Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Her Story: Women from Canada's Past // Review

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Her Story: Women from Canada's Past // Review

Article excerpt

Her Story: Women from Canada's Past Susan E. Merritt St. Catharines, Ont.: Vanwell, 1993; 160 pp.

Reviewed by Ellen Manchee Culture Resource Management Department Canadian Heritage Cornwall, Ontario

Her Story, by Susan E. Merritt, was written for a juvenile audience, probably grades eight and nine. It is made up of 16 chapters, usually of about nine pages, four of which contain photographs. Each of the chapters gives an outline of the life and accomplishments of an individual woman who lived in Canada for some or all of her life. The women profiled range from Madeleine Jarret Tarieu, who was born at Vercheres in 1678, to Harriet Tubman Davis, a conductor on the Underground Railway in the 1800s, to Emily Carr, a twentieth - century West Coast artist.

The best thing about the book is the use of illustrations. For example, in the chapter on Emily Stowe there are two pages of photographs of women chopping wood, sorting ore, doing laundry and hunting, entitled "Too Delicate to Vote." In the chapter on Nellie McClung there are two more pages of photos of women roping steer, threshing grain and serving in the armed forces, entitled "Still Too Delicate to Vote." Throughout the book, there are photographs which raise interesting and provocative questions about the time period inhabited by the woman being profiled, although the chapters about aboriginal women tend only to have head shots of women from different tribal groups.

The book is unfortunately full of language that is problematic. While it may be unfair to give quotes out of context, even in context the following examples cause concern: "As a Chipewyan chief later explained, when food was scarce, Chipewyan women could stay alive merely by licking their fingers! Thanadelthur was, therefore, able to press on through the Barren Lands when so many men turned back" (p. 23); "For five years Shawnadithit worked as an unpaid servant for a British settler family who called her Nancy April. …

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