Memorable Manitobans: Alice Mary Ham (1873-1936)
Born at Whitby, Ontario on 12 August 1873, daughter of journalist and promotor George Henry Ham and English immigrant Martha Helen Blow (?-?), she arrived in Winnipeg with her parents in 1875. She was educated at St. Mary’s Academy and the Winnipeg Collegiate Institute. Admitted to Manitoba College in 1889, she won an Isbister scholarship in modern languages and excelled in her studies. The Manitoba College Student Journal described her as “one of the most brilliant students, lady or gentlemen, who have ever passed these halls.”
She was one of the earliest female graduates of the University of Manitoba. She won the College Literary Society’s essay prize and the silver medal in modern languages (now in the collection of the Manitoba Museum). In February 1894, she completed her Normal School examination, receiving a first-class teaching certificate. In 1895 she joined staff of the Portage Collegiate Institute where she taught modern languages and English until 1899.
On 21 March 1900, she married American immigrant William Stuttard Burley (1870-1960) at Montreal, Quebec. The couple settled at Neepawa and lived there until relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1907. There, she was active in the University Women’s Club and the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire. They had three children, all born at Neepawa: Alice Helen Burley (1901-1994), Norman George Beresford Burley (1903-1985), and Martha Eleanor Burley (1906-1982).
She died at Vancouver on 25 April 1936.
“Varsity graduates,” Manitoba Free Press, 3 June 1893, page 5.
“Successful teachers,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 February 1894, page 8.
Portage la Prairie Weekly, 29 August 1895, page 8.
Portage la Prairie Weekly, 12 September 1895, page 5.
Birth registrations [Alice Burley, Norman George B. Burley, Martha Eleanor Burley], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Death registrations [Alice Mary Burley, William Stuttard Burley], British Columbia Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Vancouver Province, 27 April 1936, page 3.
Obituary, Vancouver Province, 28 April 1936, page 7.
This page was prepared by Liliana Lopez and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 27 June 2022