M.G.A. Old Songs in New Meters (Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1924).

M.G.A. was a teacher at the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Loretto Abbey, Toronto, according to the title page of Old Songs in New Meters. The author’s introduction, though, is signed at “Loretto—Hamilton, Ontario.” According to the history of Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School website, the school has always been in Toronto, but according to the Loretto Sisters’ website, there were at times Loretto Abbey schools elsewhere in Ontario. The Loretto Academy in Hamilton was open from 1865-1941, so we can infer that M.G.A. taught at the Hamilton school.

But who was M.G.A.? We can infer that M.G.A. was a woman, in that the nuns for the most part signed their work with the initials of their religious names, while priests and other men signed with their names and degrees. (The social rationale for and impact of that choice makes for an interesting discussion, but not one that I’m going to engage in here.) The Loretto Academy Facebook page (yes, there is one, despite the building having been torn down in 1986), is “open to all that attend or taught at Loretto Academy on King Street West in Hamilton. Here is an opportunity for all your “Ladies of Loretto” to take renew friends and stroll down memory lane!” Which again suggests that teacher M.G.A. was female. More than this inference, though, I cannot give you. Perhaps if any of our readers is one of the “Ladies of Loretto,” she can dig into the archives and find more about the author of Old Songs in New Meters.