In 2016 Madge Watt’s great niece, Helen Geissinger gave me a copy of the book What the Country Women of the World are Doing. This past winter I have been reading through it and have found a number of items that I think should be shared, so here is the first……
This volume, printed in 1933 was edited by Sholto Watt, Madge Watt’s youngest son. One feature is a 21 page section titled Some Biographies of Country Women. In this, I found notes on 19 Canadian women, including Mrs. Watt. In addition to Mrs. Watt, there are Mrs. J. D. Gordon and Mrs. J. F. Price from British Columbia.
The entry for Mrs. Gordon, reads, in part: “President of the Provincial Board of the British Columbia Women’s Institute; Head of the Soldiers Settlement Home Service Branch after the War. President of the Board of Directors of the Provincial Women’s Institutes 1927. Well known throughout the Province as a Judge of Women’s work at the fairs.
Mrs. Gordon was elected Provincial President in 1927, and held that position until 1936 when the next Provincial Convention was held. In addition to her work with the Women’s Institute, she was very active in social reform and was a member of the Women’s Temperance Union and Victoria’s Red Cross Auxiliary.
Mr. Watt’s entry for Mrs. J. F. Price includes: Publicity Secretary, WI’s of Canada. Journalist, special WI writer. Wrote and placed articles on development of WI’s in Canadian school histories. Keeps WI news in forefront rural and women’s papers. Maintains syndicated service of WI activities to Canadian papers and magazines. Lives in Alberta and takes prominent part in Alberta WI’s.
Mrs. Price moved to Point Grey in 1933 and became very active with BCWI, serving several terms on the Provincial Board.
The Canadian women that Mr. Watt choose to include in the Biographies measure up very well with the women from other countries and I think I would be remiss if I did not include Mrs. Watt’s biography:
Watt. Mrs. Alfred, M. A. M. B. E.: Member First Advisory Board of Women to the Government of British Columbia. Member, Senate, University of British Columbia. Honours Graduate, Modern Languages and History, University of Toronto, and First in English. Contributor, Canadian and American papers on literacy criticism. President, University Women’s Club, Victoria, 1912. Delegate from British Columbia Government to International Conference 1912; from Canadian WI’s to Paris, 1921; from Board of Agriculture, England to Brussels, 1919; Rome, 1923; Brussels for N. F.W. I, 1926; London, 1929; Vienna, 1930; and Stockholm, 1933. Founder W. I’s in England and Wales 1915. Member N.F.W.I. Executive since 1925. Chairman, Agricultural Section. Member, Organization and Agricultural Committees, N.F.W. I. Chairman, Liaison Committee and first President of the Associated Country Women of the World. Has country home, with farms, Vancouver Island, Canada.
Many Canadian women have followed Mrs. Hoodless’ vision, finding like-minded women in all areas of the world, while offering assistance, education and friendship.
Yours For Home and Country, Ruth Fenner, BCWI Provincial Historian
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