Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Combinatorics, the COLD, and Hockey Nostalgia

Pinks and reds for places warmer than normal and blue for colder than normal. 


It's been a cold, cold winter here Montreal. Not that that's a big thing here. Indeed, the cold weather meant fewer snow storms, I think, and that's a bonus tax-wise.

Of course, Hydro, our kindly utility, has found a way to exploit the situation, laying a surcharge on us for the LAST cold winter.

Funny, they didn't give us back money for all the warm warm winters of the past 20 years.

 I heard Eastern North America was the only especially cold place on Earth this winter and that got me to wondering.

I found a post on a site aimed at Climate Scientists (see above) that suggested a reason but, of course, I didn't understand a thing.

 Apparently, the only other cold place on Earth was a patch in the middle of the North Atlantic.

That Environment Course at Yale I am auditing, aimed at 20 year olds, is more my style.

I learned yesterday that the planet actually cooled a bit or, at least, leveled-off between 1940 and 1980. Why? Air pollution!

Remember the air pollution of the 60's?

Montreal in the 60's. The colour, the smell, the tail-fins.

I lived in the suburbs of Montreal in the late 60's and 70's, as I do now, and if I went into town, when I returned home  to 'the country' I could smell the smoke on my hair and even on my underwear.

I just loved the smell of car exhaust. The lead!  And lucky for me, people were happy to leave their cars idling on my leafy street in Snowdon, where I lived in from 1960 to '67,  below my bedroom balcony.

My sister-in-law tells me about visiting New York City in the early sixties and how she wore sandals and how her feet got filthy black after a short stroll down the street. Funny, I don't remember Holly Golightly having dirty feet!

My California cousin, driving us around the hills around L.A., tells me that, as a child driving around with her parents, the same hills were invisible to her.

Well, that same air pollution blocked out the sun, apparently, and countered the effects of CO2.

And then the Clean Air Act.

As a writer and concerned citizen, I thought I'd better up my understanding of things scientific, especially of statistics.

(I almost failed math in high school. I was in the advanced class in the 10th grade  and then my parents got divorced and I ended up in the 'slow' class.)

My eldest son recently gave me a Jr. College textbook on statistics claiming it was ' real easy.' He doubts my math ability.

 I didn't like it.

I found an online course, Khan Academy,  with lots and lots of videos.

My youngest son told me to 'go straight to calculus.' (He has a high opinion of me, I guess.)

I didn't do that.

I ploughed through Algebra 1 and 11 and now Pre-Calculus. I am amazed at how much stuff is still in ye olde noggin after  40 years.


Talking to my eldest son over Skype, I heard him discussing with his Dad how the Montreal Canadiens have clinched a playoff spot.

My son remarked that the team had likely clinched it long before but the math is complicated, dependant on who beats whom.


"That's combinatorics, isn't it?" I asked my son.

"Yea, I guess it is," he said.

So there you go. Learning math can allow you to talk about sports to your son.

I see that the adverts for this year's  Play-Offs have a nostalgia theme, showing 60's families watching TV on their old console sets in their wood-paneled basements, with a lot of colourful blown-glass ashtrays on the side-tables.




Sunday, March 29, 2015

Birdwatching, then and now.

Flora's Model School Portfolio. 1911/12 and Macdonald Campus back then. (McGill archive photo)

The CBC recently ran a feature on the decline of the song bird population in Canada.

I didn't need to be told. This year we put up two bird feeders and hardly got any birds, despite the terrible cold.

Chickadees mostly. A cardinal couple but the male sadly slammed into our bedroom window! Not what I meant at all.



In the 1990's we put up a feeder (in a house two kilometers from here) and got a steady -although predictable - flow of birds from dawn until dusk: grackles, mourning doves, grosbeaks, finches, and your typical junkos and chickadees and a few cardinals.

That's merely personal anecdotal evidence, of course.

This has been the 2nd of two extraordinarily cold winters in Montreal, due to some Polar Vortex phenomenon that might be caused by the melting polar ice-cap.

As I've written on this blog, which is mostly about the Nicholson women of the Edwardian Era, 1912 was also a very cold year.

I have family letters to prove it - and also a Nature Diary from Spring 1912.



In 1911/12, Flora Nicholson, the baby of the family, was taking a one year teaching course at Macdonald College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, around the corner from where I now live.

She kept a Nature Diary as part of her portfolio. Nature Study was considered important for students,especially those in inner city schools.

As you can see, the first page of her Spring diary starts on the first day of Spring and it is minus 14 degrees and that is Fahrenheit. She went skating.

As it also happens, Flora describes the birds she sees on campus that year in order of appearance: English Sparrow, robin, red-headed woodpecker, Golden winged woodpecker, red winged blackbirds, bluebird, song sparrow, crimson or purple finch, crow blackbird, chipping sparrow, purple martins, blue swallow, junco, rusty blackbirds,flickers, cowbird, Baltimore oriole, meadow lark, bobolink, ruby crowned knight, kingbird, goldfinch hummingbird.


You can read about the Macdonald Movement for Rural Education here with an essay I wrote for Education Canada Magazine! Back to the Future, All Over Again.

You can read all about Flora's year at Macdonald in Threshold Girl on Amazon.ca

You can read about how the British Suffragettes invaded Montreal in that cold winter of 1912 in Furies Cross the Mersey.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

El Nino, Suffragettes and IQ Tests

Flora Nicholson's Macdonald College Portfolio: Manual Training and Nature Study

When the IQ test came to America it was brought as a tool to support eugenics. (I've written about this extensively on this blog about 1910 era teachers in Montreal.)

Apparently, some people were taken aback when a wise-acre used the test to prove that grocers' sons were smarter than industrialists' sons.

It makes sense, if you think about it. What better place to learn basic skills than in a store, especially if you start working from an early age.

Reading, writing, arithmetic, organization, speaking skills. Perfect.

It makes me wonder if what we consider basic skills are really skills designed to help you sell things.

The children of industrialists, I guess, attended private schools and got the best educations, theoretically speaking, but they spent most of their time on the playing field making connections, which is what college was all about for them.

Big business is all about Who You Know.

Of course, immigrants when they came to Canada, often were self-employed merchants, working from carts or stands.

In 1910, the city of Montreal enacted a law that made these small beginner merchants pay the same 50 dollar a year tax as the merchants with standing stores.

Only one alderman complained in Council that this was unfair and just a way to keep the little (hardworking) guy down. Lebanese merchants were especially hurt by this tax, apparently.

Macdonald College 1911 from McGill website. Macdonald College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue was first and foremost an agricultural school, but women could take Homemaking and Domestic Science courses there as well. McGill's teaching school, the Normal School, was moved from downtown to Ste. Anne in 1907. In 1922, the Protestant Education Committee cited an animal husbandry study out of Macdonald in support of the eugenics movement.(See previous post)

In the pre WWI era,  as I have shown, they changed the curriculum in the Protestant education system to produce good little workers for industry with the Manual Training Movement.

Flora Nicholson, of Threshold Girl, my ebook about her year at Macdonald Teachers College, left behind her Manual Training Portfolio. It includes box work, origami, and a Nature Diary for Spring of 1912.

The winter of 1912  had been very cold (like this year, 2015). She says there's still ice in the river in April. That would be the river at Ste Anne de Bellevue, the same river I see when I take the car into town.

She sees some birds in March, tho. Birds we do not see around here any more.

Well, we all know there aren't quite as many songbirds around today as there were back then. (Pretty sad!) This year we got a couple of cardinals and blue jays, but lately only chickadees , a nuthatch and squirrels!

My story Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Canada, also focuses on the year 1912. Poor British Suffragettes. They'd suffered through the brutally hot summer of 1911 in London and then they were slapped with a brutally cold Canadian winter.

El Nino!

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Scary bit of Canadian Eugenics History



Poodles. Apparently they are smart or at least trainable because gypsies used them in circuses. Or is it vice-versa? Chloe here chases squirrels all day long.


I've written a great deal about the eugenics movement on this blog and how could I not. Suffragist Carrie Derick, the subject of my ebook Furies Cross the Mersey, was a powerful proponent of eugenics and she was also Education Chair of  the National Council of Women.

We tend to like to push inconvenient history under the rug, but the eugenics movement in Canada was robust, led by 'experts' at McGill University, and there were fewer voices against it in Canada than,say, in the US and UK or even Germany.

As I have shown in a previous post, the Ontario Hygiene Reader for 1911, used also in Quebec schools, had a final chapter on Choosing Your Mate and cited the infamous Jukes/Edwards study that Carrie Derick liked to discuss in detail  in some of her lectures.

I also explain that the Stanford Binet IQ test, we all know and love today, was brought into the US in 1908 to support the eugenics theory. (The Powers That Be got really mad when someone used it to prove that grocers' sons were smarter than Industrialists' sons.)

Last week, while I was checking the Education Record of Quebec, to see if Caroline Kenney of my story Furies Cross the Mersey was teaching in Montreal in 1921 (she was not)  I found this startling article about eugenics.

It begins by saying the Protestant Committee has been slow to get on the eugenics bandwagon  because it involves sex education - and not because it is racist. (Ironically, it was mostly the children of new immigrants to Montreal who raised the level of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal, until it became, in the 1960's, the highest performing public board in North America, or close.)

Here are a couple of paragraphs captured for your reading displeasure: Later on the Jukes/Edwards study is discussed.  But here a Macdonald College animal husbandry study is cited and it is strongly suggested that  'the same kinda science goes for people' and that teachers should pay great attention.


Very ironically, in 1922, the Stanford-Binet people put out a new, shorter I Q test for teachers to employ in the classroom because teachers were finding the old one too difficult to manage.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

McGill Women, then and now

1899 Donaldas. From McGill Archive Website. McGill yearbooks.

Yesterday, I added yet another line to Furies Cross the Mersey, my story about the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13.

I have Carrie Derick crack a smile during a speech that happens right at the end of the story.

She is telling the assembly, during a May 5, 1913 suffrage evening in St. James Methodist Church, about  her fellow Donalda, Octavia Grace Ritchie England, and how she defied the Principal of McGill, William Dawson, a famed geologist, during her 1888 Valedictory speech, demanding that women be allowed into McGill Medical School.

But Derick is really thinking about two younger graduates, whom she has just put on a train to New York City -after they tried to mount a suffrage parade from McGill to the Mount Royal Club on Sherbrooke.

It's here in Furies Cross the Mersey. A free download.





 Prime Minister Borden banned the militant suffragettes from coming to Canada, but still they came, even alerting the press.

 Earlier in the book, I have Carrie Derick have a genuine laughing fit, when she just learns about the girls and their plans. It's a kind of catharsis.

She has had a very hard year. She fought for and lost the position of Chair of Botany. (It's all in Furies Cross the Mersey.)

I got a lot of the information from a 1989 speech given by McGill Professor Margaret Gillett. The speech was about Derick and her fight for respect at McGill.

In 1989, Gillett says, there is only one Chair at McGill, and that of 'a very small department..'

Well, today, the Principal of McGill is a woman, Suzanne Fortier, and a scientist also, a geologist!



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Anti-Suffragists and the Girl Guides


Emmeline Pankhurst, Carrie Derick, some clippings about suffragettes coming to Canada and Julia Parker Drummond's Scottish Baronial Mansion across from McGill University.

Read a free copy of Furies Cross the Mersey here

The Canadian Woman's Directory from 1915(on archive.org) provides interesting fodder for me; I just discovered that a woman who was President of the Anti-Suffrage League, Mrs. H.D. Warren, was also on the National Council for the Canadian Girl Guides.

In the 20's to the 40's, I further figured out, she led that organization..

Warren's position with the Girl Guides in 1914 is undefined. Mrs. Torrington, President of the National Council of Women, is President of that organization in 1914.

There is an enormous section in the directory about the National Council of Women.

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN. What It Is. Amongst the great voluntary associations of the Dominion, none is organized on broader, more comprehensive lines than the National Council of Women of Canada; which is itself a member of the yet more comprehensive Inter national Council of Women. 

Their position on woman suffrage, however, is not mentioned.

In a May, 1913 speech, before the AGM of the National Council, Carrie Derick said that it was the Montreal delegation to the National Council Conference that convinced the National Council Executive, against great resistance, to come out in favour of woman suffrage.

 Carrie Derick led a suffrage evening on the 5th of May, with Mrs. Snowden of  the UK as speaker.(My husband's grandmother and two great aunt's attended.)

This is the last scene in my Furies Cross the Mersey: about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13.(Read an excerpt at end of this post.)

Carrie Derick, in 1913, was Past President of the Montreal Local Council and President of the brand new Montreal Suffrage Association. She also worked at McGill as a full-professor but  without the privileges.

And she was  Education Chair at the National Council of Women.

The National Council's recent accomplishments are listed in the directory. They are mostly about education and other issues supported by Derick, so it seems as if Miss Carrie Derick was powerful within that Organization, no surprise.

It has been insistent in urging changes in many directions, making for the reform of social conditions. At the annual meeting referred to above, the National Council adopted resolutions in favor of ; (1) Compulsory education for all children between the ages of five and fourteen; (2) Trade and technical education for girls in Government institutions, all departments of which should be opened to both sexes; (3) Employment bureaus in close connection with the public
schools; (4) The taking of a yearly school census; (5) The establishment of women's hostels and clubs for wage earners; (6) The admission of women to the professional faculties of all universities and to the practice of all the learned professions; (7) Equal reward for equal work, regardless of sex; (8) Reasonable hours of work and good conditions for men and women wage-earners without discrimination between the sexes.

That means she influenced Protestant education in Canada for years to come. This was a good and bad thing; Derick was a proponent of eugenics.

During the Conscription Crisis in 1917, Mrs. Torrington of the National Council got into hot water over one of her declarations in support of limited suffrage, as did Mrs. Ritchie England, President of the Montreal Local Council for supporting Laurier's anti-conscription stance.. Carrie Derick managed to steer clear of controversy, usually by re-writing history on the spot.

Derick is the main character in Furies Cross the Mersey... here's a snippet from the final scene.

Scene 1: St. James Methodist Church, just east of Phillip’s Square.

Edith arrives with Marion. They climb up to a top tier. The seats below are awash in colour from the lavish trim on all the ladies’ fashionable big hats.

“Did you know,” says Edith to Marion, with an angry edge to her voice, “that you cannot join this new suffrage organization without having friends on the Executive? How democratic is that? And Mrs. Campbell is not on the Executive.”

Marion says nothing.  She just spreads out the fingers of her left hand and watches the three diamonds on her new engagement ring twinkle in the natural evening light filtering in through the stained-glass window beside them.

A tall, trim woman rises from the head table at the front of the nave, strides up to the chancel, finds the pulpit and begins to speak. It is Miss Carrie Derick.

“As Vice President of the National Council of Women and President of the Montreal Suffrage Association, I would like to welcome you all to this special suffrage evening.

Our guest speaker today is suffragist Ethel Snowden, who is here in our city for the second time in four years.”

The crowd claps lightly.

“But before Mrs. Snowden takes the stage, I would like very much to sketch a short history of the feminist movement in Montreal.”

Clearly, this is a woman who is not afraid to speak in public; who enjoys speaking in public; a woman, even, who likes the sound of her own voice.

“In many ways, it can be said that the suffrage movement in Montreal started last century with the Donaldas, the female students of McGill.

When Dr. Ritchie England, current President of the Montreal Local Council of Women, gave the valedictory speech at her graduation in 1888, she defied her superiors by leaving in a passage that they had insisted be taken out.”

Derick  briefly, here, looks pensive, as if thinking of something far off.

“It is this spirit of defiance that lives on...”

Our Miss Derick speaks for longer, invoking legendary females from Sappho to Boadicea and then, finally, she gets around to introducing Mrs. Ethel Snowden, the wife of British Labour MP Philip Snowden, who is, without question, a real English beauty.

 ‘A child of the gods, divinely fair’ is how one reporter will put it in his report for the next day. But unlike the reporters in the room, Miss Derick isn’t concerned with the young Englishwoman’s radiant good looks.

“It is Mrs. Snowden’s Montreal speech in 1909,” Derick explains to the large crowd, “that inspired the Montreal Council of Women to get involved in the 1910 municipal elections. Shortly after that success, the Montreal Council voted in favor of giving the Federal vote to women.

And in November, 1912 it was the Montreal contingent who, against great opposition, persuaded the National Council to also come out in favor of Canadian woman suffrage.”

Mrs. Snowden, all golden curls and rosy cheeks, rises and in an unusually clear and powerful voice comments, as an icebreaker, on the nice cool weather, “So different,” she says, “from the American South, where I have been on a speaking tour.”


“But, first,” the ravishing creature remarks, smiling through cherry-red lips to reveal a row of small even milk-white teeth, “I must set the record straight. Because I know you all are anxious to know. Because I know you can’t wait to hear.” She pauses for dramatic effect. “I believe Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst and her troops are behaving like CAVEMEN.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Montreal Suffrage Association condemns force-feeding of Suffragettes 1913


St. Lambert 1910 McCord: Anglo enclave with a lot of suffragists and militant suffragette sympathizers.


Waiting for Spring to arrive, I went over my notes of the Montreal Suffrage Association (1913-1919) and discovered that I was wrong: in late 1913 and early 1914 the MSA voted to join both national suffrage associations, the old one led by Flora Macdonald Denison and the new one led by Constance Hamilton.

They also passed a resolution condemning the force-feeding of British Suffragettes and sent it off to Prime Minister Asquith.

"A revival of medieval torture."

They also DENIED the possibility of hearing Mr. Pethwick Lawrence  speak. He was a conscientious objector during the war, I read, but I wonder what this speech was about, suffrage or pacifism.

 The first time he was in Montreal, he was too weak to speak. He was heading out West to recuperate with a relation.

"many motions made and withdrawn"

Apparently, many motions were made, but denied.

I also double-checked something else. A Mrs. Goodchild of St. Lambert was on the executive by 1914 - a literature director.

This is no doubt the same Mrs. Goodchild who was a good friend of the Kenneys in St Lambert, so Caroline Kenney, sister of British militant Annie Kenney, who had started the Equal Suffrage League of Montreal in December 1913 had a mole on the conservative MSA.

(I know this because the Frank Randall Clarke fonds (he was a photographer married to Sarah (Nell) Kenney) are in the McCord Museum and there is a picture of a Mrs. Goodchild 'family friend' in the collection. The Clarke's lived in St. Lambert, too.

St. Lambert, at the time, was a Protestant Anglo enclave of sorts.

When war started the MSA jumped on board with this rationale from October, 1914.

So it goes.
"This deplorable  war is all about might-right, something suffragists everywhere are combatting"

Keeping Track of 1913 era Suffrage Organizations in Canada - with a program.



In the 1913 era, the year before WWI started, it was hard to keep track of all the old and new suffrage organizations in Canada without a program. The newspapers even got them all mixed up.

Lately, I've gotten a little muddled, myself, between Montreal's Equal Suffrage League and Ontario's Equal Franchise League.

My e-book, Furies Cross the Mersey, is all about the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13. Here's a free copy of the latest version..

Caroline Kenney, sister of Annie Kenney, the famed working class militant in Mrs. Pankhurst's army, came to Montreal in November, 1912 and did some rabble-rousing.

She spoke in March 1913 at the Hochelaga WCTU (in Stevenson Hall) and sounded too militant with her speech about the Evolution of Militancy. She spoke to the Jewish Community later that month and sounded just right. She was described as 'a suffragette of note.'

She visited Ottawa in June for a suffrage picnic and spoke with conviction if not 'word-eloquence' to the local 'association' whichever group that was. Ottawa had a Franchise League, a Suffrage Association and a Suffrage Society.

Her subject was Woman's Life from Cradle to Grave...

"Suffragettes will haunt Montreal now" says a headline. Prime Minister Borden banned them in August 1912, but they came anyway, alerting the press! Miss Barbara Wylie came as an ambassador for Pankhurst's WSPU and was feted by the Montreal Council of Women. Caroline Kenney came to visit her sister Nell in Verdun and was feted by no one, as far as I can see. The browning headline is about Wylie and was clipped by Edith Nicholson, my husband's great aunt.

She went to the US in September, saying she was a Montreal Teacher. (She likely was. She is listed as a teacher on the Protestant Board in 1915. I wonder if she knew the Nicholson women of Richmond and Montreal, the subjects of many other of my e-books. The women were militant suffragette sympathizers. I stick Caroline and my husband's great aunts side-by-side at a speech given by Miss Barbara Wylie, militant, in November, 1912 at the YMCA. You can do that with fiction :)


In December, 1912, a Montreal Gazette article says the Equal Suffrage League has been organized, with by-laws and officers. A Mrs. Leggatt is part of the group and Caroline is the Chair. The article says the organization has both militant and non-militant members, but that the official policy is for non-militancy.

Then any mention of Caroline stops. There are mentions of the Equal Suffrage League and their activities, war-related, or speech events (with males speakers) in the newspaper in the 1914 and 15, but that is all.

The main suffrage organization in Montreal in 1913-1919 is the Montreal Suffrage Association - led by Professor Carrie Derick and she is the main character in Furies Cross the Mersey. The book is really all about her, but features Wylie and Kenney.

....

As luck would have it, in 1915 a book, the Canadian Woman's Annual, was published summing up the state of social work in Canada - great background to Furies.

The directory contains a  short list of suffrage organizations, not at all comprehensive. (The Equal Suffrage League of Montreal is left out ) but it has  a quote by Ethel Hurlbatt, Warden of McGill's Royal Victoria College, also a character in Furies Cross the Mersey.)

"Women's Use of the Vote. The question is often asked, Do women use the powers and opportunities already given to them? With regard to this, it is of interest to quote the opinion of Miss Hurlbatt, Warden of Victoria College, Montreal. 'Many of them are doing so, eg. the Local Council of Women have thoroughly organized the city to bring out about 12,000 women voters to vote for good civic government at the civic elections.'"

In his book  Marching As to War, Pierre Berton, who succinctly sums up the suffrage situation in Canada in the 1910 era, while simultaneously writing the suffragists off as elitist and, yes, shrill, says that 22 suffrage organizations popped up between 1877 and 1918.

There were far more, I suspect.


After the list of about 30 provincial suffrage organizations the directory lists an anti-suffrage organization: Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage in Canada. Pres., Mrs. H. D. Warren; Vice-Pres., Miss Campbell, Mrs. H. S. Strathy, Mrs. H. C. Rae; Treas., Miss Barron; Rec. Sec., Miss Laing; Cor. Sec., Miss Plummer, Sylvan Towers, Toronto.

Talk about being on the wrong side of history! (Yikes, I just checked and Mrs. H.D. Warren was Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides from the 20's to the 40's.)

 "This Association is formed to give those who are opposed to the movement in favor of woman suffrage an opportunity to express their conviction that such a measure would be against the best interests of the State. The Association takes an active interest in questions of civic, social and moral reform, and it claims that these can best be advanced without the extension of the parliamentary franchise to women."

The directory also contains a short description of the Montreal Women's Club.

 I've been looking to find such a document because the Montreal Women's Club was the biggest organization under the Montreal Local Council of Women umbrella and they were the group, under Mrs. Weller, that agitated for the start of a separate suffrage organization in Montreal in 1912.

Only about 11 of the 40 organizations under the Montreal Council of Women were for Woman Suffrage at that time.

"The Montreal Women's Club was founded by Mrs. Robert Reid (1892) promote agreeable and useful relations between women of artistic, literary, scientific and philanthropic tastes. To-day it is trying to assist in solving some of the many complex problems which affect childhood and womanhood, as regards industrial, educational, economic, civic and home conditions Pres., Madame Heliodore Fortier, 404 Metcalfe Ave.; Sec., Mrs. Alexander Murray, 29 Murray Ave., Westmount. Chairmen of Departments: Social Science Mrs. George A. Kohl, 297 Peel St.; Home and Education Mrs. Jas. Thorn, 4110 Western Ave.; Art and Literature Mrs. John J. Louson, 4250 Boulevard Ave., Westmount."

The directory lists two national suffrage organizations.

There was the  one led by Flora McD Denison...The Canadian Suffrage Association.

 Then Constance Hamilton set up a new national organization in March 1914, Canadian Union of National Suffrage Societies led by her and Carrie Derick and Lady Drummond!

One wonders why Derick felt a need to join this group. (Well, I checked and the MSA executive voted to join both National Organizations.)

She was already a VP of the National Council of Women and she claimed in a speech that it was the Montreal delegation that convinced the National Council to come out in favor of Women's Suffrage in 1912. Denison was part of that National Organization,too.

My Furies story ends at the special suffrage evening mounted by Derick for the May 1913 AGM of the National Council of Women.

Mrs. Ethel Snowden, moderate suffragist, is speaking. She calls Pankhurst and her troops 'cavemen'.

Carrie Derick was also President of the Montreal Suffrage Association (read all about that in Furies Cross the Mersey.)

The directory also explains the state of voting rights in Canada and the provinces in 1914. See Quebec at right.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Socialist Toronto Suffragists and the Conservative Montreal Ones

Some early McGill Co-eds or Donaldas, who kick-started the Montreal Suffrage Movement. McGill Archives


As an amateur historian and genealogist (in the bud) I often find myself contacting scholars from all over the world to ask them further questions about a book. Indeed, it is usually the world-class scholars who have the time for me.

If their book is already published, many of them don't want to discuss any new ideas. They have moved on to some other area of research.

I imagine this is a good thing to do. If you keep on researching any topic, especially these Internet days, you will discover great things you missed or find errors. How frustrating!

I know because, about a year ago, I published Furies Cross the Mersey on amazon.ca, about the British Invasion of Suffragettes to Canada in 1912/13. Here's a free copy

A real Oxford scholar contacted me about my research (detailed on this blog) and I did some more thinking and immediately found out extra stuff.

It doesn't matter because I can revise my book. (This blog itself is full of little mistakes, because I wrote it as I went along. The later posts have the good information.)


Caroline Kenney comes to Montreal in November 1912 to stay with her sister, Nell.


Well,what did lately I discover?  I discovered that Caroline Kenney, sister of militant suffragette Annie Kenney, taught in Montreal in 1915 in the Protestant Board.

I had assumed she went back to England in 1914. (So, I just added a certain paragraph to the online version of Furies Cross the Mersey.)

I also discovered something about Carrie Derick, the main character in Furies Cross the Mersey (or, at least, I put two and two together).

I discovered that in 1914 she and Julia Parker joined o a new organization called The National Equal Franchise League led  Mrs. Constance Hamilton of Toronto ( President). Derick as a VP and Julia PD as an Honorary VP

Minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association from March 1914. Mrs. Hamilton of Toronto comes to talk on the subject of women in factories and convinces Lady Drummond and Carrie Derick to join her new National organization. No mention is made of the LOCAL Equal Suffrage League in the minutes, a more militant-minded rival to the MSA.


This is a bit bizarro, because in March 1914 (before WWI started) Derick and Drummond were President and Honorary President of the Montreal Suffrage Association, written about extensively on this blog and in Furies Cross the Mersey.

. They did not attend the inaugural session of the National Equal Franchise League in Toronto because they were 'busy in Montreal'. Lawyer Lansing Lewis went for them.

Mrs. Hamilton was head of the Ontario-based Equal Franchise League, not to be confused with the Equal Suffrage League.

Montreal Suffragists who couldn't or wouldn't join the conservative and elitist Montreal Suffrage Association joined the local  Montreal Equal Suffrage League (that didn't have any clout with the Montreal Press).

The Equal Suffrage League of Montreal was officially non-militant but had militant members! From December 18, 1913 news clipping in the Gazette. This proves that Miss Caroline Kenney, sister of Annie Kenney, was a founding member.

It looks like Miss Caroline Kenney gave a talk to the Ottawa branch of the Equal Suffrage ASSOCIATION in Spring of 1913 and then decided to start her own Montreal group...but, maybe, she got pushed out when war broke out, being one of the 'militant-minded' ones..



Mrs. Hamilton (and many Toronto suffragists like Flora Macdonald Denison)were more socialist minded than the Montreal Suffragists. She wants to include the Candian working class in the suffrage movement, something the stodgy MSA (with all its McGill Profs and clerics) wouldn't hear of!...But, still, Carrie Derick, in speeches, insisted it was the forward-looking Montreal suffragists who, in 1912,  convinced the Toronto ones to come out in favor of suffrage. (She was referring to the National Council of Women, based in Toronto.) 

Still, during WWI, Constance Hamilton got caught up in all the war-frenzy and supported Conscription and the Limited Suffrage Act while Carrie Derick, cleverly, managed to side-step all the nastiness around the ugly and hypocritical business by focusing her wartime energies on canned food supplies.

The Montreal Local got into the suffrage game mostly to clean up City Hall. They were proud of this fact but during the 1917 Conscription Crisis they insisted they were non-political and non partisan. That their involvement in Civic Politics was about 'good governance' and not about politics. REALLY?

That's Carrie Derick at her politically-savvy word-bending best.

She loves a parade! Constance Hamilton talks about the famous March 1913 Washington parade and proves she is involved with militant suffragette Barbara Wylie. 

The 1913 American parades figure largely in my story Furies Cross the Mersey

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Terraces, Sliders and Milk Bottles


Yesterday evening I was sitting in the lounge of the Omni Hotel on Sherbrooke with a friend who was in for the weekend, drinking Pinot Grigio and eating sliders and wondering how Milos was doing against Nadal, looking out at the Bronfman Building of McGill.

I didn't take a picture with my phone, imagine that! I had to use a capture off Google Earth.

I've always thought it was an ugly utilitarian building, but I guess it has its architectural charms.

Had it been 100 years ago, I would have been looking out onto the Prince of Wales Terrace, where Principal Peterson of McGill lived. That place figures in my ebook Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of militant suffragettes to Canada in 1912/13.



Oddly, I had wanted to drop by the McLennan Library, next door, to look at a copy of the Educational Record of the Province of Quebec, 1914 edition, to see if Caroline Kenny, sister of famed militant Annie Kenney, was working as a teacher on the Montreal Board. (She was certainly listed as such in 1916.)

But, alas, I checked online and they only have the editions up until 1913. The Quebec Archives are my last hope.

I'm not sure what was in the place of the Omni Hotel; what Peterson looked at each day as he left for work. From my friend's hotel room facing Stanley, the Montreal skyscape looked like  a big mess, to be honest.

The McCord museum has some pictures of Sherbrooke around the same area. There's a big hotel at the corner of Stanley.
 Sherbrooke between Stanley and Drummond
Looking east from Mountain. Looks like ordinary housing beyond the big hotel.

Driving into downtown, past the Guaranteed Milk Bottle that I've written about, I was amused to see yet another high rise being built along side that heritage building. What's the point of having a heritage building that is totally obscured by high priced high rises? The only people who see it will be the wealthy apartment owners, who probably would consider it an eyesore?

My pic from a year or so ago. Heritage Obscura.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Revising E-books and my Furies

I had to add another paragraph to my ebook Furies Cross the Mersey, about the invasion of militant suffragettes to Canada in 1912.1913.

About Caroline Kenney, the sister of famed militant Annie Kenney.

My Furies Cross the Mersey has a tennis theme. Here's a free pdf copy.


I discovered she came to Montreal in late November, 1912 to stay with her sister, Nell. Her travel documents indicate she came as a teacher and to stay.

But some online Kenney documents claimed she was in England in 1914, helping  the suffragettes play cat and mouse.

And, then, entering her name into a document that lists all the Protestant Teachers in Montreal in 1916 (with Flora and Edith Nicholson listed) I found her name.

She is living on Ste. Famille in Mile End.




In a travel document from September 1913, where she goes to the US, she says she is a teacher working in Montreal.

I thought it was a lie, or it was a freelance job she had. Yes, they were crying for teachers in Montreal in the era to fill all the new schools opening to accommodate immigrants, but they only took women with diplomas on the Montreal Board.

Edith was working in Richmond with a provisional degree  - because of the war, I imagine.

Anyway, this fact puts on a whole new spin on my suffragette story. That's because Caroline Kenney in 1913 gave talks in support of suffrage for an organization called the Equal Suffrage League and called herself a "suffragette  of note."

Premier Borden had banned the suffragettes from coming to Canada in late 1912, but they came anyway. And, yet, she got a job anyway on the very conservative Montreal Board, where clergymen ruled.


My story, Furies, is about how ambivalent (or conniving) the female Montreal Suffragists were about supporting Mrs. Pankhurt's militants.

When the Montreal Suffrage Association was launched in March 1913, it promised with a press conference to distance itself from Pankhurt and to be peaceful and sweet. One of the Board Members, a male clergyman, said out loud that it would be better if the suffragettes starved to death in jail.

Of course, there were plenty of suffragette sympathizers on the Montreal Suffrage Association, including President Carrie Derick.

(I'm making her responsible for getting Caroline a job on the Montreal Board.)

Here's the bit I put in:


Scene 7: The Train to Lacolle Crossing, near Clarenceville, Quebec. 

So it unfolds that two young women in their early twenties; one dark-haired and wearing  a simple princess dress, with sailor collar and cuffs and short kimono sleeves and just one row of buttons down the front; the other a strawberry-blond dressed to impress in a chic linen seven gored skirt and double-breasted Norfolk jacket with box plaits, satin collar and turned up three quarter sleeves, two full rows of buttons down the bodice, a red silk bow at the chest and a black patent leather belt around the tiny corseted waist; sit side-by side in a private compartment of the Grand Trunk New York City Overnight Express (paid for by Lady Dulcette of Fifth Avenue and Long Island) face-to-face with one Professor Carrie M. Derick, M.A. of McGill (and the University of Bonn and Munich) who is looking uncharacteristically à la mode in a tailored dress and coat suit of embroidered bright blue linen.

All three women are wearing flowery Easter bonnets.

The girls appear suitably contrite, their hands neatly laid on their laps, their eyes cast down.  There has been very little chit-chat between the girls and their Protector since they left Windsor Station in Montreal.

At first, Derick inquired as to their plans for the future. “Pharmacist,” the dark girl answered. “Newspaper woman,” said the blond.

Professor Derick did not seem at all displeased but neither did she ask any more probing questions.

(She didn’t need to. She already knew about the girls’ meeting with Clarke and his family through her friends, the Miss Louttit’s.  Indeed, she had had an amical talk with Clarke over the phone, who agreed to provide extensive coverage of the National Council meeting in his Witness newspaper. In return, she would secure Caroline a position on the Montreal Board, somewhere in Mile End where her accent wouldn’t bother the parents.)

There upon ensued a long, long silence. When Penelope dared disturb the peace by asking exactly where they were going, Miss Derick told them that she wasn’t sure, somewhere in New York,  and that Lady Dulcette had told her the girls should prepare for ‘a little heavy-lifting.’


The Farm for Wayward Girls!  What else could it be?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tennis, Art and Women

 Camille Pissarro. One of the few tennis paintings not about wealth and leisure. 



I've been wallowing in Indian Wells tennis this week, this cold, snowy RIDICULOUS March week while I anxiously await Spring.

There's too much tennis, mostly ATP unless Genie is playing, but I can work while it plays in the background. (Hmm. No Genie, no Ana, no Maria, no Caro left in the tourney.)

I prefer watching the French RDS commentary, as tennis lends itself to the French, as it is a French game.

Le passing?

Anyway, I've written here about my suffragette play Furies Cross the Mersey and how I created a character, Penelope, who is an avid tennis player.

In one scene, she hears British Suffragette Barbara Wylie speak in 1912(true story). Wylie says, "Women have made themselves conspicuous in tennis, why not in politics?" (True quote.)

When McGill opened its doors to women in 1886, the first extra-curricular group formed was the lawn tennis society.

They had luncheons where they played the guys, you see! Very cagey of them.

Well, my work lately consists of writing about ART, so I went online to see if there were any paintings of tennis.

But, of course!  And the paintings, mostly from the Edwardian Era, are mostly of women, women of the leisured classes.

Except for the paintings about the French Revolution and the Tennis Court oath.

Indeed, someone has published a book about Tennis and Art.

Here are some of my favorites, all from the Wikigallery.




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Day Constance Hamilton of TO admired Inez Millholland of New York

Inez Millolland in March 1913 in Washington.


This morning I updated Furies Cross the Mersey, my story about how the British Suffragettes invaded Montreal in 1912/13.

That's because I found out that George Drummond had a Monet in his collection and I thought that painting would suit my scene in Lady Drummond's library.


I also added a bit about Frances Fenwick Williams, the Press Secretary of the Montreal Suffrage Association, who visited England in 1912 to 'work for the suffragettes.'

She was certainly a militant mole in the very conservative MSA (that promised to be reasonable and sweet and not like a suffragette).  She was the one who suggested that New York Lawyer Inez Milholland be brought in to be one of the MSA's first speakers in 1913, without mentioning exactly how militant she was. (In 1912 she went to England 'to work for the suffragettes' or so she said in a speech in 1917.)


But now I am forced to add a "TORONTO" element to my story. You see, Caroline Kenney, sister of militant suffragette Annie Kenney, came to Montreal in late 1912 to stay with her sister Nell (It's all in Furies)and got involved with a rival suffrage organization, the Equal Suffrage League. She's a key character in my book.

That organization is worth but a mention in Carol Bacchi's authoritative book The Suffrage Movement in Canada,

Because of the magic of the Internet, I've been able to dig out a few tidbits about the organization.

Kenney appears to have started it up with a Mrs. Leggatt in December 1913, after speaking at June Ottawa suffrage picnic with another Mrs. Leggatt. They didn't get much attention.

In Montreal, the MSA controlled the press.

I found this interesting bit from a March 1913  Toronto News, with the President of the Equal Franchise League waxing ecstatic about the recent parade in Washington, the one where lawyer Inez Millholland led the parade on a white horse carrying the colours of the WSPU.

 She also mentions militant Barbara Wylie, who also  figures largely in my Furies Cross the Mersey.

I checked, and who is this Mrs. L. A. Hamilton? She is Constance Hamilton, the first female politician in Canada, who in 1919 became an alderman on Toronto City Council.

Here's her picture. She seems to be wearing the same hat that Emmeline Pankhurst was wearing in that famous picture.

Oddly, Hamilton was one of the Toronto women, with Mrs. Torrington, head of the National Council of Women, who got into trouble for supporting Borden's limited suffrage in 1917, and claiming all the women of Canada did as well. That can be read about in Divided by the Ballot Box, online.

I've also covered that messy issue here, in bits and pieces.


The November 1913 Votes for Women Magazine contained info about the new Equal Suffrage League.  But by that time, I think, that magazine had broken off their relationship with Mrs. Pankhurst's militants.