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Manitoba History: “Are You ‘Doing Your Bit’?”: Edith Robertson, Letter-Writing, and Women’s Contributions in First-World-War Winnipeg

by Andrea Martin, Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union
and Tyyne Petrowski, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Winnipeg Archives

Number 82, Fall 2016

The text of this article is not available online at this time.

Copies are available for purchase

Click the icon at left for the Table of Contents of this issue.

Notes

1. Dominion Business College, “Women of Canada! Your Country is Calling you”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 23 June 1914, p. 3.

2. Rodney S. Carter, “Of Things Said and Unsaid: Power, Archival Silences, and Power in Silence,” Archivaria 61: Special Section on Archives: Space and Power (Spring 2006), pp. 219, 220.

3. Carter, “Of Things Said and Unsaid”, pp. 223-224.

4. Ibid., pp. 41-42.

5. Veronica Strong-Boag, The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 1919-1939, Markham: Penguin Books, 1988, p. 2.

6. University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, Frederick D. Baragar fonds, Mss 283 (A08-156), Frederick Baragar to Edith Robertson, 12 November 1918; Frederick Baragar Household, 1921 Census of Canada, Manitoba, Winnipeg (District 39, Sub-District 16), p. 14, Family Number 137, Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario): Series RG31 (Statistics Canada Fonds).

7. John Robertson Household, 1911 Census of Canada, Manitoba, Winnipeg, (District 24, Sub-District 6), p. 19, Family Number 187, Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario): Series RG31 (Statistics Canada Fonds); John Robertson Household, 1916 Census of Canada, Manitoba, Winnipeg (District 15, Sub-District 10), p. 46, Family Number 504, Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario): Series RG31 (Statistics Canada Fonds).

8. Eric W. Sager, “Women Teachers in Canada, 1881–1901: Revisiting the ‘Feminization’ of an Occupation,” Canadian Historical Review 88:2 (2007): 201-236.

9. Edith Baragar, “Hilldale School District, May 23 to Oct. 16, 1915,” in The School Beneath The Hill, Kindersley, SK: Jamac Publishing Ltd.: 1976, p. 200.

10. Ibid., p. 201.

11. Ibid., p. 53.

12. Ibid., p. 52; Vox Wesleyana, vol. XXI, no. 1, (November 1917): p. 37.

13. Carolyn Cornell, “Man, Look Out For Your Job Or Some Woman Will Get It! Scores Invade Male’s Sphere,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 18 August 1917, p. 17.

14. Mary Kinnear, A Female Economy: Women’s Work in a Prairie Province, 1870-1970, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1998, p. 27.

15. Baragar to Robertson, 4 April 1915.

16. Cornell, p. 17.

17. IODE Fonds, Records of the Provincial Chapter of Manitoba, “The Organizational Meeting of the Provincial Chapter of MB,” 28 April 1915; 3-5 April 1919; 24 October 1924.

18. Shauna Wilton, “Manitoba Women Nurturing the Nation: The Manitoba IODE and Maternal Nationalism, 1913-1920,” Journal of Canadian Studies vol. 35, no.2 (Summer 2000): 159-161.

19. Suzanne Evans, “Raising ‘Human Ammunition’: Motherhood, Propaganda, and the Great War”, Active History, 18 August 2015, http://activehistory.ca/2015/08/raising-human-ammunition-motherhood-propaganda-and-the-great-war/, Accessed 14 April 2016.

20. Kurt Korneski, “Minnie J. B. Campbell, Reform, and Empire” in Prairie Metropolis: New Essays on Winnipeg Social History, Esyllt W. Jones and Gerald Friesen (eds.), Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2009, pp. 18-43. Also see: “Canada and the First World War - Recruitment Posters”, Canadian War Museum, Accessed 14 April 2016, http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/objects-and-photos/propaganda/recruitment-posters/.

21. Sarah Glassford, “‘The Greatest Mother in the World’ Carework and the Discourse of Mothering in the Canadian Red Cross Society during the First World War”, Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering vol. 10, no. 1 (2008): 220.

22. Ibid., p. 228.

23. The Wesley College Red Cross group even specifically used “To help our toiling brother” in their motto. See “Red Cross”, Vox Wesleyana vol. 20, no. 2 (December 1916): 45.

24. Linda J. Quiney, “‘Bravely and Loyally they Answered the Call’: St. John Ambulance, the Red Cross, and the Patriotic Service of Women of Canadian Women During the Great War,” History of Intellectual Culture, vol. 5, no. 1 (2005): 3.

25. “‘Lady Can Have My Job’ Says Bread Wagon Man,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 25 March 1916, p. 1.

26. “‘I’ll Take That Bread Job’ She Says,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 27 March 1916, p. 1.

27. “70 Women Seek Jobs So Men May Enlist,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 24 March 1916: p. 1; “2 Women Ask Jobs on Farms,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 29 March 1916, p. 5.

28. University of Manitoba Students’ Association, University of Manitoba Varsity Year Book, 1917-1918, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Students Association, 1918, pp. 10, 15.

29. Vox Wesleyana, (November 1917): p. 14.

30. Baragar to Robertson, 9 July 1915.

31. Baragar to Robertson, 1 December 1915.

32. Baragar to Robertson, 1 February 1916.

33. “University of Manitoba Contingent of the Canadian Officers Training Corps”, The Manitoban, 28 January 1915, p. 92. By January of 1915, five months after the outbreak of war, the University announced that it planned to host a contingent of the COTC. The COTC was created in Canada to provide standardized introductory military training for students. Members could undergo exams which granted the member a certificate of proficiency, that allowed them to skip portions of the military’s introductory training.

34. Quiney, “Bravely and Loyally they Answered the Call”, p. 6.

35. J. M. Bumsted, The University of Manitoba: An Illustrated History, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2001, p. 43. Also see: Vox Wesleyana, vol. XVIII, no. 1, November 1914.

36. Jim Blanchard, “World War One in Winnipeg - Conscription,” Active History, 21 October 2014, http://activehistory.ca/2014/10/world-war-one-in-winnipeg-conscription/, Accessed 14 April 2016.

37. Bumsted, University of Manitoba, p. 45.

38. Ibid.

39. J. E. C., Vox Wesleyana, vol. XX, no. 5, April 1917, p. 41; Baragar to Robertson, 25 July 1915. He also references her debating in Baragar to Robertson, 24 December 1915.; E. I. T., Vox Wesleyana, April 1917, p. 55.

40. E. F. M., Vox Wesleyana, April 1917, p. 31.

41. “’Peg Women to Play Selkirk Hockey Seven”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 12 March 1917, p. 10.; “Winnipeg’s ‘Hello Girls’ Better Cared for Than Workers of Any Other Class”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 4 November 1916, p. 17.; “Ladies Hockey”, Vox Wesleyana, vol. XX, no. 5, April 1917, p. 44.

42. Baragar to Robertson, 9 January 1916.

43. Tim Ching, “6 Teams Likely for ’Peg Senior Patriotic Hockey Competition”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 27 November 1915, p. 19.

44. Tim Ching, “Sixty-first Outclass Regina Vics and Register 8-2 Victory In Final Allan Cup Contest”, The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 20 March 1916, p. 10.

45. University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, University Publications, UPC GEN 185, University of Manitoba Convocation Program and Class and Honor Lists, 1916-1917.

46. The Senior Stick position, now gender-neutral, is a title still used at the University of Manitoba to indicate the heads of some of the student bodies. See: “Faculty of Arts fonds, Senior and Lady Stick series,” University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/collections/rad/arts_stick.html, Accessed 16 April 2016.

47. Vox Wesleyana, vol. 13, no. 6, June 1909, p. 136; vol. 16, no. 1, November 1912, p. 25.

48. Vox Wesleyana, vol. XX, no. 1, November 1916, p. 37.

49. Baragar to Robertson, 3 April 1916.

50. Vox Wesleyana, November 1914.

51. Baragar to Robertson, 11 March 1916, 16 March 1916, 3 July 1917.

52. Alan Johnson, “World War One: How did 12 million letters a week reach soldiers?” BBC News Magazine, 31 January 2014, Accessed 13 April 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-25934407.

53. Baragar to Robertson, 1 December 1915, 1 February 1916.; Manitoba Agricultural College, Letters from the Front, M.A.C. Students 1915-18, 1918/1919.

54. “The University of Manitoba Overseas Correspondence Club”, The Manitoban, 1 January 1917, p. 32.

55. U. D. C., University of Manitoba Varsity Year Book, 1916-1917, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Students Association, 1917, p. 7.

56. Norman Macdonald, “The University of Manitoba Overseas Correspondence Club,” University of Manitoba Varsity Year Book, 1916-1917, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Students Association, 1917, p. 20; Glassford, “The Greatest Mother in the World”, p. 222. Glassford’s article links the idea of providing non-medical “comforts” to Canadian soldiers overseas to early 20th-century maternal feminist movements, and specifically to women’s volunteer work through the Canadian Red Cross.

57. Quiney, “Bravely and Loyally they Answered the Call”, p. 6.

58. Ibid.

59. Editors, Vox Wesleyana, vol. XIX, no. 1 (November 1915), p. 7.

60. Ibid.

61. Ibid.

62. Quiney, “Bravely and Loyally they Answered the Call”.; W. A. C. “For Those in the Service”, Vox Wesleyana, vol. XIX, no. 2, December 1915, p. 18.

63. E. A. R., Vox Wesleyana, vol. XIX, no. 5, July 1916, p. 23.

64. Ibid.

65. Ibid., p. 24.

66. Glassford, “‘The Greatest Mother in the World’, p. 225.

67. Baragar to Robertson: 9 October 1915, 18 December 1915, 1 February 1916, 3 April 1916, 30 April 1917, among others.

68. “Good Bye Fifteens!,” The Manitoban, 15 April 1915, p. 184.

69. Baragar to Robertson, 4 April 1916; Kinnear, A Female Economy, p. 146.

70. “Notes from the Student Body,” Vox Wesleyana, vol. XIX, no. 3, February 1916, p. 42.

71. “Vote in City Heavy,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 13 March 1916, p. 1; “Margin for Dry Goes to 24, 679,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 14 March 1916, p. 1.

72. Baragar to Robertson, 8 August 1916.

73. Ibid.

74. John Robertson Household, 1911 Census of Canada.

75. Peter Ward, Courtship, Love, and Marriage in Nineteenth-Century English Canada, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990, p. 174.

76. Dan Azoulay, Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930, Calgary, AB: University of Calgary Press, 2011, pp. 168-170.

77. “Scene at Wedding of Miss Aldous in London, England,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 22 January 1918, p. 6; Jane Houston, an American, sailed across the sea a reported 8 times over two and a half years to try to meet up with her fiancé during brief windows of leave so that they could be married: “Sails Sea 8 times in 2-Year Pursuit of Soldier Fiancé,” The Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 27 July 1918, p. 21.

78. Baragar to Robertson, 28 October 1917.

79. Baragar to Robertson, 28 March 1915.

80. Baragar to Robertson, 21 May 1915.

81. Ibid.

82. The University of Manitoba’s Overseas Correspondence Club, and references to letters from mutual friends in Fred’s letters, tell us this.

83. Baragar to Robertson, 16 March 1916.

84. Baragar to Robertson, 27 April 1916.

85. Fred Baragar graduated in 1914, William “Bill” Crummy (and his brother Richard “Dick”) graduated in 1913.

86. Baragar to Robertson, 9 June 1916.

87. Baragar to Robertson, 21 November 1916.

88. Baragar to Robertson, 29 February 1916.

89. Pat Tomczyszyn, “With Love From the Trenches: Embroidered Silk Postcards of the First World War,” Material History Review 51 (Spring 2000): pp. 43-49.

90. Baragar to Robertson, 17 March 1916.

91. Baragar to Robertson, 17 March 1916. This censorship reminder was printed on the YMCA letterhead on which this letter was written.

92. Baragar to Robertson, 12 November 1918.

93. “Alumni - Wedding Bells!”, Vox Wesleyana, vol. XXIII, no. 3 (February 1920), p. 40.

94. Frederick Baragar to Ernest Baragar, 12 November 1918; Baragar to Robertson, 12 November 1918.

Page revised: 12 October 2016

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