An Unrecognized Contribution: Women and Their Work in 19th-Century Toronto
Published by: Dundurn Press
Imprint: Dundurn Press
Sales Date: 2022-10-18
Published: October 2022
Imprint: Dundurn Press
Page Count: 272 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
272 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.80 in
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A treasure trove of incredible lives lived.
— RICK MERCER, comedian and author
Muir sets out to restore the faces of women who worked and struggled in nineteenth-century Toronto. A fascinating read.
— WARREN CLEMENTS, author and publisher
Emphasizes the enormously influential role women had in laying the groundwork for life in the city today.
— DR. ROSE A. DYSON, author of Mind Abuse: Media Violence and Its Threat to Democracy
Women in nineteenth-century Toronto were integral to the life of the growing city. They contributed to the city’s commerce and were owners of stores, factories, brickyards, market gardens, hotels, and taverns; as musicians, painters, and writers, they were a large part of the city’s cultural life; and as nurses, doctors, religious workers, and activists, they strengthened the city’s safety net for those who were most in need.
Their stories are told in this wide-ranging collection of biographies, the result of Muir’s research on early street directories and city histories, personal diaries, and other historical works. Muir references over four hundred women, many of whom are discussed in detail, and describes the work they undertook during a period of great change for Toronto.
1 Toronto: A “New World” City 3
2 Women in Nineteenth-Century Toronto: Their Work and Station 9
3 Early Settlers 27
4 Adventurers 53
5 The De Grassi Girls and Other Spies 65
6 Women and Religion 73
7 Proprietors of Boarding Houses, Taverns, and Hotels 107
8 Visual, Literary, and Performing Artists 117
9 Professionals 153
10 Reforming Philanthropists 179
11 Epilogue 191
Appendix A: Selected Toronto and Area Streets Commemorating or Connected to Nineteenth-Century Women 199
Appendix B: Historical Plaques in Toronto and Area Commemorating or Connected to Nineteenth-Century Women 205
Image Credits 237
About the Author 257
An Unrecognized Contribution is a treasure trove of incredible lives lived. Elizabeth Gillan Muir introduces us to an endless cast of women whose lives were marked by incredible bravery, innovation, and achievement against all odds. In these pages lie a hundred movies waiting to be made. Rick Mercer, author of Talking to Canadians
A useful chronicle to anyone who wishes to explore the early underpinnings to the growth and prosperity of the City of Toronto. It provides a uniquely original resource that uncovers the vital contributions made by women in the establishment of many institutions we now value and consider essential to our daily lives. Rose A. Dyson, author of Mind Abuse: Media Violence and Its Threat to Democracy
Elizabeth Muir sets out to restore the faces of women who worked and struggled in nineteenth-century Toronto, some famous and some not. Her research turns up surprises every few pages, introducing us to songwriters, reformers, owners of brickyards and corset factories, and others whose presence is still felt in the names of Toronto streets. A fascinating read. Warren Clements, author and publisher