Sunday, May 12, 2013

Great Reporting 100 Years Ago from the New York Times.

A nice picture of my friend Lise in 2006. Lise died of cancer in January and at the time I combed my files for nice pictures to send to the relations, but couldn't find any. My husband just found a set from Christmas 2006 on his computer as he transferred files. (Yes, we resurrected Ye Olde Turntable in the 2000's.)

Happy Mother's Day, Lise. ( I feel sorry for the Montreal restauranteurs. We've had three weeks of sunny summer weather and today it is cold and wet. And this is their biggest day.)

Anyway, I will print this jpg out (hopefully the ink from the inkjet won't fade over time.)

Lise is the person who turned me on to men's tennis. I would not have watched Wawrinka win over Berdych yesterday at Madrid without her.  I had to watch the replay because I assumed The Swiss had lost, since he seemed to be flaming out in the last set.. How unusual.

Lise  had an uncle who had played for the Canadiens so she loved the game but during the playoffs she often got too nervous to watch. She'd channel zap away.

She knew everyone in the Jazz scene in Montreal, Oliver Jones and all the others.  Her husband was a  musician.

I often told her to write it all down, what she knew about the Montreal nightclubs in the 1950's  and about the Canadiens but she didn't think it was worth writing down. Although she did have a very funny story about a very drunk goalie being poured into the trunk of a car the night before a game and how he performed splendidly the next day.

Anyway, in the past year Lise liked to listen to the Charbonneau Commission into corruption at Montreal City Hall.

I'd watch when at her house, but frankly "I've heard it all before," I'd joke, researching my eplay Milk and Water about Montreal in 1927, when my grandfather Jules Crepeau was Director of Services.

What I learned researching that e-play is coming in useful here, as I write Sister Salvation, about the Montreal Suffragists and their involvement in the Conscription Crisis.

It's a follow up to Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster.

Here's a clipping from 1910, when the National Council of Women was having their AGM in Montreal.

They got a reception at City Hall (where a Reformer Slate was in power, but barely holding on.)

Mayor Lavallee was away in Chicago and Acting Mayor Mederic Martin was nowhere to be seen at this reception, although he was busy 'running the city' on other days.

Why? Well, the Montreal Council of Women was key in getting the English Reformer Ticket into City Hall in 1910.

Alderman and Acting-Mayor Martin, in 1913,  was busy working to get them out - but these Protestant Reformer types would remain a thorn in his side for a decade.

My grandfather spent a great deal of his time on City Clean up Committees etc.

These Protestant Reformer Types were also keen to get woman suffrage through, not to 'liberate' Montreal women but to promote their Purity Agenda. They simply loathed the militant suffragettes.

That's what Sister Salvation is all about.

But there were some women on the Executive, I just can tell,  who were of mixed mind about the militants. They just couldn't say it openly..

As it happens I'm pretty sure Carrie Derick, McGill Botany Professor and the appointed President of the new Montreal Suffrage Association, was in New York on May 2, attending their massive suffrage parade.

But she came back quickly, to attend this AGM. I have a cloudy picture from May 5 Montreal Witness saying she visited Macdonald College with some delegates.

The Montreal Gazette shared its suffrage stories with New York Times - so it's not surprising that they printed the story about the Suffrage Parade too, but only the first bit.

It's a GREAT piece of reporting if I saw so myself. If a newspaper story stands up after 100 years, than it is stellar.

The style is a bit glib - and a tad patronizing, but that's how PRO SUFFRAGE reporters wrote. By writing in this style, it de-fanged the evil suffragettes.

But the longer New York Time's article has a wonderful set of quotes, quotes which pretty well sum-up all sides of the suffrage issue. So Bravo, whoever wrote this 100 years ago. Good job!

I'm going to start Sister Salvation with my protagonist, Edith Nicholson, reading this clip.  The report tells of a young woman on horseback wearing the WSPU colours leading the parade. Edith will wish she were that young woman. And then I will insert that genuine quote from her letter, "We are thinking of going to see Mrs. Snowden speak, but she is not militant and this makes me very sad."

And here's another interesting bit from the same paper. Edison's talking pictures. In 1910. Who would have guessed?