Tuesday, April 16, 2013

the Theatre, the Movies, the Suffragettes and Montreal Evangelicals


Well, this ad comes from the June 1913 Montreal Witness. Chapman's Bookstore was obviously the choice of the Evangelicals in Montreal...The Rev. Hugh Pedley was one such man and he also was on the board of the newly formed Montreal Suffrage Association. He gave a series of lectures in the era on Sinful Montreal...He especially hated the Theatre.

The Association kept their literature bureau at Chapman's, for a while anyway.

All this goes to show that the Suffrage Movement in Montreal in 1913 was closely aligned with the Protestant Evangelical movement.

No news for me here.... I'm writing a book about the Montreal Suffrage Movement, Sister Salvation, the follow up to Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster. 

The Witness's from 1913 include a mention of my grandfather, Jules Crepeau.  He would soon be caught in a bribery sting, mounted by one Edward Beck, the  Editor in Chief of the Montreal Herald and have to litigate his way out of it. The Montreal Evangelicals despised CITY HALL and worked hard to Clean up the City, getting deeply involved in the City Elections, getting the Spinster Vote out.

My play Milk and Water is about another 1927 scandal involving my dear Grandpapa



Miss Edith Nicholson, my husband's great aunt, was out of a job in the 1913 period. She had just quit her teaching job at Westmount Methodist. Her problem, she was a  teacher without diploma and most jobs available demanded a diploma.

She would soon get a job at St. Francis College in Richmond...A case of WHO YOU KNOW more important than WHAT YOU KNOW!

She had to take as summer course in Lachute in the summer of 1914.


I don't exactly know what she is doing in Montreal in 1913... but in a May 3 letter to her mother she says "We are going to see Mrs. Snowden speak, but she is not militant and for this I am very sad."


Mrs. Snowden's speech was reported in detail in the May 6 Montreal Witness.

The newspaper supported woman suffrage, but not the militant kind as this hysterical headline from around the 10th shows.


Reverend Pedley may have hated the Theatre, but Edith Nicholson and other Witness readers LOVED it! She and/or her sisters went to see Polly of the Circus, the Merry Widow  and Everywoman etc. 

The motion pictures (the five and ten cent picture shows) were lowbrow for them in 1913, but by 1917, the war years, the Nicholson 'girls' were going to 'the movies' (as they now referred to them) regularly. Everyone in their social group was.