Thursday, May 2, 2013

Annie Kenney and Expensive Abebooks


British Suffragette Annie Kenney's book, Memories of a Militant is available on Abebooks, but I can't afford it.


The more I read about Annie Kenney and her family, the more convinced I become that Edith Nicholson of my e-books Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, would have been enamored of her.

She was indeed a working class MILL GIRL and the WSPU played it up, but she came from a very cultured family, where she read Voltaire and the likes as a child. (But she also had her finger torn off by a textile machine at 10 years of age.)

I am writing Service and Disservice, the follow up to Furies Cross the Mersey Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, about Montreal's suffragists and, yes, suffragettes.

I have lately discovered that Annie's sister Caroline came to Montreal to live with her sister Sarah (Nell) and tried to start the Equal Suffrage League, a rival group to the VERY RESPECTABLE Montreal Suffrage Association.

There's a copy of Memories of a Militant on Google Books, but Google no longer shows snippets and the only version of Memories of a Militant (1924) by Annie Kenney on Abebooks costs a fortune.

(I have to try to find it in a library. I can get to the UK and back for less than 800 dollars, I think.)

I found another book that claims that NELL was trained with the WSPU. That is interesting. So maybe she was a force too in Montreal politics of the era. I don't see any Mrs. Clarke mentioned in the papers though. But I can double check.

Nell was married to Frank Randall Clarke, a Montreal photo journalist, who was working for the Montreal Witness in 1913.

He met Nell at a suffragette rally in the UK and protected her from the police. They escaped to Montreal and wed at All Saints Anglican Church.

Yesterday I took a look through his photo albums, donated to the McCord Museum of McGill by his daughters Beatrice and Dorothy. (Beatrice is still with us! 104.)

I do think I found early pictures of the sisters, but I can't show them here. They are under copyright.

I found some other pictures too. Of the Prince of Wales' visit in 1927, the visit that figures in my e-book Milk and Water. 

Montreal City Hall has his picture from Le Petit Journal. 

Well, in one of Clarke's photos of the 1927 event, the Princes are coming down the stairs, David with the Mayor, George behind, with Beefeaters obscuring the place where my grandfather and aunt were standing. Another picture, taken from the left, shows the Prince saluting someone, and he has very tired eyes.

In Clarke's picture you can see that Mayor Martin is wearing wire rimmed glasses and working very hard to keep his robe from opening up.

There are many other pictures of the dapper OTHER Prince in the album, one close up of him just standing there in his perfect suit holding his perfect hat. In this high quality photo, the material of his suit appears so fine, it seems as if it were woven by angels (and not by little girls in Lancashire.)

While researching my story, I read in the papers that the Princes took off for some recreation at a golf club. Some rest! They were surrounded by admirers. Remember Arnie's Army? Well, something like that. Lots of women decided they liked golf that day, too.

No wonder he abdicated. What an awful job. (During his 1919 visit, he shook so many hands, he injured his right hand so had to shake with his left.)