton presented it to the Exec of the Montreal Council of Women)showing how widespread this commercialized vice was in the city.

The report is available online and it is pretty DRY. So no one paid attention.  But a few years later in 1923, a  Dr. A.K. Haywood of the Montreal General (and formerly of the Canadian Army Medical Service)  gave a 'sensational' speech to the Canadian Club, describing drug-addled prostitutes in vivid terms, which set a fire under High Society and brought on the Coderre Inquiry into Police Malfeasance and Misconduct, which ended up fingering my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, the Director of City Services, not for abetting prostitution, but for forcing police to look the other way when underage patrons (mostly boys) went to the cinema alone. In the minds of Protestant Reformers, all vice is connected.



Representatives of the Committee of Sixteen, which now included the Rotary Club, stormed City Hall in January 1923 and my grandfather was there to greet them. If the Reformers couldn't change city hall the democratic way, through elections, they'd do it this way, I supposed.

The Coderre Inquiry ended up costing a lot of money - it took two years and covered all aspects of vice in the City, including the evil of the cinema. The final report was 10,000 pages.



I suspect that this all got started with the Wartime efforts to stem prostitution near the barracks of our young impressionable soldiers, who needed to be protected from sex and booze, but not from seeing their comrades blown to bits beside them in the trenches. The Reformers were keen on getting as many Canadian boys to the front as possible.

I suspect the reformers felt this was a cagey way to get social purity reforms through, by starting with the problem of the soldiers. In wartime the rules changed. If suffragists could get their hands dirty doing war work, because it was needed, they could get directly involved with social problems too, especially if you could link it to war work, even if that wasn't exactly their mandate.

The mission of the Montreal Suffrage Association was to Promote Suffrage. That's all. Theoretically, universal suffrage would give a voice to the Prostitutes (however retarded sic) as well as the Society Ladies.

(I'm reminded of a very strange quote from Carrie Derick, in the 1930's. We need laws for the worst people; the best don't need them. Yikes!)

Anyway, the report of the Coderre Inquiry came out in 1925 or early 26 and it eventually ended up being read out in the United States Senate (by a former Ontario attorney general) at their Hearings into Prohibition and the testimony was reprinted full-page in the New York Times.

Milk and Water is my story about 1927 Montreal.

It seems McGill University held an exhibition in 2009 on the Committee of Sixteen's efforts and the write up is here.

They consider it a bi-partisan effort...Protestant/Catholic/Jewish.

.....





I wrote hourly ID's for CFQR in the 1980s' heard in elevators everywhere.

One afternoon, back in 1983, when I was working as a copywriter at a radio station, writing mostly 30 and 60 second advertisements for Greek Restaurants and other small businesses, an account exec came up to me with an unusual request.

Would I like to write a pilot episode for a radio soap opera? On spec. For free of course. She didn't explain any more than that.

It was a strange request: Commercial English radio stations in Montreal were in full free-fall, with sports, talk and easy listening being all these stations produced.

Perhaps the CBC still did some radio drama, but nothing like in their heyday.

Unlike most of my fellow copywriters, who all aspired to finer things like TV and film and theatre, I had no experience as a scriptwriter.

 And I was tired out of my mind, because my job was stressful with everyone worried for their jobs and with so many 'small' contracts coming in, which meant I had to write many, many more ads per day under tighter and tighter deadlines.

But I wrote the soap opera pitch anyway.

I handed it over to the Account Executive and that's the last I heard.

I think my premise was a bit wild, not quite a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but still. I had the story set in an luxury apartment building and the drama was created by the tenants' interaction.

Of course, I had heard no radio plays in my life at the time so it probably was not very good, although I did  major in theatre and classics in Jr. College.

Today I am a huge BBC Radio 4 fan because that brilliant station came online a few years ago in 2006. Since that time, I've heard hundreds of their delicious plays (classic and experimental) performed by top notch talent.

Despite the economic downturn radio thrives in the U.K, although lately BBC Radio 4 has reduced its production considerably.

I probably should have quit my job back then in 1982 and moved to the UK.

Everybody knew there was no future in English Quebec Radio and it was generally believed that UK radio stations liked Canadian talent and I had a grandfather clause permit to work there. (A co-worker on the technical side did just that, move to the UK.)

But it never occurred to me to go and try my luck in British Radio. There was no Internet then. No way to research how to go about things and my meager 15,000 a year copywriter's salary at the radio station hardly made it easy to save money.

Lost Opportunities.


The minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association show they decided not to get DIRECTLY involved with the elections except where suffrage was concerned. They polled candidates about their views on married women getting the vote in municipal elections. Their mission statement was simple: to promote suffrage... but during the war they made resolutions aimed at keeping prostitutes and booze from soldiers, putting the cart before the horse a bit. You see, the main reason these Montreal suffragists wanted women to get the vote is so that these newly enfranchised women could then vote in favour of social reforms, which were really about promoting traditional evangelical Protestant values in a changing world.

And here I am much too old to be ambitious, still writing.

I wonder if the BBC would be interested in a play about the Montreal Suffragists and how militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst's Dec 1911 visit 'inspired' the Local Council of Women, an umbrella group of advocacy organizations, to 'spin off' the non-militant Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913, quite against their own by-laws and to us this new organization as a kind of rogue arm of the original umbrella organization?

Here's a case in point. The Montreal Council of Women, despite the fact they were 'non-partisan' and 'non-political' always got involved in the Montreal municipal elections, getting the spinster vote out in order to get their reform candidates elected. Municipal elections were not about politics the  Montreal Council said, just about 'good governance'.

Their efforts paid off in the 1910 election, but in only that one election, it seems.

During the War, the Montreal Suffrage Association wanted to get involved in the municipal elections as well.  "Should we promote candidates who promote suffrage or candidates who promote reform?" they wondered in the executive meeting splitting hairs as these candidates were usually one and the same, because 'woman suffrage' in Canada was all about Protestant Reform.


They decided to leave the efforts to the Montreal Council of Women which really made no difference at all since the two organizations shared many of the same Executives. They even admit that fact in the minutes.

All very iffy I think.

This Conscription Crisis Era  is where my two stories Threshold Girl (about a college girl in 1910) and Milk and Water (about Montreal City Hall in 1927)come together.

Threshold Girl is about the Nicholson women, Presbyterian suffragists and suffragette sympathizers and Milk and Water is about my grandfather, Jules, Crepeau, the Director of City Services in Montreal in 1921-30.

In 1913 Jules was set up  by Edward Beck former of the Montreal Herald in a bribery sting. Edward Beck also published a Suffrage Special in his newspaper in 1913. He fiercely despised Montreal City Hall.

Crepeaus in around 1923.

...

My grandfather, Jules Crepeau, Director of Montreal City Services, with his family in Atlantic City in  1927. Hmmmm.


In April 1927, Mrs. John Scott of Montreal was feted by the Women's Christian Temperance Union for her long years of  service on their behalf.

Like Thérèse Casgrain (the Quebec feminist icon) she was working to get Quebec women the voteat the provincial level... This would only happen in 1940.

She had been doing so for longer than Casgrain, too, as a member of the Executive of the Montreal Council of Women and on the Board of the short-lived Montreal Suffrage Association and with Casgrain's Suffrage Committee launched in 1922.

Mrs. John Scott (or Isabel) has not gone down in Quebec or Canadian history. Why?

This Gazette headline gives a clue: Suffrage Concerns W.C.T.U.

The effects of the W.C.T.U members in this work were bespoken by Mrs. Scott, who declared that women's suffrage has a direct bearing on temperance in this province.

(Isn't it funny how temperance came to mean abstinence, as chastity came to mean celibacy.)

I didn't much know about the influence of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in politics here in Quebec. It isn't talked about much. So I always thought it was a US thing or an Out West thing.

But, you know, it was a Montreal thing and a Quebec thing, too. And not only among Protestant Reformers: I found a little French note in the Montreal Council of Women archives that reveals that the Fédération Nationale, a French woman's advocacy group begun in 1907, is for Temperance, the restriction of alcohol in hotels etc., at least during the WWI.

There were two members of the W.C.T.U on the Montreal Council of Women during the war years, Mrs. John Scott and Mrs. David Scott, who were close friends, perhaps married to brothers.(In those days, even feminists didn't use their own first names.)

They were very keen to make sure soldiers in barracks at home didn't get anything to drink (or any sex either).

And the WCTU's  efforts, along with other grass-roots work conducted by  Montreal Council of Women and some of the the Fédération Nationale membership (getting out the Spinster vote in the French and English wards) was key in 1910 to toppling the old municipale regime and putting in their Reform candidates, including a Mayor, a Dr. Geurin, the last English Mayor of Montreal until just lately, as it so happens.(During WWI La Fédération bowed out of helping the LCW with the Municipal Elections, however.)

Guerin lasted just two years. He was deposed - and just a month after he dared attend a meeting in at Windsor Hall where Militant British Suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst gave a speech.

Carrie Derick, President of the Montreal Council of women in 1910 wrote an article for the White Ribbon, the magazine of the Canadian W.C.T.U. gloating over what they saw as a landmark win in no uncertain terms.

She set the scene of the victory in the opening paragraph:

Self-seeking and dishonor, which would have been scorned in private life, long characterized the Municipal Government of Montreal. The citizens appeared to be indifferent or helpless, allowing corrupt officials to display open disregard of the right principles. Occasionally, the social conscience stirred and led to efforts to secure civic reform. Associations and leagues to purify the administration of Municipal affairs sprang into being and died...


Well, as my Amazon. ebook Milk and Water shows, Montreal in 1927, was not as Carrie Derick had dreamed of back in 1910 after the Reformers' big (and one-off) win.

And the Canadian W.C.T.U. probably was peeved: Quebec was the only province never to have gone dry. They installed a Liquor Control Board instead.

But as this article shows, they were going to play the woman's suffrage card to force through Prohibition, or at least strong liquor laws, just as many Americans were deciding it wasn't working.

That's how Prohibition got started in the US after all, as well as on a wave of anti-German sentiment. Anti-immigrant sentiment played a part in Montreal's reform politics, as well.

I didn't put anything about the W.C.T.U or women's suffrage into Milk and Water. I just mentioned the Presbyterian ladies and the Purity Movement.


Tom: Sure, but our well has the purest water, it’s a proven fact. The scientists at Macdonald College tested back it in 1909, the year of the last typhoid epidemic.
Jules:  Pure, Purer, Purest. Mere words, once again.  What does the word “pure” really mean, exactly?
Tom: Now, what’s wrong with the word Pure?  It’s a great word. A beautiful word. Everyone likes it. Everyone uses it.
Jules: That’s precisely what’s wrong with it. (Pause) A word that everyone uses can’t be a good thing. A word like that means too many different things to different people. And if something is pure, then something has to be impure.





....





Dr. Ritchie England, President of the Montreal Council of women from 1912 to 20 something...not sure. Also on the Exec of the Montreal Suffrage Association.  She would suffer an impeachment hearing in 1918 over her words about Conscription.. but she'd survive to be part of the new bilingual Suffrage Committee in 1922, the one with Thérèse Casgrain.


I'm reading a book written in 1915, a satirical novel, set in English Montreal society. A Soul on Fire, a book in the public domain.

1915 is the year Virginia Woolf published her first book, the Voyage Out and just 7 years before what many believe to be the birth of the Modern Era, with the publication of Eliot's the Wasteland.

I stumbled on this little lost volume the other day, because I am researching a group called the Montreal Suffrage Association, 1913-1919.

I've been writing a lot about this group here on this blog because I have been poring over the Minutes of the Montreal Council of Women in the archives of the Quebec Library. The MCW spun off the Suffrage Association in 1913.

But I didn't find mention of this book, or its author Frances Fenwick-Williams, in the old minutes. I found it in a Gazette article reporting on the April 1913 launch of the Montreal Suffrage Association.

She was a member of the Montreal Suffrage Association Executive at launch, although I saw no mention of her afterwards in press clippings or in the Minutes.

Now, her story, Soul on Fire, has been lost to history.

I found it on archive.org and I just read 6 chapters and downloaded it to my KINDLE.
James Joyce, whose Ulysses also ushered in the Modern Era, affects a meditative pose on my Kindle, which is resting on a bunch of photocopies of Montreal Council of Women minutes from 1918...I already suspect that one of the women on the Council was a mole for the NON Reformist faction at City Hall, and now this Frances Fenwick-Williams, using the opportunity to steal characters for her book?

I can already see where's she going, it is a social satire, disguised in a gossipy and perceptive style and tone that is very familiar....think Vanity Fair. Clearly Mrs. Frances Fenwick-Williams was a bright literary type, but her problem was she was writing in an old-fashioned style...unlike our Virginia. She even uses some letter-writing. How old fashioned.

Of course, I do that in Threshold Girl, also about Montreal in 1910, but I'm so out of date, I'm back in fashion, like a corset worn outside the dress...


Reading this book, I have to wonder if the author got kicked out of the Suffrage Association after this book was published.. I found a notice of publication in the New York Times, but no review.

She likely used real people as her models.  And she has a lot of clever things to say about Montreal Society.. English society. There hasn't been a hint in the book, as yet, that Montreal is French.

But I suspect this novel will tell me more about the Montreal Council of Women and the Montreal Reformers than any minutes or academic paper. It is about a young girl accused of being a witch! There's already been a line about "All the Reform going on  in the City" a teaser or foreshadowing of things to come.

I've just finished reading a part where a Professor expounds to the narrator about the inferior nature of woman. But she knows better than to argue. She just feels sorry for the man. "Poor man, he knows as much about women as I know about anthropoid apes." She says, "He is converting me to suffrage. Mrs. Pankhurst ought to pay him a rattling good salary."

(I can almost guess who she is patterning this character on.) OH MY GOD. (I just checked on the Net. She WAS making fun of Andrew McPhail...she admitted it. I really know my subject, I guess.)

Other gems so far:

"Truth is like pepper. It must be administered in infinitesimal doses if it is to go down at all. Most people make the fatal mistake of administering truth as Mrs. Squeers did the brimstone and treacle. They force the poor unfortunates to take a soup ladle full at a time. so that the poor unfortunates take an incurable dislike of treacle,..ah, I mean truth and never come within range of it again."

"Mrs. Bilkin's housekeeping consisted in making everybody beneath her roof as uncomfortable as possible, regardless of the cost. Lynn's consisted in making her home a haven of beauty and comfort and saying nothing about it. However Lynn never talks servants or the price of beef and Mrs. Bilkins talks of little else. So the later certainly fulfilled the popular idea of a good housekeeper better than the former."

Oh, the day I went to the archives, I went to a movie afterwards while waiting for my ride home. Anna Karenina, another more famous Soul on Fire. I had the little theatre, no 22 at the cineplex, at Montreal, all to myself. And I liked semi-surreal, semi-theatrical Anna Karenina. Tom Stoppard! How could I not? I also saw a preview for The Great Gatsby with Leonardo di Caprio and Carrie Mulligan that seemed absolutely gorgeous. All this HD splendor...a reason to redo those classics over and over.
...





Promo for Diary of a CONFIRMED Spinster, my ebook on Amazon kindle, about Love and Loss in 1910. A TRUE (ish) story.

A picture of my Aunt Flo, in Army Uniform. She worked in Recruiting. You see, she was very attractive to men, bilingual, so they sent her out all over Quebec recruiting young men into the army.

She was  a siren, essentially.

Now I found this bit from the Minutes of the Montreal Local Council of Women 1916...

The chair announced that the meeting was called for recruiting purposes. That the National Council had recommended the work. That Mary Williams was anxious that women of Montreal shall help more especially by appealing to the women to let their men go!

The meeting was held May 15 in the Ritz Carleton. How Ritzy, instead of a church basement or the YWCA. I guess this kind of war work deserved special consideration.

Well, they weren't thinking of women as sirens, because that kind of thing was unthinkable to these mostly Puritanical Protestant Ladies.



Now, around that time, Marion Nicholson of Threshold Girl, my ebook on Amazon, was a stay at home Mom (she was middle class, so duh) and she wrote this to her father: She has just moved to York Avenue in Westmount

June 17, 1917


We have a very nice yard at the back of our "new house" as Margaret says, which is all fenced in so that when we get good weather, if we ever do, I will be able to let her out there to play. We took one corner of it for a small bit of farming, and put in beets, onions, carrots, lettuce and radishes.  I do not know that they will be a great success, at any rate we made the trial.

Every vacant lot around the city has been utilized for gardens and I think it is more common to see people out digging and planting in these gardens than in a small town like Richmond.

Surely all these gardens producing it ought to makes some difference in the cost of certain products that is, if they all amount to anything. Some I think are making their first attempt.

You were asking where York Avenue is? Well, it is a short street that runs West of Victoria Avenue and is just below Western ave. In fact you could almost say it is a continuation of St. Catherine as St. Catherine ends at Victoria Ave and York starts just a little bit north of it in the same direction.

We all like the house and location very much, it seems to be so much nearer the city perhaps because of better car service, for the St. Catherine cars and the Windsor Cars go past our corner.

Flora's school closes Thursday and she will be going home then. I am trying to persuade Mother to come in for a visit then and leave Edith and Flora to look after things at home.  I don't know that she will for she seems to think that when you are away that she must be right there or things would not get properly looked after.

Last Sunday, Benny Woodburn and his wife and little boy came in to call. I am quite near to the Mead's and Irene Field and Hugh's Aunts live on this street only a few doors away, so I have quite a little company.

There is a lot of talk here about conscription and the French are more than excited about it. I am not well enough versed in the political affairs right now to form an opinion but it seems to me that it is only a scheme of Borden's part to keep the party in power, for a great many will be afraid to oppose it.

Whether it is for the best or not, I do not know, but personally, I hope it will not go through. It seems so different when you know that it will take some of your own people. 

Now I have written quite a long letter for me and I do not think there is much news in it  but I send it with my love and I hope it will find you feeling well and not having to work so hard.




I wonder if she was thinking of her husband. Hugh Blair was 35 and married with kids, but with that 500.000 men goal of Borden's, he certainly was being considered. Even Marion's 67 year old father had to register "for national purposes."

  (Still, Pierre Berton, in Marching as to War, says it was fairly easy to get out of going. And Marion's brother, a bank clerk out West, avoided the draft and he was 28 and single! Maybe that's why our soldiers were generally so young.


Well, anyway. Today, I got up trying to figure out how to find out if the 200 Free Tickets given out to hear Mrs. Pankhurst speak in 1911 were given to Mrs. Hurlbatt's RVC students.

Looking through the online snippets (scholar and book) I realized that Carol Bacchi's and Cleverdon's two books on Canadian Suffrage are essentially the only books cited in papers and such on the subject. That's too bad, because if they got things wrong, so did everyone.


I also discovered that I am not the first to figure out the Canadian Suffrage Movement's tie to the Social Purity Movement. Bacchi wrote a 1978 paper called Race Regeneration and Social Purity:  A study of the social attitudes of Canada's suffragists.
...






Emmeline Pankhurst claims the raison d'etre of her Canadian visits was for political cohesion. But she also needed to raise money.

Read Threshold Girl, about a Canadian Girl in 1910.

Being a boomer Canadian, I didn't learn about the Canadian women's suffrage movement in school.  (I'm not sure if I learned anything about the UK movement either, although students in the Montreal Protestant Board took two years of British History in high school.)

My interest in the field was born the day I found the Nicholson family letters from the 1908-1913 era and all of Edith Nicholson's news clippings, many of which were on suffrage issues. And then over the years I did more research and learned about the short-lived Montreal Suffrage Association.

The Montreal Suffrage Association has gone down in history as a mere  Women's Studies footnote, so there isn't much info out there. It's taken about 7 years, but the other day I took a look at the Minutes of the Montreal Council of Women, the umbrella organization that launched the Association from their Organization in 1912.

And the 1912 Annual Report of the Montreal Council of Women claims the new organization was founded because of interest generated by Mrs. Pankhurst's December 1911 visit and speech.

(Kind of a backwards thing to do. An "umbrella" organization creating an organization under it. Think about it.)

The Minutes back this up, more or less.

From what I know, the minutes of meetings of public organizations aren't about recording history for future generations, but about reporting history for the future governance of the organization.

Fun bits, nasty bits, controversial bits are left out. (I know, I've taken minutes for similar organizations.)

The minutes of the Montreal Council of Women from 1908-1913 are pretty informal, but no doubt lots of good stuff was left out.

Still, I think I've figured out a few things from them.

 For instance, why, in 1913, did the Local Council of Women hold a Suffrage Exhibit right on the heels of a Child Welfare Exhibit, when the goals of woman suffrage was essentially child welfare, in the minds of most Montreal advocates?

They did so because Dr. Adami, the President of the Child Welfare Exhibit visited them for an Executive Meeting and stated outright he didn't want the Local Council to run the Child Welfare Exhibit because they always stick the women suffrage thing in and this would turn off the French organizations. (My words.)

Dr. Adami was, I think, head of the Civic Improvement League. (I actually found a pamphlet written by him in the same trunk I found the Nicholson letters.) When he left Mr. Adami was roundly criticized at the meeting, according to the notes.

By this time, 1912,  the Montreal Council had already come out in favour of Women Suffrage two years before in May, 1910. "It was found that the Montreal Local Council of Women was in favour of the enfranchisement of women and the Montreal Representatives are empowered to vote at the National Meeting...Hmm. Could it be that this resolution came about because of 'the high' after the Montreal municipal elections, where over 100 Council volunteers pushed spinsters to vote to get the Reform Ticket elected? (See my last post.) They referred to it in the minutes as 'a great national work.' National??

The Council's by-laws go something like this: the aim of the Local Council is to bring the various associations of women in Montreal together in an organized union.

Each society entering the Local Council shall retain their independent aim and methods and shall not be committed to any principal or method by any other society. But in matters of common interest public action can be taken and legislation obtained by the Local Council which have been authorized by the Council.

From Adami's 1913 statement, suffrage was a contentious issue for many members of the Council, despite the Council's 1910 endorsement in an Executive Resolution. (As if I didn't already know that.) The Council created a Suffrage Petition, for the use of the their member organizations, and got 'several requests'. Several out of 40 or so organizations.

By the time of the Child Welfare Exhibit, the Council had already spun off the Montreal Suffrage Association (which really makes no sense as per the by-laws) but they were having trouble getting that new organization off the ground - and finding a President for it.

That in itself says something.

If Mrs. Pankhurst's December 1911 speech inspired  the Local Council of Women to found the Montreal Suffrage Association, it is not only because some women 'wanted to keep the interest in suffrage alive' as the Minutes state, but because some other members of the L.C. (as they sometimes write) didn't want anything to do with it. (So I believe.)

From the Local Council's Minutes it can be construed that  the "interest in suffrage" in Montreal in 1910 was not really that great.

Mrs. Phillip Snowden had visited in 1909 and that speech had been put on at a deficit.

When Mrs. Pankhurst spoke in Montreal (she was brought in I think by Flora Macdonald Denison of Toronto)at Windsor Hall it wasn't a financial success.

It was Council President Carrie Derick who, in October 1911, proposed bringing Pankhurst in, saying that the population of Montreal has already had a chance to hear a moderate speaker, with Mrs. Snowden, and they should be given a chance to hear "the other side of the question." (A funny way to put it.) Dr. Richie England would take over as Council president in November and preside over the event itself.

The L.C. thought the speech would be so popular that there might be a chance of scalpers taking advantage. But no, as it turned out, the Council had to give out lots of free tickets and not just for the head table guests. (Mayor Geurin, the 'anglophone' reform Candidate the Council put there, attended the talk and lost his job a month later.)

The expenses for the talk were high, originally projected to be 350. to 650 and at the end of the day they only made one dollar thirty cents. "It had been necessary to give away 200 complimentary tickets to people who were anxious to hear her speak, but otherwise would not have come." R.V.C students??

Mrs. Pankhurst charged a lot for her speaking engagements. She was fund-raising, after all.

Here's an external pic of Windsor Hall where she spoke.

The press coverage was what really counted, not the money. And that was O.K.
....


Jules Crepeau, my grandfather, who got his start at Montreal City Hall in the Health Department.


In 1912 the social reformers of Montreal held a child welfare exhibit. It contained 'screens' sponsored by various interests including the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

 In 1913, shortly after the Montreal Council of Women spun off the Montreal Suffrage Association, and made Carrie Derick President, the same people held a suffrage exhibit.

These two exhibits were essentially one and the same.

Indeed, in a Montreal Gazette interview about the upcoming Suffrage Exhibit, a little on the glib side, a key organizer was asked what the main goal of the event was. "To stop the murder of children," said the woman. She wasn't talking about abortion.

In the era, Montreal had a sky-high infant mortality rate which was sometimes described as the highest in the western world, the highest outside of Calcutta.

The infant-mortality rate was highest among the French Canadians, and lowest among the Jews. High in the poor areas, low in the richer areas. Poor vaccination rates were a problem. City congestion too.

Bad water and bad milk contributed.

This infant mortality rate is where my two family stories of Montreal, Threshold Girl about my husband's Presbyterian Grandmother and family in 1910  and Milk and Water about my French Canadian grandfather in 1927, the era of US Prohibition, intersect, or more aptly collide full-force. (Both books are available on Amazon.com in Kindle version.)


In 1910, the Montreal Council of Women was active in the municipal elections, active for the Reform Candidate a Dr. Guerin. Dr. Geurin won. In 1912 they were also active, but 'the non-reform faction' as they put it, got in.

They minced no words in their annual reports. They were thrilled when their candidate got in and angry when their reformers lost two years later. It was not due to their lack of effort they added, perhaps alluding to corruption in the election.



No question, Montreal had health issues that needed addressing, but to the Protestants and especially the Evangelical Protestants, physical health and moral health and spiritual health were one and the same  and this posed a sticky problem.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, is a  concept that was epitomized in the era's Purity Movement. The Purity Movement was tied into the eugenics movement, which in Canada was centered at McGill University, where the Suffrage Movement was also headquartered, as Suffrage Association President, Carrie Derick, was a McGill Botanist (very interested in mental defectives) and Dr. McPhail of the Suffrage Association Executive was a prof at the medical school  (he was pro suffrage but anti-new woman) and Mrs. Hurblatt, a vocal militant suffragette sympathizer, was the Warden of Royal Victoria College, McGill's Women's College.

And this of course raised red flags among the French Canadians, who distrusted the hygiene movement.

Oddly, in 1911, the Montreal Council brought in British Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst to speak. (Actually, she was in Canada on a speaking tour.) Montreal Mayor Guerin attended her speech, as the Mayor of Toronto had done in 1909 when she had visited Canada but not spoken in Montreal.) As did Carrie Derick, President of the Montreal Council of Women at the time and Dr. McPhail.

This kind of thing explains why he wasn't re-elected.



In November 1913, the Montreal Council of Women brought in a speaker from Pittsburg, who talked about how to clean up City Hall. In 1913, my grandfather, then assistant city clerk, was caught in a bribery sting conducted by crusading reporter Edward Beck and he got out of it, suing for slander and winning.

In the article about the stink in his new newspaper Beck's Weekly, Beck called Montreal a 'sink hole of corruption,' with deft use of metaphor as was his style.

All very ironic as my grandfather was related to the powerful Forgets, the tramway people, and Therese Casgrain, the French Canadian feminist who fought for the right of Quebec women to vote, was Therese Forget Casgrain.


Here is an excerpt from the Brochure of the Child Welfare Exhibit.


"Surely it is our hope that this Canada of ours shall lead the world, that this land of promise shall become the land of fulfillment, that this youngest of nations, unfettered by the bonds of evil tradition which bind the old people, and profiting from their experience, shall choose out what is best, and press forward towards a greatness which other and older communities cannot hope to attain.
But it is the man that makes the nation.
It is the child that makes the man.

If, therefore, we are to become a great nation the well-being of our children must be our first care: we must rear them so that healthy and sound in body and in mind, they develop into strong and capable men and women. This is a matter that cannot be left to nature and to chance. Already with the rapid growth of our cities - Montreal is adding yearly forty thousand to its population - the child is exposed to influences every whit as harmless as those affecting the old world. Overcrowding and slumdom, lack of sunshine and fresh air, poor food, undue excitement, undue exposure to communicable diseases: these and many other bad influences tell upon the city child to its detriment.

The object of the Child Welfare Exhibition is to demonstrate these dangers and how they can be guarded against; what agencies exist in our midst for the protection and betterment of child life; what is lacking and what has to be provided for the immediate future.  J. G. Adami, T. Gauthier. Presidents. October 1912.
Health: The premature death of so many persons and the loss of earning capacity through various 'preventable and curable' diseases represent a tremendous economic loss to the community. Not only the community as a whole, but also the individual family units will find that they will be repaid if they will adopt the habit of early and frequent request for medical advice.Baby-saving: The high rate of infant mortality in Montreal, is a cause of the deepest concern. In a general way, the chief cause of mortality among babies is due to ignorance and even thoughtlessness of the part of mothers of the proper care, nourishing feeding of infants. Improper methods of feeding are the chief causes of death among young children.  The most essential feature of baby feeding is that the mother should nurse her own child. Thus not only does the baby procure food for its proper growth, but it is protected from the introduction by means of artificial food of such bacteria as cause diarrhea, typhoid and scarlet fever, etc. There are also present in mother's milk, certain substances which are able to destroy many forms of bacteria so that the nursing baby gains this very important protection. 
Housing:
The exhibit on housing shows photographs of some of the bad spots in Montreal. As one of the pictures was being taken, the woman who lived in the house, remarked "every spring when the thaw begins our rooms are flooded with several inches of water. How are people, who are forced through poverty to live in places of this sort, bring up healthy children?" One of the worst features of Montreal housing is the inner court and the rear tenement. One lot is often occupied by two houses, the one at the rear being approached through a dark alley. There is little light and less air in those places. They are breeding spots for tuberculosis. Places like this sort also furnish a large proportion of juvenile delinquents. Poverty, lack of privacy in the home, lack of a place for children to play, these are all causes for misery and delinquency


....



Well, I visited McGill and the main library there to take a look at this hardcover copy of  a book written in 1915 about the Montreal Council of Women.

I'm researching a documentary on the suffrage movement in Canada, Quebec point of view.

Why this 21st anniversary edition was created, I don't know. What's a 21st anniversary, anyway? And it doesn't contain much more than the Annual Reports of the years 1909-1915.

But those are important years as that's when the Montreal Suffrage Association was created, in 1912/13.

Carrie Derick from the book. Edith Nicholson of Threshold Girl stepped out with Miss Derick, I have it in a letter. Edith worked in the Registrar's Office at McGill (likely overseeing female applicants) and as Assistant Warden at Royal Victoria College.

Now, the only two books Canadian Women's Suffrage are the master's thesis by Catherine Cleverdon and another 1970's book.   Catherine Cleverdon, an American, had a chance to interview real people, like Edith Nicholson of Threshold Girl, but she didn't.

So the The Montreal Suffrage Association has gone down in history as a footnote - a footnote I am fleshing out. Oh, if I only could invoke Dear old Edie, my husband's great aunt.

Her favourite great niece says she never mentioned her feminist days, although she told her niece a woman could be anything she wanted to. This was in the fifties when women were being encouraged to go back into the home and wax their floors.

So, this little tome is all that is left for scholars to refer to and they do, often, I can tell.

Now, the Montreal Suffrage Association is often cited on the Net, (footnote) 1912, Montreal Suffrage Association founded. Carrie Derick first President.

What I can see from this book of annual reports is that Carrie Derick was much more interested in the problem of 'mental defectives' than in the suffrage movement per-se.

It is written here (and has been oft repeated) that Emmeline Pankhurst's 1911 visit to Montreal sparked the creation of the Montreal Suffrage Association, but I think that could be taken in two ways.

Perhaps some members of the Council were inspired but others likely were appalled and so the Association might have been created to keep the issue 'at arm's length.'

I suspect this and am looking for clues.

The clue might reside in information about the 1913 Suffrage Exhibit. Derick doesn't appear to have been a convener. And the Exhibit is not mentioned in this book.

In the 1915 Annual Report there are a few paragraphs about the association and its activities, most of the info I've already gleaned from Newspaper Reports.

Here it is.


It appears any outreach during that war years was done in the E.T. including in Derick's home town of Clarenceville.  They say 100,000, pamphlets were distributed during the year.

"Notwithstanding the absorption in the war, the progress made by the suffrage movement is marked. There is growing recognition of the devotion and self-sacrifice of women and a belief that they have, as perhaps never before, demonstrated their worth as citizens of a great empire and their right to equality with men in all the natural places."

In Threshold Girl I have Barbara Wylie speak at St. James Methodist. She spoke at the YMCA actually. Alas.

Anyway, Mrs. Hurlbatt, Warden of the Royal Victoria College, whom Edith would eventually work under as Assistant Warden, was active in the movement. Lots of other McGill Profs too, along with Derick. (The Montreal Herald created a special insert about the new organization when it was inaugurated in November 1912, but McGill has no Heralds for that era. That insert might not exist anywhere.)

One scholar I read, a French one, claims that the Montreal Suffrage Association was made up of mostly McGill Profs and their students. A Gazette article says the membership reached 800.  I will have to see if the other texts on Microfilm of the Council confirm that.


Outside the McGill Library yesterday, a campus that was once a hot bed of suffrage and eugenics. The Montreal Council stopped its work on mental defectives in 1950.


...



"A brilliant speaker" writes Flora in pencil on this clipping from January 14, 1918 from the Montreal Gazette. So no doubt she attended the Rev. Dr. Dawson's speech at St. James Methodist (where I have her hear Miss Barbara Wylie Suffragette in 1912 in School Marms and Suffragettes. In 1916 Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst (no slouch as an orator herself and also a social reformer, or social conservative, one and the same thing back then) spoke in the same church, no doubt in support of the war effort.


Here's the article slightly abridged

In St. James Methodist Church last night Dr. W.J. Dawson, formerly of London England and for eleven years of Newark New Jersey preached the doctrine, at once terrifying and comforting, that the nations are being redeemed and regenerated through war.

If one looked up from the details of the surgery of war to the higher synthesis of these details he would see the cosmic processes which work towards regeneration and redemption.

The noted preacher and author spoke in a high, easy, calm and deliberate voice, now and then dropping hoarse and sombre, wonderfully arresting just at those passages which the speaker desired mainly to impress on his hearers.

Major the Reverand  C.A. Williams, pastor, conducted the service and the Rev. Principal Major Smyth introduced Dr. Dawson.

The Reverend Dr. Dawson's sermon was taken from St. Luke XXI, 2 and 36, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh... Watch ye, therefore and pray always  that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man." Jesus in trying to prepare his disciples to meet without dismay and despair  the impending world catastrophe of that time which was to shake the world empire of the Romans and bring about the ruin of Jerusalem, taught two things: that the redemption of the world and souls of men might come through war, and second, that the one supreme aim of prayer of men who walk through these dark vales of catastrophe should be so to act that they would be accounted worthy to stand before the Son of Man.

The preacher admitted that while men looked down at the mutilated men lying on the fields of France and Flanders, the doctrine, that war is working for redemption and regeneration seemed a terrible one.  one had to look up to see the loom of God weaving with many a blood-stained thread a new liberation of man in order fully to grasp it.

One should not look at the cemeteries of the slain to realize this idea but at this new strength of spiritual idealism and passionate patriotism animating the Allied countries.

....

Peace was the mother of prosperity, and best for the individual development, but what only a very few men had been able to see was that civilized nations were apt to become over-ripe with a prolonged peace, and at last, rotten, making civilization a putrifying carcass and where the carcass is, there the avenging eagles go as ministers of purification.

One could mean to arrest decay by other means,such as education and pacific ideals of humanitarianism. It was hard to convince pacifists that these were only emollients applied to a cancer which had to be cut away by a surgeon's knife - God's awful surgery of war.

As signs of the coming redemption the Reverend mentioned the fall of czarism in Russia. Other signs, the death of the party spirit, a unity of sentiment and purpose through the British Empire, prohibition, arriving or coming everywhere and countless other reforms that without war could not have been achieved for 100 years.


11:30 pm


January 17, 1917

Edmonton, Alberta

My dear Flora,

The hour may look late but I'm getting desperate about not having written you and Edith to thank you for your very kind Christmas remembrances.  We have really been busy the last two months so that my correspondence has dwindled down to my weekly letter home. My intentions were good but there are only six hours in the day so you see I must plead guilty for not finding time.

Your little book "Hello" was very much appreciated and touched the spot.

I could almost here you say it and believe me I would have liked very much to hear you say it around Christmas Day.

It was one of the quietest holidays for me in some years.  "Nuff said."

Then again Flora, any girl that can write a SECOND long letter without reminding the recipient that that the first is still unanswered - well, she's a trump and both you and Edith proved that.

Our Victory Loan certainly made some work for me. I took practically all the handling of that work in our office so as to not disturb the ordinary routine and it kept me on the job many nights.

Then around the end of the year was savings interest and a number of special statements so that matters are just getting normal again.

As I said before, Christmas was a quiet day. Our manager from Camrose (who was an accountant in Vancouver when I was there) came in Christmas eve, so he and Cronyn (our acting manager) and I took in a show.

After that we sat in front of the grate well into the morning, talking over any old thing.

Your know how easy it is to stay up and keep the conversation and the fire going. Christmas was darn cold, about 35 below, so we only stirred out from the bank rooms to get meals and into a movie.

But the New Years' Eve was the gay party. Seven of us had a table at the Macdonald and while the meal was nothing extra, the dance and general doings were very enjoyable.

They had about 350 there and one of the best dressed parties I had seen for years.
....

 "A man-made nation emphasizing the combative attributes of the male sex, and glorying in the ideal of power through might, has launched the human race into a bloody struggle that staggers the imagination and dazes, almost to madness, the human mind. Nations are realizing that the cooperation of women is necessary and that the ideal today for which the allies are staking their all is the same old ideal of which the woman's suffrage movement was founded. We can make the world safe for democracy." ....from the 1917-18 yearbook of the Canadian Council of Women, rationalizing their support of Borden and the War Effort.

An historian once told me that national child health initiatives in Canada came about after each of the two world wars, when it was made clear that too many young men were not fit enough to be sent to the fighting.

Women's groups traditionally support health initiatives all the time, but governments get around to it when they see a REAL GOOD  reason to make children healthy. So they can go out and get hideously maimed and killed as youths and young adults.

I say this because I just a paper called Divided by the Ballot Box, by Tara Brookfield (Canadian Historical Review 2008) about how in 1917 Dr. Richie-England, President of the Montreal Council of Women, had to face an impeachment hearing  because of her opposition to conscription, something Prime Minister Borden wanted badly. (Not enough Canadians were enlisting.)

Hey, Brookfield is from an Ontario and is writing about Anglo-Quebec!  Indeed, she states that Canadian scholars have not examined the peculiar nature of Montreal Middle Class Social Advocates. She feels they were more inclusive than other Canadian Women's Groups due to their multicultural environs.

 Well, maybe so, but I doubt it from what I've read. Not as a rule anyway. The Protestant Purity Movement existed here too and it had a scary ring to the French Canadians, French scholars say. French Canadians,who had the highest infant mortality rate in the Western World, were skeptical of the hygienist movement because of the way it tied to the PURITY movement in sentiment, cleanliness and Protestant style godliness and all that. And then there's the eugenics business, that sometimes equated large families with inferior genes.

And the most influential of these these MCW members were for the most part elite, not middle class, according to Elizabeth Kirkland.  They all were neighbours in the Golden Square Mile. They spoke French because they were ladies bred to the salon.

In 1910-1912 a Dr. Guerin, a French speaking Anglophone doctor, out of McGill was appointed Mayor, probably because of the 1909 typhoid epidemic.  He heard Emmeline Pankhurst speak in December 1911, with Andrew MacPhail, a professor of Medicine at McGill and Carrie Derick, a Professor of Botany at McGill. He only lasted two years in office. Mayor Martin of my play Milk and Water took over for a long while and if I've understood correctly, his campaign appealed to French Canadian sentiments.

 I'd like to channel my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, City Clerk in 1910 and the Director of City Services in the 1920's to see what he felt about the English Society Ladies on the Parks Committee etc. with him. Anglos tended to believe City  Hall was corrupt and too French and they wanted their own people put in there.)

(Dr.Laberge, who gave my grandfather his start at City Hall in 1886, wanted mandatory vaccinations in 1911.)

I've been writing about the Montreal Suffrage Association and President Carrie Derick and her habit of using her biology background to promote the idea of women's suffrage and also  her dubious but fashionable eugenics theories.

 In many ways, this organization is Derick's legacy. You can read it all over the Internet. 1913: The Montreal Suffrage Association is founded as the suffrage arm of the Montreal Council of Women.

Yet it seems this organization was a bit of a fizzle. And it dissolved away long before it officially disbanded in 1919.

The official line  in 1913 was that the Montreal Council of Women created the Montreal Suffrage Association because suffrage had become such a huge issue at the MCW.

I think it also was created to keep the contentious issue at arm's length from the MCW an umbrella group of diverse interests, including some French Canadian ones. The Montreal suffragists were a conglomeration of the militant, the moderate and maternal. Evangelical Protestants (like the Nicholsons) were big into promoting woman's suffrage.

At inauguration the executive of the Montreal Suffrage Assocation were all English and included Dr. Symonds who talked about Christianity and St. Paul and the Women's Vote in a way that would have pleased any reader of the evangelical Montreal Witness.

Another male executive member said he thought it would be best if the militant Suffragettes in Britain starved to death.

The 1916-17  Canadian Council of Women Yearbook includes this entry for the Montreal Local Council. So they did work for Votes for Women.



Then War breaks out and the Council claims in the newspapers that it is directing all of its energies to helping the soldiers.

And then Borden performs his cynical or clever 1917 election manoeuvre giving the vote only to women with military connections, sons, husbands, brothers serving in the military, thus assuring his re-election and conscription goals. Borden bribes women by implying that if they  Do the Right Thing and vote for him, they will have proved themselves as worthy of having the vote.

And he knew what women with loved ones overseas would vote to have replacements sent in. And women without the vote might feel embarrassed. (I have no idea what the Nicholson women felt. No relative of theirs was in the War.)

Many suffrage organizations wrote to the Prime Minister in protest, saying this policy was unfair, (what of the women who volunteered long hours for the war effort but had no relation fighting) although many women's groups liked the idea.

Apparently, the Canadian Council of Women  suggested the idea to Borden, perhaps as a way to keep many French Canadian women from voting - and voting against conscription.

And they thought it especially brilliant because citizens who never wanted woman suffrage, men and women, suddenly were all for it because they were for the war effort, staunch anti-suffragists suddenly dragging their sisters to the ballot box!

Now, Richie-England, a medical doctor who apparently had some working ties with the French community, has to face an impeachment hearing because she is for the Laurier's faction and against conscription (he wanted a referendum) and yet she is not on the executive of the Montreal Suffrage Association which, supposedly, deals with suffrage for the Montreal Council.

Carrie Derick is still President of the Suffrage Association, but from what I can see from the 1918-19 yearbook, she is busy with Food conservation issues.

(The yearbooks say she is President. The newspapers often say a Mrs. Scott, a Temperance advocate with sons in the army, is President. Perhaps it looked better during the war to have a MOTHER making a sacrifice as leader of the movement.)

 Whether Derick opposed conscription, I don't know. A letter to the editor upon the dissolution of the Montreal Suffrage Association says she did, but the letter may have gotten Derick mixed up with Richie-England. So maybe even members of the Montreal Suffrage Association weren't sure what was going on.

This particular letter to the editor also asks why organization funds were funneled into efforts to help the feeble-minded. What has this got to do with suffrage, the person asks. (This  is the purview of the Montreal |Council of Women.)

....

Mrs. Richie England, President of the Montreal Council of Women in the 19 teens. 

So, as I start on my documentary on the Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada - I discover another piece of the puzzle, that the Montreal Suffrage Association, founded in 1913 as a maternal style suffrage association, disbanded in 1919 after women in Canada got the vote in favor of a bilingual effort that would help get the vote in Quebec. (So scholars say.)

Hmm.

Now I knew that Carrie Derick was the first President of the Association and I knew that Carrie Derick was a McGill botanist and supporter of eugenics. I've written about it extensively on this blog.

And I knew that all Canadian women got the vote in 1918, but that women with military connections got it first in 1917. 

I guessed, probably correctly as other scholars agree, that Borden gave Canadian women the vote first as a bribe, to get conscription through, and then after the war he just had to give it to everyone.

The Montreal Suffrage Association, or the British Suffragettes, who both petitioned Borden didn't have much effect.

Hence NO MYTH in Canada about Women Suffrage, not from the 1910-18 period.

Now, I read in a book called the Oxford Guide to Eugenics, that McGill University was the hotbed of eugenics thought in Canada. So no surprise Derick was a supporter. And according to another source, the Montreal Suffrage Association was made up of McGill Profs and McGill students. Mrs. Hurlbatt!! (Hurlbatt was a suffrage activist in Montreal and Warden of Royal Victoria College and friend of Edith Nicholson of School Marms and Suffragettes

So it doesn't come as a huge surprise that the Montreal Suffrage Association, which was AGAINST conscription,  got involved with projects to do the 'protection of the feeble-minded' during its short tenure. 
1910 lecture  in Montreal in favour of incarcerating the feeble-minded or defectives so that they could get special treatment and also  so they wouldn't marry. Derick attended and spoke.



I know (suspect) this because in 1919 the Gazette included a letter to the editor from a former member says as much. The writer (anonymous) says that the Montreal Suffrage Association lost its members when it came out against conscription and attacked Borden,  and the writer also wonders why so much of its funds went toward the efforts with "defectives and feeble-minded." The correspondent didn't see the connection between woman suffrage and the feeble-minded. (Yikes, no wonder our suffrage movement hasn't been mythologized for posterity.)

Carrie Derick was into birth control, but not for women' sexual liberation. To keep the race pure. She turned off French Quebeckers in this respect, as Catholics were (are) against birth control for everyone. 

I do have another article from 1941, where Derick is explaining the history of the suffrage movement in Canada and Quebec and Montreal. She says the Montreal Suffrage Society disbanded because because there was a need for a bilingual organization..(So the scholars took Derick's word for it.)  "We must have laws for the worst people, the best don't need them," Derick then said.  (Hmm. This is opposite to something Julia Parker Drummond wrote in a letter in around 1910 (which I got my hands on and read) "People cannot be made good by Parliament.")

In her 1941 speech, Derick, also invoked Eve, Sappho and claimed the Odyssey might have been written by a woman. (Boy that would have turned all scholarship on its head!)

Derick used her science-cred  to bolster her arguments for women's suffrage, which somehow she got mixed up with eugenics by way of the child-welfare movement.


And other tidbit,  I saw an Obit for a Queen's NY resident, Mrs. Wallace, who it is claimed was a Brit who had served as an aide for Mrs. Pankhurst and as President of the Montreal Suffrage Association. So maybe they went 'militant' for a time, too.

And then here was Edith Nicholson. I am kind to her in my book, and make her wary of eugenics. But people tend to believe what their 'superiors' think and she was a lowly teacher. But then again she was a teacher at a missionary school, whose goal it was to convert French Canadians to Protestantism. She believed that people could be made good - as in converted to The LIGHT. But if children were too defective to see the Light. Hmm. (We still are dealing with this argument. The jails are full of the mentally ill.)

As someone who had close contact with Catholics, she might have been more open-minded. At least one of hers students, a Catholic Italian, deeply admired her. He wrote it in a diary that has been posted online.


A bit from the Ontario Hygiene reader 1911, the last chapter on eugenics, using a study of Jukes/Edwards to prove that some lineages are corrupted and others are naturally fine. Carrie Derick used this study in a speech she gave in Montreal...I put it in my story. So if they put this study in a textbook clearly it was respected.




....


From an April 25, 1913 Gazette Report


At a 1941 Quebec Suffrage Meeting Therese Casgrain introduces Miss Carrie Derick, who is to speak on the history of the Suffrage Movement in Canada (they'd already forgotten it by then, I guess) and predicts that Carrie Derick will go down in history as one of the "Great Canadian Women."

She did not. Therese Casgrain did. (She is to be included in those new holographic passports.)

Politics, you see.

Now all 'heroes' Canadian or otherwise have their dark-sides, even Gandhi and Mother Theresa, no doubt, got their operatives to sign confidentiality agreements :) but Derick's dark side became very politically incorrect as it was eugenics.

(It's also a dark side of Tommy Douglas, voted on the CBC a while back as "The Greatest Canadian")but Derick's dark side seems racist, especially to French Canadians.

Margaret Gillett, an education historian, did write a bio of Miss Derick, No Fool She, but it's been lost to history, I think. I couldn't even find it in the stacks at McGill. It was a Master's Thesis and is likely in the stacks at her alma mater, an American University.

Thanks to the Internet, I've been able to dig out quite a bit about Derick, who was a friend of Edith Nicholson, the heroine of my story Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. Edie is also my husband's great aunt Edie or DeDe.

Edith worked at Mcgill in the 1920's, but she knew Derick before that. I have a 1917 letter where she tells her mom she stepped out with Miss Derick for a McGill Concert.

So it is clear to me that Edith was active in Derick's Montreal Suffrage Association. I am not surprised.


Edith (second from right) in around 1917-19) She knew Carrie Derick BEFORE she worked at McGill, so was likely involved with the Montreal Suffrage Association.

Just today I managed to find the report on the Inaugural Session of this organization, which lasted from 1913-1919, the org not the session.

Derick was President, but at the session all the usual suspects were present. Mrs. Julia Parker Drummond, Dr. Herbert Symonds and dear Mrs. Hurlbatt the Warden at Royal Victoria College, who I am guessing now helped Edith get her job at McGill.

Here's the rub, it's made clear at this opening session that this organization is NOT MILITANT. Lady Drummond puts it this way "would start upon its work invincibly determined to keep to sweet reasonableness." Sweet reasonableness, the phrase just flows off the tongue, doesn't it, unlike the shrieking of an hysterical suffragette whose just battered the window of an MP's house.

Indeed the two male speakers rail against the suffragettes, Dr. Symonds saying they have hurt their cause in England, that there would be woman suffrage were it not for the militants, and another man saying "He thinks it better if they starved to death. " Some boos were heard in the Church Hall.

Except that not 6 months ago the Montreal Council of Women had invited Militant Barbara Wylie to speak (its in my book) and in December 1911 Hurlbatt and Derick had presided over a speech by Emmeline Pankhurst in the Windsor Hotel Hall, a speech attended by the Mayor a Dr. Guerin who didn't stay in office long.

Now, by 1913, as I have written, the Suffragettes were getting into big trouble and it was being widely reported in the newspapers, right beside reports like this one. The Gazette was filled with stories about suffragettes, usually on the sensational side.

And my husband's great aunt Edie was all for the militants, even in 1913. I have it in a letter.

Oddly, the Montreal Council of Women soon mounted a Suffrage Exhibit, and Derick did not give a talk or work as explainer. That tells you something, I think, but I have to do more research.

Anyway, in one of her speeches, Derick claims that it was the Montreal Council of Women that first promoted woman suffrage to the Canadian Council and that the Toronto Council resisted. She says that the women's movement in Montreal started at McGill, with women wanting equal education to men. (I think it also got a kick-start with the immense social problems, the infant mortality, prostitution, and as a reaction to the wave of immigrants arriving into Montreal. (That's the negative side of the suffrage movement.)

The minutes of the Montreal Council of women exist on Microfilm in Ottawa. The minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association exist nowhere, as far as I can see.



...



This is the newspaper clipping Edith Nicholson made of the February 1913 Suffrage Exhibit at 622 St. Catherine West (as opposed to Ste. Catherine Ouest). They have a Suffrage Sandwich Man and a Limerick contest. What fun! And one visitor is being given a tea at the Ritz, which has just opened.

I am getting down to storyboarding my YouTube documentary about the Suffrage Movement in Canada (from my own point of view) and I decided to check up some more on this exhibition.

This image says it all, most Canadian suffragists were of the 'maternal' kind, promoting home and hearth and "family values."

They distanced themselves from the militants as much as they could.

In the Montreal Gazette, they wrote this about this same exhibit in the February 04 issue:


And in this article they made a direct appeal to teachers like Marion, Edith and Flora Nicholson (clearly believing teachers were a key element to the movement but being single women they weren't that concerned with home and hearth and the traffic in women and the social evil, prostitution. So true.)

"Although the women teachers in the province receive an average salary of $362, whereas in the American States where suffrage is in force men and women teachers are equally recompensed."


The first article, though, has a quote from a Methodist Minister who spoke at the Exhibit. One of his arguments for suffrage is that men will have more work because it will stop low-paid women from taking their jobs. Hmmm. That's not about giving women higher salaries; it's about taking them out of the workforce.

Perhaps Marion Nicholson, future President of the PAPT Teachers Union in Montreal, who is about to get engaged to Mr. Blair in February 1913, would have been interested in this exhibit. I have no indication she went. She was far too busy, what with her job and her new flat in Mile End, which she shared with her sister Flora and two others.

Her sister Edith is all for the militants. Read my School Marms and Suffragettes.



The list of speakers for this exhibit includes Mrs. Hurlbatt, the Warden at Royal Victoria College at McGill. In 1909 she gave a speech supporting, in measured tones, the actions of the British Suffragettes.  I wonder if she has changed her mind at this time.

Well, it is easy to see why women were antsy about the militants. Bookending this article are two reports about Mrs. Pankhurst and her antics.


The suffragettes trashed a golf course, apparently. How symbolic! And still Edith Nicholson liked the Militants.

It's funny, if you read newspapers from this era, it shows that the news media hasn't changed much in 100 years.

The names have changed, that's all.

The same issue of the Gazette with info on  the Suffrage Exhibit includes a report claiming the king pins of the White Slave Traffic in Montreal have been caught. Two negroes. Suspicious, I'd say.

The traffic in white slaves was a big issue to the maternal suffragists. There's also another story about a teenager girl who was trapped for a week by a 'nice' man she met on the street. The PERILS of city life!!

Here's Diary of Confirmed Spinster, the 1910 story of Edith Nicholson.





....


Christabel on her broom from Votes for Women, the WSPU Magazine.

As I research my documentary about the Canadian Suffrage Movement, I find this letter to the editor in the Montreal Gazette, in reply to another letter or article condemning the militant suffragettes.

It is in August 1912 and I have to wonder if the letter was actually written by British Suffragettes themselves.  Or with help from them. Sylvia Pankhurst was speaking in Toronto in 1912 and they generally landed in Montreal. As you can see, the argument that women 'shriek' when they want something was used back then.


The letter speaks for itself, but it should be remembered that militancy was reviled in Canada, generally, even among most suffragists.  (Edith Nicholson, School Marms and Suffragettes was for militancy.) And this letter is rather radical... the 'at war' statement. One wonders if the Gazette put it in for that very reason. I see some newspapers used that term in headlines, but later one when things got very violent in 1913. I must research further. This letter to the Editor preceded by one month the visit of Militant Suffragette Barbara Wiley to Canada. She told reporters upon arriving in Montreal that if Prime Minister Asquith had been hit by the hatchet, 'maybe it would have knocked some sense into him." Wiley didn't shriek. She was admirably feminine and even nice to look at, according to reporters. (She came for two years to Canada and started up kind of organization in Saskatchewan (where her brother was an MP (I think.).. But she soon returned to England and got arrested in 1913 in a famous suffragette skirmish.

"With regard to his criticism of the methods of the militant party, has it ever occurred to Mr. Rose that the suffragettes are at war with the Government, and when you are at war, well, you just  war - that is all. When the fight is over and the victory won the women will settle down to peaceful citizenship and constructive work which they infinitely prefer to fighting.

No person, for instance, would judge actions of a soldier in war by the standards of peace. If Mr. Rose thinks they might use other methods than militancy, let him study the history of the movement for the past forty-five years and then suggest a method that they would have not already tried in vain. As to whether one of the shrieking sisterhood could ever fill the position of a statesman or ambassador to represent her country, no one who has ever met Mrs. Pankhurst or had the pleasure of hearing her speak, could for he moment doubt that she would most ably fill any position requiring tact, diplomacy, strength and ability. They do not, as Mr. Rose puts it, "shriek and bite and tear: in the piping times of peace, but in war time only. Mrs. Pankhurst at peace is not the same as Mrs. Pankhurst at war, any more than Lord Roberts or any other soldier on the battlefield is the same as Lord Roberts in a London drawing room. I notice that all their critics make the mistake of judging them by the standards of peace. There can be no peace until the vote is won.

I do not understand what Mr. Rose means when he says, "They strongly adhere to the privileges of their sex in expecting to receive light sentences for their various offences." Surely it is patent to any one, even the most causal observer, that the Government have pursued these heroic women with an almost savage fury, meting out punishments that they would not dare to inflict on men like offences. I do not suppose that Mr. Rose or any other thoughtless men who so lightly sit in judgement on the actions of these women, have even so much as gone without a meal for the sake of their convictions. The suffragettes have often gone without food for a whole week and then almost at death's door have been bound and gagged and forcibly and horribly fed by stomach tubes.

They have endured insults and cruelties of which he public know nothing and understand less, and all voluntarily because they want the vote by which alone they can get power to help and raise the suffering and oppressed of their own sex. I have before me at this moment an English paper, in which there is an account of the trial for a man for the death of his wife, whom he had so brutally beaten that she died within two hours. His defense was that she nagged him and the jury without leaving their box, returned a verdict of manslaughter with a recommendation to mercy on account of such provocation. The judge sentenced him to six months. I could multiply the cases by the hundred. In contrast, consider the sentence of five years passed on the woman who threw the hatchet at Mr. Asquith. Consider also the case of Angelina Napolitano, who murdered her husband last year under the terrible provocation. He continually and savagely beat her because she would not go out and earn money for him by immoral means. There was no recommendation for mercy in her case, and she was sentenced to death.It was only after a storm of public indignation and protest at the sentence that the sentence was lessened."

(The writer goes on to rebut the argument that if women don't fight in war they don't deserve the vote. Easy rebuttal as , apparently, soldiers didn't have the vote back then.) She lives on Kinkora Avenue. . Her name is Annie Sullivan.
...



Isadora Duncan.

I've been researching Emmeline Pankhurst - and more particularly her influence on Canada and especially Quebec for a documentary I am creating on the Suffrage Movement in Canada.

The elder Pankhurst came to Canada twice (on official visits, possibly more times) and she came to Montreal only once in 1911.

In September 1912, she sent her operative, Miss Barbara Wiley to Montreal. I've written about her extensively on this blog.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, the Montreal Gazette published at letter to the Editor in August 1912, praising Mrs. Pankhurst. The letter appears to be a rebuttal to another earlier letter, condemning Pankhurst and the movement.

The woman who wrote the letter claims that violence is used by the suffragettes because "Mrs. Pankhurst is at war with her government."

Isn't that interesting.

I'm suspicious about the letter in that it is written in exactly the same style as another letter, from the Montreal Witness, from 1910 which Edith Nicholson clipped and which I have published on my Tighsolas website.

Anyway, yesterday, continuing my research on Emmeline Pankhurst I discovered a little gem of a book on Archive.org, printed in 1913, about the era's feminist heroes.

Both Mrs. Pankhurst and Isadora Duncan are included. I have yet to read their chapters, but the opening chapter is most interesting. It is about 'courtesans' and about the era's Goddess and Whore syndrome.

The author writes that a good woman who marries naively and has to leave her abusive or neglectful husband is then unfairly branded a courtesan. And what's so bad about courtesans anyway? she asks. Courtesans are often bright lively woman, as compared to the dull shallow society women who set the standard for other women.




So I'm wondering how this author will reconcile the heroic Pankhurst, who was promoting the best and worst of middle class values (Votes for Women, Chastity for Men) and how Isadora, a free spirit or bohemian - a very self-conscious one, is dealt with.

All published in 1913. Perhaps Edith Nicholson of School Marms and Suffragettes read this book, called Women as World Builders by Floyd Dell (A Man!)
....


Here's a portrait of Flora MacDonald Denison, Canadian suffragette, from a Library of Congress website.

Many people come to my blog looking up "Flora Macdonald".

I have written a book, School Marms and Suffragettes, about the 1910 era lives of Flora, Edith and Marion Nicholson of Richmond Quebec. Flora attended Macdonald College in 1910.

Flora's story Threshold Girl is about the the Two Solitudes and includes a garment industry and suffragette theme. In Quebec, French Canadians worked in the garment industry.

Mine is a Montreal and Quebec story, because I feel that story has largely been forgotten. (And besides, I'm using the Nicholson women's letters as background.)

Social History in Canada is pretty Toronto-centric.

There are already people keeping Flora MacDonald Denison's memory alive (check out this YouTube video) and frankly I think Denison deserves to be in Prime Minister Harper's new Hall of Heroes in his Museum of Canadian History.

Over Barbara Wiley, the British Suffragette who came to Canada for two years (who I sarcastically nominated in an earlier post) and even over Carrie Derick, the head of the  Montreal Suffrage Association and also the first female full professor in Canada. (She was a Botanist at McGill but also a vocal supporter of Eugenics.)

I've re-discovered Mrs. Flora McD Denison (as it is written in the Canadian Council of Women minutes)researching whether Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the British Suffragettes, ever came to Montreal in the 1908-1913 period.

The official story is yes, Emmeline came, but only once in 1911. (I have yet to find a newspaper account of the meeting). She came to Toronto at least twice and it is Flora MacDonald Denison who brought her there as vocal leader of the Canadian Suffrage Association.

In her 1913 autobiography Pankhurst writes that she enjoyed Toronto because she was received by the Mayor.

A biography of Pankhurst says she came to Canada twice and in Toronto, on her first visit, spoke to the Men's Canadian Club in Toronto and at two other venues. She was well-received then.

As it happens, I stumbled upon a piece in a Montreal-based newspaper (a short lived on that appears to have been created to fight City Hall Corruption) that is most amusing.(The style of writing, once again, sounds suspiciously like Edward Beck, crusading journalist, and my grandfather's foe. Read Milk and Water.

Still, I also found this:


Well, Montreal was also in the grip of a Typhoid Epidemic in November 1909. So perhaps that is the reason Mrs. Pankhurst didn't come. Or perhaps it was the money. Pankhurst's many visits to North America (6 in total around 1910) were about raising money for the cause and for lawyers! She charged a pretty penny to speak -as the article above shows.

Anyway, there may have been also some secret visits. There are accounts of people meeting up with the Pankhursts on Atlantic crossings, one where Emmeline is travelling incognito.

The suffragettes had many Canadian connections and used them for all they were worth, no doubt.

Indeed, someone met Sylvia on a transatlantic voyage in 1912 and she said she was going to Montreal. That is the year Carrie Derick set up the non militant (or not militant or non militant) Montreal Suffrage Association.

Anyway, the Canadian Encyclopedia entry on Flora Macdonald Denison says that she had to quit as leader of the Canadian Suffrage League in 1914 because she was for the British Militants.

But many feminist leaders in Canada were for the militants as I've pointed out. (Even Miss Hurblatt, Warden of Royal Victoria College - a very prim and proper place.) They  were careful, though, about the language they used to frame their support.

I found another newspaper article where Denison is quoted as saying that the British Suffragettes have a right to shoot Asquith.  Not a smart thing to say. Maybe she never said it. Maybe she said it 'off the record.'

Anyway, Flora Macdonald Denison was a dressmaker who had worked at Simpson's and wanted to promote women in the workplace. So she wasn't one of the 'maternal' suffragettes who wanted to promote women as homemakers and turn men into women, behavior-wise.

This is from the Yearbook for 1913 of the Canadian Council of Women:

No, most Canadian Suffragists weren't concerned with getting women more rights, so that they could have physical and economic freedom. (The Nicholson women wanted this, though.)  They wanted rights so that they could put in laws to force men to follow the same moral standards as women, as in stop drinking, whoring and such.

Flora Macdonald Denison was a dressmaker, who had fallen on hard times and had to work for a salary, so she had 'hands-on experience' with the life of the worker, unlike most female do-gooders.  She also worked as a journalist.

I wondered if she had been the woman who had tried to get various Canadian ladies' groups to support the Eaton's workers strike in 1912. ( I put a scene in my School Marms and Suffragettes story about this.)

So I checked.

No, that was Alice A Chown, another Ontario Suffragette, who was leader of the Toronto Equal Franchise League, another pro suffrage group. Chown too is an interesting person, whose beliefs about suffrage were more 'forward looking.' She wrote a book in 1923 called the Stairway.
....




Unfortunately, Edith Nicholson did not cut out any clippings of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst's trips to Canada. Hard to believe.

I think this is because, when Pankhurst came to Canada (and if I am right she came in 1909 and late 1911) she kept a fairly low profile.

Of course, there were some factions who wanted any militant suffragettes who came to Canada arrested as criminals and deported. (I suspect the British Government put some pressure on the Canadian Government.)

I found a social note in an American Paper that claimed Mrs. Pankhurst came to Montreal in early January 1912 and spoke before a HUGE crowd which included the Mayor of all things! And she may have also visited in 1909, right plunk in the middle of the Typhoid Epidemic (see Milk and Water my eplay) and kept it MILD.

(So I must go to the library and check out the Newspapers of that time.)

Apparently, according to Mrs. Denison of Toronto, leader of the suffrage movement there, the Mayor of Toronto was pro-women suffrage, so much so, he started the Men's Woman Suffrage League. Maybe Mayor Martin didn't want to be left behind.

Mrs. Denison, in 1913 (when the British Suffragettes and Mrs. Pankhurst were getting in big trouble in England) gave an interview to the New York Times.

She said almost all the Toronto Papers were in support of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst. She said so were the women of Canada, although they were not into "open meetings' and demonstrations" so they were 'conservative' in their way.

She said Canadian Suffragists weren't into militant methods (although the Canadian Council of Women endorsed Woman Suffage) either, although "some young women were coming to understand the need for publicity that they must make sacrifices for the cause."

Isn't that interesting? She understood that all the histrionics was about publicity.

Yes, very interesting. And it's not such a surprise to me now, that Edith Nicholson, prim and proper school teacher, was a militant suffragette sympathizer.

Mrs. Pankhurst came to Canada often afterwards, during the War and such, speaking from pulpits, in 1916 at St. James Methodist. (During the war the Suffragettes were very patriotic, and their particular brand of violence seemed meek and mild compared to what was going on in Europe.)


Also, many British Militant Suffragettes seemed to come to Canada "to rest and recreate" after doing jail time. The editors of the WSPU Votes for Women magazine, the Lawrences, came in 1912, (to visit a brother) and while away their home was confiscated.


Is Militancy a Disease? Most articles in the Montreal Gazette about the Suffragettes were wired in Cooperation with the New York Times.

Upon her death in 1928, the Montreal Gazette explained that  Emmeline Pankhurst lived in Toronto for a while, in 1921 and later Victoria BC. (Canadian women had the vote by then as did British women over 30.)

The obit described her as 'slight in stature, but with a fighting spirit, who at 50 had preserved much of her girlish beauty. She reveled in pretty clothes as much as any woman, loved music and children, and made the 'best lamb' in England.' (And then the obit talks about her family in Manchester  and their long fight for social justice. (I recall hearing on a BBC Radio doumentary, that the Pankhurst's became social activists when they noticed that so many young girls were arriving at their clinic pregnant by their own fathers.)

It always comes down to looks, doesn't it?  She's a suffragette, but she's SO PRETTY. The papers said the same about Mrs. Snowden and Barbara Wylie

Still, one wonders if she had been a big woman if she would have had a chance. Helen Gurley Brown was a ballsy woman, and ground breaker, but she was tiny too. There's something about being tiny and feminine that gives a strong woman an advantage. She doesn't intimidate with her looks and size, so she can make sneak attacks, or something.

Oh, and I learned something else, as I research my YouTube documentary about the Suffrage Movement in Canada, that a woman who had worked with Mrs. Pankhurst later led the Montreal Suffrage Association.

So the British Suffragettes clearly had influence in Canada, back room political influence, people in Canada were just careful about associating themselves with the militants in England.


....


Margaret Nicholson and Norman Nicholson in the garden at Tighsolas in Richmond Quebec. Norman in Masonic regalia (I have the sword!). The Presbyterians did not approve of the Masons, because they kept secrets from their wives. But not to be a Mason was social suicide for Norman.

Well, in a letter from 1909,Norman writes this to his wife Margaret:

You must have hit Uncle Alec hard when you mentioned about 'milking cows and making fires' and when you said St-Paul has been dead a long time and there have been many changes in the world since St. Paul's time. I think women's suffrage is one of the changes that will happen in the near future. Too absurd to think that a woman cannot exercise her franchise with as much intelligence as some of the male sex. And that they are making this so hard is so many countries when you have to drag some of these supposedly intelligent men to the polls as you would cattle. I think ladies taking an interest in politics could study out which side to take. I am giving you this speech as an extra.

It shows that Norman supported his wife (and vice versa as it happens) during hard times, even from his lonely post on the Canadian Transcontinental Railway in Northern Ontario.  But it also shows something else, that in those days,  religion was used as a tool to argue both for and against women getting the vote.


The sword. It is in my living room. (The family got it back through a strange coincidence.)

Last week I turned on the TV to a discussion on Meet the Press about religion's place in politics. This is now an ongoing debate in the US, where once the establishment, at least, believed in the separation of church and state.

The American Right Wing is recognized as the "Religious" faction, although it appears a somewhat unholy alliance between Big Business and Evangelicals. And they are as anxious to change the social agenda as much as the political one.

As usual, it was argued that the Civil Rights Movement was a religious movement, "so if mixing religion and politics  was 'good' in that case, (everyone, left and right agrees) why can't it be a good thing now?

( I think Salon had an article last year with the same argument. But I wish someone would bring up the Suffragette Movement, in this debate, because I think that movement better reflects what is going on today than the Civil Rights Movement. The Suffragette movement was an unholy alliance, too, between factions, business and social and political. And the Pankhurst's et al handled these disparate parts with some savvy.


Corset advert in April 19 Votes for Women Magazine.

Anyway, as it happens, the April 19, 1912 edition of Votes for Women has a rousing report on the debate by the National Union of Teachers, with the unfortunate acronym of NUT.  For my book Diary of a Confirmed Spinster,the follow up to Threshold Girl, I will have Edith get her hands on a copy.

In Threshold Girl Edith  takes sister Flora to hear a British suffragette speak, that's  in early May.  As it also happens, right beside the article on the Teachers is a letter to the editor, from an Alberta Minister!! So perfect. Edith is thinking of quitting her teaching job in Westmount, at a missionary school, run by a man, of course, Paul Villard.

Even though this Alberta Minister  is living 'near the Klondyke Trail' he is definitely the working man's proselytizer.

(In my ebook Threshold Girl I show that some business people didn't want women to get the vote because it was thought they'd vote for the removal of tarifs on cotton, so they could get cheaper clothing.  The Nicholsons were staunch Liberals, in large part because they felt their livelihood depended on it. They were sort of right.)



Dear Editors of Votes for Women,

Last year, when I was working in London and occasionally had the privilege of speaking at Suffrge meetings held by the various societies, I frequently came across the view that the Bible strongly taught the subordinate position of women. St. Paul especially came in for a great deal of censure, and, as I would suggest, quite undeservedly. I always feel myself that the imperfections we notice in the Old Testament, which was written all the way through by men considerably in advance of their respective generations, show us more clearly than anything else the need for the higher conceptions in the New, and the careful student of the Bible may notice that the higher the revelation man received of God’s character the higher the honor paid to women hood.

In Christ people recognise that the ideal was reached in the matter, but it is often felt that St. Paul was somewhat retrograde. This is probably due to the fact that some of his letters to definite communities, written in reply to certain particular questions from those communities, contain advice which he thought suited to the particular occasions. To say that these statements that he sanctioned the subordinate position of women is scarcely fair. Another test I have often heard quoted against St. Paul is 1 Cor. Xi.2: “The head of a woman is the man.” I confess that at first sight these words seem to have hav only one possibly  significance, but ‘authority’ is beginning at the present time to have a meaning which our grandfathers were not familiar, but meaning which Christ and St. Paul both understood very clearly.

To our grandfathers, the word ‘authority’ almost implied the arbitrary right of one individual to treat another as he pleased. To Christ, to St. Paul, to some in authority in the governments of the present time, and to all, it can be hoped, in governments of the future, the word implies the obligation and privilege of one individual to do all in his power for those over whom he may be placed.
The difference is enormous.

I would now point out that the words ‘the head of the women is the man’ immediately follow the words “the head of every man is Christ.”
If these two sentences are taken together in this context, it would be clear, that Man in his attitude to women is to emulate Christ’s attitude to Man. Surely this is no base ideal.

I suppose it is gradually becoming recognised, that the three things that hinder the human race are race and colour prejudice, the inequality of sex and the differences between capital and labour.
In St. Paul’s day the prejudices between Jew and Gentile correspond with colour and race prejudices of the day,the struggle between bond and force correspond to our struggles between capital and labour.

The question of male and female has never come up asa practical question, but St. Paul was idealist enough to see that these prejudices and inequalities were never part of the divine scheme for the world. 

And at the end of Galatiana number 3, he made this statement,which one could not but admire if it had been  made in the 20th century, but when we realise that it was written about 48 AD we cannot but be astounded. The words are these: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

To remove these artificial divisions is the object of those who are now working for International Peace and for the Emancipation of Womanhood and for the welfare of all the labouring classes – St Paul’s Programme.

I have been today reading a little book which has just reached me in my log shack a few miles fro the Klondyke Trail. It is entitled Christ and Labour and in it eleven Labour members, whose speeches were delivered in Browning Hall during the second Labour Week, all avow that they intend to use their ‘authority: to give statutory effect to principles  of Christ’s teaching; and I believe it would be fair to St. Paul to say he has sketched out the lines of which this may be effective than to regard him as one who would lend his sanction to old customs out of which are rapidly growing, such as the subordinate position of women. 

(Rev) W. L Seymour Dallas MA. Paddle River, Alberta, N.W. Canada.

(I checked. He doesn't appear to have gone down in history.)

...



From WSPU VOTES FOR WOMEN 1910


Of all the actions of the Suffragettes none have been so widely misunderstood as the prison mutiny and the hunger strike. Even among those who have nothing but admiration for the women who have faced ill-usage and imprisonment for protesting at Cabinet Minister’s meetings, or for taking part in deputations to the Prime Minister at the House of Commons, there are many who regard the hunger strike not merely as tactically and perhaps morally wrong, but as justifying to some extent the statement that the militant Suffragists are hysterical and unbalanced.

This criticism is partly due to the fact that the prison mutiny and hunger strike were the latest phase of militancy – and it has been a noteworthy feature at every stage of the present campaign that critics have fastened upon the latest militant methods for attack, while condoning and even sometimes expressing approval of earlier militant methods – and partly due to the fact that the outside public have never properly realized that there was an important principle underlying the apparently unaccountable behaviour of the Suffragettes in prison.
To incur WANTONLY additional punishment in prison, to undergo GRATUITOUSLY the terrible ordeal of starvation, to submit to the torture and forcible feeding rather than act rationally – these might be evidences of hysteria; but to determine, FOR A SUFFICIENTLY IMPROTANT PURPOSE, on a course of action without flinching, and to carry it through to the bitter end – these are evidences of a well-balanced mind and an heroic and untameable spirit.

To understand the action of the Suffragettes it is necessary to go back in history and trace in brief the treatment which has been adopted in past centuries and in other countries towards those who, like the present day Suffragettes, have incurred imprisonment, not on account of degrading crimes implying moral turpitude, but on account of actions taken with a political object.

In ancient days shoe who conspired to reform the government were dealt with barbarously; first they were tortured, then they were killed, and finally their bodies were mutilated. Later on, though the death penalty was still enacted, the savage accompaniments were omitted. As times advance, public opinion demanded greater and greater differentiation between the treatment of ordinary criminals punished for their selfish anti-social actions and that of men and women who had run counter to the law in consequence of their political views.

Even in the Bastille, we find political prisoners given considerable privileges; thus Parades was allowed to have what books he pleased, to carry on correspondence, and to be visited by friends. In the early part of the last century Cobbett was imprisoned in this country; not only did he have books and correspondence, but he was actually allowed to have the constant company of one of his children, who took up his abode in the prison to be with him. The condition of the political prisons of Neapolitan King Bomba in the forties raised a storm of indignation in the is country, because though they had certain privileges as to writing and reading, they were in other respects treated as common criminals and subjected to unhealthy and degrading conditions.

From the commencement, in dealing with the Suffrage prisoners, the Government departed from this honourable tradition.

Christobel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney, in October 1905, were sentenced to the third division in Strangways Gaol, Manchester, and were thus classed as the lowest criminals. Again in July, 1906, Annie Kenney and the others suffered imprisonment in the second division (a slightly better class, but still totally different from that allotted to political offenders.) In October 1906, ten more women were arrested and nine were sent to the second division and one to the third. This time, considerable feeling was aroused, because among the number was the daughter of Richard Cobden. Liberal members appealed to the Home Secretary, Mr. Gladstone, and he made representations to the magistrate, and they were transferred to the first division and received treatment approximating to that of political prisoners. For some twelve months, this practice prevailed, then once again, the old methods was adopted. Suffrage prisoners were sent to the second and in some cased to the third division and there suffered the full treatment of prison discipline. Visitors and correspondence were only allowed at rare intervals, and the latter was always open to inspection by the authorities. Permission was refused Christabel Pankhurst to write a book in prison, which was not to have been published until she came out.

At first women suffrage prisoners accepted this without protest the punishment which was meted out to them; their compassion for the ordinary prisoners (many of whom for quite trivial offences were being treated in a way which would evidently unfit them for life when they came out) prompted them to protest rather against the whole system of prison treatment than against the absence of differentiation in their favour. But as time went on they realized that by remaining silent on this matter they were allowing the traditions of proper treatment of political offenders to be abrogated, and in order that the future political prisoners might not suffer It was necessary to protest.
At first their protest was confined to words; the Home Secretary appealed to. He refused to make any change, and offered two excused for his position – firstly, that the matter was one for the magistrate and not for himself, secondly, that the offenses were ordinary breaches of the law and to be punished as such. To these he subsequently added a third excuse to the effect that the prisoners had for a time been put in the first division but had abused their privileges. There is an element of inconsistency in these replies, which are to some extend mutually destructive, but in addition each can be directly answered.

The Home Secretary undoubtedly possesses the power by the use of the Royal Prerogative of mercy to order the removal of a prison to a higher class. Even without using this he can make recommendations to the magistrate, as was actually done in 1906. …

With regard to the second assertion, that the Suffragettes are not political offenders, we have the decision of an English Court in the year 1891 in the extradition case of Rex vs. Cathioni, in which it was laid down that an offence is political if it is committed with a political object, even thought it be the offence of murder itself. Moreover, we have the test offered by the Rr. Honorable Gladstone, of public opinion , whether in the eyes of the public the offender is considered guilty of moral turpitude.
According to both these, all the women suffrage prisoners have been political offenders.
As for Mr. Gladstone’s third excuse, no charge was ever made at the time, nor has any charge whatever been formulated since.

When Mrs. Pankurst and Christable Pankhurst had been in prison together in the autumn of 1908, Mrs. Pankhurst had claimed the right to speak to her daughter while in exercise. This led to a severe reproof from the wardresses, which roused the anger of the other suffragettes present., who made a protest. Punishments were meted out all around, and Mrs. Pankhurst was kept in close confinement, but at length, the Government gave in and she was permitted to talk to her daughter at stated times.

It was not, however, till June 1909, that prison tactics were decided on by the members of the WSPU, as a definite ploy. The essential feature was that a claim was to be made for treatment as political offenders. If this was disregarded a protest was to be made inside the walls of the prison. This would take the shape of a passive resistance to prison regulations, to wearing prison dress, to confinement in separate cells, to routines of prison life; and this was to be followed by breaking the windows of the cells, at once a vigorous protest against prison discipline and a concrete and effective method o f remedying a serious abuse, the absence of proper ventilation.
All these methods were, in fact, carried out, but by the heroic courage of one woman a still more terrible method was been put into operation. Miss Wallace Dunlop adopted as the strongest protest she could make, a method used in the Russian Prisons by the prisoners –hunger strike. The hunger strike is passive resistance carried to its supreme limit. It offers no active resistance to wrong, but it frankly stakes life in the effort to win justice.

Mrs Wallace Dunlop said in effect to the Government; “I hold the rights of political prisoners so sacred that I am willing to die in their defence; choose, therefore, between doing justice and allowing me to die in prison.”

It was a terrible step to take, involving untold suffering as well as risk of life, but Mrs. Wallace Dunlop with a full sense of seriousness of what she was doing, had made up her mind and intended to go through with what she had undertaken. In sprite of threats and cajoling, in spite of great physical distress, she remained firm. And the end of four days, the Government gave in. They would not give her political treatment, it is true, but equally, they would not let her die in prison. They ordered her release.

Thirteen other woman suffrage prisoners who went to Holloway a few days later also adopted the hunger strike. They first they carried out the protest against prison discipline which they had premeditated. For this they had to face the severe rigours of prison punishment, close confinement for several days without exercise in narrow, airless and semi dark cells, and under under these conditions may of them faced hunger for three, four, five and some for over six days. In the end they all won; their spirit proved triumphant over physical suffering. They were released by order of the Government lest that great releaser, Death should free them from their bondage before their sentences expired.

....


Mrs. Pankhurst arrested in May 1913.

The May 1, 1913 Montreal Witness pretty well sums up Flo in the City, my novel in progess about a girl coming of age in the 1910 era, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/.


It has an account of the raid on the WSPU offices in London. The headline says the raid is an attempt to 'destroy the fabric' of the WSPU. (How perfect!) The newswire report out of London calls the raid 'decisive' and the suffragette movement as 'a menace' and the suffragettes as 'inciting the weak-minded and degenerate to crime.'
In her memoirs, published the next near, Emmeline Pankhurst writes: the front page of The Sufffragette, instead of the usual cartoon, bore the single word in boldfaced type:"RAID." Our headquarters, I may say in passing, stayed closed for 48 hours.


In this same Montreal Witness is a large announcement for the 20th anniversary meeting of the Montreal Council of Women, the meeting I have blogged about extensively.


Proof Edith saw it. The meeting was held in the Lecture Hall of St. James Methodist and the Witness was to print out a daily schedule.
That's where Edith saw Mrs. Philip Snowden talk. She wrote in a letter home that she "she is not militant and for this I am very sorry."


And this despite the way the militants were described in the paper. Edith was not weak-minded or degenerate, and she was for the militant suffragettes!



Edith.


Also in the Witness, an announcement that the President of Dominion Textiles was returning from a trip in Europe... Also many job ads for teachers (but with qualifications) with the biggest box blurting PRINCIPALS WANTED. This is the year Marion was turned down for the vice-principalship of her elementary school because she was a woman. (The ad didn't say Men Only Need Apply, but everyone likely knew.)
Also: fashion tip of the week: How ribbons can bonny up a spring bonnet. Also a pattern for a corset cover.
(Also an article saying that steel prices had rebounded because the threat of war had lessened. See! They knew a war was imminent.

Also an article about how 1/4 of the Montreal Population changed living quarters each May 1, based on an estimate that the average family had five members and that ONLY families were tenants. Ha! (Marion and Flo and two friends shared an apartment on Hutchison since September, but moved out in May to some place called The Mansions on Guy.)


Yes, all the themes of Tighsolas and Flo in the City in one place.

....

Suffragettes getting in a scuffle from Emmeline Pankhurst's 1913 bio

Here's a weird one. I was listening to last week's Saturday Play on BBC Radio Four before it disappears for good. It was A Month in the Country. I looked that story up (because I had never heard of it) and saw that it was a 1987 movie with Colin Firth. So I went to Amazon.co.uk to buy a DVD of it, but you can't. So I went to YouTube and found it there, in ten installments. A great copy, too. (Firth's character has a stammer, just like the King he plays in his soon to be released film. But he also has a kind of rooster hair-do and pencil moustache and try as I might, I couldn't see Mr. Darcy there.. well, only a flicker or two of those famous affectations.

What a great movie, tho, with some 'unrequited love'. But of course, because of Tighsolas, I am into WWI stories. I recently read Testament of Youth and the Juliet Nicolson book The Great Silence, about the post WWI period in England.

So, even before the Kenneth Branagh character discussed the shame of being an 'intact' survivor, I was already thinking the same thing.

Nicolson tells about the horrible disfigurements so many WWI veterans suffered - and how they became pariahs upon returning home. Branagh's character is also gay, it is suggested.

Nicolson also tells about the soldiers in WWI who were court-martialed for having gay sex, as was this character. (Perhaps.) She also tells of the boys who got their first sexual experience with prostitutes, women who just laid on their back and serviced soldier after soldier, until they were worn out and retired from 'action'.

Before the war, prostitution was the Great Social Evil, but during the war it was a kind of 'public service.'

I found this very odd pre-war piece, written by Christabel Pankhurst, on archive.org. Plain Facts about a Great Evil,1913. She claims that giving women the vote will eliminate prostitution. Hmm. A 2005 survey in the UK claimed that the use of prostitutes had actually doubled in the previous decade. Go Figure.

"This book deals with what is commonly described as the Hidden Scourge, and is written with the intention that this scourge shall be hidden no longer, for if it were to remain hidden, then there would be no hope of abolishing it.

Men writers for the most part refuse to tell what the Hidden Scourge is, and so it becomes the duty of women to do it.

The Hidden Scourge is sexual disease,which takes two chief forms — syphilis and
gonorrhoea. These diseases are due to prostitution —they are due, that is to say, to sexual immorality. But they are not confined to those who are immoral. Being contagious, they are communicated to the innocent, and especially to wives. The infection of innocent wives in marriage is justly declared by a man doctor to be "The crowning infamy of our social life."

The sexual diseases are the great cause of physical, mental, and moral degeneracy, and of race suicide. As they are very widespread (from 75 to 80 per cent, of men becoming infected by gonorrhoea, and a considerable percentage, difficult to ascertain precisely, becoming infected with syphilis), the problem is one of appalling magnitude.

To discuss an evil, and then to run away from it without suggesting how it may be
cured, is not the way of Suffragettes, and in the following pages will be found a proposed cure for the great evil in question. That cure, briefly stated, is Votes for Women and Chastity for Men."

Now, there were some parties, in 1913, that believed that sex education was the cure for STD's. I've seen 1910 era articles to that effect.

Hmm. I wonder if I'll have Edith read this...or talk to someone who has read it.