Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Margaret Stovel McWilliams (1875-1952)

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Margaret Stovel McWilliams
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Feminist, historian, author.

Born at Toronto in 1875, she graduated from the University of Toronto in 1898 and began her journalism career in Detroit. She came to Winnipeg in 1910 and was active in the women’s movement for years. She served as President of the University Women’s Club (1913-1915). She was first President of the Canadian Federation of University Women in 1919, President of the Women’s Canadian Club in 1922, and Winnipeg’s second female Alderman from 1933 to 1940. McWilliams was the author of Manitoba Milestones (1928), If I Were King of Canada (1931), and This New Canada (1948). She was married to Roland F. McWilliams.

She was frequently a Canadian representative at international conferences. McWilliams was instrumental in the resurrection of the Manitoba Historical Society in 1944, serving as its President from 1944 to 1948. The University of Manitoba awarded her an honorary doctorate in 1946.

She died at Government House on 12 April 1952 and was buried in Kildonan Presbyterian Cemetery. The Margaret McWilliams Awards, commemorating her contributions to Manitoba history, was inaugurated by the Manitoba Historical Society in 1955 as one of Canada’s first literary prizes. She was selected posthumously as a Manitoba Woman Trailblazer.

See also:

Margaret McWilliams and Her Social Gospel: The Formation of an Interwar Feminist by Mary Kinnear

An Aboriginal Past and a Multicultural Future: Margaret McWilliams and Manitoba History by Mary Kinnear

Margaret McWilliams: An Interwar Feminist by Mary Kinnear
McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal & Kingston, 1991.

54 West Gate: Stories of Ralph Connor House by the Heritage House Committee-Book Project Team. Winnipeg, Friends of Ralph Connor House Inc., 2005.


“Mrs. McWilliams dies suddenly,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 April 1952. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B10]

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

We thank June Dutka for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 28 June 2019

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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