Sunday, February 28, 2016

Why do I write about the Canadian Suffragists? It's personal

Edith and Flora Nicholson of Richmond, Quebec. They look genteel but they had to work hard all their lives - and they loved the militant suffragettes.

Why do I write about the suffragists/ettes in Canada, a topic very few people, especially in Canada, care about?

Well, it's personal.

It's personal because about a decade ago I found a huge stash of letters from the 1910 period, letters belonging to my husband's grandmother, Marion Nicholson, from Richmond, Quebec and her family and I must have had time on my hands, because I transcribed them all. It was back-breaking work and I was 10 years younger then.

At the time, I was a first-time empty nester with, apparently, no freelance writing contracts to keep me busy.

I learned all about the Laurier Era in Canada from these 300 family letters, albeit from a cash-poor Presbyterian, middle class point of view.

A couple of lines in one of the letters  especially intrigued me.

One letter from May 2, 1913 and was written by my husband's great aunt, Edith, in Montreal to her mom, Margaret, in th Eastern Townships.

"We are going to try to hear Mrs. Snowden speak, but she is not militant and for this I am very sad."

Well, as you know, the info on the Internet has exploded exponentially in the past ten years.

If, at first, I couldn't find much info on Mrs. Snowden, moderate British suffragist, and her trip to Canada 100 years ago, I found it later.

Mrs. Ethel Snowden, beautiful, young wife of Labour MP Philip Snowden, came to Montreal twice, in 1909 and 1913, to speak to the Montreal Council of Women.  In 1909 she called Mrs Pankhurst and her troops  a Frankenstein Monster and in the 1913 she called them Cavemen.

In between these two visits, the Montreal Council of Woman invited Mrs. Pankhurst to speak, in December 1911, 'to hear the other side of the question,' at a time when English Reformers had briefly taken over French City Hall. (Oddly, this is a key element in the Conscription Crisis, and  no scholar has yet  dug this up.)

Another WSPU  suffragette came to Canada in September 1912, Miss Barbara Wylie, a Scot. Ten years ago there was nothing on her on the Internet, now there is quite a bit.

The Saturday Mirror, a short-lived Montreal Tabloid aimed at elite Anglos that loved Emmeline Pankhurst and hated French City Hall.

Barbara Wylie came to Canada on a country-wide propaganda tour but she got nowhere trying to convert Canadian women to her cause, according to the newspapers, anyway, and then, in 1913, she returned home to fight with the Pankhurst troops once again, to go to jail once again.

The Nicholson  family letters came with yellowed newspaper clippings and one of them was about Wylie's landing in Montreal, at Viger Station.

Apparently, Miss Wylie condoned the hurling of a hatchet at British Prime Minister Asquith, saying had it landed, "It might have knocked some sense into him."

Now, I had learned nothing about the suffragist movement in Canada in high school. Our textbook, Canada Then and Now, contained stories of only three women: Jeanne Manse, Marguerite Bourgeoys and, naturellement, Laura Secord, a nurse, a nun and a farmgirl.

Carrie Derick, Canada's first female full-professor at McGill (and President of the Montreal Suffrage Association) didn't make the cut.

The textbook  contained a couple of pages on the Laurier Era, but nothing about 'the new women of the era.' (Of course, all I had to do was go downstairs and ask my landlady about her childhood, but hey.)

I didn't take any history courses in college, just art history, classics, theatre, and communications. Back then I was intrigued by La Belle Epoque in France but not the Laurier Era.

Laurier's home in St Lin was not far from our burb. My French Canadian mother often threatened to drag me there.

As it happens, while I was at McGill, a couple of scholars there were, indeed, covering the suffragettes. Two articles on the movement were written up in Atlantis, the gender and social justice journal out of Mount St Vincent University in the Maritimes.

One of the articles was about the Miss Wylie's visit and another about the suffragists and their involvement in the Canadian Conscription Crisis.

These  1975 articles are now online.

And these articles are about the only ones ever written on the topic. Imagine!

 In 2008, however, a Sir Wilfrid Laurier scholar wrote a paper on the 1919 impeachment hearing of Dr. Grace Ritchie England (Divided by the Ballot Box) at the Montreal Council of Women, a related topic.

Canadian suffragists: Not a popular topic, then or now.

By happenstance, my ebooks Furies Cross the Mersey and Service and Disservice cover the same territory as these two Atlantis papers from 1975.

With these books, I tried to 'Go for the story, not the history" as a leading author of  Canadian historical fiction once advised me.

But, I stuck in some history, too. Indeed, Service and Disservice is, in many ways, a mystery, a giant political puzzle of the past.

And, here's the weirdest thing about this unheralded hobby of mine. While I researched the Montreal Suffragists in 1914, the start of WWI, I realized that my own French Canadian grandfather, Jules Crepeau, at the time Assistant City Clerk at City Hall, was peripherally involved in all these suffrage intrigues and escapades.

He got caught in a bribery sting by allies of the Montreal Suffragists, who simply HATED French City Hall. He almost lost his job.

That's really really weird. That REALLY makes it personal for me.

Friday, February 26, 2016

How Winston Churchill got Suffragettes 'banned' from Canada

This is a capture of a 'scene' from A Soul on Fire, by Frances Fenwick Williams, published in 1915.

It's a dinner table scene taking place in sophisticated English Montreal circles. Frances Fenwick Williams was Press Secretary of the Montreal Suffrage Association in 1915. So, she knew of what she spoke, perhaps exaggerating a tad :)

When I first read this paragraph, I assumed that FW was using the names Christina Bankhurst and Windholme Churchham for Pankhurst and Churchill out of fear of being sued or something.

How could anyone not know the name of Winston Churchill?

But this is 1915 and clearly Fenwick Williams is mocking the ignorance of people with a pronounced opinion on Woman Suffrage.

I imagine that in that era, Pankhurst's name was more recognizable by the Anglo Man and Woman on the Street than Winston Churchill's. Pankhurst gave a speech in Montreal in December, 1911 at Windsor Hall. It is a pivotal moment in my story Furies Cross the Mersey, available on Kindle.

Much in the way most Montrealers today won't recognize the name Ed Milliband, even in the age of Internet. (I hope I spelled that correctly...:)

Now, Winston Churchill had spoken in Montreal, too, in 1901, also at Windsor Hall. He was lecturing about the Boer War and promoting himself to the world.

The reporters said 'Sir Randolph's son has a way with words' or something to that effect.

Cartoon mocking Borden's ban of suffragettes in 1912

In 1912, Prime Minister Borden of Canada visited London to discuss NAVY issues and was accosted by three British Suffragettes, including Miss Barbara Wylie, who demanded votes for Canadian women.

Soon, the suffragettes were banned from entering Canada, branded as undesirables. They came anyway. Read Furies Cross the Mersey.

It is likely this ban was invoked because Borden had invited Prime Minister Asquith and Churchill to Canada.

Churchill was afraid of the suffragettes, in large part because they were going to take away his champagne..

 Clipping saved by my husband's great Aunt Edie about the February 1913 Montreal Suffrage Exhibit that was all about happy families.

A newspaper clipping saved by Edith Nicholson from September 1912, upon British suffragette Barbara Wylie's arrival in Montreal. The reporters, apparently, almost missed her. They expected a battle-ax to detrain and instead were met with a lovely looking young woman. :)

Miss Wylie walks to the speaker’s platform, confidently, her heels clicking like a foot soldier’s on the hardwood floor.

Her eyes look bigger and brighter than on the other day at the college. Could that be kohl around the lids? And rouge de theatre on her cheeks?

The pretty suffragette begins by describing the events of 1912 with respect to the WSPU, Mrs. Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union: How the year began with 19 women in Holloway Jail.  How Emily Davison Wilding was brought to trial in January for setting fire to a pillar box. How Asquith went back on his word with respect to the Conciliation Bill while Mrs. Pankhurst was on tour in America. How several hundred women broke plate glass windows in the West End of London. How police raided the offices of the W.S.P.U. in March and arrested the Pethwick Lawrence’s. How Christabel Pankhurst escaped to France.

How Mrs. Pankhurst made a speech about ‘the argument of the pane.’

Once her list is complete she speaks in earnest.

“We women have nailed our flag to the masthead and we can no longer retreat with honor, so we will go on and never falter, until women have received the vote on an equal basis with men.”

The hall erupts in applause, Edith and Marion and Penelope and Mathilda’s wild hand-clapping is as enthusiastic as any in the audience.

‘I encourage you Canadian women to gather in thousands and go and see Mr. Borden. Use all ‘ladylike’ constitutional methods first." Edith Marion Penelope and Mathilda laugh loudly with most everyone else. "And should these fail, then I think that the Canadian women should be as willing to show an unselfish and high spirited constant devotion to the cause of liberty as the women of England.”

There is more loud applause, but rumble of discontent rises from the back of the room.

“Women did not object to making themselves conspicuous in tennis or golf and they should not be afraid of it in the cause of liberty for women who are enslaved.”

Wylie from Votes for Women, in an article discussing her trip to Canada.

Miss Wylie hits a high note on the word enslaved and it is almost too much to bear for the women in the audience. They send out a loud raucous roar.

Penelope’s colour rises to a deep red.

She imagines herself leading a suffrage parade down Sherbrooke, with tennis racquet in hand. She yells out, “Yes, liberty!”

Wylie acknowledges her comment with a nod and continues, “Of course, we shall never win the moment by physical force. We cannot turn ourselves, and go out in the thousands like the Serbs with our guns. What we can do is to express ourselves, our moral force, our physical force, in some way the people understand, even in putting a stone through a window, which may be a most righteous, heroic and religious act.”

The room is in awe, but an old curmudgeon in the back disrespectfully breaks Wylie’s witchy spell.

“But militant methods are absolutely wrong and have actually prevented women from getting the vote,” he says. He continues, “Despite the fact you are charming in personality, I call on the Montreal audience to express its disapproval of militancy and all it stands for.”

There are loud boos. And a few cheers, mostly of the baritone variety.

Dr. England intervenes from the Chair.

“Mr. Holt.  Miss Wylie has been asked to speak as a guest of the Montreal Council of Women and to state her views. It was not our intention to pass any resolution for or against militancy. But, kind sir, since you have brought up the issue, we must allow Miss Wylie to reply.”

Miss Wylie replies, pointing an accusing finger at the man: “You, sir, are the same kind of man as some of the cabinet ministers of England who express sympathy with the objects but feel that it would have come about had it not been for militancy.”

“I imagine,” replies Mr. Holt, “that comparing me to a cabinet minister is placing me very low down in the suffragette scale.” He gazes around the room waiting for a laugh that does not come.

“Let me give you an example,” says Miss Wylie.  A man stuck in a rut on a dark road may gather a lot of sympathy from passersby but if he pulled his horse across the road, he might get abuse and no sympathy, but he might get out of his own rig to get out of the rut.

Applause from the front. Boos from the back.

Another man rises to his feet to say that he is in support of militancy. That the easy peaceful methods are like a stage coach, the militant like an automobile which proceeds by a series of explosions much more quickly.

“Miss Wylie has advocated constitutional methods first,” he says. “But if a need arises for militant methods I would be willing to take part in the shame and opprobrium that would come to those who fight so that my mother and sister could vote on an equality with myself.

Yet another man leaps forward from the back to express his regrets that the man should express these sentiments.

Dr. Ritchie England cuts short his comments by declaring the meeting closed.

She is out of her depth here and knows it.

Miss Wylie looks as if she is not quite sure what has happened.  Heated arguments are de rigueur  at her speeches in England. Why not a little rowdyism? Who’s going to pay attention otherwise? Certainly not the press.
Excerpt from  by Dorothy Nixon,Furies Cross the Mersey 2014. All Rights Reserved.

A social note about a talk Wylie gave in a private parlour to a small group of Society Women in Montreal, before her YMCA talk. This bit says the women weren't impressed. In a letter to Votes for Women Wylie said she gave away all of her copies of Votes for Women, sold three subscriptions and set up a talk at McGill's Royal Victoria College. My story Furies Cross the Mersey includes a fictional description of this talk. The scene above is adapted from the report in the Montreal Gazette. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Discobolus, Dunscombe, Cumberbatch and Me.

Titian's Venus and Adonis, now at the Getty in California, was apparently at Dunscombe House in 1829. Getty's webpage gives the provenance and indicates the painting was in Yorkshire, but doesn't specifically site Dunscombe. A Mr. Fitzhugh owned it.

Da Vinci's, Titians, Rubens's.

The grand salon at Dunscombe House, in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, apparently, was home to a fine collection of high-end paintings.

This is according to the most precious of  little books I discovered yesterday on A Description of Dunscombe Park, Rivalx Abbey and Helmsley Castle, by Kirby Moorside (if that's a name)1829.

The place had great statuary, too!

The author goes into great detail describing Discobolus, because Bugs Bunny hadn't been invented yet and no one knew the work.

"The collection contains many genuine antigues, including a Discobolus, which is esteemed, I believe, the first statue in England.

It exhibits (what few statues are able to exhibit) on every side, the justest proportions and a most pleasing attitude.

But what chiefly attracts the attention is the expression. It is a great beauty in any figure to have an object in view. which always gives an animation to it. I mean not strong degree of action, as in Laocoon, but easy action, in opposition to none at all."

End of art lesson.

Reading this, I wondered if my grandfather, Robert Nixon, a footman in Helmsley in 1911, ever saw this statue or the other paintings?

(A year later he'd be off to Malaya. Family lore has it that 'the Earl's daughter' fell in love with him it was the father who packed him off. My most recently genealogical forays into the Nixon Clan of Helmsely have discovered that a Reverend Robert Forster, father to Robert's future wife, Dorothy, was posted in Helmsley, 1912-14. Robert would return to England in 1916, likely to secure a good British wife, and Dorothy would be off to Malaya in December, 1921 to join him. (During the war she worked as a land girl in forestry, leading the giant Clydesdales through the forest.)

But, soon I discovered that Dunscombe House had a great fire in 1879, in their salon, destroying many paintings.

Discobolus, too, bit the dust, apparently.   "In the destruction of Dunscombe House one of the finest mansions in Yorkshire has been converted into a mass of ruins and paintings worth in some instances 5.000 pounds each have been destroyed.

Rievaulx Abbey in the book. It's even more dilapidated today, but has its many charms. Robert's mother, Mary-Ellen Richardson, was from Rievault, the daughter of a tailor.

I just read on Wikipedia that Dunscombe was used in the Benedict Cumberbath mini-series Parade's End. I have that show on my PVR. I watch it often.

Here's the Helmsley Town Blog.  I must go there, maybe before my planned trip to Aix en Provence and Florence.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My Venus Suburban Bathroom

Venus graces my suburban bathroom.

I've long been obsessed with Pompeii. I think there was a copy of The Last Days of Pompeii kicking around our duplex apartment as a kid.

I think it had photographs. You know the ones.

And I didn't see any Pompeiian murals in colour until, probably, Art History Class in University, circa 1974.

Today, I can stroll the real Pompeiian ruins on Youtube. Here's one  in HD.

And I can surf the web, capture pics of murals and restorations and print them out and post them in the bathroom, as I did with Venus.

Of course, with the cost of printer ink, that's more expensive than visiting Italy :)

Well, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has just opened its Pompeii Exhibition, so I guess I should trip over.

It's on until September or something, but if I wait, I often miss exhibitions I want to see.

I somehow missed the Beaver Hall Group Exhibition.

Luckily, someone posted a video on YouTube, without attribution.
A swatch of Beaver Hall Group Landscapes on the Web. The recent Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Exhibition had mostly portraits.

I live in the burbs and driving into the city is getting more and more of a drag each year.

Urban Sprawl.

I was in Toronto last week, but my friend lives right downtown. So I go from my sleepy suburb (all suburbs are sleepy these days because no one goes outside)to the heart of 'where it's at' - with all the local Cabbagetown Colour.

It was FREEZING cold over the weekend, so we spent a lot of time in Loblaw's at the Maple Leaf Gardens; such a fancy food emporium.

When I got home, it was back to Costco for nourishment.

One the warmer day, we slogged it over to the Art Museum of Ontario or AGO and saw some Group of Seven  and such.

The Group of Seven is much more celebrated in Canada these days than the Montreal-based Beaver Hall Group, although A.Y. Jackson was a member of both groups.

There are plenty of university theses online explaining why: It's about masculinity and the Canadian wilderness and the fact women artists tended to have jobs and not be full time artists.

The Beaver Hall Group was made up mostly of women artists, who often painted other women.

One of the Beaver Hall Group, Ann Savage, was Head of the Art Department of the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal, when there was an Art Department.

That's back when I was in school in that very Board.

The AGO has a Lawren Harris Exhibition, I think curated by comedian Steve Martin, who has already been responsible for lifting the buying price for Harris's paintings. (I read somewhere.)

Maybe Andrea Martin should curate an Ann Savage Exhibition.

I didn't take any snaps of the Harris paintings, but I took a pic from my kitchen porch upon returning home because we had had an ice storm the day before and everthing in the garden was twinkling.

God and Ice Themed Pic.

I did spend a lot of time at the AGO carefully inspecting the Kreighoff's. "Christmas Card Pictures" my friend observed. I realized for the first time that this Dutch-born man was Canada's Norman Rockwell, but from an earlier era.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Soap and Values and Milk and Water

May Fair Wells, who figures in my ebook Milk and Water. She was a Southerne Belle who expected her servants to do all the housework, except sewing. She liked that. She lived in Westmount, a rich suburb that sent its sewage downstream to the poorer areas.

Yesterday, I audited a Johns Hopkins course about the History of  Public Health and the professor explained that the Urban Hygienist movement of the Victorian Era issued out of Jeremy Bentham and the idea of Utilitarianism.

Ironically, it was in Paris where medicine men first figured out the epidemiology of urban diseases like typhoid.

But, apparently, they didn't feel that the governments should get involved with 'cleaning things up' as this would interfere with the individuals rights.

It was in Great Britain, in Manchester and such cities, were the urban hygienist movement  got rolling, because it was understood that healthy workers made good workers (and good soldiers).

Individual rights came second to the general good with these English.


Kind of ironic, really, if you think about it.

In Montreal, the issues around tainted water supply and sanitation ushered in the modern welfare state, at least according to some scholars.


Using primary sources allows students to learn history from the inside out.

So does genealogical research.

A few years ago, I purchased and read the book, The Age of Light, Soap, Water and by Mariane Valverde, but there was little in this book that  I didn't already know.

I had been researching the background to the Nicholson Family Letters for my books Threshold Girl and Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, books that take place in the 1910 era.

In 1904 and 1909 there were typhoid epidemic in Montreal.

 Norman Nicholson, the family patriarch, who had contracted typhoid in 1896, wrote in one letter that he was afraid to drink the water anywhere, including up in the Bush in La Tuque where he was working.

Once bitten, twice shy.

Macdonald College, way out at the tip of the island in Ste. Anne de Bellevue, where Flora Nicholson studied to be a teacher in 1911/12, had put in a well in 1909/1910.

Before that, for three years, they had been using river water.

Ste. Anne was far away from where Montreal dumped its sewage but there were fears (real or imagined) about the quality of the water out there.

Herbert Ames, the Privy Man, who wrote The City Below the Hill, revealing how many Urban Montrealers still used outdoor toilets in 1897.

But with Protestants, like the Nicholsons, in that era, the concept of cleanliness got mixed up with the concept of godliness.

That's why I opened Threshold Girl with this quote from a 1911 issue of Food and Cookery Magazine.

"Give us a healthy home, where the homely virtues prevail, where the family basks in purity and peace."

The Nicholsons were a wonderful and  devoted family  who loved their fine home, Tighsolas, but their closets held skeletons too. Plenty of them.

When I wrote Milk and Water, about by French Canadian ancestors in 1927 Montreal, I discovered even more about the place where ideas about hygiene and values intersect. (It's a very complicated place.)

1927 was the year of another typhoid epidemic in the City, caused by tainted milk this time.

It was also a year of many scandals, one of which was the Montreal Water and Power Purchase, where a rich industrialist, Lorne Webster, flipped said company in a few days for a $4,000,000 profit.

The City of Montreal bought the private company in 1927 to control the water supply to their newly annexed suburbs.

My grandfather, Jules Crepeau, Director of City Services, was made a scapegoat  for this fiasco and he was forced to retire in 1930.

Jules was a 42 year old veteran of City Hall, who had started out as a messenger boy in the Sanitation Department in the 1880's.

The Art Deco Facade of the Public Bath on Amherst opened in 1927. Montreal had 16 such baths in the era.

Milk and Water explores the different values of French Canadians and English Canadians in 1927, the era of American Prohibition.

One key  area where values diverged was with this Hygienist movement. French Canadians were wary of the movement for reasons centered around class, ethnicity and religion.

My grandfather was on the City Clean Up Committee and he is quoted in the newspaper as saying "You can't force people to be clean."

Montreal's Strange Pro-Suffragette Publication

A column by Frances Fenwick Williams from 1913 in a short lived tabloid, the Saturday Mirror,aimed at the upper crust women of Montreal. How strange is that?

A Montreal Woman in a hareem skirt, all the fashion in 1913. This is just how I imagined Frances Fenwick Williams and how I described her in my book Furies Cross the Mersey that ends in May, 1913. Service and Disservice, the follow-up will start in June, 1913.

Strange how things happen.

In November 1913, the newly formed Montreal Suffrage Association published a "Special Suffrage Insert" in the Montreal Herald - edited by Miss Carrie Derick, the President.

They had been offered the space by the Editor, one Edward Beck, a man who hated City Hall and was especially upset about a controversial proposed 40 year Tramway Deal.

I think he wanted to get the ladies of the Council to denounce the deal publically - and they did, eventually.

A couple of years ago, I went to the National Library archives to see the insert.

I took notes and wrote a few blog posts here; but I didn't record an important part.

You see, Christabel Pankhurst, exiled in Paris, wrote a few paragraphs for the insert. A greeting I think, as in Greetings from Paris.

Even at the time, this struck me as strange. The Montreal Suffrage Association launched in March, 1913 and had promised to be 'sane' and 'reasonable' and 'to go about a quiet education fo the people'.

It was clear from this insert, that the Montreal Suffrage Organization (made up of McGill Profs, Society ladies and clergymen) had something of a split personality.

Well, this week, I decided to get around to writing the first chapter of my next ebook Service and Disservice, about the 1917 Conscription Election in Canada.

The book begins in June, 1913 and goes to 1918 - where Canadian women, with some exceptions, won the right to vote. The suffragists of the nation were deeply involved in that shameful episode of Canadian History.

I worked for a few hours and devised a potential opening the other day, then slept on it.

Today I planned to get back to work.

"Too bad," I told my husband. "I wish I had kept a record of that Christabel greeting. I don't feel like going back to Ottawa.:

And then it occurred to me that the Herald might have been digitized and put online lately. (So many new items are on the web.)

I entered some keywords and found a BANQ page (that's the Quebec National Library) with some small bizarro newspapers, partially digitized.

No Montreal Herald. but the Montreal Witness was there. That paper is online elsewhere.

And then I scrolled down the list of mostly French newspapers until I got to an oddity called The Saturday Mirror, described as 'a magazine of the Anglo Elite'.

The Saturday Mirror, it seems, ran for just a short time from February 1913 to June 1913.

I'd never heard of it, but, my gosh, what a find for me!

It is as if someone up there is telling me, "You can't start your book without seeing this."

Right away I found many articles about the militant suffragettes, all quite sympathetic, too.  Remember, Mrs. Pankhurst and her troops were up to a lot of trouble in 1913.

I decided to check for the masthead.

I found only a small bit in an upper corner of the 6th page or so. Edward Beck owned the newspaper!!

For a few months in 1913 Edward Beck had two jobs. Why? Because he wanted to complain about the Tramway Deal unimpeded, I guess. Otherwise, this Saturday Mirror was full of feminine features. The Tramway Controversy was the only 'male' news topic it discussed.

That's Edward Beck, the intrepid Editor of the Herald, who caught my grandfather, Jules Crepeau, in a bribery sting in early 1914 during the municipal elections, because my grandfather, Assistant City Clerk, was attached to the BIG GUYS who would benefit from the Tramway Deal.

I am putting that business in my first chapter.


And then I read more of the elegant little  tabloid, that is very girly with a feature on the fine houses of Montreal, lots of fashion and some society notes - and even a column called The Feminist: A Twentieth Century Women's Page.

I zoomed in on the feature - but before I even got close enough to read the by-line I guessed whose name was printed there; Frances Fenwick Williams, Press Secretary of the Montreal Suffrage Association and closet militant suffragette support. (Well, not so closet it seems.)

No one else in Montreal would have had a column so titled. (She is the only columnist with a by-line in the paper.)

So, Edward Beck and Frances Fenwick Williams knew each other well.  ( I wonder if they were more than friends :)

 She was a married woman, estranged from her husband, and she had done work for the Herald as well. Later, she would have a column at the Daily Mail, the only newspaper in Montreal that would print Beck's colourful but lurid expose about my grandfather.)

Now I could get on with the first chapter of my Service and Disservice story. I will call it A Tale of Two Cities: A Tale of  Women Journalists and have Flora Macdonald Denison of Toronto and Frances Fenwick Williams of Montreal narrate and set the stage for the War Years, where the suffragists of Canada got all confused about their aims and responsibilities.

George Adami's beautiful home is featured in one Saturday Mirror, but not Julia Parker Drummond's.

  Adami  was a social reformer and professor in the Medical Department of McGill. Adami is featured in Furies Cross the Mersey, about the Invasion of British Suffragettes to Montreal in 1911/12. He hated the suffrage women and didn't want them involved in his 1912 Child Welfare Exhibit.

 Below: A Montreal slum. The problem of the slums is covered in an issue. That was a big concern of the elite ladies of Montreal. Funny how they juxtapose the two items, magnificent house, hovel.

(I have someone make a similar remark in Furies.  The women of the Montreal Council are gathered in Julia Parker Drummond's stunning library to discuss their contribution in the upcoming Child Welfare Exhibit. "We are going to discuss tenements and squalor in one of the most beautiful homes in the entire country?" asks one lady.)

The place I lived in in the 1960's looked more like the one below than above, although it was a 1930's brick construction in NDG.

Tomorrow I am off to the Joe Beef Market in Pointe St Charles where Peggie Hopkins is mounting a play about Carrie Derick and other Montreal Pioneering Women.

Militant Suffragette, Maternal Suffragette,

Barbara Wylie. She was pretty and well-dressed, so she confused the Montreal Press, who thought all British suffragettes were supposed to be battle-axes. 

The Carrie Mulligan/Meryl Streep movie Suffragette has just been released on DVD - and if you think that a tale about beautiful suffragettes playing cat-and-mouse with the police is a "Hollywood" fiction, you are wrong.

It really happened.

And the truth is stranger than fiction.

A few years ago, while working on my book Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13 I traipsed over to the library at McGill to find a copy of Annie Kenney's 1930's autobiography.

Annie Kenney was Mrs. Pankhurst's First Lieutentant, a working class mill girl from Lancashire.

Two of her sisters, Nell and Caroline, lived in Montreal in the 1912 era and they got involved in the local movement. This, of course, intrigued me.

Well, the Kenney book tells a funny Cat-and-Mouse anecdote. Apparently, Annie Kenney once put on a grey wig and stuffed two plums in her cheeks to escape the police.

Very visual, eh? It would make a good scene in a movie, right?

As it turns out, all this crazy Cat-and-Mousing had an effect on the Canadian Suffrage Movement - and by extension on Canadian politics - and in a very specific way.

In August, 1913, Flora Macdonald Denison, President of the Canadian Suffrage Association, an organization started by the legendary Emily Howard Stowe, was in London, visiting with the militants.

In one day she attended two rallies. The first was at the London Pavilion, where she witnessed a very weak Annie Kenney speaking and where she also saw Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, who was on the lam, whisked away by police when she unexpectedly turned up. (Pankhurst had come just to meet with Flora McD.)

Denison then saw some suffragettes taken to a back room and heard violent noises and learned the next day that 'blood had been shed, by both suffragettes and police'.

That same day, Miss Barbara Wylie, her hostess (you can read about her in Furies Cross the Mersey) took her to the East End of London to a rally where Sylvia Pankhurst, also playing Cat and Mouse, was to speak.

Denison wrote a powerful description of the scene in her Toronto World column, a description that likely scared the bejeezus out of suffragists back home in Canada because she was deposed as CSA President soon thereafter and effectively pushed out of the Canadian suffrage movement.

Torontonian Constance Hamilton, a future Win-the-War fanatic, would launch her own National Equal Franchise Union and use her influence to help Premier Borden fix the vote in the 1917 election.

Canadian suffrage politics was a very complicated business during the World War One years and I will explain it all in my next book Service and Disservice. That ebook will be about the iffy involvement of all the Canadian Constitutional Suffragists in the 1917 Conscription Crisis, where they got plenty of youthful male blood on their hands.

Premier Borden banned the militant suffragettes from coming to Canada in 1912, but they came anyway. Barbara Wylie came for a year long cross-country tour in September 1912.  Caroline Kenney came over in November, 1912 and stayed for four years and started her own Equal Suffrage League. This REALLY scared the Canadian suffragists. 

Here's an excerpt from Denison's Toronto World Column, August, 1913

The crowd was filed with poorly clad women, but also was made up of 3/4 men, apparently. (This suffragette business in the East End was more about class, I guess.)

Syliva P had turned up disguised in a 'grand woman's clothes' and then peeled them off to reveal her humble dress of khaki. (Very theatrical.)

"What Sylvia Pankhurst had to say, she read from a paper. She had arranged, if it were possible, to escape the police, to take refuge in a small baker's shop directly opposite the hall. She said the police were many, but the men of Bow and Bromley were more and if they believed her cause to be right she believed they would protect her. The audience was a difficult one to manage, but to a man they shouted they would protect her.

First the nurses and two of these other women half carried her. Then a half dozen big strong men locked arms about the center group and then another group around them. They had a flight of stairs to go down before reaching the street. When they were about at the street door, the fire hose was turned on by policemen who were outside guarding the entrance. This caused a commotion. A girl dressed as Miss Pankhurst hurried up a side street with many of the crowd protecting her, the police followed and in the meantime, Sylvia Pankhurst was being put to bed in the humble bedroom of the poor baker's shop in Bow.

A spray of water made me turn around and the hose had become disconnected and a two and a half inch stream of water was fast flooding the hall. Miss Wylie and I started to leave the hall. Cries on all sides were "Heaven bless the angel." "Praise the Lord she has escaped." "Curses on the government."

When we got outside, the police were trying to disperse the crowd. The automobile of the WSPU was standing in front of the hall and Miss Emmerson asked me to get in. Miss Wylie thought it might be dangerous but I thought if a young woman like Miss Smith could drive the car through such a crowd, I could at least be a passive spectator, so I got in amid the cries of "We'll not let the police touch you."

As a matter of fact, the police had no wish to touch anyone. They were busy assisting women with babies, old lame men and protecting anyone who needed them in a terrible crush."

Well, you could imagine how Canadian Suffragists felt when reading this. Most thought that a peaceful march down the street was too militant. 

Montreal's (lesser) Edith Wharton and Win-the-War

Justin Trudeau is soon to announce his cabinet that he has promised will be half men and half women.

Here's a bit about Montreal's Edith Wharton, who was a suffragist and suffragette sympathizer back in 1910-1919, but who also supported the very undemocratic Wartimes Election Act of 1917 that gave the vote only to women with men at the Front.

Frances Fenwick Williams was a Montreal author and suffragist who will figure large in my book Service and Disservice about the 1917 Conscription Crisis in Canada - and the iffy involvement of the Canadian suffragist movement.

It's the follow up to Furies Cross the Mersey, about the 1911/12 British Invasion of Suffragettes to Montreal, an invasion Ms. Fenwick Williams helped bring about, I suspect.

I've written about Ms. Williams a lot on this blog. She was clever and nervy - an outlier who was part of the social elite but who made fun of these people in her books.She was the daughter of a Montreal stock market official and from a distinguished Nova Scotia family.

Her second novel, A Soul on Fire was published in 1915 when she sitting on the Executive of Board of Directors of the Montreal Suffrage Association, although she wasn't a social reformer like her co-members.

Frances Fenwick Williams, about 30 years old, was an 'equal rights' suffragist, not a 'maternal' suffragist.

 She was married in 1910  but was estranged from her American husband.

Being married gave FFW the right to be a member of the MSA.  Young single women were not invited into the Montreal suffrage movement. They were too 'excitable.'

FFW was a bit like the famed American author Edith Wharton, if you think about it, but she was not nearly as good a novelist. A critique of her 1915 novel, A Soul on Fire, claimed the characters didn't resemble any  in real life.

Hmm. Ivy Compton Burnett was a Dame Commander of the British Empire, Post-War novelist and member of the Women's Writers Suffrage League.  FFW went to London in 1912 to visit with the suffragettes. And, then, she joined the very 'sane' and 'reasonable' Montreal Suffrage Association, as a kind mole.

FFW liked to give speeches. She was an able debater at the February, 1912 Montreal Suffrage Exhibit. Her speech is in my book Furies Cross the Mersey.

During  the 1917  Conscription Crisis, she was there when Borden needed her, giving a speech in Montreal on the first day of December, a day after riots in Sherbrooke, Quebec among other towns.

Borden deliberately pitted English Quebeckers against French Quebeckers during that year's election.

"I am a suffragist, a socialist and half a soldier," she told the 100 ladies assembled at the 1917 rally. She also said she had no political affiliation but was for the Union government because it was the closest thing you can get to a non-partisan government.

She said anyone against the Union Government and Conscription was a  "Traitor to the Dead."

(Grace Ritchie England, Montreal born President of the Montreal Council of Women, stumped for Sir Wilfrid Laurier and suffered an impeachment hearing in 1918 for her troubles. Sir Wilfrid, as leader of the Opposition, said he'd give women the federal vote in 1916, probably forcing Premier Borden to do the same. He also cautioned that giving women the vote wasn't going to bring about all the good things people thought; nor was it going to bring about all the bad.)

At least FFW wasn't a hyprocrit like so many of the other suffragists during WWI.

In 1913, she wrote a piece in her column The Feminist, called Women and War  stating: "It is generally believed that since women don't take part in military actions that they are opposed to war. It would be a similar thing to say that since men don't take part in Spring Cleaning, that they are opposed to it."

But she also wrote this 1917 war poem that seems to show two enemy soldiers dying together.

Before Verdun

No prayer can help, no agony atone,
As I came into life I go  - alone!

Another man is lying by my side,
Another, caught in death's fast-brimming tide.

Mine was the hand that struck his life away,
And his the hand that laid me low today.

Yet now, as nearer draws the dreadful end,
He seems to me a brother and a friend.

What is he thinking as his life ebbs fast?
(How lonely each poor soul is at the last!)

If I could hear him speak before he dies I should not feel so desolate,  but he lies,
Silent and spent.

His lips grow slowly white.

I hate to look upon the piteous sight!

(There's more.)

Love and the Suffragette

The Suffragette Movement is a 'romantic' movement, in that we've romanticized these social activists, to a degree.

It will be interesting to see how Carrie Mulligan/Meryl Streep's new movie, Suffragette, will deal with history. The movie is slated for release in October.

We forget how much these suffragettes were feared and loathed in 1912/13 by many people, even by those people who wanted women to get the vote.

But I've just uncovered a TRULY romantic Hollywood-Style romance about one  of Mrs. Pankhurst's troops.

And, yea, it's got a Montreal angle!

I've written an ebook, Furies Cross the Mersey, about the British Invasion of Militant Suffragettes to Montreal in 1912/13.It's available on Amazon.

Mrs. Pankhurst visited Canada on two occasions to speak. She made just one visit to Montreal, in late 1911.  She was the guest of the Montreal Council of Women. Carrie Derick, Past-President, had requested that she be invited to the city, 'to hear the other side of the question.'

Barbara Wylie of the WSPU came to Canada in early September, 1912 and stayed until 1913.  In her speeches, Wylie  bragged about having been to jail.

The pretty suffragette traveled all the way to British Columbia, during a winter of record cold.

 Then she returned to England and became the spokesperson for Mrs. Pankhurst for a while - and then she got arrested in a protest in front of His Majesty's Theater in London.  You can read all about her Canadian escapades in Furies Cross the Mersey.

Caroline Kenney, sister of prominent militant Annie Kenney, came to Montreal, Canada in December, 1912 and stayed a few years.

Iconic Image of Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst.

I'm the one who figured this out: no biographer had done so before.

 I write about Caroline in my Furies book, too, and will write more in the follow up, Service and Disservice about the years 1913-19 and the Conscription Crisis of 1917.

Caroline came to stay with her older sister Nell in St. Lambert. I have seen her immigration documentation. She intended to stay in the country and work as a teacher.

While in Montreal, she helped found, in late 1913, the Montreal Equal Suffrage League. It was to be a group made up of militants and non-militants.The ESL didn't get much press. Caroline, herself, gave a couple of talks upon her arrival, to a Jewish Group and to the Women's Temperance Union.

She got bad press for her first talk, about the "Evolution of Militancy." Militancy was a very dirty word in Montreal and Canadian suffrage circles in 1912/13, even though many, many women sympathized with Mrs. Pankhurst's WSPU.

Caroline's sister, Nell, had immigrated to Canada in 1909 and married Frank Randall Clarke, a journalist, late of the Daily Mail of London.

 I figured out that Nell Kenney had acted on behalf of Mrs. Pankhurst's militants in 1908 in England. There are mentions of her meetings in Votes for Women Magazine.

And, just lately, I read an account of that romantic 'suffragette' story I told you about.

 Lyndsey Jenkins, an Oxford scholar, soon to release a new biography of prominent British Suffragette Lady Constance Lytton (and now researching the Kenney Family) sent me a certain biographical document saying that Frank Randall Clarke met Nell at an election rally for Lord Asquith, one she disrupted on behalf of the suffragettes.

The police fell on Nell hard, apparently. (Naturally!)  And who came to her rescue? A young reporter covering the Asquith speech, one Frank Randall Clarke.

Clarke fell in love with the suffering suffragette, followed her to her 'safe haven' in England and ...well... the document says he married her in England.. but, that's not right.

I have seen their marriage certificate. They came to Canada in 1909 and married here in Montreal.

It seems that they had to get out of England quickly.

Now, isn't that romantic? Reeealllly  romantic? Hollywood-style romantic?

I'd say so.

I see nothing in the newspapers to indicate Nell worked for the suffrage cause while in Montreal, but by 1913 she had two infants.

Frank Randall Clarke's new place of work, the Montreal Witness Newspaper, was for woman suffrage, but covered the British Suffragettes in the most sensational way! See the pic at top.

Still, I can see from the membership list of the Montreal Suffrage Association that St. Lambert, a community of Anglos south of Montreal Island, was an enclave of suffragists. The MSA had lots of members from that place. (The MSA, upon launch in 1913, promised to be peaceful and reasonabland to go about a quiet education of the people.)

 That seemed weird to me at first.  Why St. Lambert, of all places?

Now, I know why. A dyed-in-the-wool militant suffragette moved there in 1912-13, at the height of the movement, at the height of all the controversy.

Anyway, Frank Randall Clarke became a prominent social activist in Montreal, lobbying for better labour conditions, and the author of the biographical document assumes that Nell helped him along.

His fonds are at the McCord Museum in Montreal. They include photos of the Royal Princes on their Montreal visits, wearing suits so sleek, so finely threaded, they shimmer, and also pictures of homeless men during the Depression sleeping in their rags on park benches.

Whatever, Frank Randall Clarke appeared to adore his wife all through their time together. They had more children.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Parades, Processions and Tramps


The Thomas Fisher Library at U of T reminded me of Labyrinth at Expo67. 

I went there to see the collection of Flora Macdonad Denison papers. 

I have written a book, Service and Disservice, about the iffy involvement of the Canadian Suffragettes in the 1917 Conscription Crisis.

For this book, Service and Disservice,  I have five Canadian suffragists tell their side of the story, Flora one of them. 

I make no secret of the fact that Flora MacD is my favorite suffagist.

Flora's papers contained little about Montreal or the Conscription Crisis. In 1917, she is in a bad way financially, apparently, and working for the New York suffragists, who seem to appreciate her much more than the Canadian ones.

But, the American suffrage movement was much less anal than ours.

The poster below was in the collection. (This one is from the Library of Congress website.)

The 1913 Washington Suffrage parade, which Flora attended, was called a procession.The colours of the poster I saw were in the green purple and white of the militant  WSPU. Rosalie Jones, of New York, held a 'tramp' to get to the Washington procession.

Here's Flora et al in the very same Washington parade. 

One of the other Ontario suffragists in the picture is Constance Hamilton, of the Toronto Equal Franchise League, who conspired to have Flora thrown out as leader of the Canadian movement in March, 1914.

Here's a quote from the Flora MacD Denison papers:

"From the time of the formation of the Equal Franchise League (1912) the society has displayed a spirit of antagonism to Chief National Officers, and since its affiliation its members have adopted an obstructive tactics which were incompatible to the harmonious cooperation of the Executive Council and an absolute detriment to progressive work."

So, right from the start, as soon as Mrs. Hamilton, a social reformer, adopted the suffrage cause, she wanted to take over the entire movement.

I figured out that it is likely Miss Carrie Derick of Montreal who convinced Constance Hamilton to adopt women suffage. Derick had been thrilled with the 'success' of the Montreal Council of Women in the 1910 Municipal Elections in the city, getting the 'spinster' vote out and putting a new 'reform' ticket in at City Hall.

Derick referred to it as a 'purification' of corrupt Montreal City Hall.

I really hoped to find correspondence between Derick or any Montreal suffragist and Denison in the papers, but no.

Derick and Denison did not correspond,although they surely knew each other and worked together at the National Council of Women.

Derick joined the National Equal Franchise Union as a VP as soon as it was founded by Hamilton  in 1914.

I did find something most interesting in the files: a brochure (just typed on plain yellow paper) belonging to the Equal Suffrage League of Montreal  with their 1914-15 agenda - where Frances Fenwick Williams, a member of the Montreal Suffrage Association, was a speaker!

FFW figures in Service and Disservice, too.

Caroline Kenny, sister of British militant Annie Kenney, founded the Montreal Equal Suffrage League, but wasn't mentioned on the sheet.

I know for a fact that  Caroline was a teacher on the Protestant Board that year, so maybe she had to give up the suffrage advocacy. 

She had played a part in How the Vote Was Won, mounted at the start of WWI, in October 1914, by Frances Fenwick Williams for the Montreal Suffrage Association.

The Montreal Equal Suffrage League had a slogan: "To go in with man, not to get from man, is the goal of women's freedom."

A Mildrid Bain was on the board , as was a Netta B. Brown, Rose Henderson, James A. Wright, Hilda Harrison. They held a mock parliament (or planned to hold) in May of 1915. When was Nellie McClung's? 1914, I think.

I looked up Rose Henderson on the newspaper database and can see that she is a probation officer. In March, 1914, just as Denison and Hamilton's feud was peaking, she attended a feminist talk in Montreal with Caroline Kenney... and Caroline is identified as the sister of British militant Annie. (That wasn't the case before, from what I can see.) 

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Duchess of Duke Street and Canadian Suffragists in 1917

My copy of Atlantis from 1975 about the Canadian Suffragists during WWI.

Well, more and more stuff comes online each day.

Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax has posted back issues of Atlantis, the Women and Gender Studies journal - and with it, two articles that mirror my ebooks about the Canadian Suffragists.

One is English Militancy and the Canadian Suffrage Movement by Deborah Gorman and the other is The Wartime Elections Act of 1917 and the Canadian Suffrage Movement by Gloria Geller.

The first piece covers the same territory as my Furies Cross the Mersey, available on Amazon Kindle.  The second, the same territory as Service and Disservice, a work in progress.

 I read the Geller article two years ago. A copy of the Atlantis issue containing it is somwhere in my basement.

Both of these articles are from around 1975. That's a long time ago. 40 years ago, yikes! I was in my first year of university.

 Gorman writes a lot about Miss Barbara Wylie's 1912 visit to Canada, saying it was pretty ineffective, indeed, hubris on the part of the W.S.P.U,  but ignores the Quebec side of things.

She doesn't mention Caroline Kenney (sister of famed militant Annie Kenney) being in Montreal at the same time. That's not I surprise; I figured that out by myself only last year.

So, 1975 is the very last time someone addressed these historical events.

The Duchess of Duke Street was on PBS back then. (I just watched an episode of that on YouTube yesterday.) So was Upstairs, Downstairs.  Remember that great show? Why doesn't someone do a re-make? :)

Next year will be the anniversary of the Conscription Criss, an event that may have changed the course of Canadian history.

And women were involved. Who would have guessed?

Now, upon reading the Geller article for a second time, I can see that she believed that Constance Hamilton of the National Equal Franchise Union and Mrs. Torrington of the National Council and Mrs Gooderale of I.O.D.E. had a part in fashioning the Wartime Elections Act.

Those women who supported Borden and were instrumental in determining the nature of the Act itself were, as noted above, Mrs. A.E. Gooderham, President of the I.O.D.E. (Independent Order of the Daughters of the Empire), Mrs. L.A. Hamilton, Chairman, Women's Section of the Win-the-War League and President, National Equal Franchise Union, Mrs. F.H. Torrington, President of the National Council of Women. p.103.

It is commonly believed that Arthur Meighan or Nellie McClung were the culprits.

(Geller did not consult the minutes of the Montreal Suffrage League or the Montreal Council of Women. She did consult Carole Bacchi's master's thesis on Canadian Suffrage which became a doctoral  thesis which became the definitive book on the subject of  the Canadian women's suffrage movement - published around 1980.)

Of course, I agree with Geller.That's the key point in  Service and Disservice, where I tell this unheralded story from the point of view of five Canadian suffragists, three of them from Montreal.

Emmeline Pankhurst, Carrie Derick and some 1912 headlines about British Suffragettes in Canada.

But, since Mrs. Gooderham complained in the Toronto Press about the secretive way things were handled by Hamilton and Borden and since Mrs. Torrington told the Montreal Council of Women that she didn't know what she was doing when she signed a public letter in support of the Wartime Elections Act, I'll go even further and say it was all Mrs. Constance Hamilton (conspiring with folks in the PM's office) . In 1917, Hamilton was a passive on-hold President of the NEFU and a very active member of the Women's Section of the Win-the-War Committee.

 I have the evidence, the smoking gun, as it were, and it involves Carrie Derick of Montreal. It seems she dropped the ball in the summer of 1917  and let Mrs. Hamilton do an end run around her. (That's not mixing metaphors, is it? The Superbowl was yesterday.)

I think Carrie Derick (President of the Montreal Suffrage Association; Past President of the Montreal Local Council of Women; VP Education Chair of the National Council of Women and, yes, VP of the National Equal Franchise Union)  could have stopped this game-changer from unfolding.

Indeed, Derick tried very hard, but she let up just at the wrong moment, in July 1917, when Mrs. Hamilton held an emergency meeting of the National Equal Franchise Union (which had been dormant since the War began) and got a Mr. C.M.  Holt, Pankhurst-hating VP of Miss Derick's Montreal Suffrage Association to send her an hysterical sounding 'resolution' (that wasn't really a resolution since there was no formal meeting, no quorum, no motion, or no record of said resolution in any minutes) seeming to support anything that would keep unpatriotic 'slackers' from voting, a resolution that was printed up in the Toronto newspapers - and probably lead Premier Borden to believe that Quebec women would be on-side with him should he have no choice but to call an election.

The very next day the local  Women were invited to participate in the Toronto August 2, Win-the-War meetings.  (They only had only two days to prepare, it was said, just two days to find 2,000 participants.)

The next day those infamous telegrams were sent out by Torrington, Gooderham and Hamilton, asking  elite women 'from sea-to-sea' (secretly) whether Borden would win an election if Canadian women could vote.

The answer came back NO.

Derick and Ritchie England received the telegrams, it is written in MLCW minutes, but there is no way to know how they replied, or whether they replied at all - or whether they received the telegrams only much later because they were out of town.

They didn't have to answer: everyone knew the situation with respect to Quebec.

Both Derick and England were keen to make sure ALL Canadian women got the vote when it happened. Many people, and some MP's, were pushing to give the federal vote only to women who already had the provincial vote. That would leave Quebec women out.

These two Montreal women were very much against limited suffrage of any kind - and Dr. England, at least, paid a price for her strong views.

Carrie Derick got Constance Hamilton back, a bit,  by formally protesting against the Wartime Elections Act in her capacity as President of the Montreal Suffrage Association, forcing Borden to write her back a tense letter of explanation. It  was all about foreign women out West, he said in the  letter. (Borden wrote the same letter to the French Federation St. Jean Baptiste.)

Yes, the P.M. seemed angry and impatient in his letter.

Derick had tried to get a similar protest resolution passed by the Montreal Local Council of Women, but too many women walked out on that meeting, apparently, so the motion was 'lost'.

That's why I don't believe Derick simply allowed Mr. Holt to send that crazy, bogus resolution to Hamilton in July, 1917.  It is claimed in the minutes that Mr. Holt and Mrs. Scott were the only two members of the MSA executive in the City.

Derick's had always controlled the message at the MSA but, at the time, Derick, a McGill botany professor, was busy working on the vital issue of  food conservation.

She had also locked horns with Hamilton, in May, 1917 over Quebec and the federal vote. There is some evidence,too, that Derick tried to wrest the NEFU from Hamilton at that time.

And, at the 1918 AGM of the National Council of Women, the NEFU reported that after some period of  upset over the Wartime Elections Act their membership came together in a spirit of patriotism; The Canadian Suffrage Association, a more pacifist suffrage organization,  bit the bullet and said the Wartime Elections Act may have been a silver lining in a dark cloud; while the Montreal Local Council of Women discussed only their program for the feeble-minded in their report to to the AGM and the Montreal Suffrage Association published no report at all.