Monday, August 8, 2016

Sweet and Reasonable Suffragettes


Militant Suffragette Sarah Nell Kenney is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, beside her husband, Frank Randall Clarke, a newspaper man. 

The  couple came over to Canada in 1909 and married here. Their record is in the Drouin Collection. (If I am right, a Salvation Army nurse served as a witness.)

 A story I was told says Frank protected her from the police at a suffragette rally where she was bothering Mr. Asquith, future PM at a rally.

 How romantic! They lived in Verdun, in south central Montreal,  for a few years and then moved to south shore St. Lambert.

Nell never got directly involved with the suffrage movement here in Montreal. 

Well, look at all the babies she had all in a row! 

Caroline Kenney. University of Leicester archives.

Her sister Caroline came over to stay with her in 1913 and stayed until 1916. Caroline tried to start a militant suffrage movement here, the Montreal Equal Franchise League.  The Powers-that-Be in Montreal, clergymen, McGill Profs and society lady/social reformers launched the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913. The organization was expressly non-militant. 

At the inaugural press conference in March 1913, Julia Parker Drummond, Honorary Vice-President, promised the organization would be 'sweet and reasonable.' 

Some women on the Board of Directors, including President Carrie Derick, weren't so sure :) Some other women in the organization, like author and Press Secretary Frances Fenwick Williams, were clearly suffragette double-agents.

Of course, Nell and Caroline are  the sisters of famed suffragette Annie Kenney, Mrs. Pankhurst's working class First Lieutenant. I've written about it all in Furies Cross the Mersey and Service and Disservice. 



Here's a bit about Nell Kenney from the WSPU's  Votes for Women Magazine, June, 1908