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 Featured Title
A Flannel Shirt and Liberty
British Emigrant Gentlewomen in the Canadian West, 1880-1914
Susan Jackel  

269 Pages

This title is out of print.


About the Book

The plight of educated single women without means was a major social issue in Britain at the turn of the century. Since there were a million more women than men, the future of a genteel spinster was far from secure. Marriage was a financial matter -- a business essential to her economic and social status, and the penalties for 'failure in business' were severe. Emigration to the colonies offered a way out, and no place advertised more energetically for these 'redundant' women than the Canadian West.

This collection of articles and extracts from books and periodicals describes in detail the opportunities in Western Canada for British women emigrants. By 1900 there was a great demand both for wives and for workers in a variety of occupations. 'Women Wanted' was the message conveyed by Canadian officials, journalists, and public-spirited women who travelled across Canada and reported on their findings.

Emigration societies, training schools, welcoming hostels, and immigration authorities all assisted in the transfer to Canada of the adventurous gentlewomen who responded to the challenge. Life in the newly settled West was seldom easy for them. To some it was a life of unaccustomed drudgery, loneliness, and prejudice. But others rejoiced in the wild prairie spaces and discovered a new sense of independence and self-worth. Moira O'Neill writes: 'I like both the work and the play here, the time out of doors and the time for coming home. I like the summer and the winter, the monotony and the change. Besides I like a flannel shirt and liberty.'

About the Author(s)

Susan Jackel is with the Department of Canadian studies at the University of Alberta.

Table of Contents



I. The Beginnings: The 1880's

1. From A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba / Mary Hall
2. What Women Say of the Canadian North-West
3. "Women Wanted" / Jessie M. Saxby

II. The Doldrums: The 1890's

4. The 1890's
"The English Ranchwoman" / J.R.E.S.
"A Lady's Life on a Ranche" / Agnes Skrine
"Women's Work in Western Canada" / Elizabeth Lewthwaite

III. The Wheat-Boom Years: 1905-1914

5. From A Woman in Canada / Marion Cran
6. Land and the Woman in Canada / Georgina Binnie-Clark
"Hilaria's Adventures -- A Night Out"
"Are Educated Women Wanted in Canada"
"Conditions of Life for Women in Canada"
"Land and the Woman in Canada"
7. From A Home-Help in Canada / Ella Sykes
8. "The Women of the West" / Elizabeth Mitchell
9. "The Woman Canada Needs" / Emily Weaver


Reviews of this title are not available at this time.

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

History > Canada
Women's Studies

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