The Last Suffragist Standing
The Life and Times of Laura Marshall Jamieson
Canada’s vibrant suffrage movement was a complicated story of achievement and loss. The Last Suffragist Standing is an unprecedented study of a pioneering Canadian suffragist and politician, a New Woman who tested Canadian democracy.
A rich product of archival and public sources, this biography of Laura Marshall Jamieson (1882–1964) opens a window onto the political and social landscape of the time. Veronica Strong-Boag chronicles Jamieson’s life from orphaned child of marginal Ontario farmers to member of British Columbia’s Legislative Assembly and Vancouver city councillor. The last suffragist in Canada to be elected to a provincial or federal legislature, Jamieson embraced issues such as factory labour conditions, minimum wage, feminist pacifism, housing, municipal franchise, and employment equality throughout her six decades of activism. Jamieson’s political radicalism was forged by the suffragist movement and the Great Depression, whetted by her exposure to mainstream and fringe activist groups, and tempered during her tenures in office.
Strong-Boag’s meticulous research and deep knowledge of the history of the women’s movement and Canadian politics turn this compelling account of a woman’s life into an illuminating work on the history of feminism, socialism, internationalism, and activism in Canada.
Of particular interest to scholars and students in women’s studies and Canadian history, this book will also appeal to feminists with an interest in history and enthusiasts of British Columbia history.
- 2019, Short-listed - Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing, BC Historical Federation
[The Last Suffragist Standing] makes a valuable contribution to the wider historiography of women’s political activities in Canada and to British Columbia politics in general. Jamieson would undoubtedly be pleased with this study of her life and times.
A compelling tale of a pragmatic, action-oriented, and inspiring woman. More than a story of Laura’s life, we get an inside look at the emergence and struggles of progressive politics in British Columbia at both the local and provincial levels and the role that women played – and fought for – in shaping both.
With verve and insight, Veronica Strong-Boag’s account of Laura Jamieson challenges many widely held myths. The book shows how a seemingly conformist, middle-class matron became an unstinting champion of social change – including women’s enfranchisement, birth control, and social democracy. The Last Suffragist Standing is a stunning accomplishment, notably for its fresh and compelling twist on Canadian political history.
1 The Girl from the Saugeen Peninsula, 1882–1911
2 The New Woman as Wife, Suffragist, and Activist, 1911–18
3 Still Bettering the World, 1918–26
4 Widowed Judge and Progressive Activist, 1927–39
5 The Challenge of Electoral Politics, 1927–39
6 Suffragist in the BC Legislature, 1939–41
7 Legislative Veteran, 1941–45
8 Taking on Post-war Misogyny and Vancouver Politics, 1945–64
9 Faithful Social Democrat, 1945–64
Postscript from Four Granddaughters / Dorothy O’Connell, Anne Jamieson, Karen Jamieson, and Marion-Lea Jamieson
Notes; Selected Bibliography; Index
Feminist History in Canada
New Essays on Women, Gender, Work, and Nation
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