Friday, May 3, 2013

Shrunken Heads and Happy Childhoods

One of two shelves about the Suffragettes in the McGill Library.

Why pay 850 for a book when you can spend 10 dollars and a few hours and read it all the same?

The only copy of Annie Kenney's Memories of a Militant on Abebooks is for sale for around 850.

But I checked online to see the book is on the shelf at McGill's Humanities Library, the same library where the Montreal Suffrage Association held its first board meeting in late April 1913.

So I headed over this morning by train and climbed to the Third Floor and easily found the book and    took pictures of some of the important pages and came home.

I didn't see one mention of her sister Caroline in the text, the woman who seems to have started up the rival (and more militant) Equal Suffrage League in Montreal in 1913, but Annie Kenney does go into detail in the first chapter, about her interesting childhood.

Caroline's childhood would be the same, I imagine. There's only one year's difference in their ages.

 Annie says their Mom was a kind soul who allowed "total freedom of expression in all areas." Her parents were proud, despite being poor.

So that's how you make a militant suffragette. Eh?

Many in the era hated the suffragettes, calling them 'restless' women. Some others went as far as to say they were diseased. A Dr. McPhail of McGill gave a talk to the Canadian club on the psychology of the suffragette.

Still, I am now positive that Edith Nicholson of my e-book Threshold Girl would have admired the Kenneys. In many ways, her mother Margaret allowed the three Nicholson daughters to thrive (within the rigid Presbyterian system.)

No wonder Edith was all for the militants!

Before I went to the library I dropped by the Redpath Museum. It is a classic Victorian exposition space, I have read.

My brother and I often went there in the 60's. It was open to the public but wasn't in great shape if I recall. Today it is open to the public and in a little better shape, although I don't see much new there. This tree used to be at the entrance and it impressed us, with its rings an OLD AGE.

The ceiling is very pretty.

I recall this guy too. 

 A stuffed wolf, who looks no different from my golden lab.

And the shrunken head that used to be at the door. In the 60's they had two shrunken heads, side by side, this guy (I assume) and a white man with grey hair and a perfectly trimmed handlebar mustache.


And here are three brand new artifacts... forensic recreations of the women mummies on display. Victoria Lywood of John Abbott, if I recall, moulded these busts.