This poem was first published in Annie Charlotte Dalton‘s Lilies and Leopards (1935), which (as I said yesterday) was illustrated by Rowena Pauline Gross. I have no record of where this image came from, nor whether or not it is in Dalton’s hand, but as one of our correspondents was the niece of one of Dalton’s friends, it is possible. Let this be a warning to students out there everywhere to take meticulous notes while researching…
This lovely little volume was privately printed by the author in about 1935. Here is a searchable pdf as well as the page images.
While going through the files in our office, we came upon this letter and poem, from Helen Chapman to the editor of a book commemorating (as far as one can determine) the 75th anniversary of Saskatchewan becoming a province of Canada in 1905. Previous to that, it had been a part of the North West Territories: at that point Alberta, Saskatchewan, Athabasca, and Assiniboia. Manitoba had become a province in 1870, but that is its own separate fascinating history.
I can’t find the book, so I have no idea if the poem was ultimately included. And Helen Chapman no longer seems to live in Surrey, BC, so I can’t just call and ask her anything more about Miss Caroline Doyle or the poem. There was a Caroline S. Doyle who died in Lanigan, Saskatchewan, in 1959, who might be our lady, but without a little more to go on, we can’t be certain.
Regardless, having found this little gem, I wanted to share it with you all. Perhaps Caroline’s nieces, “The Blessed Girls,” will see this and tell us more about their aunt the Lanigan poet.
While this is posted on the Internet Archive, I thought I’d share it with you anyhow. It seems to be both a call for tolerance of immigrants to Canada in the late 1800s as well as a lament that Canadian youth are finding it necessary to seek better lives elsewhere. Despite the conflicted tone, it speaks to the ongoing creation of diaspora that is apropos to our world even—or even more—today.
Maude Abbott is a fascinating woman. Born Maude Elizabeth Seymour Babin in 1869, she was raised almost from birth by her maternal grandmother, who legally adopted her: hence the name change. She never married, but became well-known in the medical sciences for her intelligence and dedication.
A number of biographies have been written about Maude Abbott, who became Curator of McGill University’s Medical Museum in the 1890s and was herself a significant author in the medical sciences. What is less well-known is that she also self-published a short gift-book of poetry for Christmas 1929. It is posted here for you all to enjoy.