Mrs. Denison's Threat..March 1914 So, if WWI hadn't happened, we might have had a real suffragette movement in Canada! Big if, though.
Furies Cross the Mersey is the story of how the British Suffragettes invaded Montreal in 1912/13.
It is also the story of Carrie Derick, Canada's first female full professor (at McGill).
In the 1912.13 era, Carrie Derick was also Past President of the Montreal Council of Women, a group that was highly ambivalent about their support for Mrs. Pankhurst and her militant suffragettes in England. So, they spun off the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1913.
Read all about it in my book.
Furies Cross the Mersey takes place in 1912/13 when the suffragettes of the UK were ramping up their militancy, setting fires and such, and making sensational headlines in the Montreal newspapers for it.
Furies includes two other story-lines, one fictional, one real. The real story centers on the Nicholson women of Richmond, Quebec, my husband's ancestors, who left behind 300 letters from the era.
The fictional one involves two students at McGill's Royal Victoria Women's college.
From Votes for Women
I am now embarking on the follow-up to Furies, a murky story that will be about the Conscription Crisis of 1917 and explain how Canada's suffragists were involved up to their elbows.
A trip to Toronto is in the air...
The Nicholson's wartime story will be in the new book too: the family left behind many wartime letters. These are compiled in Not Bonne Over Here, also on Kindle.
In the 1912/13 Edith Nicholson was a young, unmarried women and all for Mrs. Pankhurst's window-bashing suffragettes.
Like many of the era's 'new women,' she was fighting to have more fun in her life in a day and age when unmarried women were considered in need of protection from the evil elements in society and, especially, from their own shallow and erratic impulses.
By 1919, the end of the war, Edith was a conservative spinster, with much war volunteer experience, discussing the evils of VD and the good of Temperance in her letters and ready to go and work at McGill University, supervising the 'excitable' younger set.
My Furies ebook ends in May, 1913, with Mrs. Pankhurst's troops acting up and provoking a slew of bizarre and biased stories in the press.
(The Suffragette movie with Streep and Mulligan soon to be released is all about this time.)
WWI started in August, 1914, and the 12 months prior to this is a telling time for the Montreal and Canadian suffrage movement.
The suffrage movement in Eastern Canada didn't quite know how to behave, or how to 'brand' itself.
You can see that if WWI hadn't happened, there might, indeed, have been a more in-your-face suffrage movement in Canada.
Maybe Edith Nicholson, dear old Aunt Dee Dee, would have joined in the fun and gone to prison for it ;)
I found a speech by Torontonian Flora Macdonald Denison (my favorite Canadian suffragist) from May 1914, defending her national suffrage organization.
In the speech, she also defends herself for sending well-wishes to Mrs. Pankhurst in jail. She says the Canadian suffragists shouldn't use force like the militants in the UK, UNLESS.....Dum de dum dum..
Denison cites Lady Grace Drummond in her speech, a Montrealer who was Honourary President of the new Montreal Suffrage Association. She says the fact that Drummond has joined her rival, Mrs. Hamiltons' new national organization gives it 'some class' but that Drummond isn't really a suffrage worker.
(She must have read my book, where I describe Lady Drummond's tasteful library with the Monet and Art Nouveau statues. ;)
The MSA joined (or didn't) Denison's group in March, 1914. It says so in their minutes, or at least President Carrie Derick and Julia Grace Parker Drummond joined Hamilton's new Equal Franchise Union. (It's complicated, of course. Suffrage politics in Montreal was very complicated. Read Furies Cross the Mersey.)
In this speech from March, 1914, Denison claims that the suffrage movement in Canada started in Ontario.
Carrie Derick didn't agree...
My Furies story ends at the May 1913 AGM in Montreal of the National Council, where Derick claims in a speech on a special suffrage evening that it is the Montreal delegation who persuaded the National organization, against determined resistance, to come out in favor of woman suffrage in late 1912.
Flora Denison attended this Montreal AGM as President of the National Suffrage Association and also as a member of the executive of the National Council of Women.
She makes a protest speech against the National Council because that organization had come out in favour of the flogging of men who force women into prostitution.
It is written in the AGM's report on Suffrage that Denison attended the March Suffrage Parade in Washington, as part of the Canadian delegation with Stowe Gullen and many other Torontonians, including Hamilton.
That is the one where Inez Milholland led the parade of 10,000 marchers on a beautiful white horse, hoisting a flag with the colours of the WSPU militants.
No Montrealers marched in that parade, apparently.
It is likely some of the same TO women attended the May 3rd March in New York. That Fifth Avenue parade figures big time in my Furies Cross the Mersey.. the fictional part, anyway.
Of course, Gullen and Denison couldn't have attended the New York March, they were at the AGM.