Church, Elizabeth. “The Luck of Lucien.” The Canadian Magazine [61?] (1923): 125-7.
Elizabeth Church wrote plays and stories for magazines. As far as we know, she published no stand-alone titles.
Church, Elizabeth. “The Luck of Lucien.” The Canadian Magazine [61?] (1923): 125-7.
Elizabeth Church wrote plays and stories for magazines. As far as we know, she published no stand-alone titles.
Looking through the Brantford Expositor these days, the byline and recognizable signature of E. Pauline Johnson jump off the page. My intent was to post this story by Johnson, published in the Expositor Christmas edition of 1891. Much earlier, indeed, I separated out Johnson’s story from the non-associated images and other text on the second page, and I believe that is the version I have uploaded in the the Canadian Writing Research Collaboraory. Doing through my digital texts, though, I noticed that the other story included with Johnson’s is actually by one of our far-lesser-known authors, Peggy Webling. So here I give you both author’s stories (images and searchable pdf) for this Christmas edition, 130 years on.
Johnson, E. Pauline. “Abram.” Brantford Expositor (Christmas 1891): 13, 16.
Webling, Peggy. “A Rush for a Hundred Dollars. Brantford Expositor (Christmas 1891): 16.
Woodrow, Constance Davies. The Children’s Caravan (Toronto: Balk-Preston, 1928).
Quite a while ago, I published Constance Davies Woodrow’s The Captive Gypsy (1926), part of the Ryerson Poetry Chapbook series. Here is her next collection of stories and poetry, this time for a juvenile audience: The Children’s Caravan.
Scott, Leslie Grant. “Dying as a Liberation of Consciousness.” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (1931), 113-17.
Leslie Grant Scott (b.1887) insinuated herself into our project by virtue of her Canadian father and husband. The Light of Genius, her only book, was published in Toronto, and she later lived for a portion of her life in Ottawa, but for the most part she lived abroad or in Chicago, Illinois, where she had been raised by her maternal grandparents after her own parents’ untimely deaths in the early 1890s.
After marriage, she spent a great deal of time abroad—mainly in Asia, where she “died” from a tropical illness and “came back from the dead.” Her testimony, posted here, continues to be a popular case-study of near-death-experiences and out-of-body experiences.
As promised, here is the fifth and final of our “Adventures in Research,” previously published on the now-defunct CWRC project blog. This was written by one of our research assistants, Lindsay Bannister, and represents only a small portion of the information she has amassed about Martha Craig over the years. This research has been supported by the invaluable contributions of historian Nevin Taggart, of County Antrim, Ireland, whence Craig’s family hails.
by Lindsay Bannister
Days after his death, an article in the North Bay Nugget revealed the true identity of writer, lecturer and conservationist Grey Owl (Archie Belaney) (1888-1938). While Grey Owl publicly identified himself as the son of an Apache woman and Scottish man, he was, in truth, an English man fascinated by North American indigenous cultures. Nearly forty years prior to this revelation, the Irish-born writer, explorer, and scientist Martha Craig (b. c1875) lectured to crowded halls and auditoriums in Toronto, New York and Washington D.C. as Princess Ye-wa-go-no-nee. “Will you believe me,” Craig asked an audience in Brooklyn, “when I tell you that in the life before this one, I was a Canadian Indian girl [?]”
Craig’s complicated life story is difficult to piece together. Newspaper reports detail the story of an intelligent child born in County Antrim in present-day Northern Ireland. Craig’s family sent her to England and France for formal schooling. The writer developed an interest in the sciences; however, she eventually pursued a career in journalism because it allowed her the freedom to travel. In the late 1890s, Craig left Ireland for the United States, where she might have encountered President William McKinley. Craig’s interest in indigenous cultures led her to Canada where, in Northern Ontario, she met Anishinaabe chief Buhgwujjenene (d. 1900) and (possibly) resided with the Ketegaunseebee or Garden River First Nation. According to an article in The Friend, Craig was adopted into the Nation and given the name Enookwashooshah meaning “Brave One.” (“Princess Ye-wa-go-no-nee” was later adopted as part of Craig’s on-stage persona.)
Two years later, in March 1902, Princess Ye-wa-go-no-nee entertained two thousand spectators in Toronto’s Massey Hall with a lantern show titled “1,000 miles in a canoe in the land of Hiawatha.” In 1905, Craig gained considerable attention for her trek to Labrador. Newspapers describe Craig as the first woman to explore Labrador. (In truth, Craig’s journey may coincide with Mina Hubbard’s own extraordinary expedition; in her journal, Hubbard refers to “Miss Craig,” a pesky journalist for Century Magazine.) Afterwards, Craig returned to the lecture circuit; however, her career then veered in an unexpected direction.
“All life is a vibration,” Craig explained to an audience in Brooklyn: “Through this vibration, […] it is possible to separate the soul from the body, or to live continuously. Therefore, […] it is a crime to die of disease or old age” (“Girl’s Weird Story about Reincarnation”). In this same lecture, she outlined her theories about reincarnation, describing her past life as Meta, the daughter of the chief of a Labrador tribe. The lecturer was an easy target for cheeky reporters but, incredibly, her inquiries into the nature of gravity and the aurora borealis garnered the attention of researchers at the Académies des sciences in Paris. Craig published her findings (First Principles: A Manifesto of the Vortex Theory of Creation, London: Harrison, 1906) in addition to her book of poems, Legends of the North Land (c1910?).
After 1907, Craig disappears from the public record. While a 1905 New York City census situates the journalist in Brooklyn, few details have emerged in regards to her later career. It is highly possible, given Craig’s frequent wanderings, that she might have left the United States, married, or assumed a new identity. Curiously, cataloguers at the British Library attribute a 1907 book, Men of Mars by “Mithra,” to Martha Craig. Is Mithra our writer?
Because of her brief association with Canada, we will include a short snapshot of Craig in our database. The writer’s connection with Canada might be fleeting; however, her unusual career gestures towards broader issues. Unlike Grey Owl, the writer did not conceal her true identity as Martha Craig of County Antrim, but she did use clothing in order to fashion an indigenous persona. In light of ongoing conversations about clothing, identity, and cultural appropriation, what does Princess Ya-wa-go-no-nee reveal about white settler representations of indigenous cultures? And how does Craig’s strange story tie into the larger legacy of colonialism?
Craig, Martha. “My Summer Outings in Labrador.” Cosmopolitan (July 1905): 325.
“Don’t Die, Vibrate Away.” New York Times (12 December 1905): 7.
“Genealogy of the President.” Chicago Tribune (28 February 1898): 1.
“Girl’s Weird Story about Reincarnation.” Amador Ledger (15 June 1906): 1.
Hubbard, Mina. The Woman Who Mapped Labrador: The Life and Expedition Diary of Mina Hubbard. (Montreal, QC: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2005): 335.
“Noble Words of a Dying Indian Chief.” The Friend (22 December 1900): 178.
Lindsay wrote part of a subsequent blog, but it was never published. Still, it has some interesting additions to her story of Martha Craig.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post detailing the remarkable life of Martha Craig. Craig was an Irish-born poet, scientist, and explorer whose lectures provoked Canadian and American audiences. Since then, Karyn Huenemann (Data Entry Supervisor for the Canada’s Early Women Writers project) and I have discovered more information about this unusual figure: around 1907, Craig abandoned her North American lecture circuit and travelled to Europe. After attending the Sorbonne, she became one of the first women to lecture at the University of Salamanca, until her academic career was cut short by the First World War. Craig returned to France as a nurse. After the war, the shell-shocked writer travelled back to her family home in North Ireland, where she lived in relative peace and stability until her death in 1950.
We must thank Craig’s great niece, Anne Milliken, and Nevin Taggart, of the North Antrim Local Interest List, for clarifying some of the murkier details of her life story. Without Anne and Nevin’s help we would not have discovered that the poet was also a pioneer in aeronautical engineering, who, according to a signed declaration dated 1914, worked to improve the design of dirigibles (as the document suggests, these improvements were of potential interest to the British Government—whether or not the British military used these designs is yet to be determined).
Williams, Helen E. “Spinning Wheels and Homespun.” Spinning Wheels and Homespun (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1923).
The title piece of this collection of nostalgic sketches of pioneer life is somewhat reminiscent of Susanna Moodie’s Roughing It in the Bush (1852), but far from deserving to be the classic that Moodie’s work is. It is mostly descriptive, with two little anecdotes thrown in—neither of which is actually very worthwhile—but it is nonetheless interesting (at least to me) as part of a much larger, enduring narrative type: the settler narrative. I wonder if anyone has done a catalogue, or even a list, of settler narratives through the years? It would begin with Catherine Parr Traill’s The Backwoods of Canada (1836), and go on until … when? Are there any nostalgic pioneer novels being written for adults today? I know there still are for children (That Boy Red (2011) by Rachna Gillmor, and The Bury Road Girls (2015) by Donna Janson, spring to mind), but it seems possible that the colonial (in today’s political climate, read: imperialist) settler narrative may no longer be a viable narrative option for an adult audience.
As promised, here is the fourth of our “Adventures in Research,” previously published on the now-defunct CWRC project blog.
by Karyn Huenemann
This is a bit of a shaggy dog story, so I hope you will bear with me; the way it weaves in and out of past and present peoples’ lives brings me back to one of my favourite epigraphs, E. M. Forster’s “Only connect…”
This year [the original post was published on 20 November 2012] marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a moment in history that has always interested me greatly. Notable is that many of the battles between 1812 and 1814 took place in Brant County, Ontario, a location that has similarly always interested me greatly. At a Children’s Literature conference down in North Carolina in 2007, I met fellow academic Dr. Lisa Wood, now a close friend, who lives in Brantford and teaches at Wilfrid Laurier University. Putting these details together, it is not surprising that last September I pulled my history-loving daughter from school and travelled across to Brantford ostensibly to see a historical reenactment of the Battle of Malcolm’s Mill, the last battle of the war fought on Canadian soil.
My daughter was very patient with my concomitant design of visiting the homes and haunts of the myriad of, as she calls them, “dead women writers” who hailed from the Brantford area. My interest in Brantford began over 20 years ago when I discovered Sara Jeannette Duncan, but the more I learned about early Canadian women writers, the more fascinated I became with the seeming coincidence that so many Canadian “female first” achievers came from Brant County: not only Sara Jeannette Duncan, but also E. Pauline Johnson, Emily and Augusta Stowe, June Callwood, and Adelaide Hoodless. There are others, I know; I have not compiled a comprehensive list, although I would love to.
The evening after we arrived in Brantford, Lisa (whose historical period is the 18th century) called in her early Canadian Literature expert and friend, Dr. Kate Carter, whose name many of you may know, as she worked on the Orlando Project. Over tea—or was it wine?—we drew up our game plan. During the discussion, Lisa casually mentioned: “oh, yes, Adelaide Hoodless: she’s a relative of mine…” and my spidey senses began to tingle…
Adelaide Sophia Hunter (1857-1910) was born at what is now the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead near St. George, Brant County, national headquarters for the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, the first branch of which Hoodless was instrumental in founding. Her father died shortly after her birth, and her mother struggled to keep the homestead running, while still managing to educate her children. Adelaide moved in with her older sister, Lizzie, while attending “Ladies’ College,” where she met John Hoodless, who became her husband. Their fourth child, John (1888-1889), died in infancy, apparently from tainted milk. Adelaide Hoodless took it upon herself to campaign for better attention to sanitation in the delivery of milk in urban settings; from there, her career as a domestic science educator and an activist for women’s education took off. In addition to a number of articles and government publications, she published Public School Domestic Science in 1898, “a compilation of recent scientific findings derived from the application of chemistry to the understanding of food values, preservation, and preparation” (DCB), aimed at prospective teachers.
Lisa’s great-great-grandmother, it turns out, had been adopted by Adelaide Hoodless’s sister Amelia. Lisa had tried to discover more, but the records were sketchy and inconclusive. Even the Dictionary of Canadian Biography notes that Adelaide was the youngest of 12 children, a list (found in family records on ancestry.ca) that does not include an Amelia. When we visited the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, the director remembered Lisa from their shared attempts at discovering more about the elusive Amelia, whom even the historians at this National Historical Site were not 100% sure was not apocryphal. Intrigued, and loving a mystery, as well as helping others, and of course playing on ancestry.ca, I promised to try to track down a real, documented connection between Adelaide Hoodless, the seemingly non-existent Amelia, and Lisa’s great-great-grandmother, Mary MacKay.
Late into the night, Lisa and I poured over ancestry.ca. We telephoned her mother to get all the details she could remember about who married whom in Mary MacKay’s more immediate circle, including the name of the adopting family (verified by the historian at the Adelaide Hoodless Homestead): Tennant. Eventually, we found what we were looking for: a Mary MacKay listed on the 1881 Census of Canada as living with James and Amelia Tennant and their 5 children, in Toronto. From there, we traced Mary MacKay’s line to her immigration to the United States, and virtually met her descendants searching back up their family tree into Canada. Mary married an American man named Solon Washington Barnes, and we even have photographs of her husband and son, as well as records of all of her other children. Significantly for my friend Lisa, Mary MacKay bore Gertrude Barnes in 1897; who bore Gertrude Buckle in 1916; who in turn bore Mary Kerpan in 1937; and Mary Kerpan is my friend Lisa’s mother.
But we had travelled a long way from Adelaide Hoodless, which is of course where my interest began and still lay. The shaggy dog has travelled all the way from a small homestead near St. George, Ontario, in the 1850s to Michigan, USA, and back to Brantford, Ontario, so close to where it all began. In tracing this web of relations, we discovered that—despite the Dictionary of Canadian Biography entry—Adelaide Sophia Hunter Hoodless was born on 27 February 1857, youngest of possibly 13 children* of David Hunter and Jane Hamilton of St. George, Brant County, Ontario. It feels satisfying to have solved a mystery that others have wondered about for years; I love ancestry.ca.
(*Two boys appear in family records, both born in 1853: Joseph (1863-1913) and George. We can find no record of George on ancestry.ca, so he either never existed or is a twin who didn’t survive until the 1861 census.)
Church, Elizabeth. “The Flight of Birds.” Canadian Magazine 73 (1930): 3+. —Illustrated by E.J. Dinsmore
In July 2010, my dear friend Giovanni sent me a copy of the July 3rd edition of the New Westminster Record: the front-page article featured a full-page, full-colour colour photo of him singing at the New West Canada Day celebration.
But why would you care, you ask? What mattered to our project is the smaller article on page A11: Archie and Dale Miller’s Our Past column, with a mention of a local author, Alice Bodington (1840-1897), “wife of a doctor at the asylum in New Westminster [who] was very prominent in her own rights as an author of scientific works.” This caused me, not surprisingly, to hunt her out.
She lived in Canada for only the last 10 years of her life, and appears to have been quite a strong character. She now has a Wikipedia page of her own, so I will not waste space repeating her biography here. Her Wikipedia page posts links to some articles she wrote, but at the time, all I found was a short story (on a now-defunct webpage) and an article she wrote in 1893 for The Field Club, a London “Magazine of General Natural History.”
Usually I post authors’ works without much critical analysis, trusting that readers will consider these works in context, forgiving the sometimes lower level of artistic merit as well as the occasional dated or parochial attitude. This time, though, I just can’t be that objective.
While the facts underlying “Notes on the Indians of British Columbia” correspond with what we know to have been more-or-less true about the day-to-day lifestyle of the Coast Salish nation, the language Alice Bodington uses reflects the worst of European bias against those perceived as socially and culturally inferior. The first few lines of the article exemplify the tone throughout.
I would like to think that Canadian society has gone beyond such thoughtless and damaging condescension, but am reminded daily that such a belief is either naïveté or hubris, or perhaps both. Bodington’s neo-Lamarckist ideals (look it up: fascinating and disturbing twist on Darwinism and eugenics) are appalling, and a shudder of horror runs through me when I think of her husband, who likely shared those ideals, in charge of anyone at Woodlands the “Provincial Hospital for the Insane” that opened in New Westminster in 1878 and closed its infamous doors in 1996.
So for a bit of local history, by all means look her up and add her name and works to a list of historical elements for some of us to be ashamed of.
In closing, I will share with you the story I found. It is more a report of someone else’s ghost story, and speaks to Bodington’s involvement with paranormal “research”—I use the term lightly. Interest in the paranormal was in vogue at the time, even more than eugenics and with far less historically damaging an effect.
Here. then, is “The Drummers’ Story,” printed in the Syracuse Herald (7 February 1892) and downloaded from http://www.bellaterreno.com, which is now a gardening URL.
In October 1920, Enid McGregor (b. 1889), the youngest sister of author Gertrude MacGregor Moffat (1884-1923), wrote a description of Wallingford Hall, the women’s residence at McMaster University, which had opened the previous month. Enid, who graduated from McMasters with a BA in 1912, was Librarian and a Reader in English there for many years, and had been part of the creation of Wallingford Hall; she is almost certainly one of the women in this photograph.