Memorable Manitobans: Anna Dorothy Bruce Garbutt (1897-1988)
Born at Winnipeg on 16 December 1897, daughter of Hattie Brodie Scott (1877-1955, daughter of James Scott) and Murray Chisholm Colcleugh, she attended Somerset School and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1918, winning the Gold Medal in German.
On 2 September 1922, she married English immigrant Ralph John Garbutt (?-1963) at Winnipeg and they moved to England and had two sons, Gordon William Garbutt (1929-2009) and Peter Murray Garbutt (1933-2008), before separating. During the Second World War, she escorted children being evacuated from Britain to the United States. On her return to Canada, she worked as a wartime hostess for the YMCA/YWCA at Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
In September 1959, she joined the Penhandlers, a Winnipeg women writers’ criticism group, having taken a class from, and being recruited by, Olive Knox. She wrote a column entitled “Going My Way” for the Elmwood Herald newspaper, and the column “Houses I Have Known” for the Winnipeg Free Press. She wrote columns on social problems set in the fictional town of Bunchberry. She wrote for magazines in Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.
She was recognized by a Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), a Literary Medal for her history of the Walker Theatre, an International Who’s Who for Outstanding Achievement (Cambridge, England; 1979), and a Good Citizenship Award from the Tourism Association of Manitoba (1983).
She died at Winnipeg on 18 February 1988.
Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Marriage registration [Anna Dorothy Bruce Colcleugh, Ralph John Garbutt], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
““Honorable mentions” in child photographs contest,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 July 1932, page 9.
“Somerset pupils today have art collection legacy,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 February 1949.
“Social and personal,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 September 1953, page 13.
Obituary [Ralph John Garbutt], Winnipeg Tribune, 24 December 1963, page 18.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 February 1988
Obituary [Peter Murray Garbutt], Orlando Sentinel, 18 April 2008.
We thank Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 April 2023