Memorable Manitobans: Margaret Ellen Douglass (1878-1950)
Born at Stanley, New Brunswick on 12 January 1878, daughter of Andrew Douglass and Martha Best, she attended the Anglican Church school at Windsor, New Brunswick. She studied medicine at the University of Toronto, and did her postgraduate studies in England and the USA. In 1909 she settled in Winnipeg and began practising medicine. In 1914, in response to the First World War, she organized the Winnipeg Women’s Volunteer Reserve.
She joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), and served in France during the war, holding the rank of Major. She was awarded the Allies Medal, British War Medal, Long Service Medal of the Order of St. John, and King George V Jubilee Medal (1935). In 1927 she travelled to India and China to speak about better medical methods for caring for women.
She served as President of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women and the Vice President of the Council of St. John’s Ambulance Brigade. In 1946 she was made a life member of the National Council of Women and, in 1949, she was given the title “Dame of Grace”. She was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, and national president of that group from 1936 to 1938. She was also President of the Women’s Canadian Club of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg League of Women Votes, and a life member of the University Women’s Club of Winnipeg. She remained a strong advocate for women until her death.
She died at her Winnipeg home, 136 Sherbrook Street, on 11 July 1950 and was buried in the St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. She is commemorated by Ellen Douglass School in Winnipeg.
The Story of Manitoba by F. H. Schofield, Winnipeg: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913.
“King to honor many Manitoba men and women,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 1935, page 1.
History of Manitoba Women in Health, University of Manitoba.
“Dr. M. Ellen Douglass medical pioneer dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, Tuesday 11 July 1950.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 1950, page 24.
We thank Bobbi Jo Panciera for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Angela Graham and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 October 2020