Collection SC263 - Nellie McClung collection

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Nellie McClung collection

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  • 1925 - 1940 (Creation)
    McClung, Nellie L., 1873-1951

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3 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Nellie Letitia McClung (née Mooney) was a suffragist, writer, and public speaker. She was born in Chatsworth, Ontario on October 20, 1873. Her family moved to Wawanesa, Manitoba in 1880 and upon graduation from the Winnipeg Normal School at the age of 16, Miss Mooney began her teaching career at Manitou, Manitoba. Partly influenced by her future mother-in-law, Mrs. Annie McClung, Nellie became prominent in the Women's Christian Temperance Union from 1896 on, and in the suffrage movement. In 1896 she married Robert Wesley McClung, a pharmacist in Manitou. In 1908, her first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, was published. Other novels, essays, short stories, and sketches soon followed and continued to appear into her seventieth year. The McClung's moved to Winnipeg in 1911 when Mr. McClung took up work with an insurance company. Nellie became active in various organizations, including the Canadian Women's Press Club and the Winnipeg Political Equality League. She organized the latter in 1912 with the aim of advancing women's suffrage and such issues as conditions of female factory workers. Her activities in temperance and women's suffrage leagues continued when they moved to Edmonton in 1914 where she campaigned vigorously for social reform and women's rights. In 1916, mainly through McClung's activism, Manitoba became the first Canadian province in which women could vote and Alberta soon followed. She was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly as a Liberal from 1921 to 1926. After her political defeat she fought to establish Canadian women's rights to seats in the Senate. McClung , with Emily Murphy and three other women, challenged the interpretation of the word "person" in the BNA Act, as applied to Senate appointments. In 1929 this action resulted in a privy council ruling that women were persons. In 1933 the McClung family moved to Victoria. From 1936 to 1942 she served as the first woman member of the CBC Board of Governors. In 1938 she represented Canada as a delegate to the League of Nations. McClung wrote 16 books which include: Sowing Seeds in Danny (1908); In Times Like These (1918); Clearing the West (1935); Leaves from Lantern Lane (1936) and The Stream Runs Fast (1945). She died in 1951 at the age of 77.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The collection consists of 3 accessions:
Acc. 1991-076 comprises: a tls from "your fellow writer, Nellie L. McClung" to George Bugnet, Dec. 9, 1931, mentions sending a copy of her "new book"; a Christmas broadsheet poem signed "R. W. and Nellie McClung" with a printed photo attached of the McClung's titled "At the Great Divide, August 1932" and 6 newspaper clippings.
Acc. 1996-016 comprises items from J. and D. Gilbert's collection from Nellie McClung's personal library and papers (see note). Included are: a Christmas card with holograph verse to "Mr. and Mrs. McClung" signed James L. Hughes; a poem clipping titled "To My Dear Friends: Who made my 75th Birthday the Happiest of my my long list of Birthdays" with Hughes's comment, "Nearly nine years ago"; a 1 page hls ,"Dec. 28.", to McClung from Hughes; a 1 page holo. Christmas poem by Hughes inscribed: "Nellie McClung, Christmas 1926"; a 2 page hls to Nellie McClung from Hughes dated Feb. 11; a 1 page typed poem titled "Ten Years Ago" dated Bruges, July 27, 1925 by Hughes; a 1 page hls, Jan. 8, 1940, to Nellie McClung from Emile Vaillancourt; a 1 page reprint from The Liberal Advocate, Toronto, August 1940 by Emile Vaillancourt with holograph presentation from author; a 1 page tls, August 14, 1926, to Nellie McClung from W. V. Newson re: Newson's book "A Vale of Luxor"; 2 page hls, Aug 24, 1925, from Thomas O' Hagan to Nellie McClung; 3 page hls, Jan. 18, 1931, from Mary Elizabeth Colman to Nellie McClung (tipped in Colman' s The Immigrants); 2 page CBC reprint, April 22, 1940 broadcast by Lady Nanton, "Spiritual Values on the Home Front" ; clippings.
Acc. 2000-086 consists of a Mar. 22nd [1939?] hls, "Nellie L. McC." with holo note, to Isabel Mitchell accepting an invitation to visit, and a June 24, 1939 tls from McClung to Isabel Mitchell referring to her brother's book. Her brother, Rev. Thomas H. Mitchell, wrote "The Drama of Life" (1922) with a preface by McClung.

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General note

Authors, Canadian--20th century--Correspondence; Canadian literature (English)--20th century; Canadian literature--20th century

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Revised by JF, August 6, 2013.

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