Memorable Manitobans: Edna Sutherland (1869-1956)
Born at Cobourg, Ontario on 15 May 1869, daughter of Scottish immigrants John and Margaret Sutherland, she was educated at Cobourg and the Emerson College of Oratory (Boston, Massachusetts). She worked as a teacher at Cobourg before coming to Winnipeg in 1903 where she worked as an instructor in voice culture and expression on the staff of Manitoba College. From 1918 to 1920, she was the first Dean of Women at the University of Manitoba, and later Dean of Women at United College until her retirement in 1939.
She was a member of the Regent of Lord Selkirk Chapter of the Daughters of the Empire at Winnipeg, the Alpine Club of Canada, and the Presbyterian Church. She had a lifelong passion for the spoken word and for correct English, and for the poetry and plays of Robert Browning. She founded the Browning Study Club in Winnipeg in 1903, and it was through her efforts that a Browning Memorial Window was placed in St Marylebone Parish Church in London where Robert and Elizabeth were secretly married in 1846. She died at Winnipeg on 30 May 1956 and was buried in St. John’s Cathedral Cemetery. She left most of her estate to the University of Manitoba to create a scholarship for students to travel to England and learn to speak proper English.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“First Dean of Women at Universities dies, 87”, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 1956, page 12.
“U gets bulk of estate”, Winnipeg Free Press, 16 August 1956, page 1.
This profile was prepared by Keith Davies Jones and Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 17 August 2010
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