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"As women and as citizens" : clubwomen in Vancouver 1910-1928 Weiss, Gillian M. 1983-12-31

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"AS WOMEN AND AS CITIZENS": CLUBWOMEN IN VANCOUVER 1910-1928 by GILLIAN WEISS B.A.(Hons.), University Of Adelaide, 1976 M.A.(Ed-), University Of British Columbia, 1979 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department Of Social And Educational Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November 1983 © Gillian Weiss, 1983 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Department Of Social And Educational Studies The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date: November 1983 i i Abstract In the thirty years prior to 1910, an active minority of women, not only in British Columbia, but across Canada and in Britain and the United States, had increasingly used their organizations to move outside the traditional sphere of home and family and into a more public and political role. Con currently, they developed and propounded a philosophy to support this move into public life. It was based on the notion of woman's traditional function of physical, emotional and spiritual nurture, but was widened to include not just the individual home but the entire community. Maternal feminists, as these women have recently been termed, were determined to use and extend their womanly skills and influence throughout society for what they perceived to be the betterment of all. By 1910, maternal feminist ideology had developed to a point where promotion of its tenets was no longer the major goal of organized clubwomen., These women now turned their attention to convincing society that their role was not simply as auxiliary workers i'n-reform but as full partners; not as mere helpers dispensing charity to those in need but as citizens influencing the working of society in much broader and deeper ways. In the eighteen years to 1928, their attention was concentrated on attempts to extend their citizenship powers, to gain both the right and the opportunity to influence legislation that would in turn convert the goals of maternal feminism into reality. In this they achieved a considerable amount of success. The winning of suffrage was followed by a spate of legislation that gave women greater control over their own lives and those of their chidren, more personal and financial autonomy within marriage, that affected their treatment in the work world and that provided health and support for themselves and their children in times of need. They also worked hard at educating themselves and their non-organized sisters in parliamentary procedure, public speaking and current events in order that they might have•the skill and confidence to adequately play the more public role that they envisioned for themselves. But within a few years of gaining the legislation they 1 sought the organizational momentum that had been building since the last decades of the previous century died away and clubwomen were left without any clearcu't goals to pursue and in a state of confusion as to why they found themselves in such a position. This thesis examines six Vancouver women's organizations which played a leading role in the quest for reform in British Columbia in the years from 1910 to 1928. It considers the structure and operational methods of each as well as their specific reform goals, with particular reference to mothers' pensions and minimum wage legislation. It clarifies the image and aspirations that Vancouver clubwomen had of and for themselves in their dual roles as women and as citizens. It examines in some detail the characteristics of rank and file clubmembers as well as a core of thirty-three women who are identified as forming a network of leadership within and between the five organizations during the period 1910-1928. Table of Contents Abstract ii List of Tables vList of Figures viList of Abbreviations viii 1 "SETTING THE CONTEXT": WOMEN AND REFORM IN BRITISH COLUMBIA 1 2 "AN INVESTMENT IN CIVIC WELFARE": VANCOUVER WOMEN'S CLUBS, 1910-1928 35 3 "WOMANHOOD AND CITIZENSHIP":VANCOUVER WOMEN'S PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR ROLE 105 4 "DECISIVE ACTION AND NOT EMPTY PROMISES": WOMEN AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION 1910-28 152 5 "THE SACREDNESS OF MOTHERHOOD": MOTHERS' PENSIONS LEGISLATION, 1919-25 -.207 6 '"THE BRIGHTEST WOMEN OF OUR LAND": CHARACTERISTICS OF VANCOUVER CLUBWOMEN" 243 7 "DRESSED UP WITH NO PLACE TO GO"?: THE SUCCESS AND FAILURE OF THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY WOMEN'S MOVEMENT 279 BIBLIOGRAPHY 296 APPENDIX A: NCWC WOMEN'S PLATFORM 1920 314 APPENDIX B: MARY ELLEN SMITH'S PLATFORM 1918 317 APPENDIX C: OCCUPATIONAL CLASSIFICATIONS 319 v i List of Tables 1. Women School Trustees Prior to 1930 in Victoria and Vancouver i 38 2. Membership of Victoria and Vancouver LCW 1897-1932 45 3. LCW Members who were Officers of and Delegates from Affiliated Societies 191 0, 1915, 1920, 1925 47 4. LCW Standing Committees 1914 51 5. UWC Standing Committees, 1911-1925 65 6. Vancouver NEL, Committees and Convenors 1921 .76 7. Provincial NEL Standing Committees and Convenors, 1925- 27 78. WF Standing Committees, 1917-21 .".91 9. Types of Shareholders in Women's Building 1912-23 ....97 10. Individual Shareholders Women's Building 1912-23 97 11. Corporate Shareholders Women's Building 1912-1923 ....99 12. Percent of the Male and Female Population 10 Years of Age and Over, Employed in Gainful Occupations, by Provinces, for Census Years 1881-1921 172 13. Number of Women Employed in Various Occupations in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Montreal 1921 ...176 14. Percent of the Female Work Force in Selected Cities and Occupational Categories, 1921 177 15. Percent of the Female Work Force in Selected Cities and Occupations, 1921 179 16. Cost of Living Calculation for Mercantile' Occupations 1919 188 17. Cost of Living Calculation for Laundry, Dyeing and Dry Cleaning Occupations 1 91 9 191 18. Minimum Wage Board Rulings 1918-19 2 19. Mothers* Pensions Delegation March 21, 1918 217 20. Mothers' Pensions Delegation January 14, 1919 221 21. Combined Delegation to Mothers' Pensions Commission January 20, 1920 222 22. Mothers' Pensions in Selected Provinces Compared 1921 231 vi i List of Figures 1. Levels of membership within the Vancouver Local Council of Women 1914 52 2. The Vancouver Women's Building, 752 Thurlow St. - 1928 101 3. Local Area Boundaries, Vancouver 262 v i i i List of Abbreviations BPL British Progressive League CCF Commonwealth Cooperative Federation CPMA Civilian Pensioned Mothers' Association HBC Hudson's Bay Company IODE Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire LCW Local Council of Women MWB Minimum Wage Board MWL Minimum Wage League NCWC National Council of Women of Canada NEL New Era League PABC Provincial Archives of British Columbia Sp. Coll. Special Collections Division, The Library, University of British Columbia TLC Trades and Labour Council UWC University Women's Club VCA Vancouver City Archives VON Victorian Order of Nurses WBAM Women's Benefit Association of the Maccabees WCB Workers' Compensation Board WCTU Woman's Christian Temperance Union WILPF Women's International League for Peace and Freedom WF Women's Forum YWCA Young Women's Christian Association 1 Chapter 1 "SETTING THE CONTEXT": WOMEN AND REFORM IN  BRITISH COLUMBIA The idea of a Women's Building, a clubroom, meeting and workspace for all the women's groups in Vancouver, was conceived in 1911. From that year until 1927 when the Vancouver Women's Building was opened in the city's West End to the accompaniment of much pomp and ceremony and a great feeling of pride and achievement, hundreds of Vancouver women from a variety of women's clubs worked indefatigably to raise public consciousness of their goal, to gain support from the male business community and to amass the tens of thousands of dollars needed to turn their dream into bricks and mortar. Their Building was to be a visible sign of the new woman of the twentieth century and her expanded role in modern society. Within its halls and boardrooms they would develop the strategies and programs by which a renewed society would be built - a society in which justice and equality for themselves and their children would result in justice and a better life for all. The Building was a decade and a half in the creation, and during this time the campaign for the renewal of society was carried on with equal fervor. Midway through the period the female franchise was won and this was followed in rapid succession by a multitude of other legislative reforms. Ironically, by 1927 when the Building was at last open and ready to house its busy workers they had already achieved most of 2 their reform goals. For the next dozen years it stood, increasingly under-utilized and expensive to run while clubwomen cast around almost aimlessly to recapture the reformist spirit and optimism of earlier years and a reform goal as clear cut and pressing as that which had motivated them two decades earlier. But there was none. Like the Women's Building which had outlived its usefulness by the time it was finally constructed, the women's movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries succeeded so well in its efforts to extend female influence into the public sphere that it made continued activity virtually impossible. The success of organized women in promoting the importance of motherhood and the necessity for women to be publicly active on its behalf ensured that familial values and institutionalized mechanisms to protect them were firmly established within society, rendering women's own continued activity no longer necessary or desirable. Because clubwomen achieved their aims so effectively they found themselves no longer needed in their public role. This thesis examines the activities of a group of Vancouver women's organizations whose members were specifically concerned with achieving and then exercizing their citizenship rights on behalf of women and children between 1910 and 1928. Both before and after this eighteen year period, a multitude of women's organizations concerned themselves with a variety of issues which affected society in general and often women and children in particular. Continuity before and after the period and in 3 terms both of club involvement and public agitation for reform cannot be discounted, but the study will be confined to the period 1910-28 in an attempt to examine and explain the very strong emphasis on the dual concerns of womanhood and citizenship during these years. The advantages of such a focus, in terms of enlarging our understanding of this aspect of the early women's movement will, it is hoped, outweigh the disadvantages of under-estimating the continuities in women's organizational activities. Many of the clubmembers, and some of the clubs, were active in the battle for suffrage but this will not be interpreted either as the major end goal of their activities, nor as a starting point, but rather as one achievement along the way; an achievement that facilitated and inspired further action in the overall reform movement, the ultimate goal of which was the improvement, even perfection of society, through the participation of women in the decision making and administrative processes. A number of questions immediately spring to mind. What did clubwomen hope to achieve both in terms of individual reforms and in terms of their impact on society as a whole? What methods did they use in pursuit of these goals? What successes did they enjoy? Were large numbers of women involved or a small select group? Did they work alone or did they have the support of society as a whole? Why did they reach a stalemate in the mid-1920' s from which they were unable to extricate themselves? The focus of the study, and therefore the questions to be asked can be narrowed and refined by an examination of existing studies. 4 In other words, what do we already know about women, their' activities, their roles, their influence on Canadian society in the first quarter of the twentieth century? The potential and the importance of the study of women in historic context has been clearly demonstrated in the past decade. The growth of the modern feminist movement and a broadening of the boundaries of what is understood by the term "social history" have necessitated reassessment and further study of the roles that women have played in the development of modern society. Traditionally, history has dealt with power - political, financial, military; power that was wielded publicly and, in all but a few instances, by men. The "new" social history, of which women's history is an integral part, has rejected this former approach to the past and has been more concerned to reveal and analyze activities, experiences and relationships that have existed alongside public power structures. Rather than looking at governments, political leaders and public institutions, the new social history and women's history both have turned their sights towards "the causal patterns, the psychodynamics of private places: the household, the family, the bed, the nursery..." and to other variables, often ignored by conventional accounts, like gender, class, processes of social 5 change and popular beliefs and attitudes. 1 In little more than a decade, Canadian and American women's history has been enriched by a still growing body of bibliographical, historiographical and historical studies of its previously "neglected majority." 2 Early interest in Canadian women's history centred on women's emergence from the private sphere of home and family in the second half of the nineteenth century and into the more public world of women's clubs and organized reform. Small, local church groups were amongst the first public women's organizations, their goals directed outward to welfare and missionary work in foreign lands, rather than to the needy closer to home. 3 Mitchinson has claimed that these women did not see themselves as a part of the "women's movement" which was already strong in the United States and beginning to grow in Canada. Middle-class and conservative, they did not share the fears about the state of their own society that would soon motivate other women's groups. If they did little practical work within Canada, their organizations prior to the 1880's did at 1 Carrol Smith Rosenberg, "The New Woman and the New History," Feminist Studies 3:1/2 (Fall 1975) pp. 184-94; Veronica Strong-Boag, "Raising Clio's Consciousness: Women's History and Archives in Canada," Archivaia 6 (Summer 1978) pp. 70-71; Eliane Leslau Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History, '1970-82: an Historiographical Analysis," Canadian Historical Review 63:4 (December 1982) p. 514. 2 Eliane Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History," p. 513 notes that almost 200 articles and books in women's history have appeared in Canada in the last dozen years. 3 Wendy Mitchinson, "Canadian Women and Church Missionary Societies: A Step Towards Independence," Atlant i s 2:2 part 2 (Spring 1977) pp. 57-75. 6 least bring them out of the confines of the home - a new experience for many. Shielded by the respectability of the church, they were able to increase their organizational and administrative skills and gain confidence in their own abilities. Mitchinson and Strong-Boag both credit these early church groups with laying the ground work for the later proliferation of national women's associations. * And proliferation it was, for by the 1890's, middle-class women were banding together in unprecedented numbers to preserve and strengthen a society that they felt was seriously threatened by rapid immigration, industrialization and urbanization and the social problems which these forces were creating. 5 The Young Women's Christian Organization (YWCA) and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), already well established in the United States, began to spread across Canada at this time with local, provincial and national affiliations. The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) which was to become the Canadian women's reform organization par excellence was established in 1893 and immediately began to organize local Councils across the nation, * Ibid., p. 58; Veronica Strong-Boag. "Setting the Stage: National Organization and the Women's Movement in the late Nineteenth Century," in Alison Prentice and Susan Mann Trofimenkoff, eds., The Neglected Majority: Essays in Canadian Women's History (Toronto: McClelland and Steward, 1977), p. 87. 5 See Veronica Strong-Boag, The Parliament of Women: The National  Council of Women of Canada 1893-1929 (Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1976), ch.1. for a more detailed examination of the forces which prompted women to organize. 7 to be followed shortly by the Women's Institutes. 6 In addition there were numerous local organizations concerned with improving conditions for good family life, and establishing systems of child and family welfare. The rationale behind much of this activity was the ideology that has become most commonly known as "maternal feminism." Not a clearly defined philosophy but rather composed of a cluster of connected beliefs and goals, maternal feminism was given impetus by the general reform climate of the Canadian progressive era of 1880-1929. Without actually naming it as such, Strong-Boag has effectively described maternal feminism, its bases and its aims, in a discussion of the factors which prompted Canadian women to organize at the turn of the century. 7 One crucial factor was time. To be active outside of the home required freedom from women's traditional home tasks. 8 The growth of urbanization and 6 Ibid., ch. 2; Terrence Morrison, "Their Proper Sphere: Feminism, the Family and Child-Centred Social Reform in Ontario, 1875-1900," Ontario History 68:1 (March 1976) pp. 45-64 and 68:2 (June 1976) pp. 65-74. Nancy Sheehan, "Temperance, the WCTU and Education in Alberta, 1905-1930" (Ph.D. thesis, University of Alberta, 1980); Wendy Mitchinson, "The Woman's Christian Temperance Union; A Study in Organization," Internat ional  Journal of Women's Studies 4 (March/April 1981 ) pp. 143-56; Carol Dennison, "The Women's Institutes in British Columbia 1909-1946: Housewives 'For Home and Country'" (M.A. thesis, University of Victoria, 1983). 7 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, ch. 1. 8 See Ruth Schwartz Cowan, "The 'Industrial Revolution' in the Home: Household Technology and Social Change in the Twentieth Century," Technology and Culture 1.7 (1976) pp. 1-23; Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place: A History of Changing Ideals and  Practices 1870 to the Present(New York: Basic Books, 1978), pp. 14-21. Jennifer Stoddart and Veronica Strong-Boag, "...And Things Were Going Wrong at Home," Atlantis 1:1 (Fall 1975) pp. 38-44; Barbara Roberts, "'A Work of Empire': Canadian Reformers and British Female Immigration," in Linda Kealey, ed., A Not  Unreasonable Claim: Women and Reform in Canada, I880's-l920s (Toronto: The Women's'Press, 1979), pp. 185-201; 8 household technology and the availability of domestic help provided some measure of freedom. More importantly, women who became involved in reform were not tied down by the responsiblities of childraising. The majority were either single or had families past the age when they required constant care. Education was important too. Increased educational opportunities produced women with the confidence and ability to function outside of the home and while women met with strong resistance when they tried to enter traditional male professions such as medicine and law, separate and often new professions were opened to them - nursing, teaching, home economics, library professions, and social science jobs. 9 All of these new areas were closely related to traditional female tasks of nurturing; an extension of "mothering" from the home to the public sphere. In this exodus from the home women were encouraged by masculine models. The progressive era produced men such as James L. Hughes and John J. Kelso who also pressed for the sort of community activity on behalf of the poor, the weak and the helpless that 9 Veronica Strong-Boag, "Canada's Women Doctors: Feminism Constrained," in Kealey, A Not Unreasonable Claim, pp. 109-130; Wayne Roberts," 'Rocking the Cradle for the World': The New Woman and Maternal Feminism, Toronto, 1877-1914," Kealey, A Not  Unreasonable Claim, pp. 27-40; Margaret Gillet, We Walked Very  Warily: A History of Women at McGill (Montreal: Eden Press Women's Publication, 1981). 9 women's clubs were beginning to undertake.10 Religious belief too was a factor. In the mid years of the nineteenth century it initially drew women from their homes and into women's clubs. By the close of the century the rise of the social gospel movement led both male and female church members to crusade for a variety of social reforms.11 Finally, similar factors were influencing American and European society. Through personal contacts and travel, many Canadian women were aware of the situation elsewhere and were able to relate both problems and projected solutions in other societies to those in their own. Terrence Morrison has dealt more specifically with the tenets and development of maternal feminism that resulted from the gulf between the state of society in the late nineteenth century and middle-class perceptions of what it could and should be. He has also identified a separate and in many respects quite different form of feminism - equal' rights feminism. Supporters of this ideology pursued the goal, apparently simple but in reality complex, of total equality between men and women. By the early years of the twentieth century virtually all Canadian women reformers belonged to the former group. They saw the 10 A whole separate literature exists on the topic. For instance, see Bruce M. Carter, "James L. Hughes and the Gospel of Education" (Ed.D. thesis, University of Toronto, 1966); Andrew Jones and Leonard Rutman, In the Children's Aid: J.J. Kelso and  Child Welfare in Ontario (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981). Terrence Morrison, "The Child and Urban Social Reform in Late Nineteenth Century Ontario" (Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto, 1971) and Neil Sutherland, Children in English Canadian  Society 1880-1920: Framing the Twentieth Century Consensus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976) deal with reform more generally. 11 Richard Allen, The Social Passion: Religion and Social Reform in  Canada, 1914-1928 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965). 1 0 family as a "lifesaving institution" and ventured outside of the home as "spokesmen for a new familial order in society."12 As they edged beyond domesticity, they sought to perform for the larger society the same tasks of mothering and maintenance that they performed within their own homes. Although they used the word "equality", to them the vote was primarily a tool to ensure the success of their reform objectives. Morrison has pointed out that the basic distinction between the two types of feminism lies in the fact that the equal rights feminists made demands that can justly be classed as radical because of the far reaching effects they would have had on society had they been carried out, while maternal feminists were "conservative in impulse"'; their demands were directed towards preserving and perfecting the status quo. Moreover, the radicals seem to have been drawn from all levels of society while the conservatives were largely middle class in both structure and style.13 This difference has also been noted by Wayne Roberts in a biographic study of the early women's movement in Toronto. The three women he describes as radicals, Emily Stowe, Augusta Stowe-Gullen and Flora Macdonald Denison, were profoundly separated from progressive reformers like Helen MacMurchy, Florence Gooderham Huestis and Constance Hamilton.1" Moreover, the latter were active at an earlier period. One or two of the Terrence Morrison, "Their Proper Sphere," part 1, p. 51. Ibid., part 2, p. 72. Wayne Roberts, "Six New Women: A Guide to the Mental Map of Women Reformers in Toronto," Atlantis 3:3 (Autumn 1977) pp. 145-67. 11 more -aggressive Canadian feminists of the later period, for instance Nellie McClung in Alberta and Helen Gregory MacGill in British Columbia, mentioned female equality particularly in the legal sense but their objectives were framed in maternal feminist terms, and so they should be included in this category.15 In a later study, Roberts fails to make this distinction between equal rights and maternal feminism and consequently blames "the contradictory nature of maternal feminist aspirat ions... for the ultimately disappointing and limited ideological and political gains made by the first self conscious generation of women's activists in Canadian History."16 The suffrage campaign has been the focus of numerous studies both in the United States and in Canada, to the extent that the winning of the vote came to be seen as central to the early women's movement by some writers.17 This resulted from two factors. First, some women in the early women's movement came to believe that the vote would be the final reform that they would have to fight for. They believed that once the franchise was 15 See Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge: A Biography of Judge  Helen Gregory MacGill (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1955); Nellie McClung, In Times Like These, 2nd ed., with an introduction by Veronica Strong-Boag (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1 972) . 16 Wayne Roberts, "Rocking the Cradle for the World," p. 45. 17 The standard descriptive studies of suffrage in Canada and the United States respectively are Catherine Cleverdon, The Woman  Suffrage Movement in Canada, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1950) reprinted in f974 with an introduction by Ramsay Cook, and Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's  Rights Movement in the United States (Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 1968). 1 2 theirs, the reform and regeneration of society would be assured; woman would be man's equal and would have the power to legislate the world back to rights. Second, some feminist historians, seeking to explain the resurgence of feminism in recent years, and searching at the same time for their historical roots, naturally displayed an interest in the earlier women's movement. They too focussed on the suffrage campaign as being the area of women's history most obviously related to the present day concerns for equal rights. Many of these studies, however, suffered from limitations both practical and conceptual. They tended to accept at face value the claims of the suffragists that the vote would indeed result in major societal change and they limited their examinations to the campaign itself, both in terms of chronology and as a movement divorced from other aspects of everyday life. Thus the apparent failure of suffrage to achieve major changes in society left them at somewhat of a loss. They had no way of explaining how such an apparently vigorous and aggressive campaign had such little visible (as far as they were concerned) results,.or why the vigor and enthusiasm appeared to die so rapidly (to their way of thinking) once the vote was won. The result, in the Canadian context, was a reliance on unsatisfactory, even glib, conclusions as to the reasons for the "failure" of the early women's movement, such as "lack of vision", self-interested manipulation by male politicians, an undue emphasis on the maternal role and failure to develop a 1 3 feminist critique of existing society.18 American writers too, like Aileen Kraditor and William O'Neill tended to criticize American women suffragists for shallowness of vision.19 Each of these factors had some impact on the activities of organized women, but none is sufficient to explain the post-suffrage situation. Part of the problem lies in the definition of feminism. Some feminist historians have equated demands for the vote with demands for total equality and have therefore assumed that the granting of the vote should have resulted in much greater equality between the sexes than was actually the case. Because they did not understand or because they ignored the distinction between maternal and equal rights feminism they looked for the wrong results. The 'majority of suffragists were maternal feminists, striving to perfect the existing society rather than to remake it in a new mold, therefore it should not be surprising that no radical changes occurred once they had won the vote. More recently a group that Carol Bacchi has labelled "new revisionists" has begun to argue that it is necessary to understand women within the context of their time rather than 18 Linda Hale, "The British Columbia Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1917" (M.A. thesis, University of British Columbia, 1977), p. 26; Gloria Geller, "The Wartime Elections Act of 1917 and the Canadian Woman's Movement," Atlantis 2:1 (Fall 1976) pp. 105-6; Carol Bacchi, "Liberation Deferred: the Ideas of the English-Canadian Suffragists, 1877-1913," Histoire Sociale/Social  History 10:20 (November 1977) p. 434. 19 Aileen Kraditor, The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965); William O^Neill, Everyone was Brave: a History of Feminism in America (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969). 1 4 judging them by presentist standards.20 Thus some studies, like Bacchi's own "First Wave Feminism" are coming to see suffragists in a slightly more radical light than previously. The maternal feminist desire "to preserve the family and..not [to] challenge the priority of woman's maternal function" was, the new revisionists argue, a basically conservative move. However, they are now coming to see the simultaneous thrust by women reformers towards a more public role in preserving the primacy of motherhood as radical because it involved a significant extension of women's previously accepted role. The question of whether non-radical change took place after suffrage is, however, another matter, and one that has recently engaged the interest of a number of writers. A decade ago, a study by the American writer J. Stanley Lemons ventured into the field of post-suffrage reform activity.21 Its aim was to investigate American feminism in the 1920's, a conscious departure from the heavy emphasis on suffrage that characterized most other contemporary studies. In contrast to these studies, Carol Bacchi,"First Wave Feminism; History's Judgement," in Norma Grieve and Patricia Grimshaw, eds., Australian Women:  Feminist Perspectives (Melbourne, Oxford Universty Press, 1981 ) . Bacchi herself has almost reversed her opinions since the mid-1970' s. Her recent monograph Liberation Deferred? The Ideas of  the English-Canadian Suffragists, 1877-1918 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983) represents i midpoint between her present and former opinion. See also Ellen DuBois, "The Radicalism of the Woman Suffrage Movement: Notes Toward the Reconstruction of Nineteenth-Century Feminism," Feminist Studies 3:1/2 (Fall 1975) pp. 63-71 and DuBois, Feminism and Suffrage:  The Emergence of an Independent Woman's Movement in America,  1848-1869 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978) . J.Stanley Lemons, The Woman as Citizen: Social Feminism in the  1920's (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1973). 1 5 Lemons concluded that feminism did not die after suffrage but rather that maternal feminism constituted an important link in the reform chain from the Progressive era to the New Deal. Women's activity, he claimed, slowed in the mid-1920's following the Supreme Court decision which reversed much newly enacted social legislation and the defeat of the Progressive Party in the 1924 elections. But he identified organized social feminists as one of the few segments of society that continued to promote reform during a period when the larger Progressive movement was fragmenting under the pressures of world-wide issues of war and peace. Up until the mid 1920's, Lemons identified as high a level of activity as in the pre-suffrage period. It was only after this time, he claimed, that success in reform began to elude feminists, forcing them onto the defensive until the introduction of the New Deal.22 During this latter period, "instead of being able to count the number of reforms won they often had to be satisfied with preventing mischief."23 Some recent Canadian studies have taken a slightly different approach. Rather than specifically following the activities of organized clubwomen in the tradition of Strong-Boag' s The Parliament of Women, they have approached post-suffrage activity from the point of view of changing attitudes to women's role in society which resulted in changing goals and practices and have traced the rapid rise of the child raising 22 Ibid., chs. 7,8. 23 Ibid., p. 229. 1 6 "expert" in the years after the First World War.2" Strongly influenced by behaviorism and the new social sciences, doctors, teachers, and the "new professionals" in fields like social welfare and psychology blamed haphazard traditional childraising methods for many of society's ills and claimed that only they could show mothers the correct scientific methods of childraising that would produce a new generation of healthy well adjusted citizens.25 "A new vision of society required a new family, the mother submissive to a national ideology of order," claims Silverman but questions whether women's acquiescence to the demands of this new, home-centred role was as general as it appeared.2 6 Along with advice from professionals, destitute mothers in the 1920's were increasingly offered financial assistance, no longer as charity but by the state, as "payment for services rendered" in bringing up future citizens. In.the second half of the 1910's most provinces passed Mothers' Pension legislation. Strong-Boag has noted that "the fact that the state chose to Veronica Strong-Boag,. "Intruders in the Nursery: Childcare Professionals Reshape"' the Years One to five, 1 920-1940," in Joy Parr ed., Childhood and Family in Canadian History (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1982), pp. 160-178; Norah Lewis, "Advising the Parents: Childrearing in British Columbia in the Interwar Years" (Ed.D. thesis, University of British Columbia, 1980). See Patricia Rooke and Rudi Schnell, "Child Welfare in English Canada, 1920-1943," Social Service Review 5:33 (September 1981) pp. 485-506; Rooke and Schnell, "The Rise and Decline of British North America Protestant Children's Homes as Woman's Domain 1850-1930," Atlantis 7:2 (Spring 1982) pp. 21-35; James Struthers, "A Profession in Crisis: Charlotte Whitton and Canadian Social Service in the 1930's," Canadian Historical  Review, 62:2 (June 1981) pp. 169-85. Eliane Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History," p. 518. 1 7 recognize needy female citizens almost solely in their capacity as mothers reflected how far women had yet to go."27 But clubwomen's support of and delight at the achievement of pensions, in British Columbia at least, indicates that they placed far more stress on the fact that the maternal role was being publicly recognised than on the issue of whether or not women were achieving greater independence and freedom as persons. Likewise, the workplace in the 1920's was the target for legislation, in the form of minimum wages and rudimentary inspection and control of factories, which clubwomen praised as an advance but which many working women found made little difference to their social and economic status.28 Perhaps one of the crucial questions for future research in these areas lies in the differences in perception of both the problems and the solutions by middle-class maternal feminist reformers and the working class women who were the objects of the former reform Veronica Strong-Boag, "Canada's Early Experience with Income Supplements: The Introduction of Mothers' Allowances," Atlantis 4:2 (Spring 1972) p. 43; see also Strong-Boag, '"Wages for Housework': Mothers' Allowances and the Beginnings of Social Security in Canada," Journal of Canadian Studies 14:1 (Spring 1979), pp. 24-34. See Susan Mann Trofimenkoff, "102 Muffled Voices: Canada's Industrial Women in the 1880's," Atlantis 3:1 (Autumn 1977) pp. 66-83; Linda Bohen, "Women Workers in Ontario: A Socio-Legal History," University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review 31 (August 1973) pp. 45-74; Graham S. Lowe, "Class, Job and Gender in the Canadian Office," Labour/Le Travailleur 10 (Autumn 1982) pp. 11-37; Star Rosenthal, "Union Maids: Organized Women Workers in Vancouver, 1900-1915," B C Studies 41 (Spring 1979) pp. 36-55; Jean Sangster, "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike: Organizing Women Workers," Labour/Le Travailleur 3 (1978) pp. 109-30. 18 activity. As Strong-Boag has pointed out, "The all-too-familiar hardships of blue collar labour energized a new generation of women workers" while maternal feminist reformers signally failed to do so.29 The idealism of maternal feminism was a remnant of a previous generation and worldview that appears to have been unable to adapt to a changing social and economic order which crept upon it unawares just as its proponents began to feel that they were achieving success. Some Americans have dealt with attitudes to women and their relation to societal changes as part of the broader study of changing sex roles in the past century. Barbara Welter's study of the "cult of true womanhood" stood alone in this field for nearly two decades.30 Later studies confirmed her findings to a certain degree, particularly in reference to the qualities that came to be seen as desirable in a woman in the middle of the nineteenth century. But its chief weakness lay in the fact that it did not allow women any active part in determining their own role; Welter saw female roles as largely a male imposition. More recent studies have attempted to analyze sex roles within a much broader context. Peter Filene in Him/Her/Self, for instance, illustrates the importance of studying both male and female roles together, pointing out that changes in role were not simply a result of societal change but were influenced also Veronica Strong-Boag, "The Girl of the New Day: Canadian Working Women in the 1920's," Labour/Le Travailleur 4(1979) p.163. Barbara Walter, "The Cult of True Womenhood, 1820-1860," American Quarterly 18:2, part 1 (Summer 1966) pp. 151-74. 1 9 by the interaction of changing perceptions and actions of the sexes, themselves.31 Thus he sees the emphasis on a nurturing feminine role within the home as balanced by the increasing demands for assertive masculinity within the male sphere of business and public life in the third quarter of the last century. But, he maintains, by the early twentieth century, the American dream of rags-to-riches success through personal effort became increasingly impossible to attain and a tension began to grow between the former male and female spheres and roles which, in turn, became less and less able to answer the needs of the sexes. Male frustration in the face of growing corporate and bureaucratic structures was to some extent purged by the aggression of the First World War and the result was a change in sex roles in the 1920's, culminating in the idea of the companionate marriage in which both partners would play a more equal role in creating a protective and supportive environment for themselves and their families. But such a change required time for consolidation of beliefs and perceptions and for working out new divisions in responsibility, and time was working against the new men and women of the 20's. Few, Filene claims, managed to make the change with any success before the sudden onset of the great depression set society once more on its heels and pushed concern for changing sex roles into the background; the struggle for survival was now utmost in the 31 Peter Filene, Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch, 1974). 3 2 Ibid., ch. 5. 20 nation's collective psyche.32 Him/Her/Self stands alone in attempting to chart and explain the changes in the roles of both sexes; most studies have confined themselves to women's roles alone. Carl Degler, for instance, identifies what he calls a basic tension between women's roles as individuals and as mothers.33 The historic family, he claims depended "for its existence and character on women's subordination" and despite all attempts in the past century to increase female autonomy and equality he notes that women's lives are still, in the main, shaped around the family. Sheila Rothman has also dealt with the effect of changing attitudes and beliefs about women and the roles they play in society.3" She sees the ideology of educated motherhood leading to political activity on the part of American women once the vote was won. But when woman-supported legislation, such as the T921 Shepard-Towner Act which was intended to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates, and acts to control hours and work conditions, widows' pensions and the like did not develop as anticipated, she sees women slipping back once more into a predominantly domestic role, albeit a different one to that of the previous generation. Like Filene, she has identified a much greater emphasis on woman as wife and companion in the 1920's than had been the case in the previous century. 33 Carl N. Degler, At Odds: Women and Family in America from the  Revolution to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980) . 3" Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place, p. 177. 21 William Chafe's study purposely • dealt with the period immediately after the winning of the franchise, in an attempt to correct what Degler has called "the suffrage orientation of women's rights studies".35 Chafe surveys women's participation in politics, industry, professions and other aspects of American life in order to identify and account for changing social, and political roles in the post-suffrage period. He concludes that women failed to achieve equality with suffrage because they "seriously over-estimated the impact of the ballot on the structure of relationships between the sexes."36 Nevertheless, he does not see this failure as the end of women's public activity, merely as yet another factor that effected continuing change and development in women's sex roles.37 Studies of changing sex roles have not produced a complete answer to the question of what reform-minded women did after suffrage, nor of the impact that their actions, or lack of them, had on the wider society. But they have illuminated important Quoted in Estelle Freedman, "The New Woman: Changing Views of Women in the 1920's," Journal of American History 61 (September 1974) p. 392. William Chafe, The American Women: Her Changing Social Economic  and Political Roles,' 1920-1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972). Elaine Tyler May, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in  Post Victorian America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); William Leach, True Love and Perfect Union (New York: Basic Books, ' 1980); Lois Scharf, To Work and to Wed: Female  Employment, Feminism and the Great Depression (Westpoint, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973). Two recent Canadian studies of the same genre but dealing with a much earlier time period are Sylvia Van Kirk, "Many Tender Ties": Women in Fur Trade Society (Winnipeg: Watson & Dwyer, 1980) and Jennifer Brown, Strangers in Blood:  Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country (VancouverUniversity of British Columbia Press, 1980). 22 continuities as well as discontinuities between the end of the progressive era and the start of the modern era. Both Filene and Rothman have noted important changes in expectations, attitudes and roles in the 1920's which help to explain the sorts of activities that women engaged in as well as the results of these actions. They also clarify the fact that these changes did not take place solely in relation to women; major changes took place that affected the whole of society, institutions and individuals, in private life and in public life, for men, women and children. These American studies are valuable to Canadian historians from the point of view of indicating possibilities for future research as well as in indicating broad trends and influences in American society. However, they must be used with caution in the Canadian context for neither specific situations nor broad trends were identical in the two countries. For instance, the set-back that American reformers received with the Supreme Court decisions on legislation such as the Shepard-Towner Act was not paralleled in Canada, neither was the movement in the 1920's toward changed sex roles so pronounced. It should be noted at this point perhaps that the dichotomy which exists between the French and English sectors of Canadian society is also to be found in the writing of the history of its women. This is partly due to differences in culture which resulted in differing situations and differing sequences of experiences for women in the two societies and makes comparisons 23 between the two difficult, if not impossible. The movement by middle-class women out of the home at the end of the 19th century that has been the centre of so many English Canadian studies was not so pronounced in Quebec. Nevertheless, these women too formed organizations, had aspirations and experienced changes in attitudes towards their roles as women, wives and mothers. Their experience has formed the basis for a lively and expanding literature. The role of women in religious orders has been seen as an alternative to the limited choices of immigration, domestic service or marriage and continual pregnancy, offering some measure of autonomy and the possibility of a better education.38 And the relationship between nuns and organized groups of laywomen at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century has been seen as responsible for the growth of a certain measure of social feminism before reaction from the conservative and powerful church and clergy brought the movement to a halt after"World War One.39 The recent publication of L'histoire des femmes au Quebec  depuis quatre siecles, has marked a milestone in women's Danielle Juteau-Lee, "Les Religieuses du Quebec: leur influence sur la vie professionelle des femmes, 1908-1954," Atlantis 5:2 (Spring 1980) pp. 22-33; D. Suzanne Cross, "The Neglected Majority: the Changing Role of Women in Nineteenth Century Montreal," in Linda Kealey, ed., The Neglected Majority, pp. 67-86; Micheline Dumont-Johnson, "Les communautes religieuses et la condition feminine," Recherches sociographiques 19:1 (janvier-avril 1978) pp. 79-102. Marta Danylowycz, "Changing Relationships: Nuns and Feminism in Montreal, 1890-1925," "Histoire Sociale/Social History 14:28 (November 1981) pp. 213-234; Marie Lavigne, Yolande Pinard and Jennifer Stpddart, "The Federation Nationale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the Woman's Movement in Quebec," in Linda Kealey, ed., A Not  Unreasonable Claim, pp. 71-88. 24 history, both in scope and approach."0 Covering changing conditions of work, reproduction, public policy, legal status, ideology and culture in relation to the lives of women, the authors have rejected traditional politically oriented periodization and instead ordered the structure of their study around categories that relate more closely to women and their changing roles within society. A number of questions then, are suggested by the literature, which may be pursued through a study of women's reform activity in the period 1910-1928. British Columbia is well suited as a case study for the Canadian context. As the fourth province to gain the female franchise it can be seen as representative - it was neither a radical leader nor a tail-end follower coming into line merely because suffrage was a fait  accompli elsewhere. The organizations to which British Columbia women belonged and through which they worked for reform were comparable or identical to those across the nation - the Local Council of Women (LCW), WCTU, Women's Institutes, suffrage, political and citizenship societies. Through national affiliations and personal contacts, women throughout English-speaking Canada were in touch with each other's activities and shared common goals. The results of their activity in the form of new legislation and welfare services for women and children 40 Le Collectif Clio, L'Histoire des femmes au Quebec depuis quatre  siecles, (Montrel: Les Quinze, 1982). \ 25 were also similar across the nation. The question of mothers' pensions, equal guardianship, changes in divorce and marriage laws and minimum wages for women, for instance, came before the legislatures of most provinces in the 1920's. Despite the claims of Helen MacGill in 1928 that "British Columbia... from being the most backward of Provinces, today leads in social legislation", this was obviously not the case."' There is no reason to believe that the province was significantly different from the rest of English Canada, particularly the five provinces west of Quebec."2 Concentration on a single city within the province facilitates a deeper exploration of the motives, methods and individuals involved in reform. Vancouver's position as the major urban centre in the province^ and the third largest city in Canada also allows generalizations to be made in the national and even international context. The existing literature provides a fairly comprehensive account and explanation of many aspects of the early twentieth century women's movement, but some gaps exist and some questions have either been answered unsatisfactorily or remain as yet unanswered. An examination of a group of similar yet distinct 41 Helen MacGill, Laws for Women and Children in British Columbia (Victoria: n.p., 1928) p. 6. 42 The maritime provinces and Quebec were generally slower to act. For example, Nova Scotia did not pass Mothers' Pensions legislation until 1930, Quebec did so in 1937 and New Brunswick, although it had an act on the books in 1930, did not actually distribute any pensions till 1940. On the other hand all provinces, except Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick had women's minimum wage legislation by 1920, but Nova Scotia and Quebec did not appoint regulatory boards until 1927 and 1930 respect ively. 26 women's clubs at the local level offers an opportunity to fill some gaps and pursue such questions. This thesis concerns itself with four such areas. The first is social class and the relationships between and within class that form the structural foundations of society. The majority of women involved in reform have been categorized as middle class by a number of studies. But reform was directed not only at factors which predominantly affected middle-class women's own lives but also at problems which existed for working-class women. Morrison has claimed that in the nineteenth-century maternal feminism "helped middle class women in the feminist movement to reconcile the preservation of their own class interest in maintaining the status quo with the urgings of a humanitarian conscience. The end result was a form of social action designed to alter not society but society's victims.'"13 By the 1920's, women still had no clear and concise philosophy of an equality that would transcend both sex and class, but their concern for reforms such as the minimum wage and mothers' pensions seems to have been based on more than simply a wish to preserve the status quo for themselves, at least in the British Columbia context. Clubwomen did not appear consciously to differentiate between reform for themselves and reform for working-class women, possibly because they held so strongly the idea of the oneness of womanhood. In other words, their belief in the tenets of maternal feminism appears to have "3 Terrence Morrison, "Their Proper Sphere," pp. 73-74. 27 been so strong that it could sometimes overcome their awareness of class, at least temporarily. Working-class women too, from time to time, felt a sense of the sisterhood of all women that prompted them to enlist the aid of or give support to middle-class clubwomen in specific campaigns. Their motivation for seeking reforms such as mothers' pensions and minimum wages stemmed from the desire to remove some of the worst hardships of their everyday lives and to achieve for themselves some measure of justice and the opportunity to live decently. Class factors normally kept the two groups far apart physically, socially, economically and ideologically, but there was some overlap and co-operation on issues that were perceived as important by both, albeit for different reasons. What factors needed to be in operation to allow this co-operation? How did each group perceive the other during periods when no co-operation was taking place? Was it only a feeling of sisterhood that brought them together or was the support of male pressure groups just as important and welcome? 44 Those studies that place the majority of women concerned with reform as "middle-class" have tended to look largely at leaders rather than at rank and file members.45 Were both groups identical or did the latter represent a different stratum of 44 Estelle Freedman, "Separatism as Strategy: Female Institution Building and American Feminism, 1870-1930," Feminist Studies 5:3 (Fall 1979) p. 524. 28 society and did they perhaps bring slightly different attitudes and goals to- club directed reform? In the Canadian context "middle-class" is used to describe almost half of the population; it includes wide differences in economic conditions, religion, educational standards, social status and individual ability. An attempt at a more precise definition or description of both clubmembers and class would seem appropriate."6 The second theme follows closely from these last questions and concerns the structure of the clubs and their methods of working. Strong-Boag has shown in her study of the NCWC both the structure it had and the problems that arose from it. LCW's in Vancouver and Victoria were amongst ' the most active reform associations in the province in the second and third decades of the century. Also of some importance, because of their age and international affiliations, were the WCTU, Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire (IODE), YWCA and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). There were also a number of small but active local clubs that were formed in the later Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, ch. 4; Carol Bacchi, Liberation Deferred? p. 5; Wayne Roberts, "'Rocking the Cradle for the World'", p. 26; Dianne Crossley, "The B.C. Liberal Party and Women's Reforms," in Barbara Latham and Cathy Kess, eds., In  Her Own Right: Selected Essays on Women's History in B.C." (Victoria: Camosun College ,1980) p~! 2 30; Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society: Framing the Twentieth  Century Consensus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, f976), p. 1 4. Carol Dennison, "Women's Institutes in B.C.," p. 65 and Eliane Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History," p. 525, have both questioned the definition (or lack of it) of the term 'middle-class' and whether indeed the majority of club women were from this level of society. 29 years of the suffrage campaign and after the vote was won particularly in Vancouver and Victoria - the New Era League, the Woman's Forum, the Pioneer Political Equality League, the Women Voters' League, the British Progressive League, University Women's Clubs, to name a few. Each was independent although many were affiliated with each other. In their pursuit of reform, these clubs would most commonly prepare a resolution which would then be sent to one or all of the other groups for discussion and endorsement and finally forwarded to the municipal or provincial government. This would often be followed by a deputation to City Hall or to Victoria with representation from some or all of the organizations. In some cases it took very little pressure of this kind before legislation was passed or by-laws changed. In others, considerable time and often acrimonious debate between government and women's organizations was necessary before any reform was forthcoming. Strong-Boag has pointed out the weakness of this method at the national level, because of the size of the NCWC, the wide range of interests it tried to represent and the rigidity of its executive structure."7 Were the same problems apparent at the local level in British Columbia? Certainly the first two factors were not as strong. Membership numbers were obviously smaller and there was greater unity in the sense that most of these organizations had similar reform goals whereas affiliates of NCWC represented the whole spectrum of women's clubs. The LCW, "7 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 409-24. 30 of course, also represented a wide range of clubs. The third factor may well be important. The executives of nearly all these clubs appear to have been formed from a single group of women. That is, the names of the executive members are very similar from club to club although the actual position held varied. Was it the case that in British Columbia as in the national context, a small group imposed their ideas on a larger club membership? Or was it the case that a group with greater leadership skills, ability or commitment gravitated naturally into positions of leadership? Was the rigidity that Strong-Boag identified, a factor in club organization at this level? Was it responsible for the slowing down of activity that is evident by the mid-1920' s? Or was this due to other factors, such as a diminution of sympathy and support on the part of political parties once they realized that a women's bloc vote was no threat politically? Was it due simply to a weakening of the strength or number of reform demands in general? Or did all factors have some effect? A third important factor to take into account in this study is that of periodization. Traditional historians have looked at the 1920's in two ways. If their interest is primarily political or economic, they have seen it as a relatively quiet interval between the two world-shattering events of the Great War and the Depression, or, if they have been more socially oriented they have portrayed the period, often superficially and almost simple-mindedly as the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, a time of prohibition, Fords and Flappers. Joan Kelly-Gadol has pointed 31 out that periods in history and their significance have previously been assessed from the point of view of men, but significant turning points need not have the same impact for one sex as for the other."8 Therefore, although the War and the Depression had some impact on women's reform activities, it is also important to examine the period outside of these rigid boundaries if we are to understand women's history and, more particularly, the development of the women's movement at this t ime. An over-strong emphasis on suffrage <by some women's historians has also militated against a true understanding of the movement as a whole. To look at women only before or after suffrage is to see only half of the picture. The majority of women's reform organizations were established before the vote was won, some of them many years before. Pro-suffrage agitation was only one of their activities and, once this had been achieved they moved on to other reform. Leila Rupp has suggested the value of using the themes and conceptual frameworks so far developed by studies in nineteenth century women's history for exploring previously untouched topics in the twentieth century."9 Certainly we must bear in mind that women in the 1920's had strong connections with the Joan Kelly-Gadol, "The Social Relation of the Sexes: Methodological Implications of Women's History," S i gns 1:4 Summer 1976) pp. 810-12. Leila Rupp, "Reflections on Twentieth-Century American Women's History," Reviews in American History 9:2 (June 1981) p. 275. 32 previous century. The majority of clubmembers were born in the nineteenth century, they grew to maturity and developed their own personal beliefs and values under the influence of nineteenth-century society. If we also take into account studies like those of Filene and Rothman that pinpoint the 1920's as a time of major change in sex roles, theoretically if not always in practice, then we should definitely be looking at clubwomen of the period 1910-1928 as the generation who spanned this major change. From the point of view of women then, the 1920's was not a quiet interval between more important events but a significant period in its own right. The fourth and final theme concerns the problem of generations. Many clubwomen of the period were middle aged, particularly the leaders most of whom had been active for a decade and sometimes more, before suffrage and other reforms were won. The question of age is important. Did these women become publicly active because they had grown up in a period when radical feminists were more numerous and when the progressive era and its reforms were in full swing? Was their activism a continuation of patterns established in their early years? Or had they only moved into club work as their families grew past early childhood and needed less and less of their time? Did they come to have more time because their husbands, by middle age, were firmly established in their businesses or professions and could afford to provide them with household help and the new household technology that was becoming available? Or were these women well-educated individuals who had never 33 actually taken jobs but instead turned their energies from an early age to clubwork as an unpaid and socially acceptable alternative? Probably all three factors were significant. Finally, what about younger women, those between the ages of, say, twenty and thirty-five? Did they follow the older generation into clublife and reform work? Both Canadian and American studies indicate that numbers of them would have been well educated and trained for careers in the expanding but still limited sphere open to women - teaching, nursing, librarianship, journalism and so on. They probably worked until marriage but then settled down into motherhood and housework. Did they have time for clubwork, even if they wanted to be involved in it? Or did they eschew the club world of their mothers totally, preferring the role of companionate wife and mother, seeing themselves as members of a new generation of women having little or nothing in common with their mothers? Estelle Freedman suggests that the decline in feminism in the 1920's is attributable to the devaluation of women's culture in general and separate female institutions in particular as women tried to assimilate into male institutions instead of working for equality through their own.50 Did younger women follow this path? Strong-Boag has noted that older feminists often felt betrayed by the younger women of the 1920's, indicating the existence of a wide gap between the values and beliefs of the two generations.51 This is another possible 50 Estelle Freedman, "Separatism as Strategy," p. 524. 51 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, p. 413. 34 explanation for the decline in reform activity during the 20's. With no younger women coming up through the ranks to take over leadership, there must necessarily have been a slow-down in activity as the leaders aged and retired. Class, club structure, periodization and the apparent lack of continuity between generations in the second decade of the twentieth century have been identified as important themes in the study of women in North American history. They are themes which raise a multitude of questions about the methods, motivation and aspirations of women reformers in the early twentieth century. A critical exploration of such themes in the context of a study of selected women's clubs in Vancouver should enable us to offer some answers and to make some further assessments of the short and long term effects that reform-minded women had on the society in which they lived and for which they had such high hopes. 35 Chapter 2 "AN INVESTMENT IN CIVIC WELFARE": VANCOUVER  WOMEN'S CLUBS, 1910~1928 The initial movement of women, in the second half of the nineteenth century, from the narrow sphere of the home to the wider sphere of public life was accomplished in large part by means of women's clubs. So too was the further push for equality that took place in the early years of the twentieth century as women's demands for equality of citizenship became more strident throughout the western world. The women of British Columbia were a part of this movement. Like many of their sisters across Canada, in the United States of America and in Britain, they seemed to gain a new momentum as the second decade of the new century began. In their quest for the means to carry out their desired role as civic housekeepers, they extended and revitalized their club network. 1 Many women's organizations offered members scope and opportunity for a wide range of reform-oriented activities. Amongst Vancouver clubs, a group of half a dozen stand out as unique in terms of their goals and levels of activity. The aims, structure and methods of organization of these clubs will form the basis of this chapter. 1 See Linda Hale, "The BC Woman Suffrage Movement", for a division of the British Columbia campaign into two distinct periods, before and after 1910. 36 By 1910, club life was already a factor in the life of the middle-class urban woman in British Columbia. Rural women too joined clubs, but the sparseness of population outside of the lower mainland of the province and the southern tip of Vancouver Island, as well as the rugged nature of most of British Columbia's terrain, mitigated against large scale organization of women. Country centres, large and small, often supported women's church groups or Women's Institutes, but the focus of these groups was on local issues, traditional philanthropy, and women's role within the home. Promoting a public role for women and seeking legislative change was not their major goal. 2 Urban women, the great majority of whom lived in or near the two major cities of Victoria and Vancouver, had far greater choice in terms of which clubs they could and would join. Historically, church associated clubs were the first to draw women outside of the home and well before 1910 many of the larger protestant churches had associated societies. Catholic women too were to be found in organizations attached to church-run institutions like St. Paul's Hospital and St. Anne's Convent. The YWCA, WCTU and the Order of Kings' Daughters had been active for well over a decade, giving scope to those women with a concern for the extension of Christian morality and charity throughout society, particularly in relation to the working class. There were clubs too, whose concern was mutual 2 For detailed examination of the ideology of the Woman's Institutes see Carol Dennison "The Women's Institutes in B.C.," ch. 1 . 37 support and financial help for women along the lines of male Lodges, for instance the Women's Benefit Association of the Maccabees (WBAM). Founded in the United States in 1892, by 1920 it boasted over 200,000 members in North America and ran a successful insurance benefit scheme for members and their dependents. Cultural clubs of many kinds also flourished, for instance the Art, Historical and Scientific Club, Women's Musical Club, and the Studio Club in Vancouver, and the Historical, Art and Literary Societies in Victoria. Acting as an umbrella organization for some though not all of these women's clubs was the LCW, connecting British Columbia women, through the NCWC with women across Canada and the world. While the majority of these groups had little or no interest in extending women's public role, two, the LCW and the WCTU, had been very active in these areas for some time, lobbying both for the vote and for changes in legislation that they considered was discriminatory to women. 3 The only major change that they managed to achieve prior to 1910 was the right for women to vote for and hold office on School Boards. Women in the older city of Victoria seemd more inclined or able to work for and to take advantage of this new right before 1910 than their sisters in the newer city of Vancouver. After this period though, the impetus for reform as well as much of the leadership of women's movement shifted to Vancouver (see Table 1). 3 Hale, "Suffrage," Ch. 1. 38 Table 1 Women School Trustees Prior to.1930 in Victoria and Vancouver Victoria Vancouver Mrs Maria Grant Mrs D. Reid 1895-96 1898-99 1899-1900 Mrs Marie McNaughton 1912-15 Mrs Helen Grant Mrs Irene Moody 1896-1903 1916-20 Mrs Dora Macaulay Mrs Margaret Jenkins 1910-27 1897-98 Mrs A.E. Angus 1902-19 1920-21 Miss Agnes Deans Cameron < Mrs Frances Eva Hopkins 1906 1923-28 Mrs Annie B. Jamieson 1928-34. Point Grey South Vancouver Mrs H.W. Riggs Mrs A. Woods 1924-25 1914-16 Mrs A.E. McPhee Mrs P. Easthope 1914-18 1 926-27 Mrs E. Waters 1923-25 Mrs M. Campbell 1 928 Source: Vancouver School Board. Annual Report 1928 pp. 9-10, 174-75, 194. *Point Grey and South Vancouver School Boards were amalgamated with Vancouver in 1928. 39 Three factors helped effect, the change of focus from one city to the other. The first was the rapid growth of Vancouver. During the five year period from 1908-1912 Vancouver's population increased 85% from 66,000 to 122,000. In the decade prior to 1908 Vancouver had slowly taken over from Victoria as the business centre of the province but this sudden and substantial leap forw.ard placed her very obviously in the lead. 4 By 1922 the greater Vancouver area held one third of the population of the entire province. 5 A sense of excitement and progress gripped Vancouverites in the early years of the twentieth century; a feeling that on the edge of the frontier a new city, which symbolized all that was modern and progressive, bigger and better, was growing day by day. This sense, not only of watching a city grow, but being a part of it was reflected in the jingle that was to be heard on many a resident's lips as the first decade of the new century drew to a close. In 1910, Vancouver then Will have 100,000 men. Move her, move her, Who? Vancouver! 6 Although they didn't rate a mention, half of those "100,000 men" were of course women. Many shared the sense of optimism that infected the male half of the population until the economic bust Robert McDonald, "Business Leaders in Early Vancouver, 1886-1914", (University of British Columbia, Ph.D Thesis, 1977), pp. 25-28; Margaret Ormsby, British Columbia: A History (Vancouver; MacMillan Co, 1958), pp. 354-56. Ibid., p. 418. Quoted in Alan Morley, Vancouver: From Milltown to Metropolis (Vancouver: Mitchell Press" 1961), p~i 121. 40 of 1912 set the city back on its heels. 7 Many of them had travelled halfway across the continent, even halfway across the world, with their families to be a part of the growing new city and they brought with them to their clubs the same enthusiasm that their male relatives brought to the city's business life. The second factor which helped to place Vancouver in the forefront of provincial reform concerned leadership of women's clubs. Those Vancouver women who moved into leadership positions in established clubs or who established new groups after the turn of the century were, on the whole, younger than the former leaders, many of whom had been active for long periods. Also, they were often relatively newly arrived in the city. 8 The age difference was not a full generation but was nevertheless sufficient to distinguish the newcomers as part of a cohort whose experience and outlook were somewhat different to that of their predecessors. 9 Victoria with its more static population did not experience a similar change in leadership. The Victoria LCW, for example, contained, as late as 1920, a core of women who had been in those positions for up to twenty years. The interests of the new leaders had a much wider base than those of their forerunners.10 Suffrage was an important part of their 7 Margaret Ormsby, British Columbia: A History, 367, 384. 8 The ten Vancouver women whom Hale identifies as being suffrage leaders and who were also active in extending other aspects of women's citizenship, were all born elsewhere. Seven arrived between 1902 and 1911; the other three arrived between 1889 and 1892; Hale, "Suffrage", pp. 145-46. 9 The mean birth year of Hale's first group of suffrage workers is 1.851 while that of the ten Vancouver women of the second group is 1872. 41 platform as it had been with the older leaders but so too was the extension of women's influence throughout the public realm. They placed as much if not more importance on changing legislation for women and children and educating women to take an equal place in public and political life as they did on gaining the vote. To them the franchise was not simply a tool by means of which other reforms would automatically be gained; it was one of many issues which required their active support and participation. The third factor, which added new life to the province-wide suffrage campaign and encouraged reform-minded women of all types was the general upsurge in the women's movement throughout the western world after about 1910. The women of neighbouring Washington State were granted the franchise in state elections in October of that year - the first extension of female voting rights in the United States since 1896. Within. Canada itself, campaigns for the vote were underway in several provinces, the activities of the prairie women being particularly noticeable.11 Meanwhile, in Britain, the radical Suffragettes had begun to 10 Susan Crease, who was a founding member of the Victoria LCW in 1894, was president from 1911-21 and again from 1923-32. On her retirement from the position she was 76. 11 See Carol Bacchi, "Divided Allegiances: The Response of Farm and Labor Women to Suffrage," in Linda Kealey, ed., A Not  Unreasonable Claim, pp 89-107; Veronica Strong-Boag, "Canadian Feminism in the 1920s: The Case of Nellie L. McClung," Journal  of Canadian Studies 12:4 (Summer 1977) pp. 58-68. 42 attract not only national but international attention.12 The women of Vancouver, working in loose conjunction with their sisters in Victoria and New Westminster and occasionally with groups from the larger interior cities like Vernon and Nelson, were concerned with only a provincial campaign.13 Nevertheless, they were very much aware of, and frequently in contact with their counterparts across Canada. They also followed with interest', though not always with agreement, the campaigns in the United States and Britain.1" Vancouver women concurred with the Suffragettes' aims but could not condone their radical methods. In British Columbia by 1910 then, it was the women's clubs of Vancouver, who led the province in the field of reform both in terms of the energy of their leadership and also in the size and number of reform organizations. A group of six clubs stand out from the rest by virtue of their emphasis on the extension of women's role in the life of the community. The Local Council of Women (LCW), the University Women's Club (UWC), the New Era League (NEL) and its offshoot the British Progressive League (BPL), the Women's Forum (WF) and the Vancouver Women's Building Company shared a common goal in that they all aimed, by education and example to widen and strengthen woman's role in See Duncan Crow, The Edwardian Woman (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1971), Chi-! 5,13, for an account of the British situation; see also Deborah Goreham, "English Militancy and the Canadian Suffrage Movement," Atlantis 1:1 (Fall 1975), pp. 83-112. Because the British North America Act placed the provincial franchise outside the jurisdiction of the federal government, women's organizations considered that provincial campaigns would be more likely to succeed than a single national campaign. Vancouver University Women's Club. Minute Book 1911-16. Meeting held January 10,1914. (Hereafter cited as UWC Minutes.) 43 public life and to influence legislation that directly affected women and children. They were not all unique to Vancouver. Victoria had both an LCW and a UWC. LCW's were also established at the turn of the century in Vernon, New Westminster, and Nelson, and later in Nanaimo. Though their common goal drew them together, each club had some unique characteristics. The NEL, BPL, and WF were relatively small clubs which brought together a variety of women for the express purpose of winning and exercising their powers of citizenship and influencing social legislation. The UWC, also a relatively small club, drew women together ?by virtue of their common university experience. The quest for citizenship and legislative change was only one amongst several of its aims.15 The LCW's major purpose was to serve as a co-ordinator of all women's organizations regardless of their goals and to present a united women's opinion on a multitude of questions and problems in society. But despite the broad scope of activities undertaken by the UWC and LCW there was nevertheless a strong emphasis in both clubs on women's public role; so strong in fact, that at times in the period 1910-1928 this type of activity drew the major portion of club interest and effort. Moreover, a network of women held many of the key positions within the five clubs and inspired and guided the club activities to the extent that they almost formed a club within-a-club. This same sort of network did not seem to exist in Victoria where clubs tended to work more separately. For 15 Tami Adilman, "E'vlyn Farris and the University Women's Club," in Barbara Latham and Cathy Kess, eds., In Her Own Right, p. 151. 44 these reasons it seems appropriate to study the clubs as a group despite the apparent diversity. The Vancouver LCW was established in 1894, only a month after the birth of the first British Columbian local - the Victoria and Vancouver Island LCW, and a year after the founding of the NCWC.16 Table 2 shows that initially the Vancouver LCW was considerably smaller than the Victoria LCW, but although both grew slowly in the first decade of their existence, Vancouver's growth was consistently larger. By 1910 the two locals were equal in terms of individual members and affiliated societies, but thereafter Vancouver became and remained the larger organization. In theory the influence of the Council, at all its levels, was great; in practice it was limited by the need to obtain consensus of opinion from a vast number of women who were widely separated both physically and ideologically.17 Whenever the Councils made a public statement or formed a delegation to lobby for reform, they made mention of the fact that, by virtue of their wide membership and hierarchical structure, they could indeed be said to speak for all women, but how true was this belief? A closer look at LCW structure and size in Vancouver 16 National Council of Women of Canada, Yearbook 1921, p. 373 (hereafter cited as NCWC Yearbook) 17 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, ch.3. Table 2 Membership of Victoria and Vancouver LCW 1897-1932 Victoria Vancouver Year Of f icers Affiliates Officers Affiliates 1897 7 27 9 1 7 1 901 9 22 9 9 1 902 10 22 9 1 0 1 903 10 1 7 10 1 5 1 904 10 21 10 21 1 905 10 21 10 20 1906 10 27 10 19 1907 10 29 1 0 20 1 908 10 35 10 25 1 909 no return 10 29 1910 1 1 35 10 35 191 1 1 3 34 13 45 1912 1 2 37 1 2 43 1913 1 2 34 1 1 52 1914 1 1 45 1 1 57 1915 10 50 1 1 64 1916 4° 10 + 1917 4° 10* 1918 4° 57 9 + 62 1919 4° 57 10 + 54 1 920 8 44 1 0 55 1 921 10 34 1 0 55 1 922 9 34 1 0 52 1 923 10 34 10 52 1 924 1 1 54 1 1 73 1 925 10 52 1 1 64 1 926 10 49 1 1 68 1 927 8 46 10 68 1928 9 33 10 56 1929 9 44 10 73 1930 9 44 10 71 1 931 9 45 10 70 1 932 9 42 10 62 Compiled from figures in NCWC Yearbook 1897-32. ° plus an unspecified number of vice-presidents + from LCW Minutes 1916-17, 1918-19. 46 indicates that while the council spoke with the tacit approval of a large membership only a small core of women were involved in generating policy and opinion.18 The great majority of LCW "members" were simply members of affiliated societies and had little direct contact with the Council. Few of them attended regular monthly meetings, this was the responsibility of selected delegates from each affiliate. Between 1913 and 1915, for instance two to seven delegates from each affiliate are listed in LCW records but even these were never all present at regular meetings. As they totalled some 300 women the number would have been impractical for the conduct of regular business meetings. Both regular and executive meetings were held in a variety of locations, most commonly the Board of Trade Rooms in downtown Vancouver. None of the venues would probably have held more than fifty people, which suggests that only a small attendance was expected and achieved.19 Table 3 indicates that some delegates, however, were active on the executive and did attendt meetings regularly. Annual General Meetings were a different matter. They were held in large buildings, generally church halls, and continued for the better 18 In 1923, reference was made to a national membership of 'half a million', NCWC Yearbook 1923, p.17. In the local context, LCW president Mrs. Desire Unsworth spoke in 1914 of a membership of 5000. Letter to Premier McBride, October 7, 1914. British Columbia. Premier Papers. GR 441 vol. 61 no. 826 PABC. 19 Occasionally the Minutes record those present at executive meetings. These rarely numbered more than 12 and the most usual number was five or six. The constitution recommended by the NCWC for use by LCW's required only five as a quorum at executive meetings suggesting that only a small attendance was expected or desired. NCWC Yearbook 1908 pp. xxviii-xl. Table 3 LCW Members who were Officers of and Delegates from Affiliated Societies 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925 Name LCW Position Mrs Marie McNaughton President Mrs J. Stark First Vice President 1910 Mrs W.H. Lucas Treasurer Mrs James Macauley Past President Mrs E.W. Leeson Individual Member Mrs James Macauley Past President Mrs Jean Macken First Vice President 1915 Mrs Marie McNaughton Past President Mrs J.O. Perry Third Vice President Miss Edge Past President Mrs Nina de Pencier President Mrs J.A Gillespie Second Vice President 1 920 Mrs Wm Godfrey Third Vice President Mrs Robert McNair Sixth Vice President Mrs Robert McNair Fourth Vice President 1 925 Mrs W.A. Williscroft Fifth Vice President Mrs F.G. Lewis Sixth Vice President Source: LCW Minutes 1910-25. part of the day while reports from affiliated societies were read, and numbers of resolutions discussed and voted on. On this one day at least, there was likely to be present a delegate from all member clubs but even though " this would form a representative body it was still only a fraction of what the LCW claimed as its membership.20 In an effort to identify a range of issues that were of interest and concern to as many members and affiliates as possible, the NCWC, between 1898 and 1900, created a number of standing committees on a variety of issues and suggested that LCW's do likewise. There is no record of how soon the Vancouver LCW complied with this suggestion although it was probably quite rapidly. There is evidence that by 1905 at least one committee had been formed and by 1911 fully sixteen were in operation. At both the local and national level these committees, with the executive, formed the core of the Councils. Women with a strong interest in one or more areas now had a clearcut structure within which to work. There is no evidence, however, as to whether or not this encouraged more active participation by rank and file members. If it is difficult to separate the active members of the club from those whose membership was no more than a technicality, it is even harder to assess how many of the active 20 For instance in 1918 the AGM was held in the First Baptist Church, in 1920 in St Andrew's Church Sunday School Room, in 1922 at Mt Pleasant Methodist Church and in 1925 at Canadian Memorial Church. 49 members were specifically interested in the areas of legislative change and citizenship for women. Between 1910 and 1928, the Vancouver LCWs standing committees ranged in number from nine in 1910 to twenty in 1919 with the number in other years hovering between fourteen and nineteen. The number seems to have depended on the perceptions of the membership as to the importance of the topic and occasionally on the willingness of a member to act as convenor. Of the total of thirty committees that existed between 1910 and 1928, nine stand out both in terms of their longevity and the breadth of their area of concern. Together,/they encompassed almost all of what was understood as "women's sphere" and amongst them they seem to have undertaken the major portion of the work of the LCW as a whole.21 They were the committees that appear most active from references in the Minutes, in the press, in terms of delegations and resolutions sent to appropriate agencies, and in terms of goals achieved. Two of them, Laws for Women and Children, and Citizenship are of particular relevance to this study. As with membership of the LCW as a whole, it is impossible to assess just how many members were interested in and active on these committees. The only figures available on committee numbers are those for 1914 although it i-s not clear if this is a 21 These were Public Health, Education, Home Economics, Citizenship, Suppression of Objectionable Literature, Equal Moral Standards for Men and Women, Care of the Feeble Minded, Immigration and Laws for Women and Children. 50 complete list, (see Table 4) For instance, more members may have been added to committees, particularly the smaller ones, if and when needed. For this one year at least, however, it is possible to make a tentative assessment of the entire membership and level of involvement of members in the Vancouver LCW, as illustrated in Figure 1. The Executive consisted of eleven women, four of whom were also members of committees giving a total of eighty-three who might be said to form the active core of the LCW. To take out individual membership as distinct from becoming a member by virtue of membership in an affiliated club probably indicated a fairly high level of interest even if it did not imply great activity. So around the central core we can place the fifty-seven individual members. At a slightly greater distance from the centre were the some 300 delegates from the affiliated societies. We must assume that most of these did little more than attend the Annual Meetings and vote as per instructions of their primary societies. The outer circle, which in all likelihood numbered thousands, played no more than a passive role. These were the rank and file members of the affiliates, most of whom probably never had any direct contact with the LCW at all. 2 2 However, they had an importance that extended far beyond their involvement, or" lack of it, for as has been noted, when the LCW spoke or acted it did so with the full weight of this 22 WWW,' December 13, 1917 p. 5. By this time the LCW was claiming to represent 6000 women. 51 Table 4 LCW Standing Committees 1914 Commi ttee Convenors Members Laws for Women and Children Mrs Janet Kemp 7 Objectionable Literature Mrs J.O. Perry 0 Agriculture for Women Mrs A.H. Davies 1 Playgrounds Mrs J.M. Brown 1 Equal Moral Standards Mrs Jean Macken 7 Public Health Dr. Belle Wilson 1 4 Education Miss Gordon 5 Problems of Childhood Mrs W.M. Rose 6 Care of Feebleminded Mrs W.H. Steeves 2 Press Mrs N.I. McKechnie 0 Immigrat ion Mrs J. Macauley 9 Citizenship Mrs Alice Townley 3 Employment of Women Miss H. Gutteridge 2 Peace and Arbitration Mrs M. Harold 2 Advertisements Mrs W.H. Griffin 0 Professions for Women Miss Elizabeth Breeze 2 Conservation of Natural Resources' Mrs M. McNaughton 1 Fine and Applied Arts Mrs G. Gilpin 0 TOTAL 18 62 * Total Number of committee members was 80 as four women were simultaneously on two committees. Source: Vancouver Local Council of Women. Minutes 1914. Box 4. Sp. Coll. (Hereafter cited as LCW Minutes). 52 Figure 1 Levels of membership within the Vancouver Local Council of Women 1914 Members of Affiliates Delegates from Affiliates Individual Members Executive and Committee Members* 83 57° 302 Approximately 5000 *There were eleven women on the executive and eighty on committees. Four executive members were also committee members and four women belonged to two committees. At the time of the AGM, therefore, there were eighty-three women filling 91 positions on the executive and committees. "Three of these fifty seven women were committee members. 53 combined membership behind it. No instance has been found of an affiliated club contradicting publicly any statement or action endorsed by the executive of the LCW. The occasional withdrawal of clubs from affiliation indicates though that from time to time some women's clubs did disagree with the Council, or at least did not perceive any benefit accruing from affiliation. For the most part the inner circle of the LCW as well as society at large, seem to have accepted that the club did indeed directly represent a large proportion of organized women, and by implication, all women, and affiliates seemed content to allow themselves to be used in this manner. It is clear, however, that in 1914 and probably at all other times most of the LCW's work was done by a group numbering less than one hundred. The Laws and Citizenship committees were most directly concerned with the extension and utilization of female influence throughout society, but their interest was not limited to these areas nor were they the only committees to be concerned with these issues from time to time. The Laws committee, or to give it its full title, Laws for the Better Protection of Women and Children, involved itself in promoting new legislation and amending the old in many areas of public welfare. Suffrage, mothers' pensions, marriage and divorce, property rights, equal guardianship of children, and homestead rights were some of the issues which occupied its members. It also lobbied for other issues including amendments to the Infants, Juvenile and Industrial School Acts, and the War Relief, Nurses Registration and Insurance and Workman's Compensation Acts. 54 The Citizenship committee was equally broad in its approach to reform. A 1918 newspaper paragraph described it as follows: it [does] not concentrate along any one particular line but its activities [are] extended to many. The very term 'citizenship' indicates the breadth of its activities and almost any subject pertaining to the welfare of the city might come under the heading.... One of the first aims of the committee is to promote the best interests of women and children and they [sic] have been giving undivided support to Mothers' pensions and the Minimum Wage measures.23 It was active in promoting the idea of women's role in public office, urging women to stand for election or appointment to those positions that were already open to them on school, hospital, library and parks boards and assisting in their campaigns. It also advocated the appointment of women health and factory inspectors, women police officers and women court officials in cases concerning girls and women.2" In some years there seems to have been a distinct division between the work of the two committees while at other times they worked together, either combining forces or simply both working on similar projects. The focus and direction of the work over the years seems to have depended largely on the interests and abilities of the convenors of either or both committees. Helen Gregory MacGill whose interest in legislative change was pursued through a number of women's clubs and who was eventually the first woman appointed to the bench of the Ibid. June 15, 1918 p.4. In later years these issues were taken up by the Equal Moral Standards committee. LCW Minutes November 1, 1926. 55 provincial juvenile court in 1917, was at various times convenor of both groups.25 Born in Ontario in 1864, to a wealthy and established family, she fought both tradition and her parents to become the first woman Master of Arts from Trinity College, University of Toronto. After marriage, a career in journalism and close contact with the suffrage movement in San Fransisco, she was widowed in 1910. A second marriage to ex-Toronto University classmate James MacGill brought her to Vancouver in 1902. While her husband pursued his legal career with mixed success, Helen MacGill devoted much of her time to a multitude of women's organizations in the city. Her particular interest was in legislative reform and she continued to use her journalistic skills in the cause, writing occasionally for local papers as well as producing a booklet Daughters, Wives and  Mothers in British Columbia which became Laws for Women and  Children in British Columbia in subsequent editions.26 Although she was convenor of the LCW Laws and Citizenship committees for only brief periods, Helen MacGill was the guiding hand behind all the research and monitoring of existing and proposed legislation in these areas both in the LCW and in a number of the other clubs, to which she belonged. In the 1920's Helen MacGill was convenor of the LCW Laws committee in 1918, 1920-22 and 1927-28 and convenor of the Citizenship committee in 1911-13 and 1917. Daughters, Wives and Mothers in British Columbia: some laws  regarding them"^ (Vancouver, B.C.: The Moore Printing Co., 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1925); Laws for Women and Children in British  Columbia (Vancouver, B.C.: McBeath, Campbell Printers, 1928, 1935, 1939); see also Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, for a detailed examination of MacGill's life and activities. 56 most of her work in the LCW seems to have been done through the Laws committee and during this time the Citizenship committee, under the leadership of Mrs. Jean Carson , appeared to take no new initiatives regarding the extension of women's role. Rather, it continued to support women in public office and to direct its attention to issues like the establishment of a street market, the smoke problem in the city and the promotion of citizenship classes in the high schools.27 Most of the work done by committees appears to have been undertaken on their own initiative, but they were also the bodies to whom relevant resolutions from affiliates were referred. They would consider and investigate such resolutions before accepting or rejecting them. Acceptable resolutions were then presented to the general membership for a vote. It is important to recognise that while the responsibility and credit for any project was taken by the LCW as an organization, success or failure was largely due to the relatively small groups of individual women on the executive and committees. Only when their work had reached a certain point would it be presented to the general membership for ratification. Occasionally at this level there would be lively debate, but it was not often that resolutions which came through committee were rejected. Either the committees reflected fairly accurately the feelings of the general membership, or, more likely, the general membership was willing in most cases to accept the consensus that arose at the 27 Province, March 6, 1923 p.8. 57 committee stage. A second organization which played a substantial role in the quest for equality of civic participation for women was the Vancouver University Women's Club. By virtue of its structure, female membership, and the issues in which it was both interested and active, it must be classed with other women's clubs but in some ways it was undeniably unique. This is true in respect of its membership requirements and its original raison  d'etre.28 Founded in 1907, the UWC expanded in the 1910's and 1920's to become one of the most active women's clubs in terms of community involvement. Evlyn Farris, wife of James W. deB. Farris, a successful lawyer and future Liberal politician, was the mover behind the establishment of the club. With the help of Mrs. Saidee Coldwell and Mrs Aubrey T. Fuller she drafted a constitution and located five other university women who were interested in her plan. At this point there was no university in British Columbia. All eight charter members had obtained their degrees elsewhere before moving to Vancouver. Evlyn Farris herself was from the Maritimes. Born in Windsor, Nova Scotia in 1878, daughter of a professor and clergyman at Acadia University, she developed in her early years strong ideas on the importance of education for women. By the age of twenty-one she It is also unique in that it has a virtually complete set of records preserved in its own archives. 58 had completed a Masters degree in both Philosophy and German at Acadia and was "a devout believer in women's rights", and in the need to raise women's consciousness so that they might become "a part of the decision making process which affected the living conditions of all society."29 The Club's stated aims were: To stimulate intellectual activity and promote social intercourse amongst university women, and to encourage the study of social and economic conditions and to promote co-operation, public service and participation in the field of education.30 The definition of "education" was broad from the start. Members were interested in the role and curriculum of the public schools, both elementary and secondary; they supported the early schemes for the establishment of a university in the province, and, once it eventually came into existence, supported it and its female students in many different ways; they played an active role in the continuing education of women generally and themselves in particular, on any number of public issues.31 Most importantly, they saw their own educational achievement as a Tami Adilman, "Evlyn Farris and the University Women's Club," p. 148. University Women's Club, Forty Years a Club, (typescript), compiled by Mrs Hugh Munro, n.d. p.3. (Hereafter cited as UWC, Forty Years). See also, Phyllis Reeve, 75th Anniversary: The  University Women's Club of Vancouver (Vancouver: University Women's Club of Vancouver, 1982) for an overview of the Club's history. Ibid. p.7; Mrs Munro claimed "thus we have made the voice of educated opinion heard and have shared in the creation of public opinion, which is so indispensible a part of a working democracy." 59 tool for effecting social change. The qualification for membership was the possession of a degree, certificate, or academic standing from a recognised college or university after a four year course. There was some discussion as to whether the standard should be lowered to include incomplete degrees or attendance at normal schools but Evlyn Farris believed that "the bond of union in what practically amounts to the B.A. degree is so strong and the community of interests so great that it promotes the spirit of harmony as nothing else could."32 Some years later the decision to limit membership was praised as "wise, in view of the already large membership."33 By the end of its first year, club membership had grown to thirty-three. At this stage meetings were held in members' homes but by 1913 the "T Rooms", a commercial establishment on Granville St., became the most common meeting place and continued to be so until the Women's Building opened in 1921.3" From the first, meetings were social occasions as well as for the conduct of business and thus commercial tea rooms,hired for the evening, provided a perfect meeting place. Business was dealt with first then members adjourned for refreshments and conversation interspersed with entertainment in the form of songs, poetry readings, plays, humorous skits or, in a more WWW, December 13, 1917 p.8. Special Women's Edition Sun, March 19, 1913 p.20, (hereafter cited as Women's SunTi See UWC Minutes generally. 60 I. serious vein, debates and papers delivered by members or invited guests. No regular attendance figures were kept but attendance seems to have been high, indicating the social and intellectual importance of the club to its small and select member ship.35 Though women's reform and philanthropic clubs were accepted as a legitimate activity for females, there seems to have been some doubt about women banding together purely on the basis of their educational attainment. At least some men felt so. Writing forty years later about the banquet, which she did not attend, Mrs Hugh Munro commented since it was the first women's dinner held in the city, it aroused a good deal of interest as well as some humorous comment by the men.36 But the attitude is supported by Miss Annie B. Jamieson who arrived in the city in 1913 and was to spend many years teaching in Vancouver High Schools whilst continuing her active membership of UWC and LCW. "Some of our male friends were fond of chafing [sic] us and asking what particular part of creation we intended to improve upon next."37 Although in the first few years there was no official structure within the UWC for the investigation and reform of social problems, discussions were held, papers given, ad hoc In 1914 at a regular meeting held in the 'Old Country Tea Rooms' there were "40 members present (not including the cat)". UWC Minutes Box 1 1911-1916, October 3, 1914. Total membership for that year was eighty-three and attendance of about 50% seems to have been quite common. UWC, Forty Years, p.3. Women's Sun, p.20. 61 committees struck and some action taken in a variety of areas. One of the very first compaigns launched was to encourage early Christmas shopping. On the surface this appears to have been a somewhat trivial concern, hardly worthy of a group of obviously competent and well qualified women, but it stemmed as much from a concern for the heavy demands on retail store employees at this season, as from a need to encourage early planning and purchasing by customers.38 In later years the UWC and other clubs, notably the LCW, showed continuing concern for retail clerks, most of whom were women, and helped to obtain legislation and benefits on their behalf covering areas such as wages and weekly half-holidays. A Laws committee had at least a semi-official existence by 1.911. Helen MacGill was chairman from this year until 1918 and was quite likely instrumental in founding it soon after she joined the UWC in 1908. After 1918 a series of convenors took over nominal leadership but Helen MacGill continued to guide the direction of the committee for the next decade. Her interest and ability in this field are reflected in the fact that in 1914 she was "appointed for life as member in charge of this phase of the Club's work".39 The lack of official structure in the early years resulted in some overlap of committee work. One example of this, in fact, resulted in the first legislative change that the club managed Province, December 11, 1908 p.2. UWC Minutes, Box 1 1911-1916, November 13, 1914. 62 to effect. In late 1911 a special committee was convened under the leadership of Evlyn Farris with the intent of altering legislation which prevented women in British Columbia from practising at the Bar."0 Miss Mabel French, a lawyer from New Brunswick, had been refused admission by the Benchers of the provincial Law Society on the grounds that, as a woman she was not a person, and therefore was not eligible. The decision was upheld by Mr. Justice Aulay Morrison and confirmed by the provincial Court of Appeal."1 Evlyn Farris approached Premier Bowser personally and the committee secured the editorial support of the Province and the News-Advertiser. Bowser agreed to bring in a Bill as a government measure if his party agreed, or if support could not be obtained, he assured her that a private member would introduce it. The Bill was passed on February 27, 1912 and the women were jubilant. But as is so often the case with all the efforts made by clubwomen in the period, the straightforward language of the Minutes gives no idea of the difficulties involved or the strength of the emotional investments underlying the endeavor, nor of the often bitter personal feelings between the women and the politicians concerned."2 Miss Edith Paterson, a 1916 graduate of Osgoode UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1911-1916, January 27, 1912. Tami Adilman, "Evlyn Farris and the University Women's Club", pp. 156-57. Tami Adilman cites a letter from Evlyn Farris' son John which indicates that Evlyn Farris approached Bowser for the first time on the Saturday morning preceding the passing of the Bill on Tuesday 27 February,. 1912. But UWC Minutes clearly state that Bowser had already been interviewed by UWC members prior to this date. UWC Minutes 1911-1916 Box 1, January 13, 1912. 63 Hall and the Club's corresponding secretary in the same year, was one of the first women to take advantage of the new law. She practised in Vancouver for a number of years, was honorary solicitor to the Vancouver Child Welfare League and was the Women's Conservative Association's choice for the legislature in 1920 although there is no evidence that she contested the election."3 Until 1914, a number of other committees were busy either on an ad hoc or continuing basis. A UWC committee sat on the Beautiful Vancouver Association; another corresponded with the Attorney-General on the "Social Evil" or prostitution; the Vancouver School Board was approached regarding women physicians to examine public school girls. In response to a request from Miss Helena Gutteridge, a labor organiser and suffrage worker, regarding the condition of some 600 unemployed business girls in the city, Mrs. Laura Jamieson future Commonwealth Co-operative Federation (CCF) MLA became the UWC representative on a newly formed Women's Employment League. An active role was played in fundraising for the Vancouver Women's Building and active support was given to women, members or otherwise, standing for election or nomination to public boards or other governing bodies. The only successes in this last field were the re election of LCW member Mrs. Marie McNaughton to the Vancouver School Board and Evlyn Farris to the Senate and later the Board *3 Edith M. Cuppage, "Women Lawyers in British Columbia," Bri t i sh  Columbia Monthly 15:4 (January 1920), pp. 8-9. 64 of Governors df the newly established University of British Columbia. In 1915 it became clear that the work of the club was sufficiently various and widespread to warrant some kind of permanent committee structure and so six sections were created; Laws for Women and Children, Social Service, Education, Economics, Civics and Art, Literature and Drama but not all sections were continually active as Table 5 indicates. Members were expectd to interest themselves in one or two sections only. The Art, Literature and Drama section was always well supported but is not relevant to this study. Civics, under the leadership of Miss Kate McQueen, who taught in Vancouver High Schools from 1912 to the late 1920's, limped along for three years doing little, as far as the Minutes show, except to consider the advisability of holding a city-wide Arbour day and by 1918 had disappeared as a separate entity." Many activites that could have been included within its mandate were early subsumed by the Laws Section. The Economics section, under the leadership of four different women was active in 1915-16 and 1922-25."5 During both these periods the whole country experienced severe economic problems and in Vancouver there was considerable unemployment amongst women, particularly office clerks and young semi-skilled women workers."6 The Economics section reacted by both seeking UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1911-1916, September 9, 1916; Corresponding Secretary's Report 1916-17; during these three years Kate McQeen also served on the Education and Laws committees. 1915 Miss Mclnnis; 1916 Mrs. W.A. McConkey; 1922-24 Miss Annie B. Jamieson; 1925 Miss Edwards. 65 Table 5 UWC Standing Committees, 1911-1925 Committee Year (19..) 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6. 1 7 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Amendments to Legal Prof. Act X Vancouver Beautiful X Soc ial Evils X Unemployment X Soc ial Reform X Laws X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Soc ial Services X X X X X X X X X Education X X X X X X X X X X X Civics X X X Economics X X X X X X Art,Literature & Drama X X X X X X X X X X 66 employment for non-members and holding classes in political economy for club members."7 The club also organized classes to better train women for domestic service.*8 This was probably useful for the untrained women who took part, helping them to obtain subsequent work. But the main beneficiaries were the employers, the clubwomen themselves and other women of their class, who were assured of domestic help that was of higher quality than in the past. In a period when domestic workers, trained or otherwise, were becoming increasingly hard to find, this was a considerable advantage."9 The Education section, initially under the leadership of Evlyn Farris, was involved in all aspects of education in line with the club's overview of itself as an organization with a particular interest in the subject. It continued to support women candidates for the Vancouver School Board and kept a watching brief on school medical services through Dr. Belle Wilson, a UWC member who served on the school medical staff between 1914 and 1921. Evlyn Farris herself was a member of the UBC senate from 1916-1918, and a member of the Board of Governors 1919-1929. Another member, Annie B. Jamieson was Ibid. October 28, 1922; November 11, 1922; for discussion of the economic climate see James Struthers, No Fault of Their Own:  Unemployment and the Canadian Welfare State, 1914-1941 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983) pp. 4-43. UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1911-16, October 19, 1915. UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1911-16, October 19, 1915. Ibid. November 22, 1924; February 28, 1925; April 25, 1925; January 24, 1927; February 1, 1927; November 15, 1927; January 3, 1928; Mrs. Smelts of the Education section taught these classes. 67 elected to Senate in 1919 and served for the next twenty years. Members also gave their support to the formation of Parent-Teacher Associations and to the establishment of Little Mothers' League classes in the public schools50 Of the six groups, the Laws section was the largest, both in terms of numbers and in breadth of interest. Its basic direction was set by Helen MacGill, and as she was simultaneously involved in it counterpart in the LCW, the concerns and activities of the two groups were identical in many respects.51 There was also much co-operation and joint activity with other clubs such as the WF, NEL, the Suffrage Societies and the Juvenile Protection Society. Thus, equal guardianship, minimum wages, mothers' pensions, maintenance for deserted wives, inheritance, marriage and divorce laws were all grist for this section's mill. Out of these activities came Helen MacGill's series of pamphlets on laws for women and children which served both to acquaint women of the province with the state of provincial laws at the time and to form a basis for reform activities. For most legislative reforms the committees of the various clubs campaigned separately but supported each Helen Lenskyj, "A 'Servant Problem', or a 'Servant-Mistress Problem'? Domestic Service in Canada 1890-1930," Atlantis 7:1 (Fall 1981), p.3; Jennifer Stoddart and Veronica Strong-Boag, "...And Things Were Going Wrong at Home," pp. 39-41; Marilyn Barber, "The Women Ontario Welcomed," p. 148. Western Women's Weekly, March 7, 1918 p.10 (hereafter cited as WWW; UWC Minutes April 28, 1917, November 16, 1916, December 9, 1916; For discussion of the Little Mothers' League see Norah Lewis, "Advising the Parents," p. 145 and Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society, pp.63,87. 68 other with barrages of resolutions to the goverment. They also combined to send delegations to interview MLA's, Ministers or the Premier. The campaign for suffrage also engaged the Laws section but in a less direct manner. The most active role was played by the specifically constituted suffrage societies which led the campaign after 1912 when several combined petitions by other organizations such as the WCTU had been unsuccessful.52 The LCW took no part in the suffrage campaign as a club though it supported the principle and encouraged its members to take part on a personal basis.53 The UWC was more active in its support but while many members were active on their own behalf in suffrage societies, the UWC did not place heavy emphasis on suffrage alone. Like the LCW it saw suffrage as one more legislative change amongst many to be achieved. Thus the resolution "that the University Women's Club do all in its power at the present moment to further the enfranchisement of women," which was unanimously carried at a regular meeting of the club on May 13, 1916, was accompanied by a decision to follow the policy of the United Suffrage Societies on the franchise referendum that was then being considered by the government.54 It was also accompanied by a lengthy report from Helen MacGill which included a series of legislative amendments that were seen Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge,, pp. 117-20; the UWC was affiliated with the LCW throughout the period studied. See Mrs Maria Grant to Premier McBride February 29, 1912, re a deputation of ninety organisations. British Columbia. Premier Papers. GR 441 vol. 44 no 272. PABC. 69 as being equally desirable and important. In September of the same year MacGill reported that as women's suffrage "was now a practical certainty in British Columbia in the near future" the Laws Department would become even more important as a vehicle for legislative change. She suggested three further areas for immediate consideration, equal guardianship of children, provision for widows regardless of the existence or not of a husband's will and a Bill to force adult, employed children to support their indigent parents.55 Two months later, Miss Alice Keenleyside, a club member, presented a paper on reform legislation passed in various countries after attainment of women's suffrage. She reported that The general trend of woman's ballot influence apparently is toward more and better education, against vice in every form and for the preservation of highest womanhood.56 The point being, that suffrage was clearly seen by these women, as well as by women in other clubs, as a vital issue but not as an issue in isolation. Their aim was a wider definition of equal citizenship and the right to vote was only one aspect of it. This is not to say that club members were not jubilant at the winning of the franchise. On the contrary. But they were just as happy about other legislative reform. Helen MacGill Council women were split by personal differences as well as by the need to work for suffrage at the provincial, rather than national level. See Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 275-278. UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1911-1916, May 13, 1916. Ibid., September 9, 1916. 70 reported in May 1917 that the Laws committee is gloating over the satisfactory attainment of Woman Suffrage in British Columbia, the Equal Guardianship Act and the Deserted Wives Act. For years the Club has been striving for this consummation and views the result happily.57 In the move to the wider participation of women as citizens the UWC was largely responsible for the establishment of the Women's Parliamentary Association about which little evidence has survived except that its purpose was "to form a sort of parliament for the study and discussion of political questions in particular, [sic 3 those relating directly to women and children. In this way feminine opinion may be to a certain extent educated and unified."58 In 1916, the executive committee suggested that a meeting be held of a central committee of representatives of the principal women's organizations to form such an association. Helen MacGill, lawyer Edith Paterson and teacher Miss E.J. Maycock were appointed to make ar'ragements on behalf of the UWC and by November the new organization was operating.59 Membership of the UWC remained remarkably stable in the first eighteen years of its existence. Having reached fifty by 1909, it remained between that number and eighty with the majority of members actively involved in club affairs. The year 1925 heralded a major change, however. By this ' time the University of British Columbia was well established and Ibid., November 25, 1916. Ibid., Secretary's Report 1916-17. Delivered May 12, 1917. Ibid., September 23, 1916. 7 1 graduating a number of women annually and the UWC decided to undertake a membership campaign to encourage this new generation of women to join them. The last years for which membership figures are available, 1925 and 1926, show a marked increased membership. By this time those early members who still retained an active interest in the club were well into middle age and while there had been a small but steady infusion of younger members over the years, this sudden influx of members, a full generation younger than the youngest of the founders must have had a strong impact on the atmosphere and direction of meetings even though the new members did not appear to play a very active role in club-life. Even without the new members the initial legislative focus of the club had gradually diminished as the reforms they had worked for were gradually achieved. Now the club was to turn its attention to other matters. For instance, the announcement of the appointment of G.H. Putman and G.M. Weir to survey the provincial school system redirected its attention to educational matters. The New Era League (NEL) was formed in October 1916 following the winning of of the provincial franchise. On the occasion of its first anniversary the Western Women's Weekly carried the following rationale for its existence. Many leading women who realised the power of the ballot, but who had been forced to work through the old indirect methods to obtain reforms, upon victory at the polls, immediately brought into being this promising society.... [They] are finding that now the ballot is in their hands it is the surest weapon they can wield.60 72 The name of the club obviously reflected the optimism that these women had in their ability to extend their influence as citizens for the benefit of the community. More specifically, the same article listed four objects of the League. 1) to interest women in civic, provincial, national and international affairs. 2) To be patriotic, educational and benevolent. 3) To obtain worldwide equal suffrage, equal justice for all women and all men; protection for all children; equal pay for equal work; equal moral standards and world wide peace. 4) To be non-partisan and non-sectarian. A rather large bill to fill, especially Item 3, which in fact was never really addressed as activities only seldom included national, let alone international affairs. Like the name of the League, its objectives reflected the notion that now the vote was won nothing would stand in the way of women's desire and ability to right the wrongs of the world. But4even if they were overly optimistic it is clear that League members saw the winning of suffrage as only one part of the battle, not as the final victory of the war. None of the League's records have survived, making complete reconstruction of its activites, membership and influence almost impossible. Of all the women's clubs of the time, however, it 60 WWW, December 20, 1917, p.7. 73 was the one most frequently mentioned in the newspaper accounts so that some idea of its overall work and sometimes detailed accounts of specific incidents have been preserved. Fortunately, the NEL was particularly prolific in the production of resolutions, which it would send to other clubs for endorsement before forwarding to civic or provincial government so that some cross-check is possible in minutes of clubs such as the LCW and UWC and in the correspondence files of the Premiers and some Ministers. The earliest days of the League were not recorded in the newspapers so it is unclear just who might be singled out as the prime movers in its establishment. A retrospective article of 1920 lists nineteen women as founding members and at least four of these continued to be associated with the League until the end of the 1920's.61 Mrs Jean Macken certainly played a very prominent role as did Mrs Susie Lane Clark. Macken, a widow, was active in the WCTU and the LCW particularly with reference to the question of equal moral standards for men and women. She several times chaired the LCW committee on this topic and Mrs. Jean K. Macken, Mrs. Jennie Smith , Mrs. Margaret Harold, Mrs. William Tutty, Mrs. Alice Wilson, Susie Lane Clark, Mrs Ralph, Mrs. H.G. Taylor, Mrs. J.O. Perry, Mrs. Percival, Mrs. John Jackson, Mrs. Ella Corey Benson, Miss Pelley, Miss Alice Noble, Mrs. G. Foellmer, Mrs. Charles Meek, Mrs. Spur and Mrs. Nye. Sun, March 14, 1920 p. 13. For example, "Womanhood and Citizenship," WWW, November 30, 1918 p. 1; "Womans Opportunity," Ibid., August 27, 1921 p.4; "Woman's Responsibility," Ibid., September 17, 1921 p.1; "Woman's Influence," Ibid., October 8, 1921 p.5; "The Mother in Public Life," Ibid., September 23, 1922 p.4; "Equal Moral Standing," Ibid., January 27, 1923, p.3. 74 occasionally wrote articles for the local press.62 Clark was NEL's first president in 1916-18 and was re-elected in later years. The impression gained from reports is that throughout the 1920's she was the overall leader of NEL, if not its founder. Her apparent prominence may have been due to her rather acid, forceful and definitely outspoken personality rather than to her position relative to other members. Elsie MacGill, in the biography of her mother, Helen MacGill, describes her simply as "sharp featured and twangy."63 For someone who was so prominent, remarkably little is known about Clark. She was born in San Francisco some time in the 1880's and evidently taught in elementary, secondary and business schools in the United States after completing a university extension course for teachers. She was also involved in the suffrage movement in San Francisco before marrying her Canadian husband in 1906 and moving to Vancouver in the following year. More militant in her demands for women's rights than most clubwomen, she nevertheless clung to the idea that women were somehow "superior" to men_and therefore had special qualities to offer in the control and organization of society.64 Interestingly she is not remembered at all by surviving women who were members of the LCW or UWC although those who worked with her in the 1930's in the WILPF and CCF recall her as active and competent but neither warm nor outgoing in personal relationships.65 This may partially explain Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p. 151. Province, February 19, 1921, p.8. Interviews 9,13,14 July, 1983. 75 her lack of impact on younger c lubmernber s, but the fact that her husband was a printer may have placed her on a social stratum just sufficiently below many clubwomen to hide her visibility. The size of the New Era League is difficult to assess. In March of 1917 optimistic mention was made of achieving a membership of 1000 but in the whole of 1919 only twenty-four new members were secured.66 As the majority of meetings, at least after 1920, were held in private homes it seems unlikely that membership ever reached expectations. The formal organization of the NEL seems to have been less structured than that of some clubs, particularly the LCW and UWC, though this may be partly due to the manner of reporting in the press. The clearest difference is in the lack of standing committees - no mention was made of them until 1921 when nine were listed, including the ubiquitous Laws committee with Helen MacGill at its head. (See Table 6.) In 1925-27 when several local NEL's had affiliated to form a provincial organization several committees existed at this level of the hierarchy also. (See Table 7.) It is possible that all these committees were active throughout the life of the NEL and simply not mentioned. However, press reports of Annual General Meetings fairly appointement of consistently record the election of the executive and it seems strange that they would omit8 to record 66 Province, March 28, 1917 p.8; WWW, October 25, 1919 p.5. 76 Table 6 Vancouver NEL, Committees and Convenors 1921 Committee Convenor Organization Miss E. LeSeuer Civic Mrs H.E. Towner Provinc ial Mrs Stanley Brown Internat ional Mrs Percival Ways and Means Mrs Forgie Refreshments Mrs Purr Press Mrs Charles Meek Recept ion Mrs J.C. Cowper Laws for Women and Children Mrs Helen MacGill Source: Province, December 19, 1921 p.11. Table 7 Provincial NEL Standing Committees and Convenors, 1925-27 Commi ttee 1 925 1 926 1 927 Laws for Women and Children Mrs S. Clark Mrs H. MacGii: . Mrs J. Smith Economics Mrs A. Dyson Mrs W. Dyson Mrs A. Dyson Education . Mrs A. Cooper Press Mrs L. Wisdom Resolutions Mrs J. Macken Moral Welfare Mrs J. Cowper Sources: Sun, January 24, 1925 p.6; Sun, October 23, 1926 p. 14; Province, October 29, 1927 p.8. 77 the election of committee convenors if this also took place. Moreover, the existence of active standing committees is usually indicated by the presentation of some report on an annual, if not more frequent, basis. Such reports only appeared in years when committees were mentioned as being in existence so it may well be that much of NEL's work was done on an ad hoc basis. The rather muddled, unprepared nature of the business at many of the meetings tends to support this theory. The NEL remained a single Vancouver-based organization until 1922 when a sister League was established in North Vancouver; at this point the Vancouver NEL expressed the hope that the expansion would continue to a point where branches across the province would be joined in a central federation.67 By the end of the year a District NEL had been formed with Jean Macken as President, presumably to act as a senior co-ordinating body. In the following year reference is made to a New Westminster NEL and to "delegates from Point Grey, Port Moody and South Vancouver."68 Exactly the same type of business seems to have been transacted at both local and district levels and in view of NEL members' own comments concerning "over organization" in women's clubs it is hard to see what the NEL hoped to gain by this move.69 Sun, February 8, 1922 p.6. Sun, September 12, 1922 p.6. Province, November 14, 1922 p.8. Mrs. Agnes Cooper visited the Okanagan and tried to raise interest in starting a NEL there but found that "like the city the rural areas are 'over organized'". 78 In line with the stated aims of the NEL, the areas in which it became involved were numerous and varied. They ranged from mother's pensions, to the suppression of drug traffic, to food conservation during the war, to support for aged squatters about to be evicted from Stanley Park, to demands for union rates for UBC gardeners. There was no public issue on which the NEL was not prepared to speak out. Outspokenness is a characteristic that some people would perhaps have applied to the majority of clubwomen at this period, but it seems particularly appropriate in reference to the NEL. Moreover, along with it there was often an unpreparedness or lack of forethought that must have seriously limited its credibility. Indeed there is evidence that this was so. An excellent example can be found in the NEL "campaign" against the drug problem. In itself this was a legitimate and worthy area of concern; it was an issue that was taken up by several other women's organizations including the LCW and no doubt there was considerable support for reform from the general population, both male and female. It was not, however a problem for which there was an instant solution. When the question was raised at a meeting, Mrs. H.G. Taylor, convenor of the Civics committee, suggested that the solution might lie in sending a petition to the British government asking that the manufacture of all drugs be banned throughout the empire. This suggestion was greeted with scorn by some NEL members who pointed out that such a move would severely 79 limit the supply of drugs available to the medical profession for legitimate purposes. Mrs Taylor promptly withdrew her suggestion but had no alternative ideas. Neither did- any other members at that point and the meeting turned to other business. Later in the same meeting another member, Mrs. Stella Beattie spoke on drug addicts in the city jail and a motion was passed that some sort of rehabilitation centre be established for them, presumably by the government, but again the matter was not pursued. Some months later the NEL sponsored a public meeting on the subject but no action followed the rather confused discussion that took place, except for the dispatch of a resolution to the Attorney-General. Shortly after, the NEL decided that further effort on its part was useless because the police were to blame for not enforcing the law.70 Thus, the NEL's "drug campaign", like many of its other activities, consisted of little more than identification and condemnation of a problem and resolutions sent to the appropriate authority, usually the Premier or the Attorney-General. * A letter to one of clubwomen's staunchest allies, Liberal MLA Mary Ellen Smith (widow of former MLA Ralph Smith) further illustrates the NEL's tendency to over-react. Believing- that Mary Ellen Smith was advocating a poll tax on all women in the province, the League wrote her a letter which must have been quite scathing for the reply expressed "surprise at the tone." 70 Province, May 13, 1921 p.10.; Sun, February 3, 1922 p.6.; Ibid., February 10, 1922 p.6.; Sun, December 14, 1923 p.6. 80 Mrs. Smith denied having done anything more than say, in parliamentary committee, that as "an old tame suffragette" she was willing to take equal responsibility with men as far as taxation was concerned. The initial misunderstanding may well have arisen over exaggeration or misquotation in the press but it shows the tendency of the NEL to erupt with the full force^of righteous indignation without fully checking its facts. Members may not even have been aware of this irritability for the final letter in this series claims that they "simply asked for an explanation, without any idea of harsh criticism".71 If Mary Ellen Smith, sympathetic to their aims, if not a member of their League, found them unduly vehement, how much more so must male politicians have done? Some women at least thought that the NEL should moderate its demands and work diplomatically in its attempt to convince the government to amend legislation. What is not clear is whether these warnings came from moderates within the club or from an outside source. They may have come from the LCW which co-operated closely with NEL and other women's clubs on the issue of mothers' pensions. Regardless of the source, the NEL was aware of the criticism for at one meeting an unnamed member demanded "Why should women have to tread carefully for fear of offending the government?"72 Several years later Jean Macken characterised the LCW as "a back number" and quoted Susie Lane Ibid., January 21, 1927 p.12. Ibid., January 22, 1919 p.8. 81 Clark as saying "they are afraid of the men".73 Obviously the redoubtable Mrs Clark was afraid of no one. Jean Macken, however, despite her contempt for the LCW, cautioned against militancy.7" The NEL was in many respects different from the more conservative clubs such as the LCW and UWC. But while it was less conservative, it was by no means radical. Rather, it was characterised by the belief that now the franchise belonged to women all they had to do was to point out what they felt was wrong with society to have it instantly changed. The thoughtful, painstaking and incredibly persistent committee work done by the LCW and UWC in particular was, on the whole, missing in the NEL. The principal exceptions to this were the work done on mother's pensions, which will be dealt with later, and the Laws committee work done by Helen MacGill. It was identical to the work she did in the LCW and UWC; one suspects that every report she made on amendments achieved and new legislation suggested, was delivered before most, if not all, of the women's clubs of Vancouver. These reports are clear, concise, set out in point form and reflect both MacGill's presentation and the long-term, well planned campaign she engaged in. Conversely, the reports of most NEL meetings are confused, with arguments out of order and Sun, September 15, 1923 p.6. Jean Macken was an active member of the LCW from about 1907 to 1915. She seems to have deserted it once the NEL was formed. Susie Lane Clark uged women to "use their claws" in the fight for equality. Sun, September 18, 1918 p.3.; Province, May 31, 1919 p.8. 82 include a variety of topics and ill-considered comment relecting the tendency of the NEL to react instantly and without preparation to any issue that caught its attention. The issue of mothers' pensions was the one topic that the NEL managed to work on consistently and thoroughly from the first days of its existence until the desired legislation was passed in 1920. After this time it monitored the effectiveness of the Act and suggested amendments to further improve it. Susie Lane Clark, on behalf of the NEL, considered it her special project and claimed that the NEL had first raised the question of mothers' pensions in British Columbia. This is untrue for discussions of some kind of support for widowed and deserted mothers had taken place some years before NEL existed, but it was certainly one of the first projects the NEL undertook, the one into which it put most effort and the one whose results were most clearly visible.75 Susie Lane Clark became the de facto leader of the combined women's groups as far as this piece of legislation was concerned, and, never one to shrink from taking credit, she gave little recognition to the other organizations, whose support had played no little part in convincing the government to try the pension scheme. She even went so far as to say that the NEL rather than the politicians were responsible 75 The first modern mothers' pensions Act had been passed in Missouri in 1911; in 1912 Dr. Belle Wilson read a paper to the UWC on the subject, UWC Minutes, February 24, 1912. In 1913 the LCW began to consider the subject following a request from the Victoria LCW. It was referred to the Laws committee and became one of that committee's goals. 83 for mothers' pensions and that Mary Ellen Smith's presence in the House did not effect the matter one bit.76 Not the words of a diplomat. Another area in which the NEL showed some interest, often in concert with other women's groups, was the election of women to public offices such as the school board and city council. It endorsed a number of women candidates for these and other boards in the 1910' s and 1920's, though few were actually elected. The League also arranged public meetings to which candidates, male and female, were invited to explain their platforms, and kept up constant pressure for relaxation of the property qualificaiton which prevented many women from voting in civic elections. Members were instrumental in helping to collect names of newly enfranchised women for the provincial voters list in 1917.77 In nearly all areas where the NEL worked in co-operation with other women's organizations some changes were forthcoming. When its protests were unsupported or ignored by other clubs it had very little success and rarely pursued the matter for long. Although members made occasional calls for unity amongst women they did not seem to be willing to follow their own advice. They firmly believed that as women they represented all women and Province, December 10, 1920 p.10. re Civic Candidates see Sun, January 12, 1921 p.8; Province, December 19, 1921 p. 11; Ibid., January 11, 1922 p.12; Ibid., September 9, 1922 p.10; Ibid., December 15, 1922 p.8; Ibid., February 9, 1923 p.8; Sun, September 14, 1923 p.6; Ibid., November 12, 1926 p.6; re voter's list, Province, April 18, 1917 p. 8. 84 children. Unable to see dissension within they own ranks they had no concept that the whole of society would not ,automatically agree with them. That there was dissension in their own ranks is clear, though the reason for it is not so apparent. It may have been based on personality differences rather than ideology. In September 1922, Mrs Thursa Morwood Clark who had been corresponding secretary of NEL for at least the previous year, resigned suddenly and declined to give any reason for her action. At the same time, a new club, the British Progressive League (BPL), came into existence with Morwood Clark as its president.78 The honorary presidents, Mrs. Jennie Smith and Mrs. Alice. Wilson were both veterans of Vancouver club life and current members of NEL. They continued to be associated with it. Mrs Barbara Chippendale, the honorary vice-president, was a former treasurer of NEL but seemed to have no further contact with the club after this time. Neither did Mrs Morwood Clark. The BPL, contrary to its name was exceedingly conservative. With its motto of "Service not Self" and its goal of "high ideals and to work for a higher civilization", it was intended to be educational and strictly non-political.79 A number of its members followed its founder from the ranks of the NEL. Membership numbers were never mentioned but meetings were always in members' homes so presumably it was a small club. Those Sun, September 8, 1922 p.6.; Ibid., September 15, 1922 p.6. Sun, September 8, 1922 p.6. 85 members named in press reports were mostly not associated with other women's clubs except for those who had defected from NEL. Surprisingly though, in 1923 Janet Kemp of the LCW and the Women's Forum and Irene Moody, LCW member and former Vancouver School Trustee, were members, at least for that year, and convenors respectively of the Laws and School Board committees.80 The BPL's sphere of interest was very nearly identical to that of the NEL, but with a more conservative outlook. Thus they supported in principle the same reforms but also promoted the segregation of the sexes - in hospitals, proposed drug treatment centres and even in the public schools.81 They were pro-eugenics and strongly anti-oriental.82 And while they demanded intervention in such areas as regulation of hours of work and wages they were very much against the proposal to establish a Community Chest to co-ordinate and administer relief work because "it takes all love and personal thought out of charity".83 This comment suggests that far from being representative of the "new era" members clung to nineteenth century concepts of women's role in philanthropic and reform work. 80 Province, November 14, 1923 p.8. 81 Province, December 12, 1922 p.8; Sun, December 10, 1924 p.6; Ibid., April 7, 1926 p.6. 82 Ibid., December 11, 1923 p.6; Province, October 9, 1923 p. 8. 83 Ibid., January 15, 1924 p.6; Patricia Rooke and R.L. Schnell, "Child Welfare in English Canada, 1920-1948," trace the growing professionalization of social welfare services in Canada but note that even in the late 1920's old attitudes to "charity" had not been completely eradicated, pp.492-93. 86 Between 1.923 and 1926 social activities came to take on seemingly equal importance with business meetings for the BPL. Bridge was the most popular form of entertainment. In 1926 Thursa Morwood Clark retired as president though she remained involved with the League as honorary president. Membership declined over the next year and the BPL finally combined with the NEL in the following year in the hope that the merger would give both clubs added impetus.8" This was not to be, however. Through'1928 the NEL limped along with ever decreasing numbers and at the end of that year the press ceased to record their meetings. Exactly when the NEL went out of existence is not clear. It was still struggling along in 1937 with Helena Gutteridge as secretary and in 1943 with Susie Lane Clark still holding the presidency. After this date however no further references have been found.85 The LCW, UWC and NEL were concerned primarily with changing the law, and thus society, so that women would have a more equal and effective role within it. Teaching women what their role in the new era was, and how to make the most of it, was also one of their aims but it took a secondary place. One women's organization, however, reversed these priorities and put education for and participation as citizens ahead of agitation for reform. Formed in October 1912, the Women's Forum (WF) hoped 8" Province, September 28, 1927 p.16. 85 Linda Hale, "The B.C. Woman Suffrage Movement," p.149; Vancouver  Women's Building Diary 1943, p.46. microfilm 1943-41 VCA. 87 to organize and unite the women ratepayers of Vancouver "with the aim of dealing effectively with those public questions that affect them both- as women- and as citizens".86 The municipal franchise for women in Vancouver was severely limited by a property qualification but nevertheless it did exist and the WF intended to make the best possible use of it. Women were required to hold property to the value of $300 to be eligible for the vote; very few did. If a property was held in joint names, which was a somewhat more likely situation for some women, only one vote per holding was allowed. It is interesting to note that in this area, where women did already have some voting rights, there was never the level of agitation or stridency that characterised those women who sought the provincial franchise and change in provincial legislation. This was due in part, no doubt, to the fact that municipal government was seen by both men and women as "less important" than provincial government; women were not so driven to acquire the full franchise and men were not so threatened at the thought of their getting it. The seven member founding executive of the WF were all active in the LCW, one of the more conservative of the clubs dealt with in this study. On the other hand four of them belonged to the Pioneer Political Equality League (PPEL), one of the oldest suffrage societies in the city, and several belonged to other active women's clubs so it could equally be argued that 6 Women's Sun, p.6. 88 in each of their clubs they dealt with a different aspect of their drive for equal citizenship. The core of WF was composed of members of what might be termed a network of active women who belonged to at least one but often three or four other clubs concerned with various aspects of womanhood and citizenship.87 The WF's almost exclusive concentration on matters at the municipal level indicates how important these civic voting rights were to women, limited as they were. The club had no desire to dissipate its strength by directing it where it had no influence. Laura Jamieson emphasized during a membership campaign that the WF sought to represent the women of the municipality in all matters pertaining to women as citizens of the community..., sought to study local problems in all departments over which the municipality has control, and...to improve conditions by the direct influence of the vote and by educating public opinion along the highest lines.88 Within bounds of this platform the WF had three specific planks: equal pay for equal work, equal suffrage, and equal moral standards for men and women.89 The last two seemed to occupy most of their, energies. Several years later it was suggested that the sphere of interest be widened to include provincial legislative questions but many members felt that this was 4 President Mrs Janet Kemp (LCW), vice-presidents Mrs A.H. Davies (LCW), Mrs Helen MacGill (LCW, UWC, NEL, PPEL), Mrs William McConkey (LCW, UWC, PPEL), Mrs Jennie Smith (LCW, PPEL, NEL, BPEL), treasurer Mrs Watt H. Morrow (LCW, PPEL), secretary Mrs Mary Ellen Smith (LCW, PPEL), Women's Sun, p.6. Province, March 10, 1915 p.8. WWW, December 13, 1917 p.4. Sun, June 22, 1918 p.4. 89 inappropriate.90 Nevertheless, from time to time the WF did lend its support, at least in principle, and occasionally in practice, to legislative issues. Throughout its existence the WF kept a fairly low public profile although it worked very closely with the city council in what appears to have been a successful partnership. Although it was established in 1912, its activities were not publicized until 1914. At this time reports of its meetings began to appear in the press and a concerted effort was made to extend the membership. There were two classes of membership - active and associate - with only those who had the city franchise having the privilege of voting and holding the title Director. The organizational structure of the WF was, like that of the LCW and the NEL in later years, clear cut and hierarchical. Forums were established in most of the municipalities of the Greater Vancouver District; by 1915 North Vancouver, Burnaby, Broadwiew and South Vancouver had active groups. Within Vancouver itself there was a group in each of the eight wards and a Vancouver WF composed of delegates from each.91 A Central WF served as a co ordinating body for all the locals. It is impossible to estimate membership but in 1922 the Vancouver WF complained that membership was only 200 whereas "Owing to the civic nature of the Forum every public spirited woman should belong to it." This, it was estimated, would take membership up to around 91 There was even a WF established in 1915 in Revelstoke. The WF hoped eventually to have a group in each municipality throughout the province. 90 2000. 9 2 Within the local WF's standing committees considered topics of long-term interest as well as some issues of passing concern. Table 8 shows those committees mentioned between 1917 and 1921. It is probable that the City Council, Police Court and School Board committees existed more or less continuously as these were the areas in which the WF was constantly busy. The Forum's primary area of concern, however, seems to have been in extending women's influence on and appointment or election to public governing bodies, for example, city council and school, parks, hospital and other boards.93 Their pressure in this area resulted in the widening of the city franchise in 1917 to allow those women already enfranchised to contest positions on the council.9" Several female candidates contested or considered contesting elections in the next few years but without success.95 The Forum also arranged public meetings prior to civic elections at which candidates were invited to discuss their platforms and meetings at which public boards explained WWW, April 1, 1922 p.3. At the AGM in 1915 a resolution was passed that women be represented on all boards that had the expenditure of public monies. Some months later a committee was formed to investigate which boards already had women on them. Province, September 15, 1915 p.8. Ibid., March 10, 1917 p.8. Mrs D.M. MacKay in 1920 and 1922 and Mrs Annie Wilson in 1921. 91 Table 8 WF Standing Committees, 1917-21 Year Committee 1917 1918 1919 1 920 1 921 Platform XX XX XX City Council XX XX XX Police Court XX XX XX XX School Board XX XX Ways and Means XX XX XX Patriotic Work XX Press XX Library XX High Cost of Living XX Chinese Housing XX XX Laws and Parliamentary XX XX XX Social Service XX XX Taxat ion XX XX Child Welfare XX Source: Province, 1917-21 92 the reasons for particular actions they had taken.96 The Forum took seriously its educative role and speakers were regularly asked to instruct members in various aspects of local current affairs and policies. The WF itself ran a program for the general public as well as its own members, designed to promote good citizenship and advance public welfare.97 Although the WF did not see its role as extending to provincial matters, on two issues it did lend support to other women's organisations. Members joined delegations to the government on the question of a Minimum Wage Act; considering that one of their goals was equal pay for equal work this is understandable.98 The Forum was also in favour of mothers' pensions and joined the delegation which spoke for most of the organized women of the province on the matter.99 In the absence of any provincial legislation on the subject it was municipal relief departments that carried the brunt of supporting destitute mothers and their children, so again the excursion somewhat ^ outside of their normal field of activity is understandable. For example, the school board explained its policy on retrenchment. See Province, May 3, 1916 p.8. Province, May 21, 1921 p.10; Sun, October 29, 1921 p.6. Province, February 9, 1918 p.8; Ibid., March 10, 1918 p.2; Sun, September 21, 1918 p.4. Sun, December 20, 1919 p.4; Ibid., January 17, 1920 p.4; Province, March 16, 1918 p.8; Ibid., November 22, 1919 p.10; Ibid., January 17, 1920 p.8. 93 In 1922 the newspapers ceased to print accounts of WF meetings though whether it ceased to function at this time is uncertain. There is no mention of it either after this period in any other club's records. Why did it disappear so suddenly? There is no apparent reason but at a more general level women's citizenship activities in all of their clubs began to lose some momentum by 1923 and in the following five years all but disappeared. The WF was not at the centre of women's citizenship and legislative demands even at the height of its activity so it may be that as women's interest began to slacken it was one of the first to lose membership and consequently to discontinue its activity. The women's organizations discussed so far were not the only ones with an active interest in women and citizenship between 1910 and 1928. They were, however, the most significant. Many other clubs whose major reason for existence was far removed from legislative and citizenship issues lent support on specific projects; the WCTU, the WILPF, the IODE and the Women's Institutes, benefit clubs like the Women's Benefit Association of the Maccabees, mixed membership societies like the Child Welfare Association and political associations like the Pioneer Politial Equality League and the Liberal and Conservative women's clubs all joined with them at one time or another in pursuit of common goals. There were too a number of clubs whose interests coincided with those of the four large organizations but which were themselves quite small and therefore of little 94 influence. Amongst these was the South Vancouver Women Voters' Association, which in fact became the South Vancouver WF in 1915, the Voters' Education League, of which I can find mention only in 1917, the Women's Freedom League and the Citizen's Union which also appear briefly in 1920 and 1918-19 respectively.'00 The Vancouver Women's Civic League, which came into being early in 1923 may have been a re-vamped WF; its aims were similar and Mrs D.M.MacKay, late of the WF was the founding president.101 In October 1924 the Civic League changed its name to the Women Voters' League and five standing committees were formed, Police Court, Membership, City Council, Publicity and Natural ization.102 By 1925 committees concerned with both provincial and federal affairs had been added, suggesting that purely municipal concerns were not enough to attract membership. 103 In this year the League again changed its name to League of Women Voters and affiliated with the Toronto association of the same name.10" By the end of 1925, however, it too disappeared from mention in the press. One further women's organization deserves mention. The Vancouver Women's Building Co. Ltd. attracted many members and shareholders from the clubs already discussed. It also served as a public and physical manifestation of the spirit of the women's 100 Province, March 27, 1917 p.8; Ibid., May 22, 1917 p.8; Sun, September 9, 1920 p.8; Ibid., May 1, 1919 p.3; WWW, October 12, 1918 p.4. » 101 Province, January 10, 1923 p.12. 102 Sun, October 11, 1924 p.8.; Ibid., November 15, 1924 p.6. 103 Province, January 10, 1925 p.8. 104 Ibid., February 14, 1925 p.8. 95 movement through the building which it was created to construct. The notion of a building specifically for the use of women's clubs arose in late 1910 when two clubs, within days of each other, found themselves without a regular meeting place. Helen MacGill, a member of both clubs, is credited with suggesting that the women of Vancouver take steps to acquire a building of their own "where our societies can meet and not find themselves suddenly on the street."'05 The idea was received enthusiastically and by February 1911 the Women's Club Building Society had been formed • and all women's clubs in the city invited to join. Helen MacGill was the first president. She was to hold this office and remain the prime instigator of the project until its demise during the Second World War. By April, the Vancouver Women's Building Company Limited was a legal entity, incorporated at $200,000 with 8000 common shares at $25 par value.106 Soon after the company purchased the Tait residence at 752 Thurlow Street for $25,000 and this gave them some rooms of their own although portions of the building were rented to the YWCA and the City Creche.107 The main aim at this time was to pay off the mortgage and erect a building of their own design that would be suitable for the various needs and 105 Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p. 129. 106 British Columbia. Registrar of Companies. Articles of Incorporation File no. 432/10 (hereafter cited as Women's Building File). The original clubs that formed the society and later the company were the Women's Canadian Club, Women's Educational Club, LCW, UWC, Vancouver Graduate Nurses Association, Vancouver Women's Press Club, Girl's Auxilliary of Vancouver General Hospital, PPEL, Twentieth Century Club, and Women's Musical Club. 10? Eisie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p. 130. 96 activities of the member clubs. To this end a major fund-raising effort was launched. A number of functions were held, the most spectacular being a "living whist", presented at the Exhibition Building, "with a deck of gorgeously costumed players, the face cards with their sumptuous equipages and canopies providing a beautiful rich show."108 Helen MacGill saw the Vancouver Women's Building as "one great amalgamation of women's clubs with an aggregate membership of 5000."109 But in fact it was a small number of individuals, with Helen MacGill herself at their head, who made the desire to build their own home a reality. Throughout its existence, the number of shares owned by individuals was always in excess of those held by clubs, as indicated by Table 9. Most of these privately held shares were in fact single shares; at $25 each they were not within everybody's reach. The fact that they could be purchased over a ten month period at $2.50 a month gives some indication of their relative cost. Neverthless, a number of shareholders, housewives, nurses, teachers and businesswomen of small means, gradually paid off this sum while a few of their wealthier sisters bought larger holdings. (See Table 10) Until 1923 all shareholders were women's clubs or individual women. In that year the first man, George E. Trorey, manager of Birks Jewellers in Granville Street joined their ranks. No doubt many 108 Ibid. 109 Women's Sun, March 19, 1913 p.1. Table 9 Types of Shareholders in Women's Building 1912-23 Shareholders Year Year Year 1912 1916 1 923 Corporate 1 3 20 37 Individual 61 101 180 Total 74 121 217 Table 10 Individual Shareholders Women's Building 1912-23 1912 1916 1923 No. Of Shares Held Share-Holders Total Shares Share-Holders Total Shares Share-Holders Total Shares 20 1 20 1 20 1 2 1 1 2 10 1 10 3 30 2 20 8 1 8 1 8 1 8 7 1 7 1 7 6 1 6 5 3 1 5 1 5 4 8 32 1 1 44 1 7 68 3 2 6 2 6 2 1 1 22 1 3 26 22 44 1 40 40 66 66 1 37 1 30 61 1 12 101 222 1 87 334 Source Tables 9 and 10: Women's Bulding File 1912-23. 98 of the women were customers of his store. In the following years a number of businessmen and companies were persuaded to buy shares, including one Lung Tong, a merchant from Chinatown. He too must have had customers who were Women's Building members, for it is hard to see what other interest he could have had in the project. Many other male shareholders were related to Women's Building members.110 Table 11 shows that from the earliest days, four clubs stand out as major corporate shareholders, the LCW,UWC, the Women's Musical Club and the Women's Canadian Club. The particular interest and commitment of these clubs problaby came from a combination of factors including their size, their prestige as well established philanthropic, social or cultural clubs and the social or educational standing of some, if not all, of their membership. Smaller clubs, by their nature had not the same need for meeting space, nor, as was the case with the LCW and UWC, for office space. This is no doubt the reason why not a single church society became a member. They would have had plenty of meeting space available in their church buildings. Apart from the absence of church societies, the list of shareholding clubs could easily be mistaken for a list of LCW affiliates; the vast majority, including the Women's Building itself, were at one time or another affiliates of this largest of all women's organisations. 110 See annual statements in Women's Bulding File. 99 Table 11 Corporate Shareholders Women's Building 1912-1923 Organization Year 1912 1916 1923 Women's Educational Club 5 7 8 Girls' Auxiliary to Vancouver General Hospital 1 1 1 Pioneer Political Equality League 1 1 3 Women's.Canadian Club 1 2 28 45 Twentieth Century Club University Women's Club Women's Press Club 1 1 2 1 5 22 1 0 10 10 Local Council of Women 25 36 47 Princess Circle of Kings Daughters 2 3 4 Vancouver Women's Musical Club 40 40 40 Vancouver Graduate Nurses' Association 2 4 4 Alumnal Association of Van. General Hospital 2 2 2 League of Empire 5 5 Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire King's Daughters (BC Branch) 4 4 2 2 Equal Franchise Association 18 Anti-Tuberculosis Society 1 1 Canadian Handcraft Guild 1 1 Victoria Circle of King's Daughters 2 Women's Forum 2 3 Patricia Auxiliary Victorian Order of Nurses 2 3 MacGill and Drummond Trustees 1 5 Women's Auxilliary to Van. General Hospital 1 Central WCTU 1 Mispah Circle of King's Daughters 1 New Era League 1 Local Association Victoria Order of Nurses 1 Women's Auxiliary to Army & Navy Veterans 1 Loyal Circle King's Daughters Girls' Auxiliary Loyal Circle King's Daughters 1 American Women's Club Vancouver Women's Liberal Association 1 Women's Benefit Association of Macabees No. 6 1 Mother's Pension Association 1 Native Daughters of BC Post No. 1 1 Vancouver Women Teachers' Association 1 Vancouver Women's Building Auxiliary 1 Women's Int. League for Peace & Freedom 1 Auxiliary to Temple Emanuel 1 Business and Professional Women's Club 1 Total 1 08 180 245 Source: Women's Building File. 1912-23. 100 Once it had acquired the Tait house, The Women's Building directed its efforts to paying off the mortgage. Pleased as the women were to own the property, their dream was still a building designed to their own specifications. By 1914, Helen MacGill was able to announce that $12,000 of the $25,000 debt had been paid off in less than three years.111 It was another twelve years however before construction finally began on the new building; years in which fund raising came to form a large part of the organization's activities. The Women's Building was large and impressive. Three stories high, concrete and fireproof,it was a great source of pride when it was' finally opened on September 30, 1926 (see Figure 2). 112 There were company offices, an auditorium seating 500, a number of large meeting rooms with kitchenette facilities and in the basement a banqueting hall for 250 with a well equipped kitchen. At the back it connected with the Tait house, now styled the Annex and used for small gatherings. Efforts to raise funds against the new $26,000 mortgage still had to be made but the building was otherwise expected to carry itself on rentals. Rents did bring in a considerable amount but many clubs, for unspecified reasons, continued to meet elswhere. By 1933 even rent income was diminishing and by 1940, with $24,800 of the mortgage, interest and taxes still outstanding, the Building was sold to the Salvation Army for use as a soldiers 111 Province, March'17, 1914 p.8. 112 Sun, September 30, 1926 p.6. 101 Figure 2 The Vancouver Women's Building, 752 Thurlow St. - 1928 The cornerstone bore the inscription "Erected by the women of Vancouver for homes for organizations and as an investment in civic welfare." (VCA. print 449) 102 hostel.1'3 The Women's Building, which its supporters intended would stand as a physical manifestation of women's new and expanded role in society, ironically served as a further indicator of the state of the club led reform movement. Almost from the time it was built it was obsolete and stood a mute and half-empty symbol of the dying momentum of women's reform activities. However, the process of attaining it was of value even if the end product was a disappointment. In the years between its conception and its construction it served as a rallying point for clubwomen, a symbol of their aims and a forum and school in which they could learn and practise skills necessary for the exercise of the democratic process.114 It also served as an introduction to the business and finanicial world for many women though perhaps not with great success. Reform, per se, was never one of the Women's Building's goals but the construction of the Building was perceived as a factor which would encourage and assist clubwomen in achieving their reform goals. Certainly its records show that almost every Vancouver woman who played a significant role in club life between 1910 and 1928 served an apprenticeship there.115 113 Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p.230; Sun, November 26, 1940 p.11. 114 Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p.231. 115 See Women's Building File, lists of shareholders and Directors. 1 03 The LCW, UWC, NEL, BPL, WF, and Women's Building each had a distinct character of its own which arose from its membership, its aims and purposes and the particular aspects of women's citizenship in which it was interested. All six also had a great deal in common. First, membership was never as large or as active as leaders and spokeswomen wished and claimed it to be. Because they believed so strongly that the fact of gender bound together all women, or at least all middle-class women, in unity of thought and purpose, club leaders tended to assume that all women who were eligible to join their societies would do so. The fact that this was not the case puzzled them. Nevertheless they claimed to speak and act on behalf of all their sisters and to make efforts to raise nominal membership as high as they could. Second, regardless of how many women actually paid their club dues regularly, and perhaps attended meetings with some frequency, it was the case in each of the clubs that most of the work was done by a small group who formed the executive and standing committees. In the case of the LCW, far and away the largest women's organization in Vancouver, this was probably never greater than one hundred women at any given time and probably much less. For the other clubs it is impossible to even make such a rough estimate but a guess would put the number at never more than twenty or thirty. Moreover, it is clear that in many cases the same women were part of the active core of two or. more clubs at one time. 1 04 Third, the methods and organizational structure of all clubs were the.same, based on the concept of standing committees that would study particular areas of concern in greater or lesser depth, and formulate resolutions which would then be sent or delivered by delegations to the appropriate authorities. Frequently all groups worked together at this stage of lobbying. All .groups also aimed to raise the levels of awareness and support of both their own members and the general public. Finally, the impetus that motivated all these clubs, began to fade once the majority of their reforms had been obtained. By the middle of the 1920's enthusiasm and interest began to wane, effectively killing the NEL and WF. The LCW and UWC, more general in their interests and membership survived, but only by turning their attention to other areas of activity. 1 05 Chapter 3 "WOMANHOOD AND CITIZENSHIP":VANCOUVER WOMEN'S  PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR ROLE. The concept of maternal feminism was widely accepted throughout the western world by the end of the nineteenth century. It was based on a set of loosely connected, sometimes contradictory assumptions that developed from a basic belief in the moral superiority of women and the need for them to extend their influence from the narrow confines of the individual home to the whole of society for the benefit of all. It was a philosophy that was middle-class in both origins and practice and because its tenets and its objectives were never precisely defined it was used as the basis for and defense of a multitude of actions and points of view. Discussing the development of maternal feminism in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Terry Morrison has listed a number of factors that were influential. Urbanization and industrialization initially "lured" certain women of all classes from their homes. Other factors helped to justify this exodus; liberalization of Protestant religious doctrine, the extension of common schooling and male suffrage, demystification of woman's role as childbearer, less restrictive female clothing, extensive involvement of women in social reform activities, rapid increase in professional training and/or practical experience which qualified women for skilled occupations, and 1 06 "nervous discussion of an imminent decline in family stability". ' Historians, with the benefit of hindsight, can identify and trace the influence of these and other factors on the development of maternal feminist thought. To those involved in the process, however, it was concern for the final factor, the family, that was most important. They feared that the institution itself was crumbling and acted to protect it. Their philosophy developed in tandem with their actions. It was used as a justification for the actual movement of women into previously all-male spheres as well as their right to this new role. The 1894 consitution of the NCWC reflects both of these po i n t s : "We, Women of Canada, sincerely believing that the best good of our homes and nation will be advanced by our own greater unity of thought, sympathy and purpose, and that an organized movement of women will best conserve the greatest good of the Family and the State, do hereby band ourselves together to further the application of the Golden Rule to society, custom and law." 2 Several writers have pointed out that an inherent paradox existed in maternal feminist theory. This is true too of the family, the institution on which the philosophy was based. The family stood both as a "a symbol of woman's sexual and social repression, and yet its preservation provided the motive force 1 Terrence Morrison, "Their Proper Sphere", pp. 46-47; Wayne Roberts, "Rocking the Cradle' for the World," pp. 16-17; Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 10-33. 2 NCWC Yearbook 1894, p.22. 1 07 behind the movement for female emancipation". 3 To eradicate the social evils that threatened the family women were forced to pursue reforms outside of the family sphere. This paradox and other lesser contradictions, however, do not seem to have been noticed by those who used the philosophy to justify their actions nor, indeed, by their critics. This was because women both at the -end of the nineteenth, and the beginning of the twentieth centuries were more concerned with specific issues than with formulating and following an ideology that was logical and consistent. It was more useful for them to be able to detach snippets from a vague and broad philosophy to defend particular issues than to create a complete ideology that might have forced them into taking a stand or becoming involved in issues which they would much rather have left untouched. • The full ramifications of equality of the sexes and the problems of class differences, for instance,, would have significantly lessened the effect of reforms that women were able to achieve had they been tackled from a fully ideological stance. This avoidance does not seem to have been a conscious decision on the part of the majority. Some maternal feminists may have been aware of the contradictory nature of their position but nevertheless have chosen it as preferable to an out and out confrontation on 3 Terrence Morrison, op. cit. p.47; see also Carl Degler, At Odds, pp. vi-vii. 4 Ramsay Cook, in his Introduction to Catherine Cleverdon, The  Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada, argues that the achievements of the women's movement probably resulted from the fact that these women refused to attack the family as an institution, p. xxi i i . 108 issues of equality. 4 If, as research indicates, maternal feminism and the forces that gave rise to it were firmly established by the turn of the century, a study of women in the period 1910-1928 must ascertain whether or not there was any change in approach or emphasis and attempt to explain why or why not this was so. Vancouver women, individually and collectively, have left a record of their beliefs and goals, directly, in the form of newspaper articles and, less frequently longer publications, and indirectly in the records of their clubs. This chapter examines these sources to elucidate the premises on which clubwomen based their activities and to trace changes in emphasis and the reasons for them. Newspapers were an important medium for clubwomen, both as a means to publicize specific activities and as a method of making known their philosophy and strategies. The dailies, particularly the Sun and the Province, were outside direct control by women's organizations, but they reflected the general interests of society as a whole and as business enterprises they were obviously concerned to increase readership by catering to a large interest group like clubwomen. Prior to 1910, women's sections, as such, did not exist although a single page usually contained a few social notes among the general articles. By the second decade of the century, the women's section was quite distinct, with a title announcing it as such, a variety of articles of specific interest to women, recipes and home hints, 109 greatly expanded social notes and coverage of the activities of all major clubs and societies. Even the advertising on this page, or pages as they became by the late 1910's, was directed specifically to women. The decade 1915-1925 saw the largest coverage of club activities. Meetings were advertised in advance and followed by a report of proceedings several days later. Annual Meetings and Conventions received detailed coverage with synopses of reports, lists of officers elected, and often a verbatim account of the presidents' and important guests' speeches. Photograhs of leading members too were often included. Issues of wide public interest in which women became involved, such as suffrage, mothers' pensions or the construction of the Women's Building also began to receive comment in the editorial pages. Usually in these cases the articles were supportive; editors who disagreed with women's stand on any issue tended to ignore them in the editorial pages. Though the daily papers obviously controlled what appeared in their pages they did not produce all the copy themselves. Many prominent women were invited to write articles or regular features. Mary Ellen Smith, Susie Lane Clark, Helen MacGill and Ethel Cody Stoddart were regular contributors and several other women wrote under pen-names. The growing number of professional women journalists too, helped to swell the size of women's sections, as permanent members of newspaper staff or as occasional contributors. For the middle-class woman with an interest in social topics of any kind these pages would have been required reading. 1 1 0 By the middle of the 1920's a marked change had occurred in the Sun and the Province women's sections; they remained the same size but the focus began to shift. In place of club activities and discussions of women's role in society there was increased coverage of the social activities of Vancouver's elite; reports of club meetings were replaced by detailed descriptions of bridge afternoons and tea dansants; lists of guests present replaced lists of desired reforms; photographs of club leaders gave way to photographs of society matrons surrounded by their children, or bright young women with their escorts; engagement and marriage notices with detailed descriptions of clothing, guests and gifts received took the place of meeting reminders; drawings and descriptions of the latest fashion replaced pleas for legislative change. A new vision of womanhood was developing, one in which woman was placed very much back in a separate sphere. Her mothering role was still important but it was directed to her own children rather than all children and beyond it she had very little to do except reflect her husband's social standing. Many clubs continued to exist and to thrive but they were social or cultural in their aims rather than reform-minded. Organizations like the LCW and UWC were too large and well established to disappear but their activities, as reported in the press, came to be more and more socially oriented and less and less designed to have a major impact on the wider community. 111 The Western Women's Weekly, a paper published in Vancouver by and for club women reflected even more directly the growth and decline of the women's movement. It was owned and edited by Miss Amy Isobel Kerr, herself a member of the LCW, UWC and the Vancouver Women's Press Club. She was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1873 and educated there, graduating from the University of Toronto with a Master of Arts degree. She came to Vancouver in 1911 and remained in the city until 1964, three years before her death. 5 Amy Kerr began publishing the Western Women's Weekly in December 1917 and it survived for seven years before closing abruptly and inexplicably in 1924. It was sometimes the "official organ" of a number of clubs and societies including mixed membership organizations like the Parent Teacher Association and the Child Welfare Association. At other times it was simply "endorsed" by these groups. Church societies were the only ones that had no affliation whatsoever. 6 Its editorial page was produced by management, presumable Amy Kerr herself. In 1920 Alice Pogue, wife of Pollock Pogue, a reporter who worked for several different Vancouver newspapers over the years, joined the Western Women's Weekly as assistant editor and business manager. She too was a clubwoman belonging to the United Suffrage Society, the Child Welfare Association and the LCW. She was convenor of the latter's Press committee in 1920. The remainder of the paper's copy was contributed by individual 5 Cowichan Leader, May 23, 1967 p.8. Amy Kerr died in Dunan, BC. 6 See the masthead of any issue for a list of the clubs that supported the paper. 1 1 2 women (and the occasional man) and club representatives. 7 The major portion of the paper, which usually ran to between eight and twelve pages, was given over to reports of club activities, but articles expressing personal opinion or dealing with broad issues of particular interest to women were also common. Jean Macken, Helen MacGill and Jennie Smith contributed frequently. The paper encouraged active participation by women but did not specifically limit itself to dealing with women's issues. Religion was the only subject that was forbidden. 8 From the first issue the citizenship orientation of contributors, and presumably the readers as well, was clear. Jennie Smith wrote I have great faith in the power of the press as an educator, and education is better than agitation. Our women's organizations are doing good and noble work but there is a large number of women who do not belong to any of them... I trust that through the medium of your columns you will be able to arouse women to a sense of their responsibilities... 9 A similar pattern was apparent at the national level during this period. The Woman's Century, the official organ of the NCWC reached the height of its circulation in the late 1910's and then collapsed in the early 1920's.10 Originally begun as a For most of 1918 Guy Pelton Cathcart edited "A Page for Men". Representative articles include "The Status of Women in Canada under Equal Rights", "Co-operation between Men and Women", and "Woman's Role in the Church." Editorial policy. See masthead p.2. of any issue. WWW, December 13, 1917 p.2. Actual circulation figures were not recorded on the masthead but in 1918 an article claimed that subscriptions were rising at the rate of 400-500 per month, Women's Century, September 1918, p. 17. 1 1 3 private business venture in 1913 by Mrs J. Campbell Mclvor, the paper became a public company in 1917 with strong moral but little financial support from the NCWC. As was the case with the Western Women's Weekly the term "official organ" simply meant that a portion of the paper was reserved for club news and other copy provided by organizations. The remainder was compiled independently by the paper's staff and while the majority of articles were entirely in line with the beliefs and goals of the NCWC, that body took care to disassociate itself from any responsibility for opinions expressed outside its own pages.11 Published monthly, the Woman's Century carried news of the NCWC and LCW's across the nation was well as news from other women's clubs, which were often themselves affiliated with the Council, and articles about the women's movement and women's activities at the local, national and international levels. A board of editors was formed to deal with the content of the NCWC's own section and generally had representatives from British Columbia amongst its members. Janet Kemp, Mary Ellen Smith and Irene Moody served for a number of years. However, the paper was largely eastern Canadian in terms of content with some contributions from prairie women but only occasional and small representation from British Columbia and the maritimes. In terms of usefulness to local women the Western Women's Weekly was clearly the leader. See masthead of any issue. 1 1 4 After late 1919 the NCWC experienced some difficulty in getting sufficient support for the Woman's Century, at least from British Columbia, if not on a more general basis. Repeated appeals for support in terms of subscriptions and contributions appeared in the Vancouver LCW minutes after this period.12 The Vancouver LCW seems to have made an effort to respond to the NCWC but at the same time it gave the majority of its support.to the Western Women's Weekly, at least in terms of contributions. The news of the collapse of the Woman's Century in 1921 did not appear to cause any concern amongst Vancouver clubwomen who continued to support their local paper as they had for the previous four years. The sudden and unexplained demise of the Western Women's  Weekly in 1924 coincided with the slower decrease of similar copy in the two main Vancouver dailies.13 This phenomenon was more than coincidental. The momentum for reform was diminishing by the mid 1920's. The only Vancouver women's organizations that were maintaining their previous levels of activity at this time were the Women's Building, the LCW and the UWC but the reform and citizenship impetus had died and their interests were being redirected. The Women's Building was heavily involved in fundraising for its new building, the LCW was still as active as ever as far as membership was concerned but its interest were 12 For example see LCW Minutes 1918-19, Box 4, October 7, 1918 -13 The final copy of the paper appeared on July 26, 1924. No mention was made of closing down and in fact there was reference to articles that would appear in the next issue. 115 spread over many areas. The UWC was concentrating on attracting a large membership of new graduates, for whom reform seemed to have little interest. The disappearance of coverage of women's citizenship issues reflected the lower rate of clubwomen's activity as they retreated or retired from club life or became involved in other aspects of it. At this point a more detailed examination of just how Vancouver clubwomen made use of the printed word, particularly the press, to express their beliefs and goals is in order. Between 1910 and the granting of female suffrage in 1917, Vancouver women seemed to have little desire to record their perceptions of their role as women. If they did write for the public press they tended to stress the fact that without the vote they were being denied equality but even such comments as these were far from common. The labor paper, the BC  Federationist, included a suffrage section from time to time between 1913 and 1917. Miss Helena Gutteridge, union organizer and women's rights activist was the first editor. Her views on the equality of the sexes and women's right to play an equal role in moulding and shaping society were considerably stronger than those of most middle-class clubwomen. She was not given to flights of rhetoric about the glories of motherhood, but like most other women of the day she did see woman's role as distinct and special: ...the heart of this demand for political freedom [is], the right of women to shoulder their own responsibility and effectively perform those duties in the national life that are theirs by reason of their 1 16 womanhood.1 * But even general statements of opinion such as this were rare in her newspaper writing; the section was intended to inform on specific issues such as up-coming meetings rather than to form opinion. The large daily newspapers also contained very little copy by women at this time beyond social notes. The odd article or editorial that appeared was invariably written by a man and tended to either support or attack suffrage as an isolated i ssue. A novelette entitled Is it Just? by May Ellen Smith appeared in 1911 and was unique both in scope and content. It was dedicated to the NCWC and the proceeds, minus the costs of private publication, were promised to the Vancouver Detention Home for Girls.15 The story itself was pure melodrama. It concerned the fate of a good women, married to a weak man who lost, through poor management, the fruit-growing property that had been bought partly with the wife's money. He then compounded his sins by running off with a beautiful widow leaving his family all but destitute. The wife was unable to take any action because of the lack of legal rights and redress for women in British Columbia at that time. A scandal ensued when she was 1" B.C. Federationist, October 3, 1913, p.8. 15 Minnie Smith, Is it Just? (Toronto: William Briggs, 1911); see also LCW Minutes, May 1, 1911. This is the only use of the diminutive "Minnie" that I have come across but it is clear that it was indeed Mary Ellen Smith who wrote the book. 1 1 7 helped by an old family friend (male) but the tale ended happily when the husband, divorced by his scheming second bride, returned to his first wife and children. The primary intention of the story was to illustrate the inequity of woman's legal postion in marriage. The helplessness of the wife was contrasted strongly with the freedom and power of a single female neighbour whose orchard flourished because she had complete control over her finances. On the other hand, lest anyone be misled into believing that the single state was preferble to marriage, Miss Todd, the single neighbor, was portrayed as lacking the love and support that the deserted mother and children gave one another. The desideratum was a combination of the single woman's rights and the joy of being a cherished wife and mother. The unintentionally painted portrait of the "perfect" woman is of far more significance than the overt plea for equal rights. It is perfectly clear that Mary Ellen Smith, and by implication her intended readers, saw woman's role as that of sole emotional, moral and spiritual provider for children as well as husband. Ideally, this role would naturally be accepted, and indeed sought and encouraged by the male half of society, but even the best intentioned men were obviously weak and easily led astray, hence the need for wider legal rights to enable women to control these regrettable tendencies and the social disorder that could result from them. Also implied was the fact that, even with legal equality, woman's lot involved a considerable amount of sacrifice and heartache; the heaviness of her duties and responsibilities were proof of her higher moral 1 18 standing. A sense that the women's movement was gathering momentum which would soon result in significant change, as well as growing confidence in their own abilities and the importance of their public role, led Vancouver clubwomen in 1913 to undertake the production of a Special Women's Issue of the Sun newspaper. The physical production of the issue gave women a chance to display their business and editing skills as well as their expertise in artwork, layout and photography for all the work except for the actual typesetting and printing was done by them. It also presented an opportunity to acquaint Vancouver residents with the wide variety of women's clubs and activities in the city as well as with the broader goals of the women's movement as clubwomen saw it. Interestingly, this latter aspect received relatively little coverage. Straightforward descriptions of clubs and their most prominent members were the order of the day and very little space was given over to general comment or opinion. Mary Ellen Smith's plea for the vote in this issue was based on the premise that somehow the twentieth century was a special era for women - a time when their unique qualities would be brought at last to bear on the running of the world. She did not elaborate on these special qualities but no doubt they were identical to those implied in her novelette. She concluded with the almost mystical statement that the inevitable advance of women into all lines of full citizenship is but a part of "That Divine event 1 19 to which the whole creation moves."16 A second article by Mrs Bancroft Oughten, which also dealt in the main with suffrage, reiterated the fact that "the vote is only a part, a section of the great woman's movement of the twentieth century". She went on to say that women were increasingly aware that the world, for which women were equally responsible with men, had "got into a bad tangle" - the implication being that women had special qualities that they should be allowed to use in helping to untangle the problems. The main precondition, in her view, was the development of solidarity amongst women: We want co-operation, we want to sink pettiness and small jealousies and unite in one cause to stand shoulder to shoulder until we have carried our flag to victory... 17 Evidently these women saw their role in pretty much the same manner as many of their own mothers in the late nineteenth century. They combined the notions identified by Barbara Welter in "The Cult of True Womanhood" with an increasingly strong conviction that their role must be extended outside the home.18 Women must move into spheres previously managed (or mismanaged) by men and because many men were unwilling or constitutionally unable to let them do this women themselves must ensure that Women's Sun, p.4. Ibid. Barbara Welter, 'True Womanhood', p.152; Piety,, purity, submissiveness and domesticity are the four attributes that Welter identified. Submissiveness was being rejected as women felt the need to move out of the home and effect the overall running and direction of society, but the other three attributes were still defended. 1 20 they gained the legal as well as the moral right to do so. Two further points were also apparent and perhaps resulted from the realization that what they were demanding in the 1910's was not new but had been a constant goal amongst organized women for several decades. The first concerned the absolute necessity for all women to stand united behind their demands. It was becoming increasingly apparent that the number of women who were already organized to work for the cause was neither large enough in numbers nor totally unified in objectives. The solution, that all women work together in perfect harmony of intention, was obviously impractical but clubwomen did not seem to be aware of this. Few would have claimed that all women were alike in needs, tastes or personal abilities, indeed they often indicated that there were considerable differences between individuals. For example, one thinks of Mary Ellen Smith's view that some of her sex, like the scheming widow in her novel, did not have the noble and self-sacrificing nature of a true and good woman. Nevertheless, they consistently expressed the belief that women could and should act as one. The second point concerned the belief that somehow, now that the second decade of the twentieth century had arrived, the time was ripe for change. This was probably due to a combination of factors including the belief that the world was drawing ever closer to a state of perfection. This belief in progress was based on the rapid development and growth in prosperity in the western world over the course of the previous half century and 121 the momentum produced by increasing agitation for and success in obtaining some reforms over the same period of time. Mary Ellen Smith wrote: The nineteenth century will stand out for all time as an epoch that buried slavery and ushered in 1iberty... women ...with vigorous thoughts and minds, waged without bloodshed the greatest battle of all time and their victories ushered in such a glorious twentieth century.'9 She and many other women clearly believed that the pace of reform would continue in new century and that women would be its chief instigators and beneficiaries. They would gain both the right and the skills to be fully participating citizens in soc iety. To this end, organized club women began to place increasing emphasis after 1910 on encouraging and helping members to stand for elective or appointed positions on public boards. Women in Vancouver and Victoria had been eligible to vote for and be elected to school boards for nearly fifteen years and had been represented since 1897 and 1895 respectively. The fact that school boards were the first on which women desired and requested the right to hold office is significant, as is the fact that men saw fit to give them the right without the necessity for battle. Both sexes saw the moral, spiritual and intellectual welfare of children as an area in which women could and should be involved because of their supposed unique female qualities. Women who were elected to the Vancouver school board 19 Women's Sun, p.4. 1 22 between 1910 and 1920 in all but one instance polled higher than their male opponents.20 This reflected the strength of belief in the importance of the extension of the female role outside the home, at least amongst the middle-class who had the municipal franchise. In the 1920's when women became eligible to run for other municipal offices including city council and the parks board, the limitations on women's public role became more obvious. The first three women to run for the position of alderman each polled very poorly. Even Irene Moody,who had been considered such an asset to the school board in the late 1910's made a very poor showing in the city elections of 1928.21 The vast majority of voters were male even though married women joined the ranks of enfranchised single and widowed women in 1911. A property qualification of $200, and by the the 1920's $500, was requisite for enfranchisement, and so even when women were placed on an equal footing with men as far as eligiblity was concerned they were still at a disadvantage because so few held property in their own right. But even those who could and did vote did not In 1912 Marie McNaughton polled 5169 votes while the three highest male candidates polled 3964, 3228 and 2985 votes respectively; in the 1916 by-election Irene Moody beat her male opponent by 7308 votes to 2448; in 1917 Moody polled 4988, and the two closest male candidates 4509 and 3808 votes respectively; in 1919 Moody was elected by acclamation; in 1920 Mrs Dora Macaulay polled 4347 votes, Mrs Elizabeth Anne Angus 4277, and the next highest candidate (male) 4156. City of Vancouver. Nominations and Elections, 1912-1925. VCA. MCR 4-1, MCR 4-2. It was not until 1937 that Helena Gutteridge became the first woman elected to the Vancouver City Council. 1 23 give overwhelming support to female candidates; they like most men did not seem to think that city politics was a suitable field for women.22 When women won the provincial franchise as well as the right to run for office in 1917 much the same situation occurred. Few women were willing or able to run for office and those who did generally received little support.23 Idealistic views of the benefits and uses of full citizenship and the more practical aspects of participating were quite a distance apart. Prior to 1917, however, problems of this kind were not considered. Every advance in women's public influence was seen as a step towards the time when society would function on the principles that characterized both womanhood and motherhood. In 1921 the first female aldermanic candidate, Jean Macken polled only 288 votes. The highest vote was 1131 and the lowest 39; In 1922 Frances Eva Hopkins polled 372. Highest 1492, lowest 146; In 1923 Annie Anderson Porter Borland polled lowest in the aldermanic race but Hopkins who had done so badly in the same election the previous year received the second highest vote in the school board elections. City of Vancouver. Nominations and Elections, 1912-1925. Mary Ellen Smith was the exception. She received considerable support as an Independent in the 1918 by-election that brought her into office as British Columbia's first woman MLA. She was re-elected in 1920, 1924 and 1928 as a Liberal. In the 1924 election, five other women ran but were not elected: Mrs H. McGregor, Labour, Similkameen; Mrs Graves, Labour, Victoria; Miss Priscilla Smith, Labour, South Vancouver; Mrs Emma Scott, Conservative, Vancouver and Mrs J.Z. Hall, Provincial Party, Vancouver. Much of Smith's success may be attributed to two main factors. First, she was by far the best known and most active in women's organizations of all the women candidates and second, she consciously strove to retain the votes of her lately deceased MLA husband Ralph Smith. See Melville Currell, Political Woman (Croom Helm: London, 1974), ch. 9 for a discussion of the importance to aspiring female politicians of membership in a political family. 124 Every legislative change achieved seemed to clubwomen to bring their sex greater opportunity to carry out their full role as women. By early 1917 it seemed that the winning of the provincial franchise was the only impediment to the realization of the full powers of womanhood. The notion of citizenship in relation to the provincial franchise aroused far more excitement and discussion than the same idea at the municipal level. It was not a new topic. As we have seen, women had been urging their sex to take an active citizenship role ever since it had become obvious to them that involvement in local, semi-official philanthropy was not sufficient to achieve their aims. By 1918 the concept appeared to hold great promise and Jean Macken was able to write that the combination of "Womanhood and Citizenship" (original italics) represented "a striking interpretation of the spirit of our day."2" In other words citizenship was the tool by which the goals and duties of womanhood would be carried out. What Jean s> Macken and most other clubwomen failed to realize was that "citizenship" until then had been a male concept. It represented a sphere of influence and a method of operation that had previously been entirely the domain of men and which was in many ways antithetical to the goals and methods of "womanhood." The tenets of maternal feminism, as we have seen, held that many, if not all of the problems of society stemmed from the fact that until then it had been run by and largely for men. The virtue of 2U WWW, November 30, 1918, p.1 1 25 "womanhood" lay precisely in the fact that it was based on different values and qualities than the male half of society. How then could women hope to achieve their aims if they attempted to do so by means of a male model that was contrary to so much of what they stood for? Perhaps it was fortunate that women did not recognise or try to come to grips with this problem or they might never have achieved a single goal after suffrage. As it was, their momentum carried them for a further decade and enabled them to gain a large proportion of their specific legislative goals before such philosophic contradictions combined with other factors to bring their movement to a halt. In the years between 1917 and 1925, women maintained their level of activity and markedly increased their use of the public press to both justify this activity and to exhort other women and society in general to join or support them. It may have been that once they had the vote and saw themselves as equal with men, in theory if not in practice, women felt that a more equal use of the press was both necessary and fitting.lt may also have been that their new right to vote persuaded male publishers and editors to allow them easier access to the printed word. Some previous studies of the women's movement in British Columbia and the rest of Canada have placed a heavy emphasis on the suffrage 1 26 campaigns as the movement's ultimate goal.25 The increased efforts of individuals and organizations, at least in British Columbia, after suffrage show clearly that the vote was only one of their goals, albeit an important one. The success of- gaining the vote gave Vancouver women even greater incentive to push for further legislative change though it does not appear to have altered their perceptions of their role significantly. Involvement on a voluntary or paid basis in a variety of occupations engendered by the war also demonstrated to women that their skills and female qualities were needed, both while the fighting continued and after as society attempted to return to normal. Three main themes are apparent in women's writing in this period; the possibilities and responsibilities of the dawning "new era", the need for solidarity amongst women, and the importance of motherhood and club membership in preparing women for full citizenship in the wider society. It is impossible to overlook the sense of excitement that clubwomen felt over their new right of suffrage. The sense of standing on the brink of new period in world history was 25 For instance, Catherine Cleverdon, The Woman Suffrage Movement, considers suffrage in total isolation from other reform although Ramsay Cook's Introduction takes a broader view; Michael H. Cramer, "Public and Political: Documents of the Woman Suffrage Campaign in B.C.," also ignores the general reform atmosphere of which suffrage was a part; Wayne Roberts, "'Rocking the Cradle for the World'" and Linda Hale, "The BC Woman Suffrage Movement," both note that many women saw suffrage as a tool for further reform but nevertheless concentrated on it as an end in itself. 1 27 frequently expressed: "when women shall come together purely and simply for the good of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never known."26 and We are on the threshold of a new era - an era full of possibilities and responsibilities, and women are called upon today as never before in history to face all added and new duties with determination and a broad outlook.2 7 In the push to return to normality after the war some sectors of society obviously thought that women should withdraw from their emerging public role but clubwomen did not agree. Mary Ellen Smith had much support when she stated categorically, "The disposition seems to be that women should be willing to revert to the old ways. That can never happen." She went on to point out that not only had women taken the first step forward into a wider political life but that their presence was also being felt in other walks of life. During the war they "filled a need" and in doing so they "learned economic independence" and "taught the world that brains are sexless." Increasingly, women were "having equal opportunities with men in acquiring an education, thus equipping themselves for life's battles on the same terms as men, and in order to make democracy doubly safe and sure women must have equal chances to co-operate with men in the carrying on of everyday business life. It is, she claimed, "the onward march of progress, no one's hand can stay it."28 In Mary Ellen Smith in the Sun April 27, 1919 p.11, quoting Matthew Arnold. Beatrice E. Green, who was a professional journalist rather than a clubwoman, in Sun, January 25, 1920 p.3. 1 28 the words of another writer, "it is apparent that woman now for the first time in history recognized as a co-equal partner with the new Adam, must hasten to his assistance in the building of a new civilization."29 Though the majority of clubwomen were united, in their belief that they stood on the brink of a new period they did use different arguments of defend their position. These arguments revolved around the ideas of equality and of the special qualities of women as mothers as they had done for several decades. They were not mutually exclusive although they could have been if followed to their logical conclusion. Women continued to use them in reference to individual issues or occasions and to ignore any possible contradictions. Mary Ellen Smith, for instance, tended to rely largely on the equality argument but she also believed that women "would ensure a steady advance in things pertaining to human life because of...[woman's] interest in the future of the race from her own womanly, motherly standpoint... she is responsible for the future of the race."30 Susie Lane Clark also stressed the fact that equality was the major justification for woman's expanding role. Ever practical, she had little time for those who over-emphasized the virtues and ideals of womanhood; "It is all very well to Sun, November 17, 1918 p.5. Annie Anderson Perry in the Sun December 1, 1918 p.1. Sun, October 6, 1918 p.6. 1 29 say,...that women set the ideals of the world. What is wanted is ideals in action." She was unconvinced of woman's innate superiority; "After all the superiority of women is neither so exceedingly great nor so exceedingly less than man's."31 But she did believe that the average woman's experience equipped her better than most men to take part in the running of society. Although the man is considered the head of the house, woman really governs. She is the lawyer and finally the judge, deciding wisely all the little intricate questions that arise. She is the doctor and the nurse, alleviating the pain and soothing the sufferer. She is the cook, the baker, the maid, the dressmaker and the fireman. She looks after the cleanliness and the sanitation of the home. The mother occupies all these positions in a single day, changing with readiness from one aspect to another. Men are not so trained and this great gift of versatility would help in solving present unsatisfactory world conditions.32 This type of statement sounds, both idealistic and sentimental by today's standards but compared to other comments of the period it is remarkably straightfoward and unemotional. For example, Jean Macken wrote: think for a moment what an uplift would be given to girlhood and womanhood by setting before them from the first, the larger ideal, "You are expected to qualify for the larger motherhood - Community Motherhood."33 Closely tied to the concept of woman as mother was the notion of woman as conserver, of resources, values and indeed of society itself. This concept was given extra meaning and prominence by post war reconstruction but was not solely a Province, March 21, 1921 p.8; Ibid., February 19, 1921 p.8. Ibid., February 26, 1921 p.8. WWW, October 14, 1922 p.3. 1 30 result of it. Annie Anderson Perry, one of the growing number of professional journalists, recently arrived from the prairies, wrote: As contrasted with man the constructor, women is the national conserver... To be cast in the drama of life as a conserver is, and always has been to assume at once the position of a national asset... Woman as the mother of the race has a world task as the conserver of human life.3" This conserving role, she went on to say, must be made to be felt in such diverse areas as the world peace movement, public health, controlled immigration, scientific feeding of families, housing, industrial conditions, and anywhere else where woman's influence might improve existing conditions. A male writer agreed with her, although in welcoming the movement of women into a more public role he managed at the same time to sound condescending. "Women are naturally conservatives," he wrote, "They do not have the adventurous spirit of men, and are more inclined to conserve what we have than to go after things that we have not." Perhaps this attitude helped diminish any sense of threat that he felt at the thought of women's rapidly growing influence, for he went on to say: Far from looking upon the advent of women into politics as a revolutionary thing, it is rather to be viewed as evolutionary. More and more they are going to come into Government until finally most of Government shall pass into their hands. But lest this sound too threatening, he assured his readers that "Woman will never succeed in business, or the creative arts, for 3" Sun, December 1, 1918 p.18. 131 those are things that require initiative and adventure; but for good and just law making she is admirably suited."35 Probably most Vancouver clubwomen would have agreed with his conclusions but I suspect his premises may have raised some hackles. The second recurring theme in Vancouver women's writings about their understanding of their role in society was that of the common bonds of womanhood and the desirability of presenting a unified front in pursuit of their goals. Three distinct points of view were apparent. Some women supported the idea of a Woman's Party, a political party composed of all women, in opposition to the existing parties which were largely male. Others opted for a woman's platform, that is, a less formal and restrictive apparatus than a fully fledged party, based on the common concerns that many women had for reform and legislative change. Their idea was that both major parties, courting the support of women, would incorporate all or part of this platform within their own. Finally there were those who felt that women should function as full citizens but that their gender was not of paramount importance; they felt that men and women as individuals and males and females as gender groups had certain skills, abilities and areas of interest and each should do his or her personal best for society, serving wherever he or she was most effective. These three points of view were not unique to Vancouver, indeed the local scene reflected discussion and debate that was taking place throughout the western world as 35 Dr. Frank Crane in the Sun, January 5, 1925 p.8. 1 32 hundreds of thousands of women were granted the franchise and were faced with the question of how to best use their new power.3 6 Those who supported a Woman's Party believed that if all women could be brought together within the bounds of a single party they would be invincible. What they did not seem to realise was the fact that, while women as a group have much in common, they have just as many differences: age, education, ethnicity, religion, class, to name a few. The Pankhursts and their supporters in England had established just such a party with little success. They did not manage to persuade large numbers of women to join and those who did were too militant to be acceptable to the larger number of middle-class, conservative reformers. Their activities did not excite a great deal of sympathy amongst organized women in England or elsewhere. A reported attempt in Austraila was used as a warning by local detractors.37 The Western Women's Weekly openly urged the formation a Woman's Party in 1918, claiming What we want is a WOMAN'S PARTY, - entirely independent of politics, - and we want it right now... See Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 273-74 for discussion of the NCWC Women's Platform; See Chafe, The American  Woman, ch.1 and Lemons, The Woman Citizen, ch.3. for the American scene and Arnold Whittick, Woman into Citizen(ABC-CLIO: Santa Barbara, Calif., 1979), ch.6 and Josephine Kamm, Rapiers  and Battleaxes, (George Allen and Unwin: London, 1966), pp. 186-193 regarding Britain and Europe. WWW, April 28, 1918 p.1. 1 33 It is our only hope of becoming a power in British Columbia and in Canada and of bringing into effect the measures for better legislation for which we have so long been striving, (original capitals)38 Some weeks previously the same paper had argued that the fact that women's parties had failed elsewhere was no reason to abandon them. They had been destroyed "by political intrigues" and because "women as a body failed to stand by their women." It maintained that British Columbia women could and should learn from these mistakes in forming their own party. There appeared to be little public support for the idea, however, and after a few weeks the subject was dropped and did not re-surface for some years. Writing in the Vancouver Sun in the same year, Annie Anderson Perry stated, "The question of whether women shall go into party politics or form a woman's party as the Pankhursts have done in England, is also one which should receive the most careful attention from thinking women. As a temporary means of focussing the woman's vote where it may be needed there is much to be said for the woman's party." However, she qualified her support by adding, 'But the permanent ideal should be the working of men and women side by side ( in the family and the state ) for the common good.39 Some supporters were more adamant, including a Mr. Bolam, newly elected president of the Vancouver Ratepayers' Association in 1921. While he did not actually mention a woman's party by Ibid. Sun, December 1, 1918 p.18. 1 34 name this was the principle that he was supporting. "If the women's organizations of this city," he stated . "would get together in one strong organization instead of being divided into several individual organizations, large and small, they could accomplish something big and worthwhile." He went on to condemn "the futility of their working separately", saying that "one organization advocates a woman's court and another opposes it." Apparently he could not see that a difference of opinion as great as this would not be solved by having a single umbrella organization; that the multitude of women's groups arose precisely because women had differing views on various subjects. In an idealistic vein, he went on to say that "women could achieve great results in child welfare work, in cleaning up cabarets, dance halls and getting good men into office if they would only unite their forces. Furthermore, their united voice at City Hall would command the attention of the Provincial Government.""0 The un-named reporter who conducted the interview obviously agreed with Bolam but many women would have been skeptical. Firstly, they would have doubted the possibility of forming a single organization even though some may have felt it was a desirable theory. Secondly, many would have taken exception to his belief that woman's job was to get "good men" elected to city council. Many women, singly and through their clubs demonstrated quite plainly that while "good men" were not to be disregarded there was an equal need for women in such positions. 40 WWW, June 11, 1921 p.1. 135 The majority of clubwomen, at least immediately after suffrage was won, seemed to subscribe to the second point of view, namely that women did have many interests and abilities in common and that they should make the most of these by working together as much as possible for the common good by means of a women's platform which they would try to persuade politicians to espouse. The approach had the advantage of- allowing women to have a say in the running of society by using their votes in favour of candidates who supported the platform. They could be active participants in community life but otherwise eschew politics altogether if they so desired. This was important to many women who felt that politics was rather a "dirty" game with more concern and effort put into gaining and keeping office than into the generation of just and sorely needed legislation."1 The NCWC was the strongest and most influential supporter of the idea of a women's platform and in 1919 struck a committee of members from across Canada to draft just such a platform."2 Two years previously, the Executive had decided that as some women did indeed have political affiliations of greater or lesser strength, it was "undesirable" to attempt to found a woman's party. On the other hand, it believed that "there are certain principles which should demand the support of women of "1 Susie Lane Clark said that some people claimed that politics was "dirty". She blamed men for this state of affairs. Province, February 26, 1921 p.8. 42 British Columbia was represented by Mrs R.S. Day of both'the Victoria and Provincial LCW's. Circular letters requesting suggestions were sent to all LCW's. NCWC Yearbook 1920, p.61. 1 36 both parties" and therefore the idea of a platform is to provide a rallying ground from which by their united votes [women] may more rapidly bring about the solution of those social problems for which tens of thousands of Canadian women have been giving their energy, time, and money during the last half century.43 The 1920 report of the NCWC platform committee recognised the political pressures that would bedevil a women's party should any attempt be made to form one and called on women to give their support, regardless of party, to any MLA "who carries their [women's] banner of reforms".44 The platform was of necessity very general in content and based on "truth, honesty, purity, justice and righteousness" but was ideal as a basis for any politician or political party who believed in and wanted to court that elusive thing the "woman's vote" (See Appendix A). Although it rapidly disappeared, it is clear that in the first few provincial elections after the granting of suffrage such a woman's vote did exist though it was never as strong as some women wished and many politicians feared. Mary Ellen Smith, British Columbia's first female MLA successfully fought her initial campaign, in the 1918 by-election, as an independent. She believed that it was necessary for "both sexes to work together and bring about a happier state of affairs", but she had a particular interest and concern for the affairs of women and children and was politically astute enough to realize that she could expect considerable support 43 Ibid. pp. 60-61. 44 Ibid., p. 62. 1 37 from women if she ran on a platform that emphasized their problems. She also wanted freedom to take up more general issues as well, and so her overall platform included many of the points that would later become a part of the NCWC's Women's Platform but did not neglect wider issues such as the problems involved in resettling returned war veterans."5 (see Appendix B) "I can best serve the people (if elected) by going to Victoria a 'free woman', doing my utmost to secure the best possible legislation for women and children, and supporting to the best of my ability any good measures that may be introduced in the best interests of the Province by whomsoever introduced.""6 She fought her next campaign only two years later in 1920 and in this and two subsequent elections ran as a Liberal. She had learned what many women were slow to realise, namely that no matter how far from ideal politics might be, women who were serious about changing and reforming society had to do so through the existing structures; women could not remain above or outside politics but must join with men and work through the party system for their goals. This third point of view, that men and women were equally responsible for the state of society and must therefore work together for its improvement, was heard throughout the period 1910-1928. This was no doubt because it was a generalization but it was a practical one at that. People whose specific aims and goals for legislation might vary could at least begin their efforts on the understanding that both sexes had an equal role "5 Sun, April 27 1919, p.11 . "6 WWW, January 3, 1918, p. 1 . 1 38 to play in whatever changes might be achieved. The notion was used to justify the right of women to suffrage in the first place, their use of the vote once it was won and the methods by which further reforms could be put into practice. Thus Mrs Mary McConkey, president of the PPEL in 1913, was able to claim that "This League urges that as women perform equally with men the duties of citizenship they are also entitled to an equal share in its privileges.""7 Five years later, Guy Cathcart Pelton, editor of "A Page for Men" in the Western Women's Weekly, complained that "One of the chief faults of our present day system is that there is not enough co-operation between men and women...men and women must work together. Let no woman think for a moment, that the winning of the franchise is the final step in her evolution. The entry of women into the political arena by the granting of the franchise is only the first step in the ladder of progress upon which women must climb before they have reached the top and they haven't reached the top until they are accepted on a fifty-fifty basis by the men, in acting as well as in voting.""8 The following year, Ella Corey Benson, prophesied the decay and downfall of "the Republic in which we all dwell, unless men and women together shall share the responsibilities of citizenship.""9 Susie Lane Clark was not noted for her ability to compromise or co-operate in real life but she supported these Women's Issue Sun, March 19, 1913, p.6. WWW, July 20, 1918, p.9. Ibid., February 8 1919, p.9. The reference to "the Republic" is unclear. Ella Benson Corey may have been an American but she was living in Vancouver at this period. The article may have been written for syndication in the United States and simply used as a 'filler article' by the Province although this did not seem to be a common practice with women's articles in Vancouver. 1 39 virtues in theory. She argued that The great majority of men and women share most things in common and if women's interests are not identical with men's they are at least so intertwined through the home that what affects one affects the other; then instead of drawing the sex line and isolating themselves women should co-operate with men in the political world.50 Even those like Jean Macken, who stressed women's special redemptive .role and unique feminine virtues could see the need for co-operation between the sexes: woman has arrived at the time and place where she is most needed as a co-partner with man, in the larger life of the community... Women had been given the vote, she continued, because Man needed woman; he recognised in her a newer, cleaner element in political life. He felt the affairs of the nation were swaying and toppling and knew that women could steady things.51 Women and men, therefore, must get on with the job. Women did learn to a certain extent to adapt their demands and methods somewhat to those of the traditional political partie_s but there was also some movement from the opposite direction. After the defeat of the Conservatives in the elections of 1916 both Liberals and Conservatives in British Columbia made efforts to include issues of importance to women in their platforms. The Liberals, despite being hampered by the enormous deficit inherited from the previous Conservative government's Great Eastern Railway project, were willing to woo the female vote with legislation that was sometimes expensive to Province, March 5, 1921 p.8. WWW, September 17, 1921 p.1. 1 40 put into operation, for example, the creation of a mothers' pensions scheme. They also seemed willing by 1920 to adjust their overall platform to include much of Mary Ellen Smith's independent platform of 1917. 52 In this election even the Conservatives promised to consider legislation "with particular reference to the preservation of child life. "53 Following the successful re-election of the Liberals, Mary Ellen Smith was given the position of Minister without Portfolio, making her the first cabinet minister in the British Empire. This was in recognition both of the women's issues for which she stood, as well as the overwhelming majority by which she had won in her Vancouver riding. However, even with these concessions from the Oliver government, she resigned the position some months later, feeling that she was "in the unfortunate position of having to assume the responsibility of acts of the Government, without being in a position to criticize or advise."5" Feelings in these years often ran high against both the established political parties and resulted in 1923 in the formation of a reformist third party. The Provincial Party was an outgrowth of the United Farmers' Party but also drew members from the Conservatives and from amongst returned soldiers.55 Unlike the farmers' parties of J. Castell Hopkins, The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1919 (Toronto: The Annual Review Publishing Co. Ltd., 1920), pp. 828-34. Ibid., p. 833. Ibid., 1921, pp. 862-63. Ibid, 1924-25, p. 444; see also Margaret Ormsby, "The United Farmers of British Columbia: An Abortive Third-party Movement," British Columbia Historical Quarterly 17 (January-April 1953), pp. 68-73. 141 the Prairies a decade earlier, however, the Provincial Party did not actively draw women and women's issues into its platform. If anything, its appearance caused the two major parties to revert to more traditional platforms in an attempt to retain traditional support. The 1924 election resulted in only a marginal victory for the Liberals against the combined representation of Conservative, Provincial and Labour groups in the legislature and women's issues were relegated very much to the background in the following session. The final theme that Vancouver women dealt with in their writings involved the value, indeed the necessity, of motherhood and club membership in developing the expertise necessary to take on the full responsibilities of citizenship. Motherhood, it seems, was a basic requirement. By the 1920's, despite or perhaps because of the increasing educational and employment opportunities opening up for women, clubwomen were emphasizing the idea that while public motherhood was needed for the benefit of society as a whole, individual motherhood must come first. By public motherhood they meant the movement of women into the public sphere particularly with regard to civic and legislative matters that directly concerned themselves and their children. Ethel Cody Stoddard, active club woman and sporadic contributor to the Provinee under the pen-name "Lady Van", titled one of her columns "The Real Career." Approvingly, she told the story of a young girl who had always wanted "to do something big, something that would count" but who, at the end 142 of a brilliant university career explained her future plans thus. I see myself packing up my books and forgetting a great deal that it has taken me years to learn. I see honors such as the world gives fading into the distance. In the place of all this I see a home - one of my own - something I have commenced to want very much... I see a husband, children, and myself a general slave but a happy one at that to all of them. I see houshold duties looming large and the funny little routine that housewives get into... After all, you know, there is nothing like a home of your own and I want one. Her professor (female, marital status not mentioned) congratulated her; "You have the right idea at last, Sheila, stick to it."56 It was a young, single woman who spoke this praise of home and motherhood. Ethel Cody Stoddard and the majority of women who wrote on or were involved with women's issues were married with families that were at least beyond the age of needing constant care if not fully grown.57 They saw the "new era" as opening fresh areas of involvement and influence for women but this was to be an extension of the traditional role and not a replacement for it. To them it was inconceivable that women could be mothers of young children and responsible and effective citizens in the public sphere at one and the same time. Each role required too great a commitment of time and energy for the Province, February 22, 1922 p.6. This was particularly true in relation to middle-class young women; most clubwomen accepted the fact that working-class women would hold jobs for the greater portion of their lives and often initiated or provided facilities, such as day care or employment agencies to help them carry out both their mothering and earning roles in an acceptable fashion. 1 43 average woman to combine them. The maternal feminist solution was logical, in light of the great emphasis these women placed on motherhood; younger women would perform the latter role first and only then move into the public sphere. Thus they would have the personal satisfaction of working in both spheres as well as making a double contribution to society. This attitude was buttressed by the aftermath of the war. More and more young women were moving into the workforce and while the majority only worked until marriage, many, with their increased education and job skills, seemed set to make lifelong careers for themselves. That they might choose to forego motherhood altogether, or attempt to juggle both roles at the expense of their mothering responsibilities, was a possibility that did not appeal to the older generation of clubwomen. The massive loss of young manhood and the social disruption caused by the war made it even more imperative in their minds that the younger generation settle down immediately to responsible parenthood for the stability of society as a whole.5 8 Mrs. Bertha K. Landes, president of the Seattle City Council, visited Vancouver in 1925 to speak to clubwomen. A press article reported By the end of the 1920's many clubwomen were discussing the pros and cons of eugenics but at this slightly earlier period their references to modern and scientific motherhood referred more to a concern for advances in health care, sanitation, feeding and the developing field o.f psychology. 1 44 that there is no profession in her opinion that compares with that of wife, mother and home-maker. She says that having fulfilled her obligations to her children she now has time to do things outside her home without neglecting it or her husband. In her work in the City Council she is merely carrying on a larger housekeeping - for which her thirty-one years as a home-maker has [sic] qualified her.59 Another article cited the "patient planning, hard work, steady application even through weariness" that was required for motherhood as the reason "why the middle aged and older women of today are practical, capable business women and reformers."60 While they rarely mentioned it in their public writings, it was also obvious that clubwomen believed that with the experience of motherhood behind her and the new field of "intelligient citizenship" or "public motherhood" before her the best possible entrance into the experience for any woman was via women's clubs. The experience gained in administration, organization and public speaking would act as a type of finishing school for the new woman citizen; "it is in a good club which does constructive work that a woman fits herself for public life or office."61 It would also provide the support and backing needed for effective entrance into the wider society. In the short term clubs would assist with gaining specific reforms and representation on the bodies that formed and enacted public policy; in the long run they would act to mobilize the female half of society that was now perceived as beginning to take on Province, March 26, 1925 p.12. WWW, December 31, 1921 p.10. Mrs Bertha Landes in the Sun, April 4, 1925 p.6. 1 45 its long denied public role in life. In summary then, the largely middle-class, middle-aged, maternal feminist clubwomen of Vancouver, like their counterparts across Canada and the United States, propounded a philosophy that was at once idealistic and practical. The philosophy itself had been in existence for half a century or more and had already prompted efforts to achieve some of the reforms that clubwomen desired. Their enthusiasm was encouraged by a feeling that success was finally close at hand and because of this they were able to ignore the fact that there were contradictions in their theoretical bases. Practical works were more important to them than theory so they were content to use snippets of maternal feminist philosophy to support specific actions or points of view on a very piecemeal basis. Thus they had no difficulty internalizing such opposing notions as the idea that men and women were inherently different with capacities for fulfilling different roles and the idea that men had made such a mess of their particular sphere that women were needed to put things right; or that motherhood was a necessary prerequisite for any kind of involvement in the public arena but could be embarked upon with little more than natural instinct as guidance; or that all women shared a common outlook by virtue of their gender, while ignoring differences of opinion amongst themselves and the very wide gap that existed between their own middle-class outlook and goals and those of their working-class sisters. 1 46 But if their philosophy was overly idealistic and poorly conceived, it neverthless served them well in the short term in that it was based on values that were widely held, in a general manner, throughout society. At its core was the concept of motherhood which was impossible to discount. One might, and many did, argue against equality for women, but in the North American context particularly, it was, and still is, virtually impossible to argue against motherhood. Many of the reforms that these women sought were directly concerned with children; the remainder involved women's rights and abilities to play a role in defending and protecting themselves and thereby their children. By linking womanhood and motherhood with citizenship women reformers placed themselves in a strong position. They retained this strength while they themselves remained active, but because they were so issue-oriented they wasted little thought on what would occur in the future when their individual reform goals had been achieved. If they considered this problem at all it was to assume that the younger generation of women would follow in their footsteps and take up club work and monitor and improve social conditions once their own children were off their hands. This was not to be, but some clubwomen did not understand that younger women had a different outlook or different goals from themselves. Others occasionally expressed misgivings. I o.ften wonder if the girls who are today raised in such a different atmosphere - in many homes the chief thing is to give them an easier time than mother had -freedom from responsibility, from toil, with plenty of amusement - will they become the efficient useful 147 women their mothers are?62 The old have traditionally complained that the young are frivolous and fall below the standard of previous generations; was this just another instance? In the case of young women reaching maturity in the 1920's and their mothers' generation at the peak of their clublife there was more than just a generational time difference. The former were women of the twentieth century while the latter, modern and progressive as they might consider themselves, had their roots in the nineteenth century. Between the two lay a significant gulf created by rapid growth in industry, science, technology and communications and the devastation of the war to end all wars. A bright new world lay ahead for the younger generation, a world in which women had the vote, and vastly increased access to education and jobs outside the home, a world from which many of the injustices towards women and children had " been removed, a world in which the underprivileged and weak were increasingly being cared for by the incipient welfare state. Changed social conditions, mores and aspirations in the 1920's called on the educated, concerned young women of the period to be companionate wives and scientific homemakers and mothers rather than reformers.6 3 62 WWW, December 31, 1921 p.10. 1 48 The efforts of the older generation of women had been basically directed to shoring up and preserving their society, to banishing some of the superficial inequalities and injustices without altering the foundations. Their aim had never been a radical restructuring of society. Their actions had resulted in some changes in regard to the position of women and children but the basic patriarchal structure remained unchanged and within it the role of woman as mother first and as individual only a very poor second, remained unchanged also. What had changed by the 1920's, however, were both society itself and the perception of how the role of mother should be played. This change in ideology had little connection with the reforms achieved by the older generation of women but was rather a reflection of the changes occuring in western society as industrial expansion rendered both production and the social character of work more and more routinized and monotonous and as urban rather that rural living became the norm. The developing consumer culture presented itself as a realm in which compensatory gratification and excitement might be had. The new culture still caught women in the role of motherhood but for them consumption was increasingly linked to their educative function to imply a way for their daughters to do better. Through consumption 63 See Veronica Strong-Boag, "Intruders in the Nursery," and Norah Lewis, "Advising the Parents," for changing views on motherhood and child raising; see also Peter Filene, Him/Her/Self, pp. 162-68 and Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place, pp 177-88 for discussion of compassionate marriage and the glorification of romantic love in this period. 149 women could procure for their children...1ifelong security and happiness...6" By making use of modern appliances, processed foods, new cleaning agents, and following the advice of professional n childcare and home economics experts, younger women were encouraged to graduate to an ideology which sustained the patriarchal home and anchored them firmly within it. Their mothers had held an image of their role which had developed in the previous century, of the necessity to step outside the home to protect it. The generations growing to maturity in the 1920's and after were conditioned through education, through professional and scientific advice from doctors, nurses and child psychologists, and through advertising by the producers of every product that was conceivably desirable in the home, to believe that their role lay not in the public sphere but within their own homes as "administrator[s] and enterpriser[s] in the business of living " (original italics).6 5 In the 1920's such attitudes and ideas were only just beginning to coalesce. The Great Depression and the Second World War would further strengthen and extend them to a degee only dreamed about in the 1920's. Neverthless even at this period their strength was sufficient to alter the perception and Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the  Social Roots of the Consumer Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1976), p.175. Ibid., p. 168. 1 50 aspirations of the younger generation of women to such an extent that the path they followed in carrying out their role as mothers was entirely different to that of the previous generation. The aims of both generations were no doubt similar in that they both strove to do what they saw as best for themselves and their children but their perceptions of wha^was both necessary and desirable were vastly different. To have followed in their mothers' footsteps in pursuit of reform may well have seemed almost like a dereliction of their own maternal duties to these younger women. By the 1920's, the reform impetus in Vancouver and elsewhere was beginning to weaken although this was not apparent to clubwomen at the time. Indeed, the six years between 1917 and 1923 were marked by the achievement in rapid succession of many of the social and legislative goals that women had been working towards for many years. Once these were attained, however, there seemed to be little consensus as to what should be done next. With no specific campaigns to draw them together, women began to lose the sense of solidarity which had been tenuous at the best of times, and to work in their separate clubs on projects of narrower interest. This fragmentation of effort, which led to less effective and less spectacular results, contributed to further loss of momentum. Because maternal feminist clubwomen were issue-oriented rather than truly.ideologically motivated, because they misunderstood or over-estimated the unity that their common gender could create, and because changing societal goals drew younger women in a different direction, clubwomen had 151 nowhere to go once their immediate goals had been attained.66 The amount of legislation that they managed to influence before this period of quiescence, however, was considerable and far-reaching in its effects and will be examined in some detail in the next chapter. 66 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 394-98, makes the same point regarding the NCWC at this time. 1 52 Chapter 4 "DECISIVE ACTION AND NOT EMPTY PROMISES": WOMEN AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION 1910-28.. When Helen MacGill published the fourth edition of Laws for  Women and Children in British Columbia in 1928 she proudly claimed, With the passage of the Suffrage Referendum, the subsequent repeal of that act and the bringing down of the Women's Franchise Act as a Government measure in 1917,...the struggle for the enfranchisement of the women of British Columbia, carried on for twenty-five years, came to a victorious close. Until women had the vote they had no means of impressing their views upon the legislators or of writing their ideals into the statute books of the Province. The belief of the suffragists that the ballot is the proper and only effective means of expressing public opinion has been amply demonstrated in the case of British Columbia, which, from being the most backward of Provinces, today leads in social legislation. 1 Her claim that British Columbia was now a leader in regard to legislation was not strictly accurate, for the prairie provinces in particular had also been making similar changes in their statutes, but she was correct in pointing out that a significant amount of social legislation had been enacted during the previous decade. Some of this legislation was not desired or supported solely by clubwomen. For instance, the. question of prohibition involved large sectors of the community and both men and women from secular and church organizations worked either for or Helen MacGill, Laws for Women and Children , pp. 5-6. 1 53 against it. Other legislation was welcomed by clubwomen but not actively pursued by them, for instance, the Workmen's Compensation Act of 1916 and the Old-age Pension Act of 1926-27. This chapter reviews the social legislation enacted between 1910 and 1928 that particularly drew the attention and support of clubwomen and examines their activities and attitudes with specific- reference" to a single area, minimum wage legislation for women. This act has been chosen for several reasons. First, it was one of the earliest laws which women demanded after the winning of suffrage. Second, it affected a significant number of women who, under normal circumstances, had little or no contact with clubwomen themselves, demonstrating clubwomen's desire to influence all of society and not just their own sector. Third, it was considered by both clubwomen and working women to be a "major" piece of legislative reform. They believed it would significantly improve.society as a whole as well as benefitting individuals. A second "major" reform, the Mothers' Pensions Act is dealt with separately in the following chapter. Many of the new laws had been demanded by women since the upsurge of club activity in 1910. But unlike mothers' pensions and the minimum wage these other pieces of legislation did not involve new and relatively untried spheres of involvement for government. A number of the new statutes served simply to update sections of provincial law that were based on British law of 1858 and which were very out of date compared to current British law as well as to that of other provinces. Most of these changes were achieved by means of continued petitioning and submission 1 54 of resolutions to the government by women's clubs, in particular the LCW, UWC, NEL and WF, through their laws committees but it must also be borne in mind that the Liberal government was predisposed to enact much of the legislation. Further, while there was not always active support from the community at large there was little or no active opposition for much of this legislation for women and children. The bitter and frustrating battles that characterized the earlier suffrage campaign did not attend the passage of these later laws. Even the continuing debate and legislation on prohibition had lost much of its earlier sting by this time. Working in a more or less chronological sequence, the first legislation sought and obtained by women after the passage of the Woman Suffrage Act 1916 was the Municipal Act Amendment Act 1917 (ch. 45) which deleted the word "male" from the previous act and thereby allowed women to run for the positions of Mayor, Alderman, Reeve, and Councillor on the same basis as men. This did not mean however, that women could necessarily vote in municipal elections. Eligibility varied widely depending on whether the municipality was rural or urban and whether or not it had its own charter. In 1922, under the Jury Amendment Act (ch. 38) women became eligible to serve on juries although, unlike men, they were not obliged to do so. The Equal Guardianship of Infants Act 1917 (ch. 27) was a piece of legislation that had long been sought. Helen MacGill castigated the existing situation regarding custody as "a relic 1 55 of old Roman law remaining embedded in English law as it came to us." 2 Certainly, in respect to guardianship and custody, British Columbia lagged behind many Canadian provinces until 1917. 3 The new act made a husband and wife living together joint guardians of their minor children with equal powers. The Juvenile Court Act 1918 (ch. 20) provided for the establishment of courts for dealing with children under the Juvenile Delinquents Act of Canada 1908. The federal law was designed to be implemented piecemeal only after provinces and municipalities had met certain conditions and therefore advocates had to persuade each community to take action. In consequence, response was slow. In British Columbia by 1910, only Victoria and Vancouver had established courts and even twelve years later there were only "three or four" courts in the whole province. 4 Juvenile courts had jurisdiction over children below the age of eighteen years of age who had previously been brought before the regular Police Court. They were required by federal order-in-council to have a broad backup system including a proper temporary detention home, an industrial school, specially appointed judges as well as probation staff and a Juvenile Court Committee. The whole purpose of the courts revolved around the idea that their function was not punishment 2 Ibid. p.9. 3 Constance B. Backhouse, "Shifting Patterns in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Custody Laws," in David H. Flaherty ed., Essays in the  History of Canadian Law (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981), pp. 238-39. 4 Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society, pp. 125-26. 1 56 but treatment, that each case required preliminary investigation, that supervised probation was essential to rehabilitation and that children should not be incarcerated with adults. 5 The provincial legislation of 1918 spelled out the courts' function and parameters more clearly and provided for the appointment of women as judges upon the same terms as men. Helen MacGill was the first woman appointed in the province in 1918 and served continuously, except for a period between 1929 and 1935 when the Conservative government refused to reappoint her, until her retirement in 1945. 6 The care of neglected, dependent and delinquent children was widened in scope under the Infants' Act Amendent Acts of 1918 (ch. 36), 1919 (ch. 35), 1922 (ch.3l) and 1923 (ch. 24). They enabled the Superintendent of. Neglected Children, in concert with Children's Aid Societies, to better supervise, finance and control homes and institutions where children were kept, including foster homes. Amendments were also made to the Industrial School Act 1918 (ch. 35) for boys and the Industrial Home for Girls Act 1918 (ch. 34) which enabled action by the Superintendent of Neglected Children, his agent or Probation officers to secure children being confined to either the Industrial School or Home. It also forced municipalities to bear the cost of administration within their own boundaries, Helen MacGill, The Juvenile Court in Canada: Origin, Underlying  Principles, Governing Legislation, and Practice (Ottawa: Canadian Council on Child Welfare, 1 925) , p.33. Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p. 239. 157 including the expense of conveyance to school. The Subnormal Boys' School Act 1920 (ch. 86) provided for the establishment of a school for sub-normal boys with a view to mental health improvement, education, industrial training and moral reclamat ion. The position of deserted wives and widows was improved by amendments to the the Deserted Wives Maintenance Act 1919 (ch. 19) and the passage of the Testator's Family Maintenance Act 1920 (ch. 94). The former allowed a wife to sue for support for herself and her children without requiring her to live apart from her husband while the latter, which had been on the agendas of women's club law committees for almost a decade, abolished the right of a man to will his entire estate away from his wife and children. Under the old law, the children had been able to sue for a share in the estate if this happened, but not the wife. Under the new law the court could order provision for all dependents if a will was made leaving either spouse or the children without adequate support. 7 In the case of a husband dying intestate the widow received a greater share in the estate than previously. 7 Helen MacGill, Laws for Women and Children, p. 38; while most of English Canada held similar views at this time Quebec was still very much governed by traditional attitudes to woman's role within marriage. It was not until 1929 that official discussion was begun, after years of lobbying by organized women, and even longer before legislative changes were made. See Jennifer Stoddart, "Quebec's Legal Elite Looks at Women's Rights: The Dorian Commision 1929-31," in David H. Flaherty ed., Essays in  the History of Canadian Law, pp. 3 23-57. 1 58 Until 1919 British Columbia had no legislation protecting the age of marriage which greatly concerned many clubwomen. Under the 1917 Equal Guardianship of Infants Act, the mother's consent for marriage of boys and girls between twelve and fourteen but under twenty-one years of age was required. But the lower age limit for marriage was not set by any statute and some legal authorities held that the provinces could not, therefore, raise the age limit for marriage. Other provinces, however, had solved the problem by fixing an age limit below which it was unlawful to issue a marriage licence or solemnize a marriage. The British Columbia Marriage Act Amendment Act 1919 (ch. 52) also followed this route, making it unlawful to solemnize a marriage for persons under sixteen years of age unless in a court's opinion it was expedient and in the best interests of all the parties. Subsequent marriage was also held to legitimize children born out of wedlock. An effort to check the ravages of "that most awful of social diseases" was made under the Venereal Disease Prevention Act 1919 (ch. 88). Venereal disease was made reportable, treatment was furnished, particularly in hospitals receiving state aid which were required to make provisions for such treatment, and secrecy was required from all officials to protect those being treated, especially married women infected by their husbands. At the same time, the sale and advertising of drugs and medicines for the supposed treatment of venereal disease was banned and only qualified medical practitioners were allowed to give treatment. 1 59 In the further interests of public health, the Registered Nurses Act of 1918 (ch.37) established uniform courses of hospital teaching and examination and permitted only graduates of such courses to use the letters R.N. after their names. Amendments to the Public Schools Act 1920 (ch. 82) also provided for dental and nursing services "if deemed advisable by the [school] Board" with financial assistance being provided by the government. 8 The lack of protection for adopted children had been under discussion for some years in child welfare and women's club circles. Prior to the new act adoption consisted of a "form of indenture under which the family rights of the youngster involved had to be laid out legally." 9 Under the Adoption Act 1920 (ch. 2) and subsequent amendments in 1921 (ch. 1) and 1922 (ch. 3) formal application to the court now had to be made by those wishing to adopt a child and, in the case of children over twelve years of age, the child's own consent was required. A belief that women required some special protection against situations or individuals in society was implied in much of the legislation of the period. The fact that other legislation was being enacted at the same time with the purpose 8 See Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society, pp. 39-55 and Norah Lewis, "Advising the Parents," ch.5 for discussion of school health services. 9 Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society, pp.10,240; see also Richard B. Splane, Social Welfare in Ontario  1791-1893: A Study of Public Welfare Administration (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), pp. 265-63. 1 60 of giving women equality, underlines the inherent contradictions which permeated maternal feminist thought and which were reflected throughout society in this era. Two acts actually included the word "protection" in their titles. The Maternity Protection Act 1921 (ch. 37) prohibited the employment of women for six weeks following confinement and gave them the right to leave work, without forfeiting their jobs, if- they produced a medical certificate stating that confinement was probable within six weeks. Women nursing children were allowed half an hour twice daily during working hours for this purpose. This was clearly a very practical law from the.point of view of the health and safety of the mother and child but to some women, forced to give up six weeks' wages, it may not have been so welcome. The protection of women from the forces of immorality was dealt with by the Women's and Girls' Protection Act 1923 (ch. 76) which prevented both white and Indian women from working in any place where the police considered their morals might be in danger. This law was designed primarily to prevent women working for Orientals but could be extended to'cover any ethnic group or situation. Most clubwomen, as well as many of the general public were strongly anti-Oriental but other races also came in for criticism as a threat to morals or public welfare. For instance, Mrs H.B. Foster of the NEL contended that most Asian-owned shops were "quite respectable and clean - Greek 161 stores were probably worse."10 Under the Parents' Maintenance Act .1922 (ch. 57) destitute and infirm parents were able to apply to have their adult children show cause why they should not contribute to their support. This law was evidently enacted because "It was unfortunately true in British Columbia that the parents of the well-to-do have been in Poor Houses or Old People's Homes, supported by public taxes, while those who should naturally contribute refused any obligation."11 Legal obligation to kin was also strengthened by the Children of Unmarried Parents Act 1922 (ch. 9) which made the father of an illegitimate child financially responsible for its support and maintenance until it reached sixteen years of age. He might also be required to support the mother immediately before and after the birth and to pay medical and other contingent expenses. Although the act was passed nothing was done to improve the machinery of enforcement so many men were still able to escape their responsibli1ities. The bulk of this legislation, as can be seen from the dates of the acts, was passed largely between 1919 and 1923. Between 1 924 and 1928, when the Liberal government was .defeated by the 10 Province, January 20, 1922 p.11. In the previous year the NEL had accepted the platform of the Asiatic Exclusion League which was presenting candidates for the civic election. The League requested all NEL members to cease dealing with Chinese laundries and corner stores, Province, September 9, 1921 p.10. The WF also discussed suggestions that definite steps be taken "to deal with the oriental question." Province, September 16, 1921, p.8. 11 Helen MacGill, Laws for Women and Children, p.43. 1 62 Conservatives, very little new social legislation at all was introduced and only minor amendments were made to existing laws. The major exception was the Old-age Pension Act 1926-27 but while clubwomen supported this legislation they engaged in no active lobbying on its behalf. The public campaign for a minimum wage for working women got under way with the formation of a Minimum Wage League (MWL) at a public meeting on October 25, 1917.12 Unlike the agitation for most other legislation for women, the initiative came largely from working women themselves. Helena Gutteridge, the politically astute secretary of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council was founding president of MWL. Explaining the League's aims to clubwomen, however, she reflected their own belief in the necessity for women to use their citizenship rights to improve their own lives. She stated that, The formation of a minimum wage league is the natural outcome of the recent enfranchisement of women by the electorate of B.C. During the campaign for woman suffrage it was generally conceded that among other reasons, the need for the power of the vote of the women was to obtain certain specific legislation for women, and minimum wage legislation was one of the specific pieces referred to. She went on to explain that, members [of MWL] are wage-earning, self-supporting women, united together for the purpose of obtaining enactment of a law that will ensure to the working woman a wage that is based upon the cost of living, and whose representatives together with delegates from other organizations will take up the matter with the 12 Province, October 26, 1917 p.8. 163 government....Little difficulty is expected in obtaining such legislation, for the attitude of the general public as well as progressive legislators is most favourable.13 Helena Gutteridge was quite right when she said that there was much general support for the idea of a minimum wage for women. As she noted, reform-minded women, from the middle class as well as the working class, were ready and willing to. press for all kinds of social legislation now that they had won the vote. Those like Gutteridge herself, whose primary interest was in labor and socialist issues, were in favour on the grounds that such law would provide at least some improvement in hours and conditions for women workers. Others, like clubwomen, whose main aim was to protect an idealized notion of womanhood as well as individual workers, could support it also. To them, the presence of women in the workforce created problems of cleanliness, morality and health for future mothers and legislation was one of the ways of partially combating this menace to society.1" Many working women themselves appear to have held similar notions to middle-class reformers regarding the family ideal though their experience in combining the 13 WWW, January 10, 1918 p.9. 1* Julie White, Women and Unions (Toronto: Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, 1980), pp. 2-3; Joan Sangster, "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike: Organizing Women Workers," Labour/Le Travailleur 3(1978) p. 123; Bryan D. Palmer, Working  Class Experience: The Rise and Reconstitut ion of Canadian  Labour, 1800-1980 (Toronto: Butterworth & Co., 1983), pp. 197-98. 1 64 spheres of work and family was clearly different.15 Male unionists were ambivalent regarding the problem of working women during this period. Occasionally they lent support to organized action by working women but on the whole they perceived women in the workforce as a threat to their own jobs and wages and tended to rationalize the issue by stressing women's primary role as wife and mother in a similar manner to middle-class reformers.16 The quest for a minimum wage in British Columbia was not a matter they took up on their own account but on the other hand they did not actively oppose it and some labor leaders and unions did give a minimal amount of support to the campaign. Government was also ready to consider legislation concerning both women and labor at this time. In British Columbia specifically the Liberal government, which had won the election of 1916 in part through its support of woman suffrage, was anxious to retain women's votes by introducing legislation desired by women reformers. The second decade of the twentieth century was a period of relative strength for labour and a variety of legislation was being considered and enacted across Canada, often with the tacit 15 Joan Sangster, "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike", p. 129; see also Wayne Roberts, Honest Womanhood: Feminism, Femininity and  Class Consciousness amongst Toronto Working Women 1893-1914 (Toronto: Hogtown Press, 1977). 16 Julie White, Women and Unions, pp. 15-16; Joan Sangster, "The 1907 Bell Telephone Strike", p. 126-127; Marie Campbell, "Sexism in British Columbia Trade Unions, 1900-1920," pp. 168-69, 180-82; Star Rosenthal, ."Union Maids: Organized Women Workers in Vancouver 1900-1915," BC Studies 41(Spring 1979), pp. 36-55. 1 65 hope on the part of government and employers that it would forestall further agitation and demands from organized labor, rather than with any real intention of major reform.'7 The British Columbia Workmen's Compensation Act of 1916, while not specifically directed towards women, or supported publicly to any degree by them, had broken new ground provincially in initiating state responsibility in an area that had been previously restricted to employer and employee. Most discussion of labor legislation was in reference to male workers but the idea of a minimum wage was initially restricted to women. There were two reasons for this. First, women and girls were seen as the most exploited group in the labor force and therefore fit subjects for immediate legislation.18 Second, men with their larger and more effective union structure, were expected to bargain directly with their employers for improved wages and conditions. 19 Harold F. Underhill, "Labor Legislation in British Columbia," (Ph.D thesis, UBC, 1930), p. 139; See also Dennis Guest, The  Emergence of Social Security in Canada(Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980), p.73; James Struthers, No Fault  of Their Own, pp. 22-23; Paul Craven, "An Impartial Umpire": Industrial Relations and the Canadian State 1900-191 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980) , pp~! 100-101; Paul A. Phillips, No Power Greater: A Century of Labor in British Columbia (Vancouver: B.C. Federation of Labor Boag Foundation, 1967), pp. 68-71; Alvin Finkel, Business and Social Reform in  the Thirties (Toronto: James Lorimer"! 1979) pp. 81 ,83. Oriental males were often far more badly exploited but their low wages were not seen as a threat to their morality which many Canadians considered was dubious already. Some sections of the community did see their presence as a threat to the morality of others, particularly to young girls whom they employed. Dennis Guest, The Emergence of Social Security, p. 73. 1 66 Interest in improving conditions for working 'women was not limited to the province. As with much social legislation passed locally in the period, it reflected legislation and discussion throughout the western world. Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the American states of Massachusets, Washington, Oregon and California all had female minimum wage legislation of some sort by 1917.20 Manitoba, the first Canadian province to take up the matter, passed legislation affecting women in 1918. British Columbia followed some months after; Ontario joined them in 1920 and Alberta in 1922.21 The ostensible theory behind the concept of a minimum wage, according to the British Columbia Minimum Wage Board (MWB) which was set up under the new act immediately after its passage on April 23, 1918, was that "no person or class has a right to make money at ...the expense of the health or well-being of any other person or class, and the community has a right to be protected from economic conditions which cannot exist without detriment to all."22 Clubwomen extended this rationale somewhat; they were concerned with far more than just the economic conditions facing many women, and more importantly, young girls. The risk to morality posed by jobs which paid a less than living wage was at the head of their concerns. For many women unable to earn 20 Ibid.; see also Colonist, March 26, 1918 p.3. 21 Manitoba. Statutes 1918, (ch. 38); British Columbia. Statutes  1918, (ch.56); Ontario. Statutes 1920, (ch. 87); Alberta. Statutes 1922, (ch. 81). 22 British Columbia. Sessional Papers 1919, Report of the Minimum Wage Board of British Columbia, p. H58 (Hereafter cited as First Report MWB). 1 67 sufficient wages prostitution was virtually the only alternative.2 3 But as members of the middle-class, and very possibly wives, sisters or mothers of employers, clubwomen also saw minimum wage legislation as beneficial to industry. They believed that "a minimum wage implies efficient service" and were convinced that workers protected by wage legislation would improve their productivity. Thus the employer's business "will receive a far greater impetus when backed by the personal interest of his employees than it does with a large staff of inefficient, uninterested employees. Increased pay and increased efficiency is, so to speak, the watchword of the women of the city today."2" They were also financially on the side of the employers, at least in .the sense that they did not wish to increase wage costs significantly. This attitude was probably bolstered too by their ignorance of the cost of living for working girls at least in the early years before they took up the campaign fully. Giving evidence to the Commission on Labor See Lori Rotenburg, "The Wayward Worker; Toronto's Prostitute at the Turn of the Century," in Janice Acton, Penny Goldsmith and Bonnie Shepard, eds., Women at Work in Ontario 1850-1930, pp. 33-71 for a discussion of middle-class attitudes to prostitution as well as those of the girls themselves. Rotenburg claims that domestic workers were the most likely to turn to prostitution in times of particular need but it would seem a likely alternative for young girls in other occupations who were paid well below a living wage. Moreover, the problem and the attitudes were not limited to Toronto. See Rebecca Coulter, "The Working Young of Edmonton, 1921-31," in Joy Parr, ed., Childhood and Family in  Canadian History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982), pp. 143, 152-53. WWW, March 7, 1918 p.1. 1 68 in 1914, Mrs W.Forbes McDonald of the Vancouver LCW said "if we are going to deal with this question, we must look at it from both sides, the employer's side as well as the employee's side" and stated that for this reason the LCW had lowered its recommended minimum wage from $7.50 to $5.00.25 Once the MWL had been formed clubwomen soon put their own lobbying mechanisms to work to obtain legislation. The first annual report of the MWB mentions a delegation to the government regarding the minimun wage in 1917. It was supposedly composed of "various organizations interested in reform and social economics, principally those consisting of women."26 I can find no evidence of this in LCW, UWC, NEL, or WF records although in that year the UWC did list the procuring of a minimum wage for girls as one of the projects of its Social Services section.27 The report may have simply confused dates for in early 1918 a combined delegation did indeed plan to meet with the government and request the- legislation. Led by the MWL and Helena Gutteridge, it included representatives from Vancouver LCW, NEL, WF and the Retail Employees Association. Interestingly, the UWC was not represented. In Victoria the Vancouver delegates were to join with a local group which included representatives of the B.C. Federation of Labor, the Trades and Labor Council, the Retail Employees' Association and the LCW. They then planned to Quoted in Marie Campbell, "Sexism in B.C. Trade Unions," p. 177. First Report MWB., p. H58. UWC Minutes, Box 1, 1916-24, September 8, 1917. 169 meet with Mary Ellen Smith who had included the minimum wage for women in her election platform the previous year. Finally .they planned to interview the executive council of the government.28 They had been promised- the "sympathetic consideration" of Attorney-General J.W. Farris "which we take for granted as being equivalent to saying that he will support the proposed legislation. And as women are looking for decisive action and not empty promises there is every reason to expect that the particular ladies in question will press their case home to a conclusion."29 Their optimism was rewarded when, on March 22, Farris did indeed bring down a Bill to fix a minimum wage for women. It was introduced as a government measure since a number of MLA's had publicly advocated such legislation, but Farris noted that Mary Ellen Smith had had a great deal to do with it.30 Only four days later, Mary Ellen Smith was able to move the second reading and the Act was assented to on April 23, 1918. There was no opposition at all to the Bill in the legislature; debate centred solely on the scope and influence of the proposed law. J.J.Weart (Liberal, South Vancouver) wished to see at least one woman on the proposed Minimum Wage Board, "as in Washington" state, and a lowering of the proposed age limit of eighteen years so that very young girls who were often most poorly paid would receive some protection. M.Wilson (Liberal, Rossland) agreed with the Province, March 2, 1918 p.8. WWW, March 7, 1918 p.1; the WWW reported that as it went to press the delegation was "on the way to Victoria" for the meeting. It never did report that the meeting had taken place but this was presumably the case. Colonist, March 23, 1918 p.5. 1 70 idea of a woman board member but also wished to see on the board someone who had an intimate knowledge of "Labor and its problems."31 G.G.McGeer (Liberal, Richmond) lauded the Bill as opening up "a new area, as the principle of it was on behalf of a class which required attention they [sic ] had not hitherto received". It was very advanced thinking, he maintained, and his only criticism was that it did not go far enough. He would have preferred that the act be able to regulate conditions as well as wages.32 Some of these recommedations were written into the act before it was passed, while others came in later amendments. Initially, the act provided for a three person, unpaid board. The Deputy Minister of Labor was to be chairman and the other two, one of whom was to be a woman, were to be appointed at the Lieutenant-Governor's pleasure. It was the first such board in Canada; even though two other provinces had legislation they did not use boards to set wage limits.33 Helen MacGill was the first woman appointee along with Thomas Matthews, late of the Vancouver school board and Deputy Minister of Labor J.D% McNiven. The board's duty was to ascertain the wages paid to women in various industries, determine the cost of living relative to each industry and then to set a minimum wage after conferring with both employers and employees. For women who were physically defective or who were apprentices a lower than minimum wage could be set, and farm laborers, domestic workers Ibid., March 26, 1918 p.3. Ibid., April 4, 1918 p.5. Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p.159. 171 and fruit pickers were specifically excluded from the act. The minimum wage was intended to affect women over the age of eighteen years but the board was given the power to investigate and rule on wages for girls below this age if it so desired. Penalties for infractions, once a minimum wage had been set, ranged from $25 to $100.34 How many women came under the jurisdiction of the newly created MWB and what types of work were the employed at? The movement of women into the workforce had increased steadily since the turn of the century and the sudden rise in numbers during the war created considerable concern, both for the sake of the women themselves and for the safety of male jobs once servicemen began to return. No figures are available for 1918, the year the British Columbia Minimum Wage Board was established, so the 1921 Census of Canada has been used on the assumption that while figures are not exact they will indicate trends and proportions that are similar to those obtained three years before. Table 12 shows the steady increase in female employment across the nation since the turn of the century. 34 British Columbia. Statutes. 1918 ch. 56. 1 72 Nevertheless, by 1921, women still represented only a small proportion of the workforce, probably less than a quarter.35 Table 12 Percent of the Male and Female Population • 10 Years of Age and Over, Employed in Gainful Occupations, by Provinces, for Census Years 1881-1921 Province 18S n 1 9C )1 19 1 1 92 11 Male Fern. Male Fern. Male Fern. Male Fern. Canada 76.71 1 1 .07 74. 19 12.01 79.54 14.31 77.52 1 5.27 Pr. E. Island 77.23 9.83 75.88 8.82 75.90 10.73 77.22 11.86 Nova Scotia 77.99 13.20 76.24 10.60 77. 14 13.17 76.28 14.53 New Brunswick 77.08 1 1 .38 76.68 11.20 75.83 12.73 75.82 1 3 .88 Quebec 74.30 9.84 72.42 12.85 74.87 1 4.08 74.44 16.01 Ontario 77.30 1 1 .72 74.50 12.60 80.15 15.89 78.70 1 6.95 Mani toba 80.57 9.09 74.60 10.39 80.85 14.85 76.87 14.98 Saskatchewan 67.59 4.04 69. 12 6.02 85.50 9.52 80.86 10.56 Alberta 67.59 4.04 69. 1 2 6.02 83. 59 1 1 .08 79.34 1 1 .24 Br. Columbia 83.45 1 1 .70 77.53 9.58 86.66 15.31 80.57 14.21 Source: Census of Canada 1921 vol 4. An assessment of how many women worked in Vancouver and just what jobs they held is difficult. The two obvious sources, c the 1921 census and secondary literature dealing with the 35 Terry Copp, The Anatomy of Poverty: The Condition of the Working  Class in Montreal, 1 879-1 929 (Toronto": McClelland and Stewart, 1979), p.44 estimates that women made up 20% of the workforce at the turn of the century and 25% in 1921. He uses the figure of 60,027 women workers (presumably in Montreal) but the page that he cites, vol.3 p.264, says the number was 49,642. economic development of the province both have major weaknesses. The census appears to have used two different sets of figures to calculate general population and numbers gainfully occupied in specific cities. Thus we are faced with two totals of the female workforce in Vancouver in 1921, 8173 and 9694. The former figure has been used in the following discussion.36 The accuracy of both figures is questionable because many women, working for pay in their own homes, would likely have been missed in the census. Moreover, this was the first Canadian census in which women's work was included in such a detailed manner and methods of assessment may well have been less than comprehensive. Most studies dealing with commercial, mercantile and industrial growth in Canada generally, or more specifically with British Columbia, hardly mention women workers at all.37 This is partly due to the traditional tendency of historians to overlook or ignore women in their research and writing and is also a The first figure is from vol.3 p.386 and the second from vol.4 p.xlviii. There is no explanation as to how or why two different figures were used. In all likelihood neither is very accurate but figures from each volume have been used separately in the belief that while they may not give accurate totals the proportion of women in the various provinces, cities and occupations is probably reasonably correct. When census figures differ greatly from figures from other sources the fact is noted but no attempt is made to show which might be the more accurate. For instance, Terry Copp, The Anatomy of Poverty, devotes one chapter to women's work; Michael J. Piva, The Condition of the  Working Class in Toronto, 1900-1929 (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1979) mentions women only in passing; Timothy A. Dunn, "Work, Class and Education: Vocationalism in British Columbia's Public Schools, 1900-1929," (M.A. thesis, UBC, 1978) mentions women only in regard to the increased availability of clerical jobs; Eleanor Bartlett, "Real Wages and the Standard of Living in Vancouver, 1901-1929," B.C. Studies no. 51 (Autumn 1981) pp. 3-63, considers only male wage earners. 174 result of the belief that women were at best only secondary wage-earners in a family and therefore unimportant in the overall scheme of things. This attitude completely dismisses the fact that many women for at least some part of their lives were self-supporting individuals rather than members of an economic family unit.38 It is also due in part to the fact that much of women's paid work took place outside of the large industries that usually form the focus of economic studies; with the exception of the textile and garment industries women tended to work in small, sex-segregated, unorganised groups that are easily ignored by scholars intent upon broad economic trends and large groups within the workforce. This is particularly the case in British Columbia where the economic base was and still is very much dependent on the. resource industries of mining, forestry, fishing and the export of the products of these industries to world markets. These industries were not of the type to employ female labor to any marked extent, with the exception of the salmon canning industry which did employ numbers of women on a seasonal basis. The manufacturing industries that traditionally employed large numbers of women, textile and garment making, were never of significance in British Columbia as they were in Ontario and Quebec cities. This is certainly the attitude of Copp, Piva and Bartlett. See Janice Acton, Penny Goldsmith and Bonnie Shepard, Women at Work  in Ontario; Wayne Roberts, Honest Womanhood: Feminism, Femininity and Class Consciousness Among Toronto Working Women  1893-1914 (Toronto: Hogtown Press, 1976) and some of the articles in Alison Prentice and Susan Trofimenkoff eds., The  Neglected Majority, for women-centered studies of women's work. 175 Table 13 shows 7.90% of working women in Vancouver and 6.35% in Victoria as being engaged in manufacturing occupations while Toronto and Montreal, with their large textile and garment industries employed 24.70% and 37.29% of the female workforce respectively in these occupations. Campbell lists Vancouver women's occupations in the first two decades of the twentieth century as "domestics, laundresses, chambermaids, garment makers, milliners, telephone operators, cigar makers, waitresses, bookbinders, shop assistants, candy makers, fishplant workers, cooks, as well as nurses, teachers and clerical workers".39 Table 13 supports her statement, showing personal service (which includes domestics, laundresses, chambermaids, waitresses and cooks), professional service (teachers and nurses), clerical work, commerce (shop assistants), and transport (largely composed of telephone and telegraph operators) as employing the largest numbers of women. Table 14 shows percentages of some of the data in Table 13 which indicate that in Vancouver and Victoria the four categories of personal service, professional service, clerical work and commerce accounted for 85.29% and 88.76% of the female workforce respectively. By contrast in heavily industrialized Toronto and 39 Marie Campbell, "Sexism in British Columbia Trade Unions," p. 169. Campbell's data appears to have been taken largely from the British Columbia Labor Gazette. 176 Montreal 70.13% and 57.56% were so employed. The addition of the manufacturing .sector, however, brings all four cities to a roughly equal position with the five categories accounting for Table 13 Number of Women Employed in Various Occupations in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Montreal 1921 Occupation Van. % Vic . q. Tor. % Mon. % Agriculture 4 0.05 3 0.01 1 7 0.03 Manufacture 646 7.90 1 52 6.35 1 3202 24.70 18501 37.29 Transport 515 6.30 1 1 3 4.72 2567 4.80 2054 4.15 Construction 3 0.04 1 4 0.03 2 0.01 Commerce 962 1 1 .78 319 13.33 6605 12.36 4452 8.97 Clerical 2397 29.38 548 22.90 1 5757 29.48 1 0500 21.15 Messengers 15 0.18 69 0.13 72 0.15 Unspecified 20 0.24 4 0.17 1 1 9 0.22 428 0.86 Service, Pers. 2259 27.64 803 33. 56 10615 1 9.86 1 0549 21 .25 Service, Prof. 1352 1 6. 54 454 19.97 4504 8.43 3067 6\ 1 9 Total 8173 2393 53452 49642 Source: Census of Canada 1921 Vol. 4. roughly 94% of all women workers. Vancouver and Victoria then, had a small number of female factory employees, were roughly equal to the two eastern cities in regard to percentage of women in clerical and commercial jobs but had a considerably higher percentage of women employed in personal and professional services. Victoria, as the seat of government, might be expected to have had a higher proportion of female clerical workers but this was not the case. If the sub-categories of personal service 1 77 are examined, as in Table 15, it is evident that while the eastern cities had a lower percentage of women in personal service a far greater proportion of them were servants, cooks, attendants and charwomen while in the western cities the greater proportion were waitresses, laundry workers or housekeepers. Waitresses and laundry workers tended to have more definite job descriptions than the other categories, they worked in a business rather than for an individual and were probably more easily organized by a union though they may not have actually been so. In Vancouver, however, at least some women laundry Table 14 Percent of the Female Work Force in Selected Cities and Occupational Categories, 1921 Vancouver Victoria Toronto Montreal Personal Service 27.64 33.56 1 9.86 2 1.25 Professional Service 1 6. 54 18.97 8.43 6.19 Clerical 29.33 22.90 29. 48 21.15 Commerce 1 1 .78 13.33 12.36 8.97 Sub Total 85.29 88.76 70.13 57.56 Manufacturing 7.90 6.35 24.90 37.29 Total 93.19 95.11 94.83 94.85 Source: Census of Canada 1921 vol. 4 (percentages calculated by author). workers belonged to the male Laundry Workers' Union and a Waitresses' Union had been established as early as 1905. Campbell also notes that women were able to join the Hotel and Restaurant Employees' Union, and mentions the existence of a Retail Clerks' Union."0 Table 15 Percent of the Female Work Force in Selected Cities and Occupations, 1921 Vancouver Victoria Toronto Montreal Domestic Service Attendants 3.31 3.86 5.58 5.06 Charwomen 2.17 2.31 5.24 9.26 Cooks 4.29 4.63 6.96 5.89 Housekeepers 14.31 23. 15 1 1 .54 6.37 Laundry Workers 7.75 10.03 3.78 2.96 Servants 46.90 37. 1 9 56.72 62.67 Waitresses 1 5.25 12.50 8.11 5.61 Other 6.02 6.33 2.07 2.18 Professional Service Education 49.41 51 .32 47.83 52.88 Health 38.31 38.55 28.77 32.28 Li terary 2.00 2.86 3.69 1 .57 Religious 2.96 1 .76 < 5.27 2.48 Other 7.32 5.51 14.44 10.79 Source: Census of Canada 1921, vol. 4 (percentages calculated by author). 1 79 The categories of work that were considered by the MWB when it began to set wage levels for women workers in 1919 indicates the jobs in which pay was lowest and conditions most exploitative. Although they are divided in a different manner to the categories listed in Table 14, the occupations that drew the attention of the MWB were those in which the majority of women were employed with the single exception of professional service which, by its nature did not concern the MWB."1 The nine categories also illustrate the wide variety of jobs that were subsumed under the broad headings of the census. In the order in which the MWB dealt with them they were: (1) The mercantile industry, which covered all businesses engaged in the sale, purchase or distribution of goods or merchandise, including sales and wrapping clerks, as well as checkers, stock markers, or workers in mail order rooms."2 This area was an important one for women of both the middle and working classes. From the 1880's on in all large North American cities department stores grew and expanded to cater to middle-class customers who had the time and money to devote to the increasingly fashionable occupation of consumerism. The growth of the industry simultaneously opened up numerous jobs . for Ibid., pp. 170, 173. See Veronica Strong-Boag, "The Girl of the New Day: Canadian Working Women in the 1920's", Labour/Le Travailleur 4 (1979) pp. 137-52 and Le Collectif Clio, L'Histoire des Femmes au Quebec, pp. 265-84. British Columbia. Sessional papers 1920, Report of the Minimum Wage Board of British Columbia. ("Hereafter cited as Second Report MWB), p. K80. 180 unskilled and semi-skilled working girls."3 Returns to the MWB from the industry indicated that there were at least 2043 Vancouver employees in this area in 1920."" (2) The laundry, cleaning and dyeing industries. The first category occupied 159 Vancouver women while only twelve were employed in the second and third. This was perhaps because the latter two occupations required more training and/or skill. Also the wages were higher in these two industries with 75% of women receiving more than the minimum wage even before it was set."5 (3) Public housekeeping occupations included the work of waitresses, housekeepers, cleaners, cooks and helpers in any place that served food to the public as well chambermaids in hotels and lodging houses and elevator operators."6 Domestic workers of all types in private homes were excluded. The category was the third largest amongst women workers in Vancouver with 868 female employees."7 (4) Office occupations included stenographers, bookkeepers, operators of all business machines and all kinds of clerical helpers."8 This was another area of work that opened up to women at the turn of the century with the mass production of office machinery, particularly the typewriter, and the modernization of See Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place, pp. 18-21, 52-56 for discussion of the growth of this occupation. First Report MWB, p. H65. Ibid., pp. H65-66; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.390.' Second Report MWB, p. K81. Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.390. Second Report MWB, p. K81 . 181 business practises and methods which all but eliminated the traditional male clerk. A career hierarchy for male employees developed forcing women to take over the lowest rated and paid clerical positions."9 Although the work was poorly paid and their status within the office the lowest, this was a relatively attractive job for women with sufficient education, being clean, light, respectable and much preferable -to shop or factory work. In Vancouver 2397 women worked in private offices with a further 179 in public service positions.50 (5) The manufacturing industry included the work of females "engaged in the making, preparing, altering, repairing, ornamenting, printing, finishing, packing, assembling the parts of, and adapting for use or sale any article or commodity, but excepting fish, fruit and vegetable drying, canning, preserving or packing."51 Included were Campbell's garment makers, milliners, cigar makers, bookbinders, and candy makers as well as several dozen other specific occupations. In all, 646 women were employed in Vancouver factories.52 Graham S.Lowe, "Class, Job and Gender in the Canadian Office," Labour/Le Travailleur 10 (Autumn 1982) pp. 15-19, also "Women Work and the Office: The Feminization of Clerical Occupations in Canada, 1901-193 1," Canadian Journal of Sociology 5 (1980), pp. 376-78; Sheila Rothman, Woman's Proper Place, pp. 48-50. Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.392. Second Report MWB, p. K82. Of the 646 women listed 370 did actually work at jobs related to the textile industry. Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.386. 182 (6) Personal service included the work of females employed in "manicuring, hairdressing, barbering, and other work of like nature, or employed as attendants at shooting galleries and other public places of amusement, garages and gasolene [sic] service stations, or as drivers of motor cars and other vehicles." The census lists only twenty theatre employees, three pleasure resort employees and thirty-six barbers and hairdressers in this category in Vancouver.53 (7) Telephone and telegraph occupations included the work of "all persons employed in connection with the operation of the various instruments, switchboards, and other mechanical appliances used in connection with telephone and telegraphy." The census lists 481 female telephone operators and 26 telegraph operators. 5" (8) The fishing industry was composed of the work of "females engaged in the washing, preparing, preserving, drying, curing, smoking, packing, or otherwise adapting for sale or use, or for shipment, any kind of fish except in the case of canned fish." The census lists none of these occupations in Vancouver unless they are included under the unexplained heading "food" which provided only seven jobs.55 The majority of jobs would have been in coastal towns other than Vancouver. Second Report MWB, p.K82; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.390. Second Report MWB, p.K82-83; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.380,388. Second Report MWB, p.K83; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.386. 183 (9) The fruit and vegetable industries included the work of women engaged in "canning, preserving, drying, packing, or otherwise adapting for sale or use, any kind of fruit or vegetable." The census lists only fourteen fruit and vegetable canners and factory workers in Vancouver.56 The majority of workers would have lived and worked in the country, particularly in the Okanagan Valley, and many were probably members of ethnic minorities. The census date, June 21, probably affected the number of women recorded in this occupation. At this time of the year the main harvest may not have yet begun. The MWB decisions then, covered all of Campbell's listed occupations with the exception of teaching and nursing. Between them, these two categories included a large number of women. In 1921 there were 2139 women teachers in the public schools of the province and 654 in the public and private schools of Vancouver. There were also 511 nurses in the city at that time.57 Neither group was well paid but their payment was a salary rather than a wage so neither was considered by the MWB. Moreover, they were paid on the basis of the certification they gained after a specific period of training and therefore, unlike new employees learning job skills or trades, were not subject to dismissal when they reached a certain level of accomplishment or a certain age which was often the case in other female occupations. Thus, though many women in these groups were under the age of eighteen 56 Second Report MWB, p.K84; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.388. 57 British Columbia. Annual Report of the Public Schools, 1920-21 p.F16; Census of Canada 1921, vol. 3, p.390. 184 they had some measure of protection. The first formal meeting of the MWB was held in Vancouver on August 1, 1918 with Helen MacGill taking on the temporary and unpaid job of secretary, " until a permanent officer should be required". At this meeting the chairman J.D.McNiven "submitted suggestions for forms of inquiry in regard to wage schedules then being paid."58 In her role as secretary "Versatile Helen was the member who drew up the forms, the first of their kind in Canada, and who superintended their distribution and summation that summer."59 While the board was waiting for the return of all this information it accepted an invitation from the Washington State minimum wage board, known as the Industrial Welfare Commission, to attend a War Emergency Conference at Olympia, and followed this by visits to the Oregon and California Commissions.60 Thus, by the time it was ready to deal with the mercantile occupations, the first sector of industry for which it would set a minimum wage, the board was familiar with the minimum wage situation along the west coast of the USA. First Report MWB, p.H59. Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p.160. This automatic adoption of sex roles, which is so strongly decried by contemporary feminists, is indicative of the maternal feminist outlook. Rather than resenting the fact that she, as a woman, had to take the ideas and suggestions of men and then do the actual work that would put them into action, Helen MacGill, and probably most other clubwomen, saw this as an area in which their feminine skills were a distinct improvement to the situation. Certainly, it must have appeared to them that the mere fact that they were being allowed to participate at all was a great step forward. First Report MWB, p.H59. 185 Replies to the questionnaires sent out over summer indicated that the minimum wage in the mercantile occupations, was as low as $4.00 per week. Under the new act the board was authorized to call a public meeting or conference to ascertain exactly what constituted a living wage for women in these jobs. The first conference was scheduled for November 13, 1918 but was postponed because of the 'flu epidemic which resulted in a ban on all public gatherings. In the meantime the board held two smaller public meetings, one in Vancouver and one in Victoria, to explain the act and the benefits it hoped would acrue to working women. The first annual report notes that "One of the most gratifying features of these two meetings was the interest displayed by the women's organizations in the welfare of their sisters, all the most important associations authorizing their presidents or other officers to take seats upon the platform and to express sympathy in the proposed Conference."61 The Conference itself was run on the lines of a small commission with nine members appointed by the board to accept evidence from the public. As required by the act, three members, a Mrs Sutton and the Misses Dunbar and Howatt, represented the employees. Representing the employers were Mr. R.W. Wood, Mr. T.H. Lockyer, manager of the Hudson's Bay Company, and Mr Chris Spencer, owner of another department store. The "disinterested public" was represented by the Rev. William O'Boyle, Miss H.G.Stewart of the Victoria Child Welfare Ibid., p.H60. 1 86 Association and Mrs Margaret Griffin a prominent member of the Vancouver LCW and a number of other clubs. Mrs Griffin, was taken ill at the last moment and was replaced by Susie Lane Clark. Amongst those who gave evidence were Helena Gutteridge and members of the Retail Clerks' Association. The method by which the board set about ascertaining a minimum wage was perhaps democratic but rather unsophisticated. Questionnaires were sent to employees requesting their estimates of various items of living expenses. The board considered that in this way it would obtain " a fair estimate of the amount required yearly by a prudent, self-supporting woman ... in order to maintain herself in reasonable comfort."62 (See Table 16) The average wage thus calculated was $16.81 per week. The total number of estimates received by the board for any given item ranged from thirteen (for insurance which was presumably not a priority expense among working women) to twenty-nine (for various items of clothing). This represented a 1% response from the 2043 women whom the board estimated were employed in mercatile occupations in 1919. No single reason for this poor response is evident and the board did not comment on it at all. 6 2 Ibid., p.H61 . 1 87 Table 16 Cost of Living Calculation for Mercantile Occupations 1 9 1 9 No. of Average Annual Cost of Each Item Est imates 20. Meals $245.95 20. Room 109.70 29. Shoes and rubbers 25.629. Repairing shoes 4.02 29. Stockings 7.228. Underwear ' 10.44 28. Petticoats 8.03 29. Suit 37.329. Coat 29.80 28. Dresses and aprons 33.429. Shirt-waists 14.88 28. Handkerchiefs 2.327. Skirts 12.46 28. Night-gowns 7.00 29. Corsets 7.35 27. Corset-waists 4.52 29. Gloves 5.64 24. Neckwear 3.57 29. Hats 19.20 29. Umbrella 3.226. Kimono 4.88 21 . Raincoat 13.51 20. Repair of clothing 5.55 23. Laundry 23,20 28. Medicine and dentistry 18.98 28. Street-car fare 44.13 25. Newspapers and magazines 6.31 28. Stationery and postage 7.65 16. Association dues 5.97 13. Insurance 12.82 27. Vacation expenses 29.824. Amusements f 17.30 28. Church and other contributions 16.25 24. Incidentals 16.14 Total for year $874 . 1 5 Average, $16.81 per week. Source: British Columbia Sessional Papers, 1919, Report of Minimum Wage Board pp.H61-62 188 Women may have been skeptical about the methods of collecting the data or the possible effects that the decision of the board might have on their lives or they may have been incapable of itemizing expenditure in such a detailed way. Very few, if any, workers living on the edge of poverty would have budgeted on a annual basis. They would have much more likely bought items as they needed and could afford them. At any rate, the estimates were presented to the public hearing at which further input was received from any interested individuals and then the MWB and the nine representatives went into conference. After several hours of "frank and full discussion" in which "good feeling and restraint was shown on all sides" despite the "many contentious matters" which arose, the conference arrived at a figure of $12.75 per week as the minimum necessary for a decent life. However, Mrs Sutton expressed her dissatisfaction with the proceedings and/or outcome by refusing to sign the recommendation which suggests that the conference was not as calm and conciliatory as the minutes state. The choice of $12.75 as a minimum wage illustrates very clearly the fact that the whole process was a case of a theoretical solution to practical problem. Having established, however inaccurately, that $16 a week was necessary for a living wage, the board could hardly have justified in any practical sense, setting a wage 25% lower than this sum. The eventual decision represented more of a deadlock than a compromise; Helen MacGill noted that the " Employees were hoping for $18 a week and thinking that $16 might do while employers 189 considered $5 was fair and $6 liberal."63 The board managed to walk a line midway between the two. Two weeks after its first decision the MWB held a further conference, this time on the laundry, cleaning and dyeing occupations. The same process was followed resulting in a recomended $13.50 minimun wage per week. (See Table 17). Two interesting differences between the estimates of these workers and those of the mercantile workers are those for meals and rooms, medicine and dentistry. Possibly women in mercantile jobs lived in more expensive sections of the city and hence paid higher rent. This assumption would be supported by the idea that shop work was somehow more "refined" than laundry work. Likewise shop girls, having to appear in the public eye, might reasonably be expected to spend more on corsets than laundry workers. Why the latter paid more for medicine and dentistry than the former is not clear unless it was because their working conditions were less healthy and resulted in more sickness. Without considerably more data on these women, ^their jobs and lifestyles, no strong inferences are possible. The differences in estimates might simply be explained by the fact that they were based on opinion rather than on carefully verified fact. In the following year the board arranged conferences on an additional seven occupations and accepted their recommendations on minimum wage levels (See Table 18). 63 Helen MacGill, quoted in Harold Underhill, "Labor Legislation in B.C.", p.141. 1 90 Table 17 Cost of Living Calculation for Laundry, Dyeing and Dry Cleaning Occupations 1919 No. of Estimates Average Annual Cost of Each Item 37. Meals and room $354. 54 34. Shoes and rubbers 23.72 35. Repairing shoes 6.47 35. Stockings 7.634. Underwear 8.43 35. Petticoats 7.035. Suit 32.59 35. Coat 26.034. Dresses and aprons 19.75 32. Shirt-waists 14.71 35. Skirts 15.43 31. Handkerchiefs 2.29 36. Night-gowns 5.50 34. Corsets 4.17 34. Corset-waists 5.94 35. Gloves 4.65 26. Neckwear 5.86 35. Hats 13.98 35. Umbrella 2.929. Kimono 4.631 . Raincoat 12.35 22. Repair of clothing 5.57 24. Laundry 20.48 30. Medicine and dentistry 27.46 33. Street-car fare 30.09 26. Newspapers and magazines 7.84 32. Stationery and postage 5.718. Association dues 8.75 26. Insurance 15.024. Vacation expenses 33.96 28. Amusements 13.97 34. Church and other contributions 11.224. Incidentals 13.5Total for year $772. 52 Average, $14.85 per week. Source: British Columbia. Sessional Papers, 1919, Report of Minimum Wage Board, pp.H63. 191 Table 18 Minimum Wage Board Rulings 1918-19 •Date of Conference and" Occupation Considered Conferees Representing the Public Min imum Wage Mercantile Occupations Vancouver. Dec 4, 1916 Rev. William Boyle Miss H.G. Stewart* Susie Lane Clark* $ 12.7 5 Laundry, Cleaning & Dyeing Occupations. Victoria. Dec 18, 1918 Rev. R. Connell Mrs F.C. Saunders Miss H.G. Stewart $13.50 Public Housekeeping Occupations Vancouver. May 28, 1919 Rev. Dr. Whittington Mrs M.G. Graves Mrs Jeanne A Robbins $14.00 Office Occupations New Westminster. June 4, 1919 Rev. R.W. Hibbert Mrs T.A. Barnard* Mrs Jennie Smith* $15.00 Manufacturing Industry Vancouver. June 18, 1919 Capt. C.A. Whittaker Mrs W.A. McConkey* Mrs W.A. Clark* $14.00 Personal Service Occupations Victoria. July 3, 1919 Archdeacon F.C.C. Heathcote Miss Bertha Winn* Miss N.M. McKillican* $14.25 Telephone and Telegraph Occupations Vancouver June 17, 1919 Rev. J.W. Weatherdon Mrs Marie McNaughton* Mrs H.G. Taylor* $15.00 Fishing Industry Vancouver. December 11, 1919 Rev. A.E. Cooke Mrs M.I. Norton* Mrs John Forrester* Mrs Paul Smith* $15.50 Fruit and Vegetable Industry Kelowna. Dec 17, 1919 Professor E. Odium Mrs Paul Smith Mrs M.S. Cleland $14.00 *Women with club affiliations Source: Second report, MWB. pp.K80-84. 1 92 Because minimum wages were based upon the cost of living, each decision during the year set standards a little higher to offset escalating costs. The lower rates in the fruit and vegetable industry reflect the slightly lower cost involved in living outside of an urban area. It was intended that all the minimum wage orders would be reviewed from time to time and brought into line with the cost of living. No such reviews took place before 1925, however. By the end of 1919 the majority of occupations in which significant numbers of women were employed had been brought under the authority of the act. Women outside these occupations still had no protection from exploition, however, and as the act specifically excluded domestic workers, this meant that many women were still without the dubious protection of the act. It is ironic that in all likelihood some of the clubwomen who supported the idea of a minimum wage were themselves employers of domestic workers. There is no evidence that close association with the minimum wage board encouraged any of these clubwomen to call for some regulation of this sector of the workforce. Though the majority of clubwomen expressed genuine concern for the welfare of those who were less fortunate than themselves it was evident that there were elements both of self-interest and patronage in their motives. The gulf between them and working class women was far too wide to allow real empathy and their lives were so different that there was not always a clear understanding of the problems. While clubwomen were willing to offer sympathy and a limited amount of help there was no desire 1 93 to see the gulf demolished or even narrowed.6" Their activities were designed to shore up and stabilize society rather than to change it in any significant manner. Helen MacGill was strongly castigated by the BC Federationist for her part in the wage decisions. When asked how young girls earning below the minimum wage would survive she answered that they "would have parents to help them" but when asked about girls without parents she was unable to answer.65 Copp has stated that "Minimun wage laws were not intended to raise overall wage rates; indeed in practise their effect was rather to provide a justification for low wages", Guest agrees that the new laws "did little to assure that workers would be lifted out of poverty" and Strong-Boag has noted that legislation of the period only served to perpetuate "women's marginal status within the paid labour force."66 All these statements contain much truth. The very acceptance of the notion of a minimum wage almost automatically ensured that the majority of women would not receive much more than the legally set sum. A radical change in the position and wages of working women would Helen Lenskyj-, "A 'Servant Problem'" pp. 6-8; Jennifer Stoddart and Veronica Strong-Boag, "... And Things were Going Wrong at Home," Atlantis 1:1 (Fall 1975) pp. 38-39; see also Barbara Roberts, "'A Work of Empire': Canadian Reformers and British Female Immigration," in Linda Kealey, ed., A Not Unreasonable  Claim, pp. 185-201; Marilyn Barber, "The Women Ontario Welcomed: Immigrant Domestics for Ontario Homes 1870-1930," Ontario  History 72:3 (September 1980) pp. 148-72. BC Federationist, June 20, 1919 p.2. Terry Copp, The Anatomy of Poverty, p.48; David Guest, The  Emergence of Social Welfare, p.73; Veronica Strong-Boag, "Canada's Early Experience with Income Supplements," p. 40. 1 94 have required radical changes throughout society. Promoters, of legislation like the minimum wage law considered it progressive but it was basically conservative and therefore was bound to do little more than marginally improve the status quo." A comparison of middle and working-class attitudes to the effects of the minimum wage legislation indicates how far apart the two sections of the community remained both physically and philosophically. Clubwomen were quite content with the way the legislation was working as well as with the input they had into the functioning of the MWB. Table 18 indicates that of the twenty-eight persons appointed to represent the public in deliberations on minimum wages, nineteen were women. Of these, twelve (two of whom were appointed twice) had very strong club ties. The remaining five may or may not have had some connection with clubs; they were certainly not well known in Vancouver for club activities. Helen MacGill, as chairman of the board on several occasions and as a regular member the remainder of the time, gave further representation to clubwomen. The lack of comment and further demands by these women both in the press and at their club meetings once the act had been put into action indicates -their satisfaction with its results. Had they been dissatisfied, their disapproval would have been heard as it was in the case of the Mothers' Pensions Act which is discussed in the next chapter. After 1918, club records are almost completely devoid of any mention of minimum wages. Clubwomen were very concerned after this date with other matters but it seems that they honestly believed in the rather naive theory that held that 1 95 poverty could indeed be vanquished, at least for those who were willing and able to work, by simply raising minimum wage levels. A year after the legislation was passed an article in the women's section of the Sun claimed that "its workings have affected the wages of 10,500 women in the province". This was true in so far as that number of women may have been working at jobs that were included under the board's jurisdiction but only a very small proportion had likely received any increase in pay. However the belief that the effect was largely beneficial was implied by the following comment, "While the operations of the Board in its early stages, like all great reforms, work a certain amount of hardship on a comparatively few inefficients, social service workers and others interested in public welfare declare that it will inevitably result in the greatest good to the greatest number,"67 In 1920, when the act was two years old, the WWW lauded it as "An Act That Has Accomplished Wonders", and "the most notable piece of lawmaking that has been accomplished in recent years." The writer went on to say that, so promptly and so faithfully have its provisions been administered that it has already greatly improved the conditions under which thousands of women work and live. Briefly, the Act has more than trebled the wages of some of our more poorly paid women workers, while its companion measure, the Minimum Wage Amendment Act, passed on the initiative of Mr Farris in 1919, has by ' a swift stroke brought down the working hours, in some 67 Sun, August 14, 1920 p.4; The Third Annual Report of the MWB, 1.921 notes that the number of women under the jurisdiction of the board was only 9809 but it is not clear whether this indicates a drop in the number of working women or simply a different method of calculation. Certainly by 1921 many more men had returned from the war but it is unlikely that many of them would have replaced women in these low paying jobs. 1 96 cases, as many as 70 per week to a maximum of forty eight.68 While this was probably true in a few cases, the act by no means abolished all low wages. The second piece of legislation had been passed on March 29, 1919, mainly as a result of the realization that some employers were attempting to avoid paying a higher rate by simply requiring women to work longer hours for their minimum wage. Yet another way of circumventing the new law was to employ a greater number of girls who were under eighteen years of age or who could be classified as apprentices and therefore paid less. These girls would then be fired when they reached their eighteenth birthday. This situation occurred also . in Edmonton and' probably in all other cities.69 Further legislation in April 1921 closed this loop-hole in British Columbia.7 0 The Minimum Wage Board was also pleased with results. In its first annual report it noted ...the general improvemment shown in not only wages but in hours of employment.... the returns show a distinct rise in the wages of the whole body of women workers in British Columbia. Lower wages have been raised, and, contrary to all prediction, advances in higher wages are plainly indicated...in the mercantile industry the returns appear to indicate more than twice the number of adult women receiving the highest salaries ($25 a week or over) in 1920 than in 1919.71 WWW, August 14, 1910 p.1. See Rebecca Coulter, "Working Young of Edmonton," pp.154-55. British Columbia. Sessional Papers 1919, ch.61; 1921, ch.40. Third Report MWB, 1921, p.F57. 1 97 On the face of it wages seemed to show a decided improvement. The sentence that refers to the doubling of the number of women in the highest wage bracket is particularly encouraging until a closer examination is made. This in- itself is not easy because the report contained no statistical tables at all. However, the previous year's report did contain a limited number of tables and these, I suspect, were the figures referred to. In any case they serve as a good illustration of the way the board interpreted statistics. They indicate that between 1918 and 1919 there was indeed a near doubling of the number of women in mercantile occupations earning $25 a week or more. In 1918, twenty-one women out of 1129 in that type of work were in the highest bracket, or 1.86% of the total. In the following year forty women earned $25 or more but the total had now risen to 1428 so the percentage was not much higher - 2.80% to be exact.72 In that twelve month period there was a 1% increase in the number of workers in the highest wage bracket. And this made no allowance for the fact that the cost of living increased during the year nor for the fact that these women were not the ones living on the poverty line in the first place. Although their wages could by no means be considered generous they were not faced with the same problems as women earning $10 or $12 a week or perhaps even less. In the 1920 report the board did note that the average weekly wage for women eighteen years and. over rose from $12.77 in 1918 to $14.67 in 1919 and for 72 Second Report MWB, 1920, p.K97. 1 98 girls under eighteen from $7.80 in 1918 to $9.73 in 1919, increases respectively of 16.44% and 24.74%. But even a 25% increase is not very helpful to a girl who is still earning less than a living wage. The board might also have pointed out that in 1918, 736 women out of the 1129 (65.19%) earned the minimum wage or less while in 1919 only 628 out of 1428 (43.97%) were in this miserable position. It would seem then that the new legislation did lead to a small increase in wages, but because some young girls had been receiving such abysmally low wages to begin with, much poverty amongst working women remained. At any rate the board, and much of middle-class society, whose only contact with these working women and girls was indirect, seemed satisfied that significant strides had been make. Employers, too, did not seem unduly upset by the legislation. Some individual employers may have been adversely affected financially but neither before nor after the act came into being did they present a combined lobby to the government in an attempt to effect significant alterations to the new laws. Elsie MacGill reports "cries of ruination" from "some employers" prior to the first establishment of a minimum wage rate, but they did not attempt to alter or prevent the board's 199 actions.73 The third annual Report of the board notes that towards the end of 1920 forms were sent to employers throughout the province which, amongst other information, requested opinion on the working of the new law and asked for suggested changes. Replies, the Report notes, were recovered from 1939 firms and all but a very small percentage took advantage of the invitation for an expression of opinion. The board desires to deduce from this that the majority of employers are in accord with the regulations, as it is a characteristic of human nature to criticize or find fault whenever the opportunity arises, but praise or commendation is not as freely given...in many cases the criticism was of a constructive nature.74 Absence of protest from the employers may have come about for a number of reasons. First, although women were moving more and more into the workforce, they still constituted only a small percentage of the total workforce and therefore the slight increase in their wages may not have made a very great difference to employers on the whole. Second, as Guest has / / noted, it was offten easy for employers to circumvent the regulations in a number of ways.75 They could replace women with low paid male labor. This occurred especially in the laundry occupations where male oriental workers were commonly found. These men were not protected by any legislation and no sector of Harold Underhill, "Labor Legislation in B.C.," pp. 138-39 suggests that many employers were in favour of the legislation in British Columbia. Neither Copp nor Piva mention the attitudes of Montreal and Quebec employers, but the fact that minimum wage legislation in Quebec was passed in 1919 but not acted upon until 1928 suggests that employers may have helped to hold up implementation for nearly a decade. Third Report MWB, 1921, p.F6l. David Guest, The Emergence of Social Welfare, p.74. 2C0 the community was concerned with their conditions or rates of pay.76 Employers could also require longer hours of work for the minimum rate until the law was tightened in 1919. They could also quite legally require a higher standard of work from their employees - the "efficiency" that clubwomen and employers spoke of.77 The lack of adequate inspection to enforce the law, even after loopholes had been eliminated, made evasion comparatively easy. Finkel and Palmer have shown how economic and political expediency rather than ideals of social justice came to be of great importance to both government and capitalists in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Limited legislation was seen by some politicians and employers as a means of preventing further labor unrest. Lack of opposition to the women's minimum wage law by employers in British Columbia may have been prompted by such considerations.78 But if clubwomen, the MWB and most employers were pleased or at least satisfied with the law, many workers were not. Helena Gutteridge, as business agent for the newly formed Women Retail Store Employees' Union, was not completely pleased when the first minimum wage decision to affect her union was handed 76 See resolution sent to Attorney-General by the Associated Board of Trade of Vancouver Island. British Columbia. Attorney-General Correspondence. Reel 137 File M-269-3, 1919-23-24, p.5. (undated probably 1919) (Hereafter cited as B.C. Attorney-General) The resolution protested that laundries employing women at the legal minimum rates were "unable to compete with laundries employing cheap alien male labour" (presumably Chinese). 77 Sun, December 6, 1918 p.3. 78 Alvin Finkel, Business and Social Reform, p.83; Bryan D. Palmer, Working Class Experience, pp. 136-38. 201 down in December 1918. She approved the principle but was dissatisfied with the terms, arguing that the wage should be "at least $15..or at the very minimum $14.50." She was also concerned that the age limit of eighteen years was too high because "the setting of the age at 18 would lead to discrimination against girls over 18 in favor of those from 15 to 18...and consequently older women more likely in need of work would suffer." Moreover, she pointed out that the award would affect less than 50% of store employees as the rest already received more than the set minimum. Finally, she accused the government of using the Minimum Wage Act simply to "curry favor" with the labor organizations rather than to effect real change. In defense of this charge she pointed out that there was no labor representative on the MWB and implied that justice would never be done until this was altered.79 The Laundry Workers' Union was also dissatisfied with the award covering its sector when it was announced in late 1918. It complained of scandalously low rates of pay, no limits on the numbers of young girls employed compared to skilled workers, and no limitation in the hours of work.80 The Union had just waged a difficult strike in which participants had lost their jobs. After the strike was over the MWB made its recommendations on female wage rates without consulting the Union which was both Sun, December 6, 1918 p.3. Ernest Levy, secretary of the Laundry Workers' Union (Local 37) to the Attorney-General, March 14 1919, B.C. Attorney-General Reel 137 File M-269-3 p.9. PABC. 202 offended at being ignored and angry because, it felt that the decision re-established the low wages and poor conditions that obtained before the strike.81 Even if they were dissatisfied and, as was apparent in many cases, unjustly treated, women workers on the whole did not complain, at least not long and loud enough for their complaints to have been recorded. This was not a new phenomenon nor was it limited to British Columbia.82 Helena Gutteridge attributed this to the fact that women, in the mercantile occupations at least, were "too proud to make known their unfortunate circumstances... They wanted the public who viewed them from the front of their counters to think that all was well with them...it was pride that held them back from securing more pay."83 After a few initial outbursts organized labor, both male and female, appeared to accept the minimum wage legislation whether or not they felt it was benficial. The MWL continued to exist, changing its name to Women's Industrial Union and Minimum Wage League in July 1918, "to show its enlarged scope" and its purpose of working "for better conditions for women in unskilled Marie Campbell, "Sexism in British Columbia Trade Unions," p. 1 80. See Susan Trofimenkoff, "102 Muffled Voices: Canada's Industrial Women in the 1810's," Atlantis, 3:1 (August 1977) pp. 68-83. Trofimenkoff notes the difficulty of getting women workers to appear before the Commission on Capital and Labor and the even greater difficulty of getting them to voice their complaints for fear of losing their jobs. See also Star Rosenthal, "Union Maids: Organized Women Workers in Vancouver, 1900-1915," pp.36-55. Sun, December 6, 1918 p.3. 203 labor."8" It made occasional public protests and in 1922-23, when further amendments were proposed to the act, it enlisted the aid of the UWC. The UWC, in turn, persuaded seven other unnamed organizations to send resolutions to the Attorney General and local MLA's.85 The proposed amendments concerned changing the composition of the board to include two representatives • of the employers and two of the employees. The MWL and the eight clubs agreed that such a change would "practically abolish the good of the Act and would be injurious to women workers" and their resolutions were apparently successful as no amendments were made.86 This final piece of activity by clubwomen underlines the fact that they did believe that the initial legislation was satisfactory. They were able to continue in this belief because so few, if any, of them had actual contact with women who worked in poor conditions for inadequate wages in areas that came under the authority of the MWB. They were only aware of the problems in a theoretical and not a practical sense, therefore a solution based more on theory than practicality seemed to them to be satisfactory. The fact that they showed some concern for their working-class sisters and were willing to support them in action through their own middle-class club system was important, but both their actions and the outcomes only serve to emphasize the " Sun, July 6, 1918 p.4. 5 UWC Minutes. Box 1, November 11, 1922. 6 Harold Underhill, "Labor Legislation in B.C.," p.144; UWC Minutes, Box 1 October 13, 1923. 204 distance that existed between the two classes. Combined action did serve to build bridges but it did not do away with the division. Nor, indeed was it intended to. The underlying motive for middle-class clubwomen's involvement in social reform was the desire to make use of their peculiarly feminine attributes and skills to buttress and improve a middle-class way of life. Just as they did not look for equality between themselves and men, neither did they seek equality between the classes. They were concerned to do away with gross exploitation of working women because they saw it as degrading and dangerous to the moral as well as the physical health of the community as a whole rather than just to working women as individuals. As mothers or future mothers of workers these women needed to be protected. Basic humanitarian sentiment also decreed that a minimal effort be made to remove the worst of conditions but further than this clubwomen were not concerned or prepared to go. Moreover, because they so rarely came into contact with working women on a personal basis, their understanding of their problems was theoretical or idealistic rather than practical and it seemed to them that theoretical solutions such as simply changing legislation was all that was required to eliminate the problems altogether. Their maternal feministic beliefs did point toward the existence of a commonality or sisterhood amongst women which, if followed to their logical conclusion, might have generated more empathy and a desire for greater reform. But as we saw in Chapter 3 there were many contradictions in maternal feminism which clubwomen avoided by simply ignoring. The fact 205 that legislation was passed which raised the wages of some of the most poorly paid women was sufficient to satisfy clubwomen and to convince them that they had been involved in obtaining a major social reform. 206 Chapter 5 "THE SACREDNESS OF MOTHERHOOD": MOTHERS' PENSIONS LEGISLATION, 1919-25 *• Of all the social legislation passed in British Columbia between 1916 and 1925 the Mothers' Pensions Act was dearest to the hearts of clubwomen. The only legislation that ranked near to it in their estimation was the Suffrage Act and this, as we have seen, was only regarded as a means to the end of obtaining further reform. Like the Minimum Wage Act, clubwomen saw mothers' pension legislation as capable of improving the condition of society as a whole by removing some of the worst conditions with which women of less fortunate birth had to contend and also of improving the lives of their children for the future benefit of the race. ' But unlike wage-earning with which they themselves had little direct contact, motherhood was a role which clubwomen also experienced and further, it was a role which formed the very foundation of the philosophy by which they lived and for which they pursued their reform activities. The idea of financial support for widowed mothers had first been put into practise in Chicago in 1911 on the recommendation of Judge Henry Neil of the Juvenile Court. He was concerned at the fact that some women, despite their best efforts, were being forced by poverty to place their children in institutions 1 Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework", pp. 25-27; see also Suzann Buckley, "Ladies or Midwives? Efforts to Reduce Infant and Maternal Mortality," in Linda Kealey, ed., A Not  Unreasonable Claim, pp. 131-49. 207 thereby losing both custody of and contact with them. He argued that the money paid by government to the institution for the care of the child might just as easily be paid to the mother to enable her to care for the child or children herself. 2 This type of legislation obviously fulfilled two important functions at this period, it dealt humanely and economically with a very real social problem and it fitted well with society's developing ideas about the needs of children for family rather than institutional life, as well as with the needs and responsibilities of the state regarding their welfare. 3 That this point of view was becoming increasingly accepted in industrialized countries is exemplified by the fact that by 1919 thirty American states had enacted some kind of similar legislation. New Zealand, Australia and Denmark also had this kind of law in action. In Canada, Manitoba in 1918 was the first province to put limited legislation for mothers' pensions on its books, followed in 1919 by the two other prairie provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan. * British Columbia passed its legislation in April, 1920 and Ontario followed some months later. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec were slower both to study the idea of mothers' assistance programs and to legislate provision for them, reflecting their more traditional attitudes 2 British Columbia Sessional Papers 1921, Report on Mothers Pensions , 1918 p.5. 3 Sutherland, Children in English Canadian Society, pp. 91-94. 4 Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework," p.26; WWW, March 21, 1919 p.1; see also British Columbia. Sessional Papers 1920, Report of Commission on Mothers' Pensions, pp. T5-6. 208 to welfare. Quebec, for instance, did not introduce assistance  maternelle until 1937. 5 The local campaign then did not represent a radical departure in social legislation although many people liked to think that it was. Rather, it was an attempt to bring local legislation in line with a world-wide movement that was already under way. In this sense it had much in common with minimum wage legislation. Both represented a movement away from nineteenth century notions about charity and the working class generally and a movement towards more modern ideas about the role of the state in the health and welfare of its citizens. 6 The principles underlying the eventual British Columbia legislation were twofold. Firstly, it was perceived to be an economic method of supporting fatherless children and secondly it made full use of the mothering instincts for which, it was increasingly believed, there was no substitute. A British Columbia government statement put it quite succinctly in the early 1920's: The underlying principle of the Act is one of a contract between the State and the mother, under which she agrees in consideration of the assistance given her to maintain and educate her children so as to make 5 Le Collectif Clio, L'Histoire des Femmes au Quebec, pp.260-64. 6 For discussion on the development of modern social welfare from the traditional ideas of'charity, in the Canadian context see P.T.Rooke and R.L. Schnell, "Child Welfare in English Canada, 1920-1948," Social Service Review September 1981, pp. 485-506; Dennis Guest, The Emergence of Social Security, pp. 1-8. Andrew Jones and Leonard Rutman, In the Children's Aid: J.J. Kelso and  Child Welfare in Ontario (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981), pp. 152-55. 209 them useful citizens of the State. 7 Maternal feminists believed that the nurture and education of children in a proper manner required that the mothering role be a full-time one. But many sole-support mothers were forced to work arrd were unable to look after their homes satisfactorily due to their long absences and poor wages. The other alternative, that of placing the children in an institution, was becoming increasingly unattractive as social welfare philosophy developed beyond its nineteenth century beginnings. ...assistance is given for the purpose of allowing the mother to remain in her home and maintain it, instead of breaking it up and allowing the children to be placed in an orphan or foundling institution at the public expense. By this means the mother becomes the agent of the State for the rearing and education of her children, care they would otherwise lose. 8 Several pseudo-scientific justifications for pensions, with moral overtones, were also put forward. The first was that pensions would eradicate juvenile delinquency. The WWW stated that, In Chicago, where the measure is law and where it has long since passed the experimental stage, it has been found that in those homes where Mothers' Pensions meant something, not one case returned to the juvenile courts. In other words, the delinquents had become 100 percent efficient. 9 7 British Columbia. Premier Papers. Mother's Pension Act. (typescript) n.p. [probably 1922] GR 441 v.235, File '122' or 9. PABC. (Herafter cited as B.C.P.P.) 8 WWW, November 6, 1920 p.3; see also, Report of the Committee on  Mothers' Allowances, (Toronto: Committee on Mothers' Allowances, 1918), p.3. 9 Ibid., March 21, 1918 p. 1 . 210 A ' second justification was that pensions would prevent mental deficiency. Again it was the WWW that said, ...it has been proved that lack of proper nourishment leads to mental deterioration. Wherever the Mothers' Pension's [sic] law obtains there has been a noticeable diminution in the numbers of the Mentally Deficient, until they are, in some places a' negligible quant ity.10 The notion of pensions also received support from the fact that the first Workmen's Compensation Act had been passed in the province in 1916. Clubwomen figured very little in the passage of this legislation but they were concerned for the women who did not benefit from it, that is, women who were deserted' or whose husbands were incapacitated by reasons other than on-the-job accidents. They felt that mothers' pensions would help these women in the same way that workers' compensation helped workers. The campaign for pensions got publicly under way early in 1918 after several years of sporadic work and discussion by clubwomen in the province. Susie Lane Clark of the NEL wrote, Today the demand for mothers' pensions is sweeping over the land. In the great new era which the world has apparently entered, the sacredness of motherhood seems to be better recognized than in the past, and, as a result, we find that efforts are everywhere being made for proper protection of women and children,...through legislation.1 1 Clubwomen were not alone in their support of and agitation for mothers' pension laws but they were certainly the leaders of the 10 Ibid. 11 WWW, February 7, 1918 p.5. 21 1 campaign in British Columbia. It was these women, headed by Susie Lane Clark of the NEL, who arranged delegations to Victoria to confront the government and generally publicized the issue to society at large. Their representativeness and credibility were greatly enhanced by the fact that they were able to unite not only a large number of women's clubs and organizations of many kinds but also to draw to the cause church organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Ministerial Association, organized labor in the form of the Trades and Labor Council and the B.C. Federation of Labor, and the Mayors and heads of the municipal relief departments of Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster.12 Labor and the municipalities had their own specific reasons for favouring the introduction of legislation, but nevertheless both were willing to work largely under the direction of women's clubs and their leaders for a common end. Organized labor saw mothers' pensions as yet another piece of social legislation that was necessary for the protection , health and well-being of the working woman. W.H.Cotterell, vice-president of the B.C. Federation of Labor, noted that the subject had been brought up in different Conventions by our various organizations over the past six years and has been the cause of much discussion. They have gone into considerable details as... [to how mothers' pensions] 12 The Ministerial Association was an organization of protestant Ministers working throughout the lower mainland. There was also a branch in Victoria. 212 should be worked out and have made requests to the Provincial Government.13 The B.C. Federationist reprinted large extracts from the proceedings of the 1919 Calgary convention of the Federation of Labor but did not include any mention of mothers' pensions although they were supposed to have been discussed.14 Pensions may have been considered desirable by some labor representatives but they do not seem to have been a pressing concern. No written submissions from labor regarding pensions are to be found in government correspondence either, although many requests from other bodies, including women's clubs exist in these files. Helena Gutteridge, now Mrs Oliver Fearn, also claimed, The organized labor movement of the whole Dominion has always endorsed mothers' pensions... labor was far ahead of any other organization in asking for it...15 But there is no evidence that this was so. British Columbia. Report of the Hearings of the Health Insurance Commission, (typescript) 1920 p.517 (Hereafter cited as Health Commission) GR 706 PABC. Cotterell submitted an extract from the Ninth Annual Convention of the Federation of Labor held in Calgary in March 1919 in which mother's pensions were said to have been discussed. This submission has not been preserved in the typescript Report of the Commission. B.C. Federationist, March 14,21,28, April 4,11, 1919 pa s s i m. Health Commission p.523; I suspect that women in organized labor considered this a far more important question- than did their male counterparts but because their numbers were so small they had little real influence in the labor movement. Women labor activists were also interested in other topics pertaining to women, for instance birth control. See Angus McLaren, "'What has this to do with Working Class Women?': Birth Control and the Canadian Left, 1900-1939," Histoire Sociale/Social History 28 (November, 1981), pp.435-54. These women appear to have been much more radical than Gutteridge and her supporters. 213 Municipal governments also had a particular interest in provincial law for the support of indigent women with children because until such time as the province took over the 'responsibility of providing for them the entire burden fell upon the municipalities through their relief departments.16 The larger, urban municipalities, particularly Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster, felt this burden most heavily and were understandably eager to pass on part if not all of the responsibility to the higher level of government. The city of Vancouver was by 1918 paying the largest amount of any city in the province for the relief of indigent mothers. Susie Lane Clark claimed that it paid "about half of the sum expended upon aid of this kind in the Province." Once they were contacted by the NEL committee on mothers' pensions, which was composed of Susie Lane Clark, Jean Macken and Mrs Ada Taylor, the Vancouver City Council passed a resolution recommending to the provincial government the bringing in of mothers' pensions and continued to support further action by the NEL.17 Although the NEL had been discussing pensions since its inception in 1916 the campaign did not become public until early 1918. Prior to this the NEL committee on mothers' pensions had been largely engaged in obtaining support from other women's organizations and mixed membership associations that were 16 see Richard Splane, Social Welfare in Ontario, pp. 284-86 for discussion of development of responsibility for social welfare at different levels of government in that province. 17 WWW, February 7, 1918 p.5. 214 interested in improving the conditions of both women and children and although they found a great amount of work in approaching the numerous organizations they very seldom found opposition, or if any, it was soon overcome when the principle and humanity of the cause was explained to them fully.18 This work was initially restricted to organizations within Vancouver but as it became increasingly obvious that a delegation to the legislature would be a necessary part of the campaign, contacts were made with Mrs Christina Forrester of New Westminster, and Mrs Maria Grant of Victoria. Forrester had been active in the New Westminster LCW since at least 1911 and was also a member of the B.C. PPEL and the New Westminster Women's Liberal Association. Grant had been a member of the Victoria LCW since its inception in 1894 and also belonged to the B.C. PPEL, the Victoria Political Equality league, the Victoria and Provincial WCTU, the NCWC and the Independent Political Association. She had been a school trustee, an ardent suffrage supporter and was a Methodist preacher. Within Vancouver, Mary Ellen Smith, newly elected to the legislature, and Helen MacGill, always concerned with the extension of legislation for women, were also co-opted. All four women brought with them the support of the clubs to which they belonged as well as reputations and influence as publicly active women. The first delegation they organized met with the government on the morning of March 21, 1918 and requested that Sun, February 15, 1920 p.13. 215 the desired legislation be brought down in the current session. (See Table 19) The delegation claimed to represent at least 10,000 women voters although how this figure was arrived at is not clear. Each delegate spoke briefly on some aspect of the proposed legislation and Mayor Robert H. Gale of Vancouver summed up the arguments in a final speech. The delegation asked specifically for Legislation that will establish a certain sum for mothers with dependent children, the expenditure of the money to be under the control of a bureau of women, the bureau having the power to place children with others than the mothers, should it be deemed advisable,19 The NEL was aware that first attempts to gain new legislation are often unsuccessful but felt that the broad representation and the unanimity of the delegation might have positive results despite the fact that the government had already voiced concern at the cost of such a scheme. Perhaps too, they had been misled by the ease with which minimum wage legislation had been achieved. That law, of course, had not cost the government much at all, whereas provision for even small pensions involved expense which the government, burdened by the previous government's deficit, was hard pressed to meet despite its reform orientation. The session drew to a close without a mention of mothers' pension legislation, and so the NEL committee once again set to work to organize an even larger delegat ion. 19 Sun, March 19, 1918 p.4. 216 Table 19 Mothers' Pensions Delegation March 21, 1918 Leader: Mrs. Susie Lane Clark Mrs Mary Ellen Smith, MLA Delegate Mrs Helen MacGill Mrs E.B. Macdonald Mrs Cecilia Spofford Mrs J.A. Gillespie Mrs Christina Forrester Mrs Margaret Griffin Adjutant Bond Mrs Annie Wilson Mrs Jean Macken Miss Helena Gutteridge Mrs John Dickson Mrs Ada Taylor Mrs Winifred Cotton Duncan McCallum or A.S. Wells Rev. George Ireland Mayor Robert H. Gale Organ ization Vancouver LCW Victoria LCW New Westminster LCW Provincial WCTU Vancouver WCTU New Westminster WCTU Victoria WCTU King's Daughters Salvation Army Mt. Pleasant Suffrage League Theosophical Society Vancouver Trades and Labour Council Women's Forum New Era League United Women's Suffrage Society BC Federation of Labor Vancouver City Relief Department Vancouver City Victoria WBA Maccabees Vancouver WBA Maccabees Victoria Women's Canadian Club Vancouver Women's Canadian Club American Women's Club I ODE Ministerial Association Source: Sun, March 19, 1918 p.4. 217 This second delegation was presented to Premier John Oliver by Mary Ellen Smith on January 14, 1919 and once again a number of delegates spoke on various aspects of the scheme.20 This time the delegation was certainly large - some forty-two persons, and it was well organized, (see Table 20) Premier Oliver remarked that it was "the most businesslike and one of the most representative delegations he had ever met".2' Victoria and the lower mainland were well represented and delegates appeared for the women of several other towns and cities and four provincial associations extending the breadth of the entire delegation to the point where it might justifiably be considered representative of the opinion of the province. Jean Macken argued that pensions were economical because they produced good citizens; Mrs H.G. Taylor talked about the purpose and meaning of mothers' pensions; Helen MacGill claimed pensions would lessen juvenile delinquency; Mrs W.A. Morrow said they were justice not charity; Miss McLeod emphasized the need of motherly love to guide little ones; Christina Forrester spoke on the necessity of the mother's care of the child; Susie Lane Clark reiterated the aims of the delegation; Mr Dougan claimed pensions were a fact in empire building; Margaret Harold claimed that a mother has the best knowledge of the character and physical deficiency of the child; Mrs A.J. Paterson endorsed the general principle of the scheme; Stella Beattie told of the origins of mothers' pension schemes; Helena Gutteridge presented the labor point of view; Mr D. McCallum told of the effects a pension scheme would have on labor. Other points taken up included 'the overworked mother, her lack of opportunity for recreation and education, the great recognition of the sacredness of motherhood, the deterioration of the character of the mother by having to continually scheme to relieve poverty', and the 'effect on migration' of pensions. The meaning of this last term is unclear. Sun, February 1 5, 1920 p.13. 218 Delegates were yet again disappointed that no legislation was forthcoming, but their efforts were not totally unrewarded. On November 19, 1919, as a result of this second delegation, the Oliver government appointed a Health Insurance Commission to investigate mothers' pensions, maternity insurance, health insurance and public health nursing. The chairman was E.S.H.Winn, who was also chairman of the newly formed Workmen's Compensation Board and the other members were Dr. T.B.Green, a general practitioner from New Westminster, Cecilia Spofford of the provincial WCTU and Duncan McCallum of the B.C. Federation of Labor. The Commission set to work rapidly and within a two month period hearings were held in seventeen towns and cities throughout the province which resulted in over 800 pages of typewritten transcript and an outlay of some $4000 - a record according to a Cabinet Minister, "in expedition, efficiency and economy as far as Royal Commissions are concerned."22 The Commission, in addition, made a survey of the mothers' pension schemes already operating elsewhere in Canada, the United States and other countries. Despite the breadth of the Commission's mandate, it was clear that most interested individuals and delegates who came forward to give evidence were largely concerned with mothers' pensions and had given little if any thought to the other subjects under investigation. In general, 22 Hon. Dr. J.D. McLean, Provincial Secretary, in a speech in the House before the second reading of the Mothers' Pension Bill, April 9, 1920 (typescript) British Columbia. Department of the Provincial Secretary 1918-26. GR 344 Box 1 File 1/2 PABC. (Hereafter cited as B.C. PS) 219 however, all witnesses favoured the principle of government intervention in. all four areas of inquiry. Because of the particular interest in and emphasis on mother's pensions, the Commission prepared its report on this area first, submitting it to the legislature on March 22,1920.23 The report on the other three areas was another year in the preparation and the Mothers' Pensions Act had British Columbia. Sessional Papers 1919-20. Report on Mothers' Pensions, pp.T2-3. Table 20 Mothers' Pensions Delegation January 14, 1919 Leader: Susie Lane Clark Delegate Mrs R.S. Day Mrs Cecilia Spofford Mr J.J. Dougan Mr A.S. Wells-Mrs Blackwood-Wileman Adjutant Bond Rev Mr Stevenson Mayor Robert H. Gale Mayor A Todd Mayor A.H. Gray Mrs Nina dePencier Mrs Christina Forrester Miss Susan Crease Rev. Mr George Ireland Mrs W.H. White Mrs Annie Wilson Mrs Stella Beattie Mrs Jean Macken Miss Helena Gutteridge Mrs Helen MacGill Mrs Essie Brown Mrs A.J. Patterson Mrs A.K. Morrow Mrs Charles Welch and Mrs Hardy Miss McLeod Mrs Margaret Harold Mrs Annie Borland Mrs Mary Ellen Smith Mrs John Dickson Mrs HG Taylor Mrs Maria Grand and Mrs Williscroft Mrs W Grant Rev. Dr. Clay Miss Bertha Winn and Dr. Helen Ryan Mrs J. MacMillan Mrs Ada Gillespie Miss Barrow Organizat ion NCWC Provincial WCTU Provincial Child Welfare Assoc. BC Federation of Labor Women's Institutes Salvation Army Ministerial Association Vancouver City Victoria City New Westminster City Vancouver LCW New Westminster LCW, New West. Women's Liberal Association Victoria LCW Vancouver City Relief Department Vancouver Women's Canadian Club IODE, WBAM Alexander Review American Women's Club Central Ratepayers' Association Vancouver Trades and Labor Council Vancouver UWC Vancouver Liberal Women's Assoc. Van. Conservative Women's Assoc. Equal Franchise Association o New Westminster Benevolent Assoc. Social Reconstruction League Vancouver Child Welfare League Citizen's Union Women of Revelstoke & Prince Rupert Women's Forum New Era League Women's Independent Political Assoc. Vancouver WCTU Victoria Children's Aid Victoria UWC Women of Nanaimo Vancouver WCTU Women of Chilliwack Source Sun, January 14, 1919 p.4. 221 £ Table 21 Combined Delegation to Mothers' Pensions Commission January 20, 1920 Leader: Mrs Susie Lane Clark Delegate Mrs Janet Kemp Great Alderman A.D. McRae Mrs J.A. Gillespie Mrs Flora Esslemont Mrs Annie Wilson Mrs Jean Carson Mr J.J. Dougan Mrs McMorrin Mrs D. Woods Mr W.O. Black Mrs W.A. Clark Mrs Stella Beattie Miss Lillian Chittenden Miss Randall Miss Haskin Mrs Lillian Nelson Mrs Creery Mrs Frances MacConkey Mrs McLean Mrs Thomas Kirk Mrs Mary Norton Mrs Olive Rice Mrs Annie Borland Mrs J.A. Patterson Mrs Charles Wilkes Mrs Pettigrew Mrs Brown Mrs Emma Gallagher Mrs Kenworthy Mrs 0. Fearn (Formerly Miss H. Gutteridge) Mr W.H. Cottrell Rev. Mr Mclntyre Organization Widows and Wives and Mothers of Britain's War Heroes Vancouver City District WCTU Vancouver LCW New Era League Women's Forum Child Welfare Assoc. Federated Parent-Teachers' Assoc. Teachers' Assoc. South Vancouver Women's Forum Central Ratepayers' Association Victorian Order of Nurses American Women's Club American Girls' Club Provincial Graduate Nurses' Assoc. Local Graduate Nurses' Assoc. Community House Service I ODE Social Service Department, VGH Vancouver UWC Salvation Army Vancouver Women's Canadian Club Pioneer Political Equality League Catholic Women's Aid King's Daughters Citizens' Union Van. Women's Conservative Assoc. St. Paul's Hospital Vancouver Women's Liberal Assoc. WBA Maccabees Alexander Review 7. WBA Maccabees Alexander Review 2. North Vancouver Suffrage Society North Vancouver Suffrage Society Vancouver Trades and Labor Council BC Federation of Labor Lower Mainland Minsterial Assoc. Source: British Columbia. Report of the Hearing of the Health Insurance Commission at Vancouver. January 20, 1920. (typescript) pp.506-7. PABC GR 706. 222 in fact become law before it appeared.2" The NEL was once again the leader in orgaizing a large group of delegates from many clubs and associations to give evidence, both individually and collectively, before the Commission when it sat in Vancouver on January 20, 1920 (see Table 21). This delegation consisted solely of Vancouver-based organizations - groups from elsewhere gave evidence at other hearings. A meeting of the delegates from the thirty-seven groups discussed their mothers' pensions at length and gave some passing consideration to the other three areas.25 In response to a questionnaire distributed by the Commission, the group submitted a collective report, approved by "a majority of the organizations", which in summary recommended the introduction of pensions for both deserted and unmarried mothers of "good character", the establishment of investigating committees to assess applicants and administration of the act by an advisory council composed of judges of the juvenile court or other magistrates and two local women. The meeting further suggested that pensions be based on the cost of living in the area where the recipient lived, that they continue until girls were seventeen and boys sixteen unless they left- school and were able to earn more, and that the mother, who must be a British citizen or willing to swear allegiance to the crown, continue to receive the allowance after her children were grown if she had no other The second part of the Report was submitted on March 8, 1921. Health Commission, p.507. 223 source of income.26 Each individual organization also gave evidence before the Commission through its delegate and while there were "some differences of opinion registered" there was also "a great deal of unanimity of opinion".27 This unanimity of opinion was in fact the most notable factor, not only amongst the group organized by the NEL, but amongst all groups and individuals who gave evidence before the Commission. All agreed in principle with the four proposed categories of benefits that were being investigated. Any disagreement that did exist tended to concern the way in which legislation should be worded and/or carried out if and when it was passed. The main sources of concern to both the NEL group delegates and others were the fear that many needy families might reject a pension as "charity" and that unmarried mothers might not be eligible. The fear that recipients might object to pensions as charity is understandable. Until this time state intervention to support the indigent had been non-existent or had always carried with it the stigma of outdoor relief. The recent introduction of pensions for war widows probably helped to alleviate this feeling somewhat, as did the Workmen's Compensation Act. No direct evidence remains of the opinion of prospective pensioners Health Commission, Exhibit 14,-' Report on Mothers' Pensions handed in by Mrs J.A. Clark [Susie Lane Clark] on behalf of the Various Women's Organizations of Vancouver, filed between p.508 and 509. Ibid., p.508. 224 before the fact but letters received by various government departments after the pensions were introduced suggests that, far from rejecting them as charity, these women were only too relieved and happy to have some financial help. Others, who were not eligible, often expressed anger that they received nothing.28 The possibility of pensions being perceived as charity was brought up several times before the Commission. Mrs Flora Esslemont, giving evidence on behalf of the LCW cautioned that pensions would "have to be handled carefully because many of the mothers would be very sensitive along these lines." In reply to a question from Commissioner Spofford, regarding the fact that recognition of the value of motherhood by the state would remove any thought of charity, she stated further that the public does not always consider her [the mother] the way they [sic] should and very often it is thrown up to her and to her children that it is charity and it should not be charity at all, she is bringing up good c i t izens.2 9 Janet Kemp of the LCW and WF and president of the Wives, Widows and Mothers of Great Britain's War Heroes also stated that "it must come from the Government, there are no other means of it coming to the people that it does not become charity."30 British Columbia. Attorney-General's Correspondence, contains many letters from individuals setting forth their circumstances, requesting help and- offering opinion on the mothers' pension scheme. Some of the files are open but most are restricted so no specific reference has been made to individual correspondence, (hereafter cited as B.C. A-G) Health Commission, pp.514-15. Ibid., p.542. 225 But not only clubwomen were concerned with the notion of charity. It was clearly a worry at other levels of society too. Helena Gutteridge speaking for working women also commented, "There are quite a number of mothers who would not like to reveal to the world at large that they were in need of assistance, they look upon it as charity."31 Conversely, there was fear that a wholly government administered pension scheme might become too impersonal. Ada Taylor, speaking for the NEL and the LCW expressed the hope that ...this Commission will get mothers on the Board who will go about their work in the spirit of motherly love and kindness and find out and advise these people.3 2 In other words a new step forward was being taken with the advent of government intervention but many middle-class women were afraid that while motherhood was being recognised in all its importance it risked simultaneously being counterbalanced by the impersonality of bureaucratic administration unless great care was taken; a fine line had to be drawn between charity on one side and total impersonality on the other. Concern for unmarried mothers, or a least for the children of these women, was apparent in much of the evidence to the Commission. Only one witness spoke against assisting unmarried mothers. Mrs M.A.Robertson of the Vancouver LCW, admitted that she "may be perhaps old fashioned", but she felt that children 31 Ibid., p.526. 32 Ibid., p.544. 226 of unmarried parents should be placed in existing institutions if the mother or the mother's parents were unwilling or unable to support them. She would not, however, deny the mother access to the child.33 Others were less judgmental. Jean Carson, on behalf of the WF, said, we feel that many unmarried mothers have children who are just as good as those who are married [sic] - why should she be deprived of support, if she is my daughter or your daughter - let us stick together.3" Annie Borland, on behalf of the Citizens' Union claimed "there is no dishonourable mother, there never was one - you want to bring down an act for the dishonourable father", while Mr J.C.Habkirk of the Salvation Army stated, "I think it very wrong that unmarried mothers should be sacrificed. We find in our dealings that many of them are more sinned against than sinning and if they are given a chance they make good and I think in every case it is not only beneficial to the mother but to the child that they should remain together."35 The recommendations of the Commission, submitted to the legislature in March 1920, followed closely the demands made by the majority of witnesses. Widowed, divorced, deserted and unmarried mothers, as well as wives of men in penal and mental institutions or of men incapacitated through accident or illness were all to be eligible for the pension or "mothers' assistance" which, it was recommended, should be $42.50 per month for the Ibid., pp.718-20; Mrs Robertson and Helen MacGill had disagreed earlier, in front of the Commissioners, as to which of them was the official representative of the LCW. The fact that Mrs Robertson gave her evidence separately from other clubwomen presumably indicates that she lost the argument. Ibid., p.511. Ibid., p.512, 520. 227 mother and the first child and $7.50 per month for each other child. Women were required to be British subjects,,to have lived in the province for at least eighteen months and to be "of good moral character and a fit and proper custodian". The Commission further recommended that cases be investigated by local boards but be under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education and that municipalities share the cost with the provincial government. It also suggested that "by reason of its urgency and the insistent demand, [the act] be introduced and passed at the present session of the legislature".36 There is no record of how the sum of $42.50 was arrived at but it must have allowed recipients a standard of living only just above the subsistence level for it was considerably less than even the lowest of the minimum wages set in 1919 and they were intended only to support one person rather than two. Recipients were not allowed to- earn more than a minimal sum, the basic concept of pensions being to keep them in the home as full-time mothers.37 This of course was the crux of the matter for the idealized view that middle-class reformers had of motherhood led them to believe that simply because a women was a British Columbia. Sessional Papers 1910-20, pp.T8-lO. First Annual Report on the work of Mothers' Pensions November 30, 1920 (typescript) British Columbia. Attorney-General Papers. Roll 89 File 1-107-22 PABC pp.11-12. (Hereafter cited as First Mothers' Pension Report) indicates that a number of women were ineligible for pensions because their earnings and those of their children were too high, however no actual amounts were mentioned; Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework," p. 27 notes that most mothers' pension schemes did allow women to work part-time, and encouraged them to do so. 228 mother she could overcome obstacles that might be insurmountable to others. Her motherhood would enable her to scrimp and save, to mend and "make do" in ways that men and women without children might find impossible. Aware of the sacredness of her calling she would do all this happily, secure in the knowledge that it was for the benefit of her children and their future. Many women were already doing this, not .happily perhaps, but out of sheer necessity. The act was rapidly prepared, submitted to the legislature and passed into law without opposition on April 17, 1920. It was to come into action on the first day of the following July. To a large extent it followed the recommedations of the Commission although there were some significant differences. First, unmarried mothers were excluded from eligibility although a clause did allow for a pension to be paid to "any other person whose case, in the opinion of the Superintendent, is a proper one for assistance."38 Second, the administration of the act was placed in the hands of the Attorney-General's Department under the direct control of the Superintendent of Neglected Children rather than under the Minister of Education. Third, the entire cost was to be borne by the province rather than shared by municipalities. This last factor, combined with the rate of benefits, made it the most generous mothers' pension legislat-ion British Columbia. Statutes 1920, ch. 61, para. 2(e); this clause was initially used to allow payment of pensions to unmarried mothers. According to the First Mothers' Pension Report, p.10 seven unmarried mothers were receiving pensions in November 1 920. 229 so far enacted in Canada. Speaking just before the second reading of the Bill, the Hon. J.D.McLean, Minister of Education and Provincial Secretary, informed the House that the government expected some 235 women and 652 children would be initial beneficiaries under the act.39 However, by the end of November 1920, only four months after the act was operational, 636 pensions had been granted and by the end of the following year 850 families were receiving support."0 Because of these higher than anticipated numbers of applicants, amendments were rapidly made in the next three years to tighten up eligibility requirements and to tie them either to long term illness or incapacity or desertion on the part of the husband rather than allowing women to be eligible as soon as this occurred. In the case of a widow it was made necessary that the late husband had been living within the province at the first appearance of the disability that eventually caused his death."1 Letters to the Ministers indicate that many women were denied assistance because of technicalities such as this but, faced with a rapidly escalating bill for pensions, the government obviously felt it must be very strict. Despite two amendments in 1921, at the end of this year British Columbia B.C.PS. typescript titled "Legislative Press gallery 1918-26. Afternoon Sitting. April 9," [1920] p.40. GR 344 Box 1- File 1/2 PABC. The estimate was based on the number of "widows" supporting families throughout the province rather than on the number of women who required some assistance. First Mothers' Pension Report, p.8. British Columbia. Statutes 1921, ch.43; 1921(Second Session), ch.35; 1924, ch.32. 230 found itself paying almost twice as much per 1000 head of population as Manitoba and five times as much as Saskatchewan. (See Table 22). Such a comparison is not completely fair because elegibility and rate of pensions were quite different in each of the provinces but it is nevertheless clear that the British Columbia government found the legislation far more expensive than it had initially anticipated. On the other hand it was unable to make major changes to the law because of its general popularity and the obvious need of many destitute mothers. Initially, advisory boards were appointed by Order-in-Council to deal with women making application for pensions and to co-operate with officials of the Mothers' Pension Department which was placed under the supervision of David M.Brankin, Superintendent of Neglected Children. These appointments were honorary and the appointees were nearly all women. The Vancouver board consisted of Helen MacGill, Mrs Robert McNair, Susie Lane Clark, Mrs Joseph Sheasgreen, and Judge H.C. Shaw of the Juvenile Court. The Victoria board included Cecilia Spofford, 0 Mrs Stewart Henderson and Mrs Robert Dinsdale while in New Westminster Christina Forrester, Mrs Helen Smith and Mrs Maud Doran were appointed. Thus the leaders of the campaign in all three cities were initially given a role in the administration of the Act. By early 1921 seventeen such boards were operating 231 throughout the province."2 At the end of 1921 " a storm of protest arose in the House Table 22 Mothers' Pensions in Selected Provinces Compared 1921 Province Cost Borne By Number of Families Covered Average Received per Family Cost per 1000 of Populat ion Saskatchewan Province and Municipality 51 95 $27.70 $189.00 Alberta 1/2 by Prov. and 1/2 by Municipality 4795 $36.00 $355.00 Ontar io 1/2 by Prov. and 1/2 by Municipality 26605 $29.10 $264.00 Man i toba 1/2 by Prov. and 1/2 by Mun ic ipali ty 4805 $62. 1 3 $574.00 British Columbia Province 8505 $46.83 $935.00 Source: British Columbia. Premier Papers. GR 441 vol. 235, File "122" or 9 n.d. n.p. "2 First Mothers' Pension Report, p.6. McNair was a member of the IODE, WCC, King's Daughters, the Children's Aid, the Women's Building and the LCW. Sheasgreen was a member of Catholic Women's Aid, St. Paul's Ladies of Charity, Women's Building and LCW. Spofford belonged to WCTU, LCW, Children's Aid, WCC, PPEL, was a member of the Victoria Board of Police Commisioners and had run successfully for the Victoria School Board. Henderson belonged to the Victoria Women's Liberal Association but I have found no mention of other club membership. 232 with charges against the old administration of inefficiency and political influence.""3 A further amendment was enacted transferring administration and authority from the Superintendent of Neglected Children to the Workmen's Compensation Board (WCB), chaired by E.S.H.Winn, in the hope that politics would be eliminated from the situation and money saved as well, by using the latter's existing bureaucratic mechanisms."" Many Vancouver clubwomen, in particular Susie Lane Clark and the NEL, were incensed by this change; the tightening of the eligibility requirements caused considerable concern but the removal of women from participation now that the WCB was in charge of administration was the main point of contention. Feelings were particularly roused by the fact that, under the new legislation, the Vancouver board was the only one to be dismantled completely. The crux of the problem in Vancouver seems to have been the -clash between professional male administrators eager to see the bureaucracy running as smoothly and economically as possible, and women who felt that their gender and motherhood experience were of greater importance in dealing with members of their own sex needing help. Winn himself wrote to Premier Oliver, Isobel Harvey, "An Historic Review of the Social Services of British Columbia," p.5. typescript. Add. Mss. 708 PABC. Wilfred Rasmussen, "An Evaluation of the Mothers' Allowances Programme in British Columbia," (M.S.W. thesis, University of British Columbia, 1950) p.87. Rasmussen claims many women had objected to being under the jurisdiction of the Department of Neglected Children as they felt it was a slight to their mothering abilities. 233 The main seat of trouble with the administration of the Act was in Vancouver where two or three of the women who are particularly well know to the Attorney-General were determined to control the whole situation."5 It is not clear who the "two or three women" were. Winn may have meant all four of the women on the original Board or he may have been referring to Susie Lane Clark and one or two of her followers from NEL who consistently agitated in regard to mothers' pensions during the 1920's. This is most likely as Helen MacGill does not appear to have been unpopular with politicians or civil servants (with the exception of Conservative ex-Premier Bowser who claimed angrily that she had "put more burrs under my saddle than anyone else in the province")."6 Mrs McNair and Mrs Sheasgreen were also unlikely candidates for Winn's contempt for although they were both active clubwomen their service on the original board seems to have been their only assay into public life. Otherwise they kept very low profiles. However, Susie Lane Clark's name as well as that of the NEL occurs regularly in the correspondence of the Attorney-General and other Ministers. Many women's clubs were concerned about the changes in the legislation but they were by no means as vociferous as . the NEL. They expressed their disappointment in joint resolutions with the NEL to the government but did not appear keen to become embroiled in E.S.H. Winn to J. Morton, secretary to the Premier, September 20, 1922. B.C.P.P. GR 441 vol.267 File.'122' n.p. PABC. Elsie MacGill, My Mother the Judge, p. 168, no source given. 234 further act ion.47 The Vancouver situation was made even more unpleasant by the enmity that existed between the NEL and the Civilian Pensioned Mothers' Association (CPMA). This organization , formed in 1921 by Mrs Barbara Chippendale, formerly of the NEL, was "mainly composed of mothers who were receiving assistance, as well as others who were unable to get assistance by virtue of the limitations of the Mothers' Pensions Act".48 Mrs Chippendale herself was not a deserted mother and her motivation seems to have been a desire to supplement the new legislation with some good old-fashioned charity. There was obvious personal dislike between Clark and Chippendale and their respective followers though whether this arose before or after the formation of CPMA is not clear. Mrs Chippendale and her supporters accused Susie Lane Clark of "working secretly" and being "no lady" in some of their many letters to the Attorney-General and the Premier.49 NEL correspondence to the same two politicians, however, was always very businesslike with no personal comments. It simply The Vancouver LCW, King's Daughters, TLC, Catholic' Women's League, WCTU and Mothers, Wives and Widows of Great Britain's War Heroes joined a NEL delegation to interview Mary Ellen Smith in late 1922 regarding further changes to the Mothers' Pension Act. Ada Taylor, Secretary of NEL Mothers' Pensions Committee to the Attorney-General, November 15, 1922. B.C.A-G Reel 138 File M-336-8 1921-23, p.48. PABC. The name of the CPMA suggests an attempt by these women to place themselves on a similar footing to pensioned war widows, that is, persons receiving a pension for services rendered to the nation. The actions of the CPMA, however, did not always jibe with this concept. See also Dennis Guest, Emergence of Social  Security, pp. 50-55.; E.S.H. Winn to Premier Oliver, November 8, 1924 B.C.P.P n.p. GR 441 vol.267 File '122' PABC. Mrs Jessie Fulton, secretary CPMA, to Premier Oliver, August 14, 1922, B.C.P.P. n.p. GR 441, vol 227, File '8' PABC; Barbara Chippendale to Premier Oliver, January 25, 1923, Ibid, GR 441 File ' 122'. PABC. 235 requested, though often in quite forceful terms, the changes that the NEL wished to see in the Act, particularly, the re appointment of women to the board. For all its back-biting, the CPMA was the group preferred by the male members of the WCB administering the pensions. Chairman Winn was at one time honorary president of the CPMA and described it as "an organization performing exceptionally fine work for the mothers of the city". He further claimed, "Our relations with these women have been particularly pleasant, and they are the only body of women endeavoring in every possible way to co-operate."50 The reason for this happy state of co operation probably lay in the fact that the majority of members were women who were dependent on and grateful for their pensions. The aim of their association was to provide mutual support for themselves as well as to assist other women who for one reason or another were not eligible for a pension. Barbara Chippendale herself appears to have been the only member who had or had had any connection with organized clubwomen. Their attitude towards Winn seems to have been one of grateful respect and no doubt he found them far easier to accept and work with than Susie Lane Clark and NEL members who constantly attempted to regain their lost positions and influence in the interpretation and administration of the act. Clark appeared to 50 E.S.H. Winn to J. Morton, secretary to the Premier, September 20, 1922, G.C.P.P. GR 441 vol. 227 File '8' n.p.; Winn to Premier Oliver, November 8, 1924, B.C.P.P GR441 vol.242 File '122' n.p. PABC. 236 have difficulty compromising and co-operating with others even under optimum conditions. No doubt when crossed she was even harder to work with. The activities undertaken by the CPMA were also significant. Considering the importance that the Health Commission and its witnesses had placed on getting rid of any notion of charity in the pensions, the role played by the CPMA is somewhat incongruous, for they were very much steeped in the old ideas of charity. Their motto was "Service for Others" and most of their energies were directed towards charitable assistance for needy women. Mrs Jessie Fulton, CPMA secretary reminded Premier Oliver that, Many comforts and pleasures have been brought to the mothers which were quite beyond their slender means through the untiring efforts of Mrs Chippendale, including a complete Xmas [sic] Hamper from the Elks Club, a $5 bill - the paying of pensions by mailed cheque..paying of hospital expenses for mothers and children...Food, fuel and clothing taken to urgent cases...two weeks holiday at Crescent Beach Camp for fifty mothers and children... Free Technical School education for those children able to accept it, and many more which I will not tire you by enumerating.51 The CPMA clearly saw its role as than of an auxiliary to the mothers' pension scheme, providing extra help to some recipients as well as aiding those who were ineligible. The government and the WCB appeared only too pleased to encourage them in this role. Even under the initial act many families were not eligible for pensions and as expenses rose and new amendments eliminated 51 Jessie Fulton to Premier Oliver, September 15, 1922, B.C.P.P GR441 vol.227 File '8'. n.p. PABC. 237 more families, increased numbers of applicants were rejected. At least some of these could be helped, at no expense to the government, by the CPMA. Yet another problem that the government had to face was the fact that once pensions were provided by the state many women who had never been considered as recipients under the original act began to demand pensions as a right. They were to a large degree supported by clubwomen to whom motherhood itself was the main criterion for receipt of a pension. After receiving a barrage of letters from "several Women's Organizations in Vancouver" in 1923 and subsequently meeting with Susie Lane Clark, Attorney-General A.M. Manson appealed to Mary Ellen Smith to persuade women to moderate their demands for more pensions and more say in the administration of them. Manson was obviously alarmed by the rapidly rising expense and growing bureaucracy of the pension scheme. Unlike his predecessor Farris, who had introduced the legislation, he did not appear to have much concern or sympathy for the women who applied for pensions. By 1923 he was convinced that, This Province has all the social Governmental machinery now that is good for it and, I think it can be argued with some justice, more than it ought to have...Neither the indigent nor the near indigent were supported by the State a few years ago and it is absolutely impossible for the State to keep on increasing its burden as it has been doing lately.52 In the face of such an adamant stance clubwomen had little 52 Manson to Smith, January 22,1923, B.C.A-G. Reel 138 File M-336-8, 1921-23. pp.51-52. PABC. 238 likelihood of achieving further change. Several clubs continued to send occasional resolutions to the Premier or Attorney-General but only the NEL remained determined to continue battle. Perhaps sensing that there would never be peace until there was some female representation in the administration of pensions, the government decided to appoint a Provincial Mothers' Pension Board in 1925. This board in fact consisted of the WCB with the addition of a single women, Miss Margaret Sutherland who belonged to the Vancouver LCW, the PPEL, the Women's Canadian Club and the Women's Liberal Association. Manson stated hopefully that "in appointing Miss Sutherland who has been prominent and active in women's work in the city of Vancouver for many years it was felt the appointment would meet with general approval."53 The majority of women's clubs were silent regarding the appointment which most likely indicates that it did meet with their approval. But not everyone was pleased. Mrs Chippendale plaintively described it as "quite a blow to me - I did feel extremely hurt since I have done so much for the widows and children of Vancouver. I have no objection to Miss Sunderland [sic] at all but fail to see why I cannot be appointed along with her."5" The NEL objection was slightly different. The League complained that Miss Sutherland, "although, no doubt, a very estimable and capable person, is not fitted for the position, because as a Attorney-General to Jessie Fulton, January 20, 1925, B.C.A-G. 1918-37, 1921-24. Reel 138 File '122' n.p. PABC. Barbara Chippendale to Premier Oliver, January 25, 1925, B.C.P.P. GR441 vol.250 File '122'. n.p. PABC. 239 single woman, she has not the intuitional knowledge which belongs to a women who is a wife and mother, and must be embarrassed in the nature of the discussion which of necessity must come in the business of the Board."55 Motherhood was still of paramount importance to the NEL regardless of whether the mother was the recipient or the administrator of the pension. While only one woman was a member of the board, other women did work under its auspices. Harvey reported that "the work of investigation and follow up during these years [ the mid 1920's] was done by a staff of six women, five of whom were in Vancouver and one in Victoria. The rest of the Province was supposed to be visited yearly by this same staff but when they could not go, the Provincial Police visited."56 This indicates a growing trend towards professionalism in the distribution of state welfare. These women may not have been well trained, or indeed trained at all, but they undertook their positions on a full-time paid basis. Centralization and professionalization were replacing the traditional methods of welfare provision.57_As this occurred there was less and less room for the role that clubwomen had initially envisioned for themselves and their incorporation as unpaid assistants to the government was quite soon discontinued. Jane A. Campbell, secretary Provincial NEL to Premier Oliver, January 29, 1925, B.C.P.P GR441 vol267 File '122' n.p. PABC. Isobel Harvey, "An Historic Review of the Social Services," p.6. Patricia Rooke and R.L. Schnell, "Child Welfare in English Canada", p.492; Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian  Soc iety, pp. 231-32; Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework," p.28. 240 Whether or not greater participation by non-professional women in the administration of pensions would have been of value is doubtful but there is no doubt that the initiation of the scheme was of great benefit to many women who had previously struggled alone with their children for marginal survival. The receipt of a regular sum of money, albeit small and distributed under a certain measure of government supervision, took many women off "worry street" and enabled them "to give [their] little ones what they need."58 And while numbers of women were ineligible for pensions, the very fact that a scheme had been established drew both government and public attention to the fact that there were far greater numbers of women in need than had previously been realized or acknowledged. Further expansion of social assistance did not come rapidly but having taken the first step, the state was committed to playing an increasing role in assisting those who were unable to survive at a reasonable level by themselves. The idea of a "social minimum", below which none should fall, had been accepted.59 The support which clubwomen gave to mothers' pension legislation stemmed from their own belief in the importance of the mothering role and their desire to affirm and strengthen the importance of the family for the benefit of the whole of society as well as for individuals. Strong-Boag has noted that the fact The words of a recipient of the pension as reported by Mrs Susie Ingles of the Armstrong, B.C. advisory board, in First Mothers' Pension Report, p.13. Dennis Guest, The Emergence of Social Security, pp.3-4. 241 that the beginning welfare state "chose to recognize its female citizens most particularly as mothers reflected how far they were from full equality."60 This should not cause surprise. We have seen that clubwomen placed' the notions of womanhood and citizenship at the head of their reform agenda. But citizenship was largely the method by which motherhood was to be affirmed as the most important base of society. The irony lies in the fact that their promotion was so successful that the need for active citizenship became less and less important. 60 Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework," pp. 27-28. 242 Chapter 6 "THE BRIGHTEST WOMEN OF OUR LAND": CHARACTERISTICS OF VANCOUVER CLUBWOMEN" Who is it greets you with a smile And makes you feel life is worthwhile You quite admire her breezy style Of help and inspiration The Club woman. Who puts her shoulder to the wheel And makes you feel her presence real You know her by her high ideal The Club woman. Who gives the others of her store Her wisdom, strength and time galore And seeks herself for deeper lore The Club woman. All honour to this noble band The brightest women of our land Whose motto is a helping hand The Club woman. 1 The picture that has emerged so far of the typical clubwoman in the second and third decades of the twentieth century in Vancouver is exemplified in the_ above poem. In Chapter 3 we saw that clubwomen believed and were at great pains to show the world that their natural motherly understanding and abilities were essential to the reform and succour of that most basic institution within society, the family. By stepping out of the home and into a wider public sphere they believed that they would be able to improve and strengthen society as a whole both through and for the family. Previous studies of clubwomen have Written by "Jennie Columbia" possibly Mrs Jennie Smith, Women''s  Sun, p.13. 243 shown them to have been overwhelmingly middle-class. If they did not have "time galore" to devote to their cause, at least they had a certain amount of time and freedom from home chores. 2 Armed with their innate womanly strength and wisdom, utilizing the traditional bonds identified by Cott for "help and inspiration" they were willing and often well-educated enough to be able to "seek for greater lore" at least in regards to improving and extending the quality of family life throughout society. If they were not always directly involved in implementing these improvements, they were adept at urging those more qualified than themselves to do so. They saw themselves as "the brightest women" in the land and consciously sought to promote this image both inside and outside their clubs. 3 But did all, or even the majority of clubwomen fit this mold? Were they all married and of middle-class or higher status? Did they all have the confidence, ability and desire to 2 See Veronica Strong-Boag, • Parliament of Women, ch.4; Carol Bacchi, Liberation Deferred?, p.13; Wayne Rogerts, "Rocking the Cradle for the World," p.26; Wendy Mitchinson, "The WCTU; 'For God, Home and Native Land': A Study in Nineteenth-Century Feminism, "in Kealey, ed., A Not Unreasonable Claim, pp.152,155; Catherine Cleverdon, The Woman Suffrage Movement in Canada, 2nd ed. p.4; Dianne Crossley, "The B.C Liberal Party and Women's Reforms 1916-28," in B. Latham and C. Kess, eds., In Her Own  Right,.p. 230; Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian  Society, p.14; Carol Dennison, "The Women's Institutes in B.C.," p.65 notes that the social status of leaders and that of rank and file members may not be identical. 3 See Nancy Cott, Bonds of Womanhood, for the ways in which women used female relationships for strength and support; Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, p.164 and Carol Bacchi, Liberation Deferred? p.5 both note the large number of college or university educated women in reform groups particularly by the second decade of the twentieth century. 244 step into the increasingly public role that some of them claimed as their own? And if they did, was it purely as a result of their maternal feministic beliefs, or did other factors influence them? This chapter examines a variety of characteristics of Vancouver clubwomen, including marital status, religious affiliation, status of membership within the clubs and social status as determined by clubmembers' own or their husbands' occupations and place of residence, to determine whether the foregoing picture is indeed accurate. The study identified by name 1534 women who were members of one or more of the clubs during the period 1910-1928. The names were obtained from a wide variety of sources including club records, press reports and government reports and correspondence which dealt with club activites. The list is by no means complete. The UWC records contain membership lists for the entire period and probably included well over 90% of members over these years. The LCW papers consistently recorded executive and committee members throughout the period and individual members in the years when this category existed. A large proportion of delegates from affiliated societies were also recorded on a regular basis. A significant proportion of women from the three inner levels of LCW membership, as shown in Figure 1 on page 52, were therefore identifiable. No effort was made to trace women who were only members of LCW affiliates. All shareholders in the Women's Building were recorded in annual reports submitted to the Registrar of Companies. Only a very small number of women appear to have belonged to the 245 organization without holding shares and their names were found largely in social and club notes in the daily press. Membership in the NEL, WF and BPL was much more difficult to ascertain. No records of these clubs remain and so heavy reliance was placed on press reports, social notes, records of other clubs with which they interacted and correspondence with government bodies. In the case of these three clubs, the members identified probably represent the executive and committees rather than the general membership although some women who held ordinary membership over a period of years were identifiable also. These three clubs were considerably smaller than the UWC, LCW and Women's Building and it may be that quite a small number of women remain unidentified. One notable factor about membership in all the clubs was its long term nature. Well over half the women identified were members of one or more clubs for three years or longer and many were active over the entire period. This would have resulted in a smaller number of women participating in club activities than if there had been major and constant changes in membership from year to year. Although it is impossible to estimate exactly the total number of women involved in the group of clubs during the years 1910-1928, those identified represent a significant proportion, probably well over half. They also represent those women who had most impact and involvement. Women who remain unidentified were probably those who played a very minor role in clubli fe. 246 The marital status of identified clubmembers was obtained in most cases, but some problems existed. Widows were probably not all distinguished from the large body of married women, a handful of members used only the title "Doctor" and information on their marital status was not available, and the subsequent marriage of initially single members may have been missed in some cases. Most single women of marrying age were UWC members and this club's records mention the occurrence of a number of marriages but how consistently they were noted is not clear. Newly married women may have withdrawn from clublife or may have continued their membership under their married names. Four other characteristics were also difficult to pinpoint for significant numbers of clubwomen. A woman's age was not customarily mentioned either in club records or in public notices. Even death notices in the press omitted this detail regularly. It was therefore necessary to rely on indirect data such as age of children, date of marriage or graduation, or rough assessment from dated photographs. Even such clues as these were unavailable for most women. Religious affiliation was not commonly recorded except in the case of delegates to the LCW from church organizations. And while it was apparent that few clubmembers had been born in Vancouver their origins and date of arrival in the city usually remain obsure. Education, too, was rarely mentioned. UWC members necessarily held at least a Bachelor's degree and a minority of other clubwomen were also known to have degrees but the educational background of most women remains unknown. 247 Two further factors were identifiable for significant numbers of the 1534 women. It was possible to ascertain the occupation of husbands of almost half of the 1041 clubwomen who were married. A further 190 women were identified as engaged in paid employment on their own behalf. A socio-economic status, on a scale of 1 to 5 for men and 2 to 5 for women, was assigned to these women (See Appendix C). Place of residence was also discovered for 1138 of the identified club members which, together with their assigned socio-economic status, gave an indication of their social class. From amongst the total group of 1534, a smaller group of thirty-three women were identified as forming the nucleus of leadership in the clubs in respect to legislative reform and citizenship over the period 1910-1928. The criteria for inclusion in this smaller group were not clearcut in all respects. Active membership in more than one club over a substantial portion of the period was considered important although two women, Evlyn Farris and Helena Gutteridge .each belonged to only one. 4 A certain level of activity in executive positions or on committees was also required. Candidacy for or election or appointment to public boards, governing bodies or other public posts was also taken into account as was the amount of recognition given to the women and their activity in club 4 Evlyn Farris appears only to have belonged to the UWC which she founded. It is somewhat puzzling that she did not at least also join the LCW but no record of her name has been discovered in its records or elsewhere to indicate that this was the case. 248 <-records and the public press. Though the criteria for selection varied slightly amongst the thirty-three women, the overall requirement was a strong and visible leadership role over a period of years. Several women were purposely omitted from the group because their influence, though strong in the short term was not considered to have extended over a sufficiently long period. Perhaps the most significant point that can be made in reference to the majority of clubwomen is not that they were a homogenous group of "typical" reformers of their time but that there were many significant dissimilarities amongst them. Certain characteristics could be selected which would apply to significant numbers but the variations are too important to dismiss in an attempt to describe only the norm. The various identifiable characteristics must therefore be examined for both similarities and differences. The majority of identified clubwomen were married as previous studies have emphasized, but a large number were single women. Of the 98.6% of members whose marital status was determined, 70.2% were married, 26% single, and 2.4% widowed. Clearly, married women did not have a monopoly on reform and citizenship activities. The majority of single women were members of the UWC which consistently had more single than married members. Many were young and relatively recent graduates but a considerable number remained permanently single and 249 pursued both careers and reform over an extended period. Like married clubwomen whose families had grown past the stage of needing constant attention, these single women had a certain amount of free time to devote to clublife and frequently, though not invariably their concern for reform arose out of their professional activities. The age of clubmembers was impossible to determine with accuracy except in the case of a few individuals. Of these, the youngest were in their mid to late twenties in 1910. The remainder ranged from their mid-thirties to close on fifty. By the 1920's these oldest members were quite elderly women. Using all available indirect clues, such as age of children, photographs, the dates of other significant life events- such as marriage or graduation it appears that the majority of clubwomen were in the over-forty age group. Marital status and age appear to have been linked to a certain extent though this was by no means invariable. The UWC, with the highest proportion of single members had the largest number of younger members, particularly after 1920 when new graduates of the University of British Columbia began to join. The small proportion of single members in clubs other than the UWC appears to have been older and to have remained permanently unmarried although some single members of the LCW may have been delegates from affiliated clubs with younger members. The Graduate Nurses' Association, for instance, was almost always represented in the LCW by single women. As recognition of province-wide standards in nursing training did not occur in British Columbia until the second decade of the 250 century, these women were likely recent graduates. 5 The Women's Building too probably had a small number of younger women amongst its members. For instance, the American Girls' Club and the Girls' Auxiliaries of the Vancouver General Hospital and the Loyal Circle of King's Daughters were shareholders in the Building. A number of older members also bought shares in their daughters' names.but whether these daughters actively supported the Building is not clear. 6 Previous studies have indicated that clubleaders at least were generally from the more mature age-group. 7 In Vancouver this also seems to have been the case although at the beginning of the 1910's some leaders were slightly younger. Susie Lane Clark, Kate McQueen and Laura Jamieson, for instance, were all in their thirties at this time. Rank and file membership in Vancouver always included a number of younger women but there is no evidence that they played a particularly active role in club life or that they remained members through to middle age. It is possible that they withdrew from club activities as and when they married and rejoined in later years but there is no 5 Provision for the examination and registration of nurses and the incorporation of a graduate nurses' organization were, included in the Registered Nurses'Act 1918, ch.65. However, a Graduate Nurses' Association had been in existence since at least 1912 when it affiliated with the LCW. The LCW was involved in lobbying for recognition of standard qualifications and from 1916-20 had a standing committee on Nursing; see also Judi Coburn, '"I See and am Silent'; A Short History of Nursing," Janice Acton, Penny Goldsmith and Bonnie Shepard, Women at Work, pp. 151-55. 6 See Annual Statements, Women's Building File. 7 For instance, see Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, ch.4. 251 evidence of this. Clubwomen, on the whole were older women, though a certain number were young; young matrons with growing families, however, rarely appeared to join clubs. Educational achievement was a significant factor for certain clubwomen. All UWC members had a Bachelor's or higher degree, but such a level of education was unusual amongst members of other clubs. Nevertheless, the 430 who did have degrees comprised 38% of the total of identified clubwomen. This was a high proportion considering the small number of women graduates in the general population even by the end of the 1920's when female university attendance had increased. A smaller number of women pursued occupations which required a certain standard of education beyond the secondary level. For instance, only sixty-six of the eighty-one members who were teachers held degrees. The remainder had presumably attended a teachers' college or normal school. Other occupations such as nursing, journalism, librarianship and stenography clearly required a certain level of education though not necessarily formal certification. The majority of clubwomen, however, show no evidence of any education beyond elementary or possibly secondary level. Place of birth and ethnic origin of members were two further characteristics that were rarely recorded by clubs and were thus virtually impossible to determine with any degree of-accuracy. The newness of Vancouver itself and the age of the majority of clubwomen meant that very few members prior to the 252 1920's would have been natives of the city. Most of the few women whose place of birth was discovered came from eastern Canada. In the first decades of the twentieth century the population of Vancouver was largely of British stock but of these a growing proportion were Canadian born. In the 1911 census 75% of men and 82% of women in the city were classed as being of British racial stock and of these 39% of men and 51% of women had been born in Canada. 8 In line' with the largely Canadian and British origins of the city's population, the names of clubmembers were predominantly of British origin. In the case of married women this may have represented the origins of the husband rather than the wife but it seems unlikely that this would effect significant numbers. Some non-British names were to be found amongst members but it is likely that these were at least second generation Canadians or Americans. Altogether it seems probable that the majority of clubwomen came from eastern Canada, Britain or the United States with an increasing number of locally born women amongst the younger members by the 1920's. 9 Religion was not a factor that directly affected membership in the clubs studied but it was an observable and important factor in relation to the general reform movement of the period. Richard Allen has pointed out the importance of the social 8 Canada, Census of Canada 1911 vol. 2, pp.' 426-27 . 9 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 167-68; Carol Dennison, "The Women's Institutes in B.C.," pp. 61-62. 253 gospel movement, both in the years of its ascent, 1890-1914, and during the period of its greatest influence, 1914-28. The movement was, based on the belief that Christianity required "A passionate commitment to social involvement" and the notion that "All alike shared in the social guilt of an imperfect world, and the way from death to life, ...lay through awakening the 'social consciousness' and harnessing oneself to the. social problem with the yoke of social concern."10 He identified the Presbyterian, Methodist and Anglican churches as being the most active in the movement although Sheila Mosher has concluded that in British Columbia, at least, the Anglican church did not become heavily involved until after the First World War.11 Many of the reforms sought by organized women were similar to those desired by social gospellers. Just how great an effect the social gospel had on clubwomen in Vancouver is impossible to determine because there was no direct link between the two groups. However, the existence of the social gospel movement may have encouraged a greater number of women with strong religious conviction to take part in reform activities. This is suggested by the fact that some 60% of women whose religious affiliation was determined were either Methodist or Presbyterian, the two denominations most closely involved with the social gospel. Only 10 Richard Allen, The Social Passion: Religion and Social Reform in  Canada 1914-1928 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), pp. 16-17. 11 Sheila Mosher, "The Social Gospel in British Columbia: Social Reform as a Dimension of Religion, 1900-1920," (M.A. thesis, UBC, 1974), p.1; Carol Bacchi, Liberation Deferred?, also found most suffragists were Presbyterian, Methodist or Anglican. 254 a handful of Anglican women, on the other hand, were identified. Allen has noted that a similar but separate social gospel movement existed in the Catholic church during the same period which may account for the higher proportion of women of this denomination in clubs than in the general population.12 A number of ministers' wives were active in the clubs, particularly the LCW. This may have been a result of the reform atmosphere within the churches but may also have stemmed from the fact that ministers' wives were traditionally expected to play an active role in respect to social issues. Sixteen such women were identified as clubmembers during the period 1910-28 and of these, four held executive positions in the LCW. Nina de Pencier joined the LCW in the early years of the century when she arrived in the city with her husband who took up his ministry at St. Paul's Church. He later became Bishop of New Westminster, the Anglican diocese of which Vancouver was the principal city. Nina de Pencier was an active member of the LCW "executive on many occasions and also served as president and honorary president for a number of years. Desire Unsworth, wife of Pastor Joseph Unsworth of First Congregational Church, was LCW president in 1914 before moving to Vancouver Island. She was also involved with the City Creche and the Central Mission Rescue and Protection Society in 1912-14. Mrs George C. Pidgeon was wife of the Registrar of Westminster Hall, the Presbyterian Theological College and was LCW secretary in 1915. Mrs George 0. 12 Richard Allen, The Social Passion, p.xxiii. 255 Fallis was married to the Methodist founder of Canadian Memorial Church and held several executive and committee positions in the LCW in the 1920's. Described by those who knew her, as small and birdlike but with an apparently inexhaustible supply of energy, she was also active in the social services section of the UWC and on the board of directors of the Women's Building.13 The activities of the churches at this time no doubt served to enhance the climate of social reform, within which women's clubs operated and no doubt some women were strongly influenced by their own personal religious convictions but there is no evidence that the women's clubs studied were one of the major media through which they worked. The socio-economic status of 508 of the 1041 married clubwomen was ascertained by reference to the occupations of their husbands. Status was assigned on a five point scale from 1 (high) to 5 (low). There were no husbands in the lowest category (see Appendix C). Category 1 included the major professions and senior business and commercial occupations and represented the very top 13 Interviews July 9, and 13, 1983. 256 stratum of society.1" Medicine, the law and the church were well represented with a considerable.number too ,of accountants, high ranking company officers, large-scale merchants or company owners and university professors. Category 2 consisted of the minor professions, middle and lower level business occupations including ownership of small businesses, white collar occupations and one or two highly skilled non-professional occupations. The boom in land transactions and construction that characterized the city in the early years of the century is indicated by a number of realtors, builders and contractors and the growth of the city as the business centre of the province by a large proportion of agents, managers, brokers, insurance dealers and general clerical and office workers. Just over half of the husbands fell into this category which represented the middle to upper middle-class section of society. Category 3 was made up almost entirely of skilled tradesmen in a variety of areas whose social position probably ranged from prosperous working class to low middle-class. 1" Robert MacDonald, "Business Leaders in Early Vancouver 1886-1914," (Ph.D. thesis, UBC, 1977) and Angus Robertson, "The Pursuit of Power, Profit and Privacy: A Study of Vancouver's West End Elite," (M.A. thesis, UBC, 1977) both examine selected groups of the city's social elite. Very few husbands of clubwomen are included in their studies but they occupied a similar, if marginally lower social position. Most of the husbands in category I were mentioned in the Vancouver Social  Register and Club Directory (Vancouver: Welch and Gibbs Publishers Ltd, 1914). 257 Category 4 consisted .'of semi-skilled or unskilled occupations and contained only a very small number of men. They were clearly working class. By far the vast majority of clubwomen were married as we have seen and of these married women the greatest number were housewives. Some of them took on heavy responsibilities on an unpaid or nominally paid basis, for instance on public boards, or as in the case of Helen MacGill and Laura Jamieson, on the bench of the juvenile courts; other worked sporadically, for instance as journalists, but while they may have made' some money they were not and did not consider themselves working women. A total of 190 clubwomen, however, did work at full-time, paid jobs between 1910 and 1928. This was much less than the 60% of suffragists identified by Bacchi as holding full-time employment. But it was only slightly less than the 14-15% of the total female workforce in the province over the age of ten years.15 Approximately one quarter of these 190 employed clubwomen were married women who* continued to practise professions, probably from choice rather than necessity. The other three quarters were single and obviously worked to support themselves. 15 Carol Bacchi, Liberation Deferred?, p.13; Canada. Census of  Canada 1921, vol. 4, p.xiv. 258 Women were rated on the same occupational status scale as men but were placed one category lower to allow for their lower status both as women and as workers (See Appendix C). No women were therefore eligible for Category 1 and none appeared in Category 5. As with men, the highest category (in this case #2) included the professions of medicine and law, university teachers and one or two women from the highest ranks of business. The middle category (#3) included the majority of women. They worked as teachers, nurses, journalists, and in a variety of skilled clerical and office jobs. Only a small number worked at jobs in catergory 4 which included domestic service, factory jobs and semi-skilled office and retail occupations. The fact that some 12% of clubwomen were employed, as compared with 14-15% of all women, therefore takes on greater significance. The total female workforce, as officially recorded by the 1921 census, included all females over the age of ten and was composed predominantly of working-class women in unskilled or semi-skilled occupations. The 12% of employed and largely middle-class clubwomen is therefore a higher proportion than that of working women of the same class in the general population. In other words, while paid employment for women of higher than working-class status was still not common, amongst clubwomen it was considerably higher than for the same class of women in the general population. . The occupations of working Vancouver clubwomen and/or their husbands indicate that the majority of these women were of middle-class status. A smaller proportion came from a higher 259 social level and can be classed as members of the social elite. However, a small but significant number of members were from the upper levels of the working-class. The proportions of upper, middle and working-class members seems to have been roughly 2:6:1. The mix of classes is confirmed by an examination of the place of residence of individual members which was also to a certain degree linked to class. From the late 1880's till the end of the first decade of the new century Vancouver's West End which lay between Stanley Park and the industrial and commercial activity of the central business district was the chief residential area for the city's prosperous upper middle and elite classes.16 (see Figure 3) The east end of the city (Strathcona) was also expanding at this time but was unsuitable as a residential area for the upper classes because of conflict with other kinds of land use. The wealthy did not wish to live in close proximity to smoke and noise from sawmills and other industries nor side by side with the working class and ethnic minorities. Edward Gibson has noted that the requirements of upper and middle-class women were equally as important as those of their menfolk in the choice of a residential area. The large and gracious houses that were 16 Robert McDonald, "Business Leaders," pp. 259-66; Angus Robertson, "The Pursuit of Power," pp. 2-12; see also Edward Gibson, "The Impact of Social Belief on Landscape Change: A Geographical Study of Vancouver, " (Ph.D. thesis, UBC, 1971), ch.3; Alan Morley, Vancouver: From Milltown to Metropolis pp. 119-20, 127-28; Patricia Roy, Vancouver: An Illustrated History (Toronto: James Lorimer & Co. and National Museums of Canada, 1980), ch.2. •v 260 constructed throughout the West End reflected the lifestyle of these women and the importance of home entertaining and visiting just as much as the social and business status of their husbands. The social habits and vices of the working class and of ethnic minorities, such as public drinking and gambling made the east end totally unattractive for middle-class women.17 Many women were concerned to improve or eradicate this type of behaviour; they certainly had no desire to live amongst it. 17 Edward Gibson, "The Impact of Social Belief," p.81; Angus Robertson, "The Pursuit of Power," pp. 2,4,9. 261 Figure 3 Local Area Boundaries, Vancouver 262 Just as the West End's "preeminent social position" had become strongly established in the early years of the century, several other areas to the south of False Creek began to challenge it as desirable living space both for those at the top of Vancouver society as well as for the prosperous middle-class.18 In 1910 Fairview rivalled the West End in some respects as the most attractive area in the city. Lying on the south east shore of False Creek, it offered an excellent view as well as easy access to the city on newly built bridges and streetcar lines.19 Good municipal programs which included sewerage, parks and sidewalks, added to its attractions. The main city high school, the General Hospital and the temporary UBC campus were also in the area. A streetcar extension toward Mt. Pleasant was opened in 1912 giving access to this developing middle-class suburb also.20 Grandview and Kitsilano also attempted to attract families of social standing in the early years but without major municipal improvements they were less successful than Fairview. Middle-class families, however, did build and were followed by some of the more prosperous working class of British or Canadian origin who also began to move from their original homes in Yaletown (in the south east corner of the downtown area) and Strathcona to Mount Pleasant, Grandview and South Vancouver (which would later include Little Mountain, Marpole, Cedar Robert McDonald, "Business Leaders", p.261. Patricia Roy, "The British Columbia Electric Railway Company, 1897-1928: A British Company in British Columbia," (Ph.D. thesis, UBC, 1970), p.405. Edward Gibson, "The Impact of Social Belief," p.82. 263 Cottage and Riley Park-Kensington).21 Members of the business and professional class also relocated into areas like Point Grey, Kerrisdale and the fashionable Shaughnessy Heights, opened in 1910 by the Canadian Pacific Rail Company on one of its many land grants. Point Grey and Shaughnessy in particular represented a "deliberate attempt by the corporation to manipulate standards of social style for the 'wealthy' of the city" and by 1914 Robert McDonald places one in five of the city's business leaders as residing in one or the other of them.22 Despite its loss of status after the relocation of a large portion of the cream of society and the consequent growth of cheaper houses and apartment buildings after 1910, the West End nevertheless retained a high level of desirablilty and, with its size and easy access to the city, a high population of middle to upper-class residents. The West End, Kitsilano, Point Grey, Kerrisdale and Shaughnessy which Gibson characterized as solidly high status at this time were home to over two thirds of identified clubwomen with the majority residing in the West End. The areas that he considered to be predominantly working-class, Mount Pleasant, Grandview, Hastings, Strathcona, Little Mountain, Cedar Cottage, Riley and Renfrew housed a. further one fifth of members. 21 Ibid., p.83; Robert McDonald, "Business Leaders," p.264. 22 Ibid., p.265. 264 Gibson's categorization of the southern areas as largely working-class during this period may be somewhat misleading. Certainly, few clubwomen from these suburbs were working-class as determined by their own or their husbands' occupational status. These areas probably housed a predominantly working-class population but with small numbers of middle-class and the occasional upper-class family. Conversely, small numbers of working-class clubwomen were to be found in supposedly high status areas like the West End, Kitsilano and Point Grey. Place of residence of clubmembers is not an absolute guide to social status nor was the occupation of clubwomen and/or their husbands. However, both factors indicate the same general trends in relation to class and club membership, namely that along with the large body of middle-class members and a smaller number of women from the highest level of society there was a small but significant number of working-class clubwomen. Previous studies have identified occasional individual clubwomen from working-class backgrounds but they have not indicated that membership from this level of society was consistent and involved numbers which, though small, are too large to dismiss as unimportant. An examination of participation by women at the executive and committee levels of the Vancouver clubs further indicates that the small body of working-class women played an active role. In terms of overall numbers, clubwomen whose occupation or whose husbands' occupations placed them in categories 1 or 2 265 formed the majority of club officers and committee members (314 out of a total of 593 women). But working-class women were also represented at this level of club life (58 out of a total of 95 women). The overall number of working-class clubwomen was small but their rate of participation appears to have been as great as that of higher status women suggesting that low class status was not in principle a barrier to full acceptance and involvement in club life. In practice, however, most working-class women may not have had either the time or inclination to participate in reform activity. The picture that remains of the average rank and file clubwomen after' a closer examination is not very far removed from that discussed at the beginning of the chapter. If we look for an average woman in Vancouver clublife we find that she was indeed married, of British ethnic background, probably middle-aged and certainly of middle-class status as defined by husband's occupation and place of residence. He was most likely to be a professional man or in the middle to upper levels of business or commerce and they were most likely to live in the West End, Kitsilano or Fairview. However, while a closer examination confirms this view of the average clubwoman, it also illuminates the fact that there were a significant number of deviations from this norm which were also important. For all their similarities clubwomen were clearly not a homogenous group with a single clearcut goal. 266 Amongst the significant differences were first, the fact that a sizeable minority were single women, many of whom worked for a living. Often their jobs were professional but even those of lower status generally required some amount, often considerable, of skill and training. Even amongst married club members there were some who worked but again their jobs were of considerably higher status than those of the majority of working women. Second, not all clubwomen by any means were middle aged. Amongst UWC members in particular there was a large proportion of women in their twenties and thirties. This does not appear to have been so common in the other clubs although some younger women were members of the LCW and Women's Building. Third, although Presbyterian and Methodist women were in the majority, club women came from a wide variety of denominations. The proportion of Catholic clubwomen was quite high in comparison to the number of Catholics in the general population. Fourth, there was a wide range of educational backgrounds and achievement from the highest academic accomplishments to levels that may not have even included attendance at high school. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, not all clubwomen were middle-class. Although middle-class women, together with a smaller number from the very highest stratum of 267 the city's society formed the vast bulk of clubmembers it is clear that the lower middle class as well as the upper levels of the working class were represented. Moreover, the membership of these working-class women was not purely nominal; some of them played an active role 'on the executive and/or committees of their clubs. The membership of the clubs, then, was not homogenous but rather was composed of women with differing backgrounds, experience and abilities. It was evidently not necessary for women to share more than one of the several variables to become a member although in most cases club members probably did have more than one variable in common. A woman with a university degree but no interest whatsoever in reform might become one of the larger group through membership in the UWC. Women like Mme Chang and Mme Gomyo, wives of high ranking staff at the Chinese and Japanese Consulates might be included simply because of their social status. And a woman like Helena Gutteridge with little social status but with the ability and commitment necessary to successfully pursue reform would also be welcomed. Working together with a certain measure and feeling of sisterhood and under a strong and energetic leadership, women of diverse backgrounds and interests were able to present a front that was by no means impregnable or even always unanimous but which enabled them to pursue and achieve certain goals that were broadly acceptable to the membership as a whole. It is to this leadership and the women who constituted it that we will now turn. 268 A group of thirty-three women were identified as forming the nucleus of leadership in the clubs in respect to citizenship and legislative reform during the period 1910-1928. The characteristics which caused them to stand out above and beyond rank and file members were a combination of multiple membership in the clubs, their .activity at the executive and committee levels and their attempts, whether successful or not, to represent their sex and their cause in the public world. The women identified by means of these criteria had much in common and yet there were marked dissimilarities also. With the exception of Helen MacGill, who was a remarkably active woman even in comparison to other reformers of her period, none of the women met all the criteria. What we see is a group of women with similar ideals and a number of common goals regarding the control of their own lives and those of their children, who did not necessarily always work together but who formed a network within and between the clubs. Through this network they were able to determine and direct reform action for nearly two decades. At least half of them had connections with one or more of the local suffrage societies; all, with the exception of Evlyn Farris, founder of the UWC, belonged to the LCW and eighteen were at one time or another committee members of the NCWC. Seventeen were members of the WF, twenty-five belonged to the Women's Building, fifteen to the NEL and ten to the UWC. And rarely were they ordinary members of the clubs. In most cases they were directors or held executive or committee positions, often more than one at a time within a single club. Eight of 269 them belonged to two of the clubs, twelve to three clubs and ten to four clubs. Helen MacGill belonged,to five of the six clubs.23 The picture that emerges of these women is somewhat different to that which we have constructed of the average club member. Average is not a term that fits this smaller group at all for they were clearly exceptional in terms of commitment, activity and ability. On the whole they come closer to the middle-class "WASP" pattern identified by Strong-Boag in the executive of the NCWC but there are some marked exceptions.24 Two-thirds of their number appeared in the Vancouver Social  Register and Club Directory of 1914 which placed them firmly in the upper echelons of Vancouver society. The husbands of these twenty-two women, for all but two of them were married or widowed, were largely from the professions or the upper levels of business. The two unmarried women, Annie B. Jamieson and Kate McQueen, made careers for themselves in teaching but those who were married rarely worked in full-time, paid jobs. The exceptions were Helena Gutteridge, whose brief marriage in the late 1910's and early 1920's did not appear to affect either her working status or her heavy involvement with the labour movement, Belle Wilson who continued her medical practice The BPL had only two members from this leadership group, Irene Moody and Annie Wilson, neither of whom appeared to play a very active role in its functions even though the latter was founding honorary president. Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, ch.4. 270 throughout her married life and Laura Dickie McKay, a doctor's wife, who was the director of a large wholesale business. The two widows amongst the group, Irene Moody and Jean Macken, were apparently left in sufficiently comfortable circumstances that they did not need to take paid employment. Of the remaining eleven women eight were comforably middle-class but three do not fit this mold. Helena Gutteridge was clearly working-class both in economic status and in outlook and loyalty. Two other women were economically on the borderline between middle and working class but because of their continuing and close ties with labour can probably be classed more correctly in the latter group. Susie Lane Clark, whose husband was a printer by trade, had socialist leanings which would in later years draw her into CCF activities. Nellie Pettipiece, wife of one-time city alderman and labour organizer Parmeter Pettipiece, also shared his interest in the problems of labour. Despite the social distance between these three women and other leaders from the cream of society all managed,t on the whole, to work together in reasonable unanimity. Like the leaders of the NCWC, most Vancouver leaders were of Protestant religious affiliation The exceptions were Mrs J.O.Perry, who was Catholic and active in church circles and the Catholic Children's Aid Society, and Jean Macken who was a Theosophist. Of the others, the majority were Methodist or Presbyterian. They were also all of British ethnic background. As far as could be determined none was actually born in 271 Vancouver. Thirteen came from other parts of Canada, mostly the Maritimes and Ontario, four were from the United States and three from the United Kingdom. Strong-Boag has noted that NCWC leadership underwent a change by the 1920's with women of university training succeeding to the highest positions.25 This was certainly the case amongst the Vancouver leadership with eleven of the women holding Bachelor's degrees or higher and another three with known college certification. Those women with no higher education tended to be slightly older. In one important respect this small group of women differed considerably from both the NCWC and the general Vancouver membership. Following their own prescription that reform for women and children could only be gained by active participation of women in public life many of them actively sought positions on public boards, election to municipal and provincial government and other official appointments relating to their areas of interest. In their efforts to arouse public awareness of and confidence in the ability of women to effect change, as well as to educate other club members to their own potential, they proceeded by setting a practical example rather than simply propounding a theoretical ideal. More than two-thirds of them attempted to gain public offices and in most cases they were successful. In total they held some thirty public positions at 25 Ibid., p.164. 272 the municipal and provincial levels. One of the first areas in which women were able to gain elected positions was, as we saw in chapter 2, on school boards. From 1912 until the 1930's one or more of the leadership group sat on the Vancouver board. Marie McNaughton was the first of the group (though not the first woman, Mrs D. Reid had successfully sought election in 1897 without assistance from women's organizations) in 1912-15, followed by Irene Moody 1916-20, Dora Macaulay 1919-27, Mrs Frances Hopkins 1923-28 and Annie B.Jamieson 1928-34. Susie Lane Clark also ran in 1931 and 1932 but without success. The Senate and Board of Governors of UBC too had clubwomen amongst their members in the early years. Evlyn Farris was appointed to the former by the government after election by Convocation in 1912-18 and 1930-35 and sat on the latter from 1917 to 1929. Her interest was always particularly in women's education but her outspokenness about the university generally and more specifically about women's place in it, combined with her open support of the Liberal Party did not endear her to the Conservative government in the years prior to 1916.26 Annie B. Jamieson was also a Senator from 1919 to 1925 and Laura Jamieson an unsuccessful candidate for Senate in 1918. 26 Tami Adilman, "Evlyn Farris and the University Women's Club," pp.152-53. 273 Appointment to the library board of Vancouver was made by city council and, with strong support from the UWC in particular, Annie Jamieson gained this position in 1918 and held it for a decade. Laura Jamieson was a member of the provincial Public Library Commission from 1927 to 1938. The Town Planning Board was also made up of members appointed by city council and Jean Scott Drummond and Mrs J.O. Perry sat on it together in 1925. Mrs Margaret Griffin was the first appointee to the board of the Vancouver General Hospital in 1918 followed by Ethel Cody Stoddard in 1921-22. Both were pleased to bring some female influence to the three person board which had previously been all male. The LCW also lobbied hard for a female appointment to the board of the Vancouver Exhibition Society in an attempt to influence the kind of functions held there. Horse-racing, and the gambling it encouraged was particularly offensive to them. Mrs Griffin was appointed to the board in 1918 but was unable to eliminate the holding of race meetings due to long term contracts which had been signed some years before.27 Election to municipal boards other than the school board was not easy for women. It was not until just before the Second World War that Helena Gutteridge managed to win a place on the city council, and it was a further decade before Laura Jamieson 27 Province, January 8, 1919 p 8. David Breen and Kenneth Coates, Vancouver's Fair: An Administrative and Political History of the  Pacific National Exhibition" (Vancouver : University of Br i t i sh Columbia Press, 1982) do not mention this appointment but they do note strong public opposition to horse-racing and other activities that encouraged gambling, pp.31, 56-57. 274 matched her achievement. Prior to this however, three of the leadership network had made unsuccessful attempts, Jean Macken in 1921, Mrs Frances Hopkins in 1921 and 1922 and Susie Lane Clark in 1930. The city Parks board appeared to be not such a tough nut to crack and was perceived as enabling women to engineer reforms in the areas of safe and suitable play and sports grounds for children and improved transport, roadways and park seats for women, children and the elderly.28 Mrs Margaret Harold and Mrs Stella Beattie both ran for office in 1921 but Alice Ashworth Townley was the first woman elected seven years later. She sat on the board until 1935. Participation in public offices of this kind gave club leaders immense pride and the feeling that they were indeed making great progress towards their goals, and no doubt a large measure of this pride affected the rank and file club members too. But with the exception of those women on the school board and in later years on the city council their activities were not always apparent to the general public. To obtain high profile positions was much more difficult and required time, commitment and abilities that few women, even amongst this elite group, possessed. Helen MacGill and Laura Jamieson's appointments to the bench of the juvenile courts of Vancouver and Burnaby in 1917 and 1926 respectively placed them clearly in the public eye. But other appointments like those of Helen MacGill, Janet These points were included in Margaret Harold's platform. See WWW, June 8, 1921 p.4. 275 Kemp and Susie Lane Clark to the Mothers' Pensions Advisory Board in 1921 were too short to have much public impact and Mrs. G. Stanley Brown's appointment as Minimum Wage Inspector for women in 1927 also drew little attention outside of the clubs. Mary Ellen Smith's early election to the provincial legislature added credibility to clubwomen's claims that women were competent to perform a full public role. But this example did not open the floodgates for other women. Jean Scott Drummond ran unsuccessfully for the legislature in 1924 and Helen Douglas Smith, the province's second woman MLA was elected in 1933 without any particular support from clubwomen. No other women were successful until the late 1930's when, with the rise of the CCF, Laura Jamieson and Dorothy Steeves, along with Grace Mclnnis (who was not a clubmember), were finally elected.29 Helena Gutteridge also ran unsuccessfully under the CCF banner in 1941 . The questions posed at the beginning of the chapter can now be answered, at least in part. First, it is plain that while club membership was made up in large part of middle-class, middle-aged 'WASP' women, a substantial number of members did not fit this mold in one or more respects. Nor did many members care to extend their role in society beyond simple membership in one or perhaps two of the clubs. . Far from acting as a 29 Daisy Webster, Growth of the NDP in B.C., 1900-1970 (Vancouver: National Democratic Party, n.d. [1970?J), pp. 48-49, 76-78. 276 springboard to increased public involvement as clubleaders anticipated, membership itself was often the limit of women's activity. Nor were interest in promoting maternal feminist ideology and concomitant legislative reform necessarily the only aims of the rank and file members. The NEL and WF were clubs whose professed aims were reform and citizenship, but the LCW, the Women's Building and UWC had much broader goals, some of which required little or no interest in maternal feministic and reform issues. Second, it is equally clear that within the clubs there was a smaller group of women who were totally committed to wider participation' by women in issues that they perceived as being rightfully their concern and obligation. These women did not constitute the entire leadership of the clubs between 1910 and the mid to late 1920's but they were always active in positions of leadership. The majority of these leaders did fit the description of clubwomen found in previous studies and presented at the start of this chapter. That is, they were middle-class or above, married, well-educated, of Protestant religious affiliation, did not work in full-time, paid jobs and were primarily motivated by maternal feministic beliefs. However, a group of three were distinquished by much lower social status and a concern for and commitment to labour and socialism that may have been as strong, if not stronger, than their maternal feministic philosophy. Together, however, all these women were able to work within and through their interlocking club network to promote their reforms and to move into the public sphere at 277 the municipal and provincial levels in pursuit of their goals. In this they were relatively successful, judged both by the number and variety of positions they managed to attain as well as by the amount of legislation they were able to influence in the second two decades of the century. They were less successful, though, in arousing their club sisters to similar activity. Moral support they could and did get from the membership at large, but there were few women of their generation who desired or attempted to follow their lead into public life; even fewer of the younger generation would do so. 278 Chapter 7 "DRESSED UP WITH NO PLACE TO GO"?: THE SUCCESS AND  FAILURE OF THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY WOMEN'S MOVEMENT Looked at from a narrow point of view, this study concerns only a handful of women's clubs in a single city. But from a broader perspective its value lies in the fact that it allows a closer examination of a situation that was not unique to British Columbia alone. It affirms that the women's movement on the Pacific coast did indeed follow similar lines of development to its counterpart in the rest of English-speaking Canada. The emphasis of previous studies on Eastern Canada left something of a blank as far as the west was concerned. On the other hand, local British Columbia women as well as visitors in the early years of the century, sometimes suggested that women's activities on the west coast were bigger and better than those of their eastern sisters both in terms of organization and results. Helen MacGill, writing in 1928 claimed that the social legislation achieved in the province as a result of women's efforts was the most advanced in 'the nation. 1 And visiting British anthropologist Bessie Pullen-Bury noted the activities surrounding the initial establishment of the Women's Building Company and commented that in Vancouver "Clubland is supreme". 2 The study redresses the inbalance between the two extremes by 1 Helen Gregory MacGill, Laws for Women and Children, p.6. 2 Bessie Pullen-Bury, From Halifax to Vancouver (London: Mills & Boon Ltd., 1912), p.343. 279 indicating that while activity in Vancouver was high it was not markedly higher than in Eastern Canada or the prairies. Moreover, the legislation for which the clubs worked was remarkably similar to that passed in the majority of English-speaking provinces in the same period. The results of the study do not suggest any markedly different interpretation of the early twentieth century women's movement but they do provide some further explanations and insights into the four areas identified in Chapter 1, namely social class, club structure, periodization and the lack of generational continuity. The questions raised in Chapter 1 regarding class were of two kinds. The first concerned the definition of the terms middle and working-class and whether clubwomen came from either or both categories and the second dealt with the interaction between the classes in the wider society as clubwomen pursued their reforms. A definitive explanation of class lies outside the bounds of the thesis but categorization of clubwomen by the socio economic status of their jobs or those of their husbands, and also by their position, or lack of it, in the city's social elite, indicate that the categories of upper middle, middle and working class may legitimately be applied. The first two categories involved occupations of a professional, managerial or white collar nature and were distinguished one from the other primarily by membership in the social elite. The working class 280 was clearly separate and was tied to occupations of a skilled, or very occasionally, unskilled nature. Most previous studies have indicated that the majority of clubwomen were of middle or upper-middle class status, or at least that the leaders were. 3 The social status of rank and file members has either been assumed to have been the same or has been left unexamined. In Vancouver, clubmembers represented a broad spectrum of society from the social elite to the working class. The greater portion of women were, to be sure, solidly middle-class or above but a significant number were of lower status. This was true of both the general membership and, to a lesser degree of the leaders as well. Maternal feminists would likely have explained this on the grounds that their common aims as women transcended any considerations of class, but it is clear, that class divisions were only temporarily and superficially done away with in the course of reform activity. Maternal feminist values were very strongly middle-class and the reforms sought were designed to shore up these values and to produce conditions under which working-class women would be able to conduct their lives, in the workplace and the home, in a manner which was congruent with 3 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, Ch.4 identifies only one woman amongst NCWC leaders as working class; Wayne Roberts, "Six New Women," pp. 151-57 makes no comment regarding the clear class difference between Flora Macdonald Denison and the five other women with whom he deals; Carol Bacchi, Liberation  Deferred? p.117 classes suffragists as members of the social elite. 281 middle-class beliefs and attitudes to the family. The maternal feminist rationale mitigated against any real disintegration of class barriers; what it actually encouraged was conformity, by the working class, to middle-class standards while retaining the class barrier intact. * Working-class members have left no evidence as to their reasons for joining the middle-class reform clubs. We can only infer that their membership represented a public affirmation of a middle-class way of life either because they genuinely believed that the extension of such values would most effectively and quickly remove some of the problems that working class women faced daily, or because they were seeking or confirming a higher social status for themselves through close contact with women from a higher level. It is clear that while class divisions existed they were neither a barrier to club membership nor did they prevent participation at the highest levels of club life. Amongst the thirty-three women identified as forming the leadership network, three were from the working class, or at very best the lowest level of the middle-class. Helena Gutteridge, Susie Lane Clark and Nellie Pettipiece all had very close ties with labour and socialist circles, and Gutteridge and Clark were later involved in the development of the CCF Party. 5 All three appeared to * Carol Bacchi, "Divided Allegiences: The Response of Farm and Labour Women to Suffrage," pp. 89-107. 5 I am grateful to Susie Walsh for discussion and insights regarding these women prior to their involvement in the CCF in the 1930's. See her forthcoming study of early CCF women (M.A. thesis, Simon Fraser University). 282 espouse the tenets of maternal feminism with just a hint of the radicalism that was to be found in the United States and Britain and to a lesser extent in Ontario and the prairie provinces, but which was rare in British Columbia. Further studies may indicate the nature of any connections between maternal feminist reform of the 1910's and 20's and the overtly political and more egalitarian activities of these women in the 19 3 0's and determine the nature of the class link. In fact a sympathy with socialist beliefs may have been a stronger link in this area than was class, for two other clubwomen of much higher social status, Laura Jamieson and Dorothy Steeves, were also deeply involved with the CCF and socialist issues in the 1930's. The nature of and reasons for interaction between middle-class club women and working-class women who were not clubmembers is a much more complex problem than the categorization of clubmembers by class. Some notion of the sisterhood of all women did exist and enabled the two groups to occasionally combine forc'es. It was not clearly defined, however, and was often over-ridden by other factors, particularly the very real divisions that existed between the two classes. Middle-class women mentioned it more frequently and articulated it more clearly. For them it was an extension of their maternal feministic ideology. Because they believed that woman's chief role was as mother of the nation's children they also believed that all women had common problems and similar aspirations. In regard to many reforms this notion of sisterhood presented no problems to middle-class women and enabled them to 283 work with and for their lower status sisters. However, in relation to employment, particularly of domestic help, middle-class women were never able to reconcile their theory with practice. Their perception of the needs of their own class and the duties and obligations of the working class were never successfully resolved. 6 For working-class women the sense of sisterhood seemed less strong and may have been encouraged more by a sense that the male members of their class were not always sympathetic to some of their problems. Again, reform in the work-place is a case in point. Although working-class women organized themselves in pursuit of minimum wage legislation, support from organized male labor was lukewarm at best. Middle-class clubwomen, on the other hand, were quick to join the campaign and while differing class interests mitigated against a truly equitable solution a limited sense of sisterhood existed and may have encouraged working-class women to continue their pursuit of reform even when results fell short of expectat ions.; The problems of club structure which Strong-Boag identified in the NCWC do not appear to have existed at the local level in Vancouver. 7 The six organizations examined were remarkable for their common goals. Because of their unanimity of aspiration they were not faced with the problem of reconciling differing or opposing points of view amongst their members. Their smaller 6 Helen Lenskyj, "A 'Servant Problem'," p.6. 7 Veronica Strong-Boag, Parliament of Women, pp. 409-24. 284 size and local rather than national organization also made consensus more easy to achieve. Members could meet face to face easily and quickly for discussion and planning. They were forced to pursue reform at both the municipal and provincial levels but they did not, like the NCWC, have to formulate policy which then had to be relayed to a multitude of municipal and provincial governments. Therefore, the planning of campaigns and any ensuing results were much more directly connected. The replication of committee work in each of the clubs was in one sense time-wasting, but on the other hand it allowed for greater discussion and input from rank and file members of each of the clubs. These two factors meant that the leadership and general membership were closer to each other and both were more directly involved in obtaining reforms than was the case in the NCWC. At the national level the leadership which formulated policy was very distant from the women who had to translate their policy into the actual pursuit of reform at the provincial and municipal levels. The existence of a firmly entrenched leadership seems rather to have facilitated reform in Vancouver than to have led to rigidity and stultification as it did in the NCWC. The Vancouver network of leaders provided continuity in terms of both campaigns and goals. Because the leadership network extended across the six organizations it was able to co-ordinate and direct activities and draw together rank and file members from the various clubs who otherwise might not have worked together so consistently or successfully. In effect, because the 285 network of leaders existed, the six organizations were able to function on certain occasions, as a single organization, for instance when a deputation approached government regarding a specific reform such as mothers' pensions. At the same time, each retained the advantage of being a separate entity that could justifiably claim to represent a sector of society. When they combined with yet other organizations in the community their representativeness was even further enhanced. The relatively small size of the leadership network and the fact that, although it was largely middle-class in composition it did include some women of lower class, may also have been of assistance in achieving, with relatively little difficulty, the desired reforms. The existence of a socially mixed group of women working together over an extended period of time may have been one important factor in bridging the barrier between larger groups of middle and working-class women and enhancing the solidarity and sense of sisterhood that was from time to time apparent. The question of periodization remains somewhat problematical. The years from roughly 1910 to a point in the late 1920's do appear to have some distinct characteristics that set them apart as a discrete and significant period in the history of women and the development of their role in modern soc iety. 286 The half century prior to this period saw the emergence of women from their circumscribed and private role within the home into a more public but still limited role within the wider society. Concurrently there was an extension and strengthening of the idea that women's specific skills and abilities should no longer be directed solely towards the care of her own children but had a wider significance and value for all society. The years after 1928 saw a considerable retreat by women from many aspects of public life and a re-growth of emphasis on the fact that her individual family was each woman's chief responsibility. For those women who remained active in female organizations, the emphasis was on social or cultural activities, or alternatively, on overtly political activities in conjunction with traditional or newly formed male political parties, or issues of international peace and co-operation. The years between 1910 and 1928 were characterized by a dual emphasis on womanhood and citizenship. Throughout this period clubwomen promoted the idea that women had a unique and important role to play by virtue of their particular female characteristics and that this role no longer involved only their own families but must of necessity be performed publicly for the benefit of all society. Demands for the vote had been heard since the last decades of the previous century. Renewed demands for the franchise were now linked to demands for further specific reforms on behalf of women and children. Clubwomen believed these would form the basis of a renewed society in which justice and greater equality of opportunity would be 287 ensured, not'just for women but for everyone. However, there,: was a basic contradiction between the kinds of legislative reform that organized women sought during this period and the expanded public role they wished to see women play in society. The two goals of womanhood and citizenship were incompatible in the form in which they were propounded and of necessity one had to take precedence over the other. Citizenship came out second best. In regard to the question of periodization, it is important to recognize that both the continuities and connections that existed between the periods that preceded and followed the years 1910-28, and the characteristics that were unique to the period must be taken into account if a balanced explanation of these years is to be achieved. Moreover, the lack of parallel between periodization in reference to women's history and to traditional history must be reiterated. Leila Rupp has noted the lack of continuity between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they emerge in traditional history. 8 For women in the 1910 * s and 1920's the continuity in the development of maternal feminist ideology and the movement of women outside of the home which began in the previous century were crucial to their own reform activities and to the success that they enjoyed in attaining them. Leila Rupp, "Reflections on Twentieth Century American Women's History," p.275. 288 The question of why younger women did not follow in their mothers' reform footsteps in the mid to late 1920's was one that puzzled clubwomen at the time as well as some historians in more recent years. 9 But in light of the ultimate goal of clubwomen, the reaffirmation of the importance of motherhood, it is not really surprising. The very success of the push for the kind of legislation that these women desired ensured continued emphasis on the mothering role as woman's most important job within and for society. Therefore, by withdrawing further into the home as companionate wives and educated mothers the younger generation of women were in fact carrying out the role that maternal feminists had created for them. In so doing, they were assisted by increasingly professionalized public welfare mechanisms which supplied support and services that had previously been lacking or supplied only as charity. Earlier generations of women had organized initially to provide some of these services themselves. Then, using the citizenship powers that they had obtained for that very purpose, they had worked to convince the state that such responsibility was its own. Once these public health and welfare services were operational they took over the public parenting responsibilities that clubwomen had envisioned-themselves filling. Mothers were no longer either needed or wanted in a public role. The growing belief that a mother's full-time care and attention was essential for the well-being of 9 For instance, Linda Hale, "The British Columbia Woman Suffrage Movement," p.26; Gloria Geller, "The Wartime Elections Act," pp. 105-6; Carol Bacchi, "Liberation Deferred," p.434. 289 her children was encouraged by the increasing number of professionals and childcare experts who took control of the developing public welfare system. The importance of motherhood was emphasized as clubwomen had desired, but at the expense of the public role that they had also envisioned for women. For a generation to come mothers of young children would be unable to venture into the public realm without being accused of neglecting or adversely affecting their children's welfare. Clubwomen were disappointed and surprised by the lack of support and involvement by younger women. But they were also surprised by their own loss of momentum and direction in the late 1920's. Writing in 1928, Anne Anderson Perry complained that women were still "at the feet of old Gods"; that despite the winning of the vote and virtually all their other legislative demands, women were "Dressed up with no place to go."10 With this phrase she expressed the bewilderment that clubwomen felt at the results of their reforms. Why did success bring such disappointment after the initial euphoria had worn off? In part, women were disappointed because the achievement of their reform agenda did not bring with it the perfection of society that many women had naively expected. The reforms that they desired have been characterized elsewhere in this study as conservative by virtue of the fact that they were designed to 10 Anne Anderson Perry, "Is Women's Suffrage a Fizzle?" MacLean's  Magazine February 1, 1928 p.7. 290 preserve and strengthen rather than to remake society. But women reformers were also heirs of the liberal tradition in that they believed in the perfectabi1ity of society and its component citizens. They expected the achievement of their reform goals to usher in automatically a new era in which both men and women worked in equality and harmony for a common ideal. They did not see that their goal of equal participation in society by women was too radical a change to 'be brought about by means of a conservative emphasis on familial values.11 Neither could they see that their -twin goals of womanhood and citizenship were inherently contradictory; that the success they achieved in the promotion of motherhood worked directly against the extension of their role as publicly active citizens. The success of the former ensured a lesser emphasis on the latter, but rather than offering clubwomen "nowhere to go" it pushed them into areas that were slightly different to those they had anticipated. Clubs like the NEL,.WF and BPL declined or disappeared but the LCW, UWC and Women's Building continued their activities. Many women remained active club members and while their citizenship focus weakened, other issues of social importance drew their interest. The UWC, for instance, was, in the closing years of the 1920's, involved in promoting home economics in the public schools and the establishment of a school of home economics at the University of British Columbia, and LCW was concerned with issues like the extension and professionalization of women Ellen DuBois, "The Radicalism of the Woman Suffrage Movement," p. 63-7 1 . 291 within the police force. International organizations such as the League of Women Voters and the WILPF grew in size and strength as some women turned their attention to issues of world peace and cooperation; other women turned to activities within the established political parties or in professional organizations. There is no doubt that the reforms which clubwomen achieved did have an immediate and positive effect for many women and children in the early twentieth century. And because women and children, no less than men, are an integral part of society then, by implication, the whole of society benefitted. For many women, struggling to raise a family alone, financial assistance, small though it might be, did remove some of the uncertainty and hardship that they had previously experienced. Married women gained greater control over their own lives and those of their children. Widowed and deserted women had greater rights to their husbands' estates and finances. Working women, even though their status in the workforce remained low, benefitted from the removal of some of the worst excesses of exploitation in terms of wages and conditions.12 Neglected, dependent and delinquent children came increasingly to be cared for in smaller, more family-like institutions or in foster homes and to be treated under principles of reformation and rehabilitation rather than punishment.13 12 Veronica Strong-Boag, "Wages for Housework," pp.31-32. 13 Neil Sutherland, Children in English-Canadian Society, pp. 238-41 . 292 Women of higher social class also benefitted. Their access to the professional world was extended, in some areas through legislative decree, in others by the growth of professional positions associated with the concomitant development of the newly established health and welfare services. They also now had access, legally if not always in practice, to the governing and administrative structures of society. This right, of course, was available to women of any class but it was generally only women of higher social status who took advantage of it. Their numbers were never as high as reformers had envisaged or hoped but from the late 1910's onward small numbers of women began to appear in official and semi-official positions. In the long run, the benefits of maternal feminist reform are more difficult to assess. The effects of their reforms are still very much with us today but perceptions of their value have been changed to some extent by the modern feminist movement of the 1960's and 1970's. Although maternal feminists spoke about full citizenship for women and to a lesser extent about equality of the sexes in the exercise of that citizenship, the main thrust of their reform was towards promoting recognition of motherhood as woman's primary role. In this area they were eminently successful.1" Two generations of women turned inward to their homes and families as a result of successful agitation for reform by clubwomen, and a further generation of modern 1" Karen Blair, The Clubwoman as Feminist: True Womanhood Redefined  1868-1914 (New York: Homes and Meier, 1980), p. 119. 293 feminists have not yet succeeded in countering the effects of their ideology. The ironic incongruence between what clubwomen anticipated they would achieve for women and the very different role that they in fact reinforced deserves comment. While this incongruence by no means detracts from the importance and value of the reforms they achieved, it appears to have been one of the factors which led to the loss of momentum and purpose of the women's movement by the late 1920's. Returning to the metaphor which opened this study, we can see strong parallel between the fortunes of the Vancouver Women's Building and the movement which gave it birth. The translation of the building from an idea into reality drew women together in dedicated and purposeful work but the purpose itself disappeared once the building was completed leaving the women with no further goal. Likewise the push for citizenship in order to effect legislative change on behalf of women and children had the same effect. Once the legislation was obtained the protection and strengthening of society through the family was taken out of reformers' hands and placed once more in the hands of the individual mother with oversight and direction from the state through the medium of professionalized health and welfare services. The exercise of citizenship on behalf of the family was not rendered a totally useless exercise but it lost much of the importance that clubwomen had anticipated it would have. 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