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Nellie Letitia McClung

(1873—1951) suffragist and writer


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(b. 20 Oct. 1873, d. 1 Sept. 1951).

Canadian suffragist Born at Chatsworth (Ontario), she was a schoolteacher until her marriage in 1896. She became active in the woman's Christian Temperance Union, and in 1908 published her best-selling novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny. In 1911, McClung moved to Winnipeg, where she became active in the women's rights movement, continuing her activities upon moving to Edmonton. As a campaigner for women's suffrage and greater social equality for women, she spoke widely throughout Canada, the USA, and Britain. Her speeches have been collected in In Times Like These (1915). She entered the Alberta Legislative Assembly as a member of the Liberal Party (1921–6). In 1929, she was instrumental in the successful campaign to allow women to sit in the Canadian Senate. She moved to Vancouver Island in 1933, where she wrote part of her autobiography, Clearing in the West: My Own Story (1935), as well as short stories. She became a member of the Canadian Authors Association and sat on the first board of governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. McClung has often been criticized for her attachment to traditional notions of the family and her conservatism on issues such as temperance. However, it was perhaps precisely these values which formed the basis of her appeal, as they gave her a common language with her audiences, convincing them that women's rights would not lead to radical social and political transformations.

Subjects: History — Literature.


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