Higginson, Thomas Henry.”Lines to Mrs. Margaret Dixon McDougall.” Poetical Works of Thomas Higginson. Vankleek Hill, ON: A.W.Otto, 1888. 77.
Our posting of this poem has a curious history, and reinforces the gratification we get when members of the public appreciate and contribute to our work.
Mr. Gord Higginson, a relative of the author, contacted us in relation to Margaret Dixon McDougall. The initial question was whether or not Margaret McDougall appears in our database, which she does; she is recorded there, though, as MacDougall. Hunting about our records, I found that in our list of new, unknown authors to investigate, we also have a Margaret, a Mrs. RE, and Mrs. A. McDougall. There has been great confusion about the spelling of last names, which has muddied the water considerably.
Margaret Dixon McDougall is listed as “McDougall (or MacDougall)” in our SFU database, as we could not determine from official records which was correct.
Margaret McDougal we have as the author of The Home of Santa Claus: A Real Christmas Story, but there are questions about the attribution of this text. She is not, as far as we can tell, Margaret Dixon MacDougal, nor the Scottish poet Margaret Armour MacDougall (although this text pops up under each in some references).
Mrs. A. McDougall wrote Life in Glenshie, Being the Recollections of Elizabeth Ray, School-teacher: A Tale, By the author of “My Young Master,” “Casting the Lot,” “In Search of the Supernatural,” etc. (Montreal, J. Dougall, 1878), but we have no biographical information, and she, too, appears not to have been Margaret Armour McDougall.
Mrs. R.E. MacDougal won First Place for her poem “Old Age” in the Montreal Poetry Yearbook Contest (Canadian Authors Association, 1926).
You can see the source of our confusion…. We had a similar confusion with the poets Elizabeth Donaldson and Katherine Bagg, but sorted them out with the help of other relatives who found us online. Eventually, we hope to be able to set a number of inconsistencies and erroneous attributions straight, so if anyone can shed more light on this issue, please let us know. Even if the question becomes no more clear, it is great fun trying!