Chapin, Miriam. “Memories of Cape La Hune.” Atlantic Guardian (May 1945): 15-16.
Miller, Florence. “The Old Home Town 5: Topsail.” Atlantic Guardian (May 1945): 21-24.
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.
On May 15th, 1939, His Majesty King George VI and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (later affectionately known as The Queen Mother) arrived in Quebec to begin their tour of Canada. The Spirit of Canada souvenir book, produced to commemorate this visit, includes articles about each of the provinces and territories as well as the national capitol, Ottawa. These articles were written by eminent Canadian authors of the time, including six of our female authors: Nellie McClung, L.M. Montgomery, Amelia Beers Warnick Garvin (“Katherine Hale”), Martha Louise Black, Clara Dennis, and Mary Loretto Weekes.
I originally called in the volume from the University of Manitoba, and given the state of the text I am really surprised they sent it! Knowing there was small chance of my every getting it back, I took photos of each of the pages. Obviously, I had intended them only for my reference, or I would have done a better job, but now that I have begun posting digital editions on this blog, I thought I would share these pages with you all (as well as a searchable pdf), as no other online version exists.
Despite it’s condescending title, “The Ladies: God Bless Them!”, a short article in William Arthur Deacon’s The Four Jameses (1927), is important in that it contains reference to some of “the ladies” who interest us: notably Anastatia Hogan.
In going back and revisiting authors we had revised in the SFU database, I noticed that our information about Anastatia Hogan might be erroneous. It might also be exactly true. The problem is, I can’t tell which. It turns out that there were at least three Anastatia (or Anastasia) Hogans born in Newfoundland at the right time to be our author, and we have no concrete evidence about which is the poet Anastatia.
W.A. Deacon’s article does not shed much light on this biographical conundrum, but it does tell us a little about Anastatia Hogan as a poet, and a very little, too, about other female poets of the time.
The opening poem in the article is by Lady Roddick (Amy Redpath Roddick). James McIntyre’s daughter Kate Ruttan is discussed in the text—not surprisingly as he in one of the “four Jameses”—along with only two other women: Anastatia Hogan from Newfoundland, and Lillian Forbes Gunter of Regina, Saskatchewan. Of these, most attention is given to Anastatia Hogan, but we are still left wondering who she was, who her parents were, where she lived, and how poetry was integrated into her fuller life.
We’ll delve a little deeper, of course, but so far we have no way of determining which Anastatia to follow, biographically. If anyone out there has more information, please let us know!
Deacon, William Arthur. “The Ladies: God Bless Them!” The Four Jameses (Ottawa: Graphic, 1927) 181-185.
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.
Henderson, Isabel Elizabeth. “Panorama for an Anniversary.” Queen’s Quarterly (Spring 1939): 67-75.
I’m really not too sure what anniversary Isabel Henderson is writing in honour of here. In 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen-Mother) visited Winnipeg, where Isabel lived. It was published in the Queen’s University Quarterly, but I can find no reference to 1939 as an important date in Queen’s history. It could be a more personal matter, honouring as it does Isabel’s female forbears back through the ages, tying them into the history of the Scottish in Canada and the Red River Valley.
Regardless of intent, this article has some interesting tidbits of information, with well-known personages thrown in, such as “Tom Carlyle, of whom the world was to hear in later years.” So if you have a Scottish heritage, or hail from Glengarry, Ontario, or the Red River Valley, this might be of great interest.
A state of emergency was proclaimed yesterday here in BC as a result of the hundreds of wild fires that are engulfing our forests right now. Worse, it turns out that many of these fires have been caused by humans, and not even by accident. It is beyond my ability to comprehend, that anyone would be able to intentionally cause such devastation to our natural world, and the animals and indeed people who live in it.
In 1925, journalist Mildred Low wrote this article about the Temagami Forest Reserve in northern Ontario. She calls the forest “nature’s great university,” and expounds upon the benefits of understanding the forest, the trees, the waters, and our relationship to the natural world that sustains us. If only we all listened to such voices.
Low, Mildred. “The Pines of Timagami.” Nature Magazine (June 1925): 357-60.
The global digital community is a powerful and generous entity. A week or so ago, I was contacted by Sandra (Adair) Murray, a distant relative of Mary Adair, who we had in our “we know almost nothing about this author” list. With Sandra’s help, we have put together a complete entry, including the stories of Mary’s parents, 9 siblings, 3 half-siblings, and one published text. This morning I awoke to find an email with a link to an article Sandra had found in an obscure 1921 teachers’ manual. (I must mention here, too, our indebtedness to the Internet Archive for enabling such discoveries.)
The article is short, so I thought I would share it with the world. Mary’s accompanying biography should be available online within the month…
Adair, Mary. “The Gift of Tongues.” The Home Kindergarten Manual: A Handbook of the Education and Character-training of Little Children for Parents and Teachers. Ed. William Byron Forbush et al. (New York: University Society, 1921). 100-102.