Women's History Month 1999

The Art of Work: Women and Craft in Manitoba 1880-1950

Professor Claudine Majzels
Art History and Women's Studies Programs, University of Winnipeg, 1999


Cover of “The Art of Work: Women and Craft in Manitoba 1880-1950” with an illustration of a bird

Acknowledgements

Each year, Women's History Month is celebrated across Canada as a way of publicly recognizing the achievements of women as a vital part of our Canadian heritage. It is also a means of encouraging greater awareness among Canadians concerning the historical contributions of women to our society.

For 1999, the Manitoba Women's Directorate focused on the many talented Manitoba women who create craft objects. This initiative recognized the achievements and contributions of Manitoba craftswomen to our province from a historic, economic and cultural perspective.

The Directorate worked in partnership with the Arts Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism to produce IMPRINT A Celebration of Craft by Manitoba Women. The initiative also included the Manitoba Crafts Council (MCC), who coordinated a visual display at the Legislative Building, showcasing the history of craft in Manitoba.

As well, the initiative included the commissioning of an essay called The Art of Work: Women and Craft in Manitoba 1880-1950, authored by Professor Claudine Majzels. Professor Majzels teaches in the Art History and Women's Studies Programs at the University of Winnipeg. She is currently completing an Index of Manitoba Women Artists, 1850-1950.

The Directorate acknowledges the valuable contributions of these individuals and organizations who helped to make this initiative a success. As well, the Directorate acknowledges the permission from the following persons and organizations regarding the use of photographs, namely Professor Claudine Majzels, Ernest Mayer, Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. and the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, Manitoba Crafts Council. Thank you to everyone!


The Art of Work: Women and Craft in Manitoba 1880-1950

In the summer of 1999 I was asked by the Women's Directorate of the Government of Manitoba to research and prepare a paper for presentation at the Legislative Building. This illustrated slide lecture is intended to coincide with the opening of an exhibition of craft work by Manitoba women to be held in the Pool of the Black Star during the month of October, Women's History Month. The subject interested me because during the last five years or so I have been involved in researching and exhibiting the work of Manitoba women artists form 1880 to just after the Second World War. As a result of my research, I have become aware of the very large role that craft has played historically in the economic and aesthetic lives of Manitoba women, whether or not they would describe themselves as artists, and in the lives of their families and the culture at large.

Women have traditionally provided much of the visual environment that surrounds us in our homes and everyday lives. Historically, the centering of women's lives in the domestic sphere meant that the art forms which they practiced, such as needlework and china painting, were considered inferior to the so-called “fine” arts practiced by male professionals in the academic and public spheres. Art and craft have traditionally been defined along gender lines and the prestige of “high” art has privileged the male artist (and vice versa), while further marginalizing the work and lives of women. In the past when museums and galleries collected art, they did not recognize the work of women, even when it was comparable to men's work in painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. Not only gender, but class and ethnicity have raised harriers in the selection of art for sale, display and permanent exhibition in public institutions, limiting the definition of art itself to the Euro-centric colonial model still found in many parts of the world. As Helen Knibb has pointed out, art produced in the domestic sphere has largely not been collected at all, and so women's histories and the history of everyday life have been lost. Since the advances heralded by the women's movement however, research and teaching, collecting and exhibitions have begun to focus on craft and craft makers, and particularly to recover women's art and to re-value it.

The history of craft in Manitoba has not yet been written but there are some traces of the past in public collections and many cherished heirlooms in private homes, in attics, basements, closets and bottom dresser drawers. Wherever there was the opportunity women channelled their energies, freed their imaginations and developed their skills into the creation of pleasing forms, decorative ornament and colourful textures. Rural women endured hard winters and physical isolation with devotion and persistence to bring beauty and joy to the useful objects and the necessary material things of life. Craftwork also provided extra income and a shared experience with neighbours. Urban women found that craftwork could provide avenues for social organization and community, for education and charitable work.

The works of art produced by women in Manitoba with the needle, with clay and with cloth, are reflections of the many diverse cultures that produced them and contributed to the dissemination of ideas from abroad and across the country. These often commonplace objects are the evidence for the artistic heritage and history of a population that has been continuously transforming itself socially and re-defining itself as it writes its own history. The study of craft objects and the women who made them is an important part of that history.

For example, the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature has in its Archeology Collection a cooking or storage vessel known as a Plains pot (Plate 1). This piece of pottery was made of unglazed earthenware, moulded and fired in Southwestern Manitoba sometime between about 800 and 1600 AD: There is evidence from the period of early contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans that women were traditionally the potters of such vessels, as well as the cultivators, collectors and cooks of plants for food. The maker of this pot is not known by name but the trace of her hands remains on this rounded form. It is considered an artifact but it would also be possible to describe it as a work of art by contemporary standards of appreciation.

Plains Pot

Plate 1: Plains pot (cooking or storage vessel), Southwestern Manitoba (c.800-1600 AD). Pottery, moulded and fired: unglazed earthenware. Diameter: 22.1 cm. Collections of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. (Photograph: Ernest Mayer, Winnipeg Art Gallery.)

Contact between Aboriginal people and Europeans led to the sharing of ideas, materials and techniques. There is an unfinished Cree Floral Tea Cosy from Norway House presently in the Hudson's Bay Collection of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature (Plate 2). Begun in 1889, only one side of the beaded tea cosy is complete and once more we do not know the identity of the maker. The paper pattern for the beaded embroidery on the unfinished reverse side survives, giving a valuable insight into the process of sewing with fabric, sinew and beads. Women prided themselves in their skills, both for the rich adornment of their families' clothing and for the gifts they made for others. Some objects were also made for sale. But the objects housed at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature are only a sample of what was produced in the region and are limited by the historical conditions under which they were collected.

Cree Floral Cosy

Plate 2: Cree Floral Tea Cosy, Norway House, Manitoba (1889). Embroidery, beading, sewing, cutting: fabric, bead, sinew, paper, pencil. 40 x 31 cm. Collections of the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. (Photograph: Ernest Mayer, Winnipeg Art Gallery.)

The Western Canadian Pictorial Index has a large collection of documentary photographs which provide a glimpse into craft production in the past, although it is important to remind ourselves that each of these images was made in the context of a particular relationship between the photographer and the subject which is difficult to reconstruct. Two interesting photographs from the Index that show women at work creating useful articles are Blind woman in Northern Manitoba sewing (Plate 3) and Native woman in Northern Manitoba making snowshoes (Plate 4).

Blind woman in Northern Manitoba sewing

Plate 3: Blind woman in Northern Manitoba sewing. Photograph. Collection of the United Church Archives. (Courtesy of the Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. 654-20105.)

Native woman in Northern Manitoba making snowshoes

Plate 4: Native woman in Northern Manitoba making snowshoes. Photograph. Collection of the United Church Archives. (Photograph courtesy of the Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. 654-20111.)

Another image from the Index, titled Icelandic immigrants, mother and child, was photographed by Baldwin and Blondal of Winnipeg in 1892 (Plate 5). The profusion of lacework on the mother's clothing and other articles in the picture is testament to the heritage of needlework that women brought from their places of origin to their adopted country. They brought heirlooms as well as the knowledge of techniques and styles that they passed on to their daughters.

Icelandic immigrants, mother and child

Plate 5: Icelandic immigrants, mother and child (c.1892). Photograph by Baldwin and Blondal, 207 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Collection of Mrs. Edna Borgford,Winnipeg. (Photograph courtesy of the Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. 1544-51124.)

Women and children at a quilting bee are pictured in a fourth photograph from the Western Canadian Pictorial Index (Plate 6). Sitting round a long table set out of doors the circle of quilters stare at the camera, pausing in their sewing and their conversation. The historian Angela Davis has written about rural women saving up to purchase a car before they would consider buying a sewing machine, suggesting that being able to travel to a quilting bee for collective hand-work and company was far more desirable than solitary machine-stitching. Quilts have now become “collectibles” and although rare early examples can be quite valuable, there are still quilts in ordinary homes that have been handed down the generations.

Women and children at a quilting bee

Plate 6: Women and children at a quilting bee. Photograph. Collection of the Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. (34-1009).

You may have noticed that so far in this presentation there are far more images of women creating craft work than there are of the craft objects themselves. This is entirely intentional as I wish to foreground the artists and their labour which in so many cases have remained invisible. Some objects however, tell the story of their creator or of their cultural context.

One of my students, Valeria Joyal, borrowed a family keepsake from a neighbour for a class project at the University of Winnipeg: a Pillow sham with the words “Sail on in Peace” embroidered in red cotton thread (Plate 7). Joyal and the other students, in a course 1 taught in 1995, were able to put together a small exhibition called Forgotten Treasures in which all the objects collected were of museum quality but were in local private hands. Joyal learned that he maker of the pillow sham was Emily Jane Harris, and also embroidered is the date, 1902 and the word “Mother”. Red-line embroidery was popular at the turn of the century and designs were copied or transferred from ladies' magazines and commercial patterns. Harris has favoured a Canadian subject on her pillow sham with its pair of loons sailing past.

Pillow sham

Plate 7: Pillow sham with the words "Sail on in Peace" by Mrs. Emily Jane Harris (1902). Sewing and embroidery: red cotton thread on white cotton. 56 x 81 cm. Collection of Mrs. Leana Harris Ruxton. (Photograph: Peter Tittenberger, University of Winnipeg.)

For our class project Jolene Bell contributed an embroidered picture in an elaborate marquetry frame. The Robin encircled with flowers was executed by Mrs. Pawlina Smolack Staniul in about 1950 (Plate 8). The cross stitch is worked in Berlin woolwork style from a pattern printed in a British magazine. Although the image of the bird and the flowers is a traditional one, the colours of the embroidery, and of the frame as well, are distinctly Ukrainian: black, red and yellow, as specified in the Canadian edition of the magazine. Publishers knew that they had to appeal to a new audience.

Robin encircled with flowers

Plate 8: Robin encircled with flowers by Mrs. Pawlina Smolack Staniul (c.1950). Embroidery: coloured cotton thread on cotton, cross stitch in Berlin woolwork style. 38 x 38 cm. Collection of Ron and Arlene Staniul. (Photograph: Peter Tittenberger, University of Winnipeg.)

In collecting objects for the 1995 Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibition Women's Art / Women's Lives with my co-curator Marilyn Baker we were astonished to find so much of women's art production was still in their descendants' possession or in the hands of persons who had received the objects as gifts. Women participated in an economy of giving; in the exchange of wedding, christening and birthday presents they not only offered their affection but their labour and artistry as well.

Women's craft production could be mobilized for larger causes, as shown for example in a 1915 photograph from the Western Canadian Pictorial Index: Women knitting for the war effort during World War I. It documents the voluntary contribution of women to the clothing of the troops (Plate 9). Janet Hoskins has described how during the Great Depression, the Searle Grain Company organized the Farm Home Weaving Service in which women formed weaving circles to help support their families and their spirits in hard times, also ensuring that there would still be farmers on the land when the economic climate improved.

Women knitting for the war effort during World War I

Plate 9: Women knitting for the war effort during World War I (1915). Photograph. Collection of the Western Canadian Pictorial Index Inc. (166-5225).

Many beautiful objects and the stories of their makers remain in private homes and there is a great deal of work to he done in oral history and collecting in the community. The Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and the Western Canadian Pictorial Index have provided us with some fragments of material and documentary evidence of women's craft work. Further investigation of public collections such as the regional museums, the National Costume Museum at Dugald, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Provincial Archives of Manitoba would yield more treasures. However one of the most interesting collections of craft, and particularly craft by women, must be the Manitoba Crafts Museum, formerly the Museum of the Crafts Guild of Manitoba and presently affiliated with the Manitoba Crafts Council.

Dot From has published an article on the history of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, Manitoba Branch, as the group was originally known, so I will not repeat that story here but I would like to present some photographs that illustrate the vision and energy of that long-lived institution. In the nearly seventy years of its existence from 1928 to 1997 the Guild provided leadership, community, education and voluntary service to the artistic life of the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba. Like other women's organizations of the era, such as the United Farm Women of Manitoba and the Women's Institutes, they depended on the collective activity of many individual and remarkable women. The Museum and Archives of the Guild provide us with primary sources in the form of photographs records, minutes, letters and numerous scrapbooks of clippings that contain material for many interesting biographies.

In this photograph, a General view of the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry held in June 1933, we can pick out several women whose participation in the creative work and teaching programmes of the Guild merit our attention (Plate 10). For example, Mme. Soulier. originally from France, was an expert in bobbin lace. Her portrait, in her national costume, was also taken in June of 1933: Mme. Soulier, bobbin lace maker at the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry (Plate 11).

General view of the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College

Plate 10: General view of the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry (June 1933). Photograph by Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Jessop (Home Portraiture Artists). 20 x 25 cm. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Mme. Soulier, bobbin lace maker at the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition

Plate 11: Mme. Soulier, bobbin lace maker at the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry (June 1933). Photograph: Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Jessop (Home Portraiture Artists).20 x 25cm. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Two women who appear in the General view of the Exhibition also appear in this double portrait taken at that time: Mrs. Margaret “Mitzi” Anderson Dale, tapestry weaver, and Mrs. “Kitty” Churchill, spinning, at the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry (Plate 12). Mitzi Anderson Dale had emigrated from Norway and as a graduate of a design school in Oslo she was qualified to teach tapestry weaving and the hand-dying of yarn with natural vegetable dyes. Her knowledge and talent were rewarded with prizes won in competition and a demand for her lectures and classes. In the current exhibition in the Pool of the Black Star you will see a small study by Dale for a larger tapestry called The Blue Fairy Dances in the Moonlight woven in about 1931 from wool carded, dyed and spun by hand. The spinner in the photograph is Kitty Churchill who was adept in many fabric arts and needlework techniques. When wool was short during the Second World War she used bison hair to knit mittens and the scarf shown in the exhibition.

Tapestry weavers

Plate 12: Mrs. Margaret "Mitzi" Anderson Dale, tapestry weaver, and Mrs. "Kitty" Churchill, spinning, at the Canadian Handicraft Exhibition at the Manitoba Agricultural College, Fort Garry (June 1933). Photograph: Mr. and Mrs. Cyril Jessop (Home Portraiture Artists). 20 x 25 cm. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Photographs also document the existence of objects now lost and many that are still part of the Manitoba Crafts Museum. The Museum collection is unique in Canada because almost all the objects and documents that had accumulated in the various spaces the Guild occupied over the years has survived intact. An unfortunate flood in 1998 caused some damage but the integrity of the collection is a valuable resource for the social historian. A photograph of the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch at the Power Building, 1935-41 prominently displays a lovely white poplar bowl turned by Mrs. Hinds that is still in the collection today (Plate 13). From this photograph we can date this bowl to at least before 1941.

Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch at the Power Building

Plate 13: Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch at the Power Building, 1935-41. Photograph. 8″ x 10″. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

A photograph from the Guild collection entitled The Roumanian Group has been inscribed with the names of the sitters: Mr. and Mrs. and two Misses Hran; Mr. and Mrs. Motz; Mrs. and Master Herklots (Plate 14). This reference to a “National Group” is material evidence for the structure of the Guild in the 1930s and 40s as it is detailed in the written records. Each group met separately, often in members' homes and submitted their work to the Guild where it could be selected for sale in the shop. In this way members could strengthen their ties with their ethnic heritage, enjoy their chosen art form and earn some money too. Their participation in Guild events provided them with a social connection to the larger community and gave immigrant women the opportunity to practice their English language skills.

The Roumanian Group

Plate 14: The Roumanian Group, Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch (Dec.-Jan.1933). Photograph: 3″ x 4″. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Not all the photographs have inscriptions on the back and that fact highlights the difficulty of trying to identify individuals in this neglected area of historical research. Women's names, in particular, are often subsumed behind a husband's name and it is not always easy to separate mothers, sisters and daughters. A photograph in the Guild collection of a Young woman embroidering is not identified although the piece of work she is embroidering is in the Museum collection and is being exhibited in this show at the Legislature (Plate 15).

Young woman embroidering

Plate 15: Young woman embroidering. Photograph. 10″ x 8″. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

The Crafts Guild of Manitoba ran a successful shop between 1935 and 1997, organized by volunteers and providing income on consignment to workers in the craft industry. Profits were donated to charity after the costs of providing classes and the space in which to teach them, eventually in the Guild's own building on Kennedy Street, were accounted for. One project that was a best-seller for years was the “Wheat Linen” designed by Mrs. C. T. Lount and Mr. Norman Bergman in 1950-51 and executed by Mrs. C. Porath and her sister Mrs. V. Oakley for a number of years.

Some individual members of the Guild can be singled out for their contributions: Bessie Bulman had a taste for pottery as this photograph shows: Miss Bessie Bulman glazing a pot at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch (Plate 16). But Bulman was primarily a fine administrator, serving on the Guild Executive for many years from its earliest days. Bulman was also a discerning collector of Inuit art and made a significant gift to the Winnipeg Art Gallery collection. The Guild actively collected Aboriginal work as well and members gave lectures on various styles of art and craft at meetings. Over the years the Guild gradually accumulated such a quantity of teaching samples and work bequeathed by members that, eventually what would become the Museum as we know it today, came into being. In my own preliminary research I have been very fortunate to have known Margaret Gaunt who first introduced me to the mysteries of the Museum and Stephanie Cooper who continues to manage the collection.

Miss Bessie Bulman glazing a pot at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts

Plate 16: Miss Bessie Bulman glazing a pot at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch. Photograph. 7" x 5". Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Another well-known member was Marilyn McTaggart who was responsible for the rug-hooking group and produced many works that are still in the collection. In this photograph we see Mrs. Marilyn McTaggart hooking a rug at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch (Plate 17). As a member of the rug-hooking group, McTaggart was involved in hand-dyeing the wool for a collective project, The Wild Flower Rug, still in the Museum's collection. Begun in October 1944, The Wild Flower Rug was designed by Mrs. Sophie May Osborne and executed by eighteen members of the Rug Hooking Group. A detail of this rug is shown in this photograph of just a few of the twenty-four squares: the Orange Lily square was hooked by Miss Tagg and the Goldenrod square by Mrs. Ross (Plate 18). The rug was actually used at first in the Guild rooms but was later graduated to the Museum collection.

Mrs. Marilyn McTaggart hooking a rug at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts

Plate 17: Mrs. Marilyn McTaggart hooking a rug at the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch. Photograph. 4" x 5". Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council.

Quilt

Plate 18: Orange Lily (Miss Tagg) and Goldenrod (Mrs. Ross) from the Wild Flower Rug,(24 squares sewn together) designed by Mrs. Milton (Sophie May) Osborne and executed by 18 members of the Rug Hooking Group, Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch (begun October 1944). Wool: hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn. 4′8″ x7′ Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council. (Author's photograph)

Another collective project was the wonderful Red River Settlement Quilt, also designed by Mrs. Sophie May Osborne and executed by thirty-four members of the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch Embroidery Group in 1945-46 (Plate 19). The makers all signed the quilt with their embroidered signatures on the reverse (Plate 20). This elaborate pictorial design in appliqué and embroidery was originally meant for display and not for use as a bed quilt at all. It has pride of place in the Museum and in this exhibition, although it is clear that it is to he regarded as an art object rather than a utilitarian one; the concept of “high” craft has emerged in this post-war creation. Now my story must come to an end. Unless you happen to have something your grandmother made hidden away in the bottom drawer…

Red River Settlement Quilt

Plate 19: Red River Settlement Quilt, designed by Mrs. Milton (Sophie May) Osborne and executed by 34 members of the Canadian Guild of Handicrafts, Manitoba Branch Embroidery Group (1945-46). Quilting, appliqué, embroidery. 218 x191 cm. Collection of the Manitoba Crafts Museum, Manitoba Crafts Council. (Photograph: Ernest Mayer, Winnipeg Art Gallery.)

Quilt details

Plate 20: Detail of reverse of Red River Settlement Quilt with embroidered signatures of the makers. (Photograph: Ernest Mayer, Winnipeg Art Gallery.)


Bibliography:

Primary Sources: Collections and Archives:

  • Crafts Guild of Manitoba Archives, Provincial Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg.
  • Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, The Manitoba Crafts Council, Winnipeg.
  • Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg.
  • National Costume Museum of Canada, Dugald, Manitoba.

Secondary sources:

  • BIRD, Michael. Canadian Folk Art. Toronto: Oxford University Press 1983.
  • FROM, Dot. "The Crafts Guild of Manitoba Celebrates Sixty-Five Years." Manitoba History 25 (spring 1993): 28-31.
  • GLENBOW MUSEUM. Metis. Exhibition catalogue: Glenbow Museum, 19 March 1985 to 6 October 1985. Calgary, Glenbow Museum 1985.
  • HARBESON, Georgiana Brown. American needlework: the history of decorative stitchery and embroidery from the late 16th to the 20th century. New York: Bonanza Books, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1938.
  • HOSKINS, Janet. "The Searle Grain Company and Manitoba Handweaving: A Program of Imaginative Philanthropy." Manitoba History 6 (fall 1983): 10-13.
  • KINNEAR, Mary et FAST, Vera. Planting the Garden : An Annotated Archival Bibliography of the History of Women in Manitoba. The University of Manitoba Press 1987.
  • KINNEAR, Mary. A Female Economy: Women's Work in a Prairie Province, 1870-1970. McGill-Queen's University Press 1998.
  • KNIBB, Helen. " 'Present But Not Visible': Searching for Women's History in Museum Collections." Gender and History 6 (3) 1994: 352-369.
  • MAJZELS, Claudine (1999) "tine question de valeur: les femmes artistes au Manitoba avant 1950." Cahiers franco-canadien de l'ouest (forthcoming October 1999).
  • MELOSH, Barbara et SIMMONS, Christina. "Exhibiting Women's History." in BENSON et al. Presenting the Past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press 1986.
  • NOCHLIN, Linda. "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" inWomen. Art and Power and Other Essays. New York: Harper & Row 1988, 145-178.
  • NOCHLIN, Linda. "Women, Art and Power" inWomen, Art and Power and Other Essays. New York, Harper & Row 1988, 1-36.
  • PARKER, Roszika. The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine. London: Women's Press 1989.
  • PARKER, Roszika and POLLOCK, Griselda. Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1981.
  • PRENTICE, Alison, et al. Canadian Women: A History. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1988.
  • REILLY, Sharon. "Material History and the History of Women." in KINNEAR, Mary (ed.) First Days, Fighting Days: Women in Manitoba History. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Centre 1987, 1-17.
  • SCOTT, Joan W. "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis." American Historical Review 91 (5) 1986: 1053-1075.
  • TIPPETT, Maria. By a Lady. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd. 1992.
  • WOLFF, Janet. Feminine Sentences: Essays on Woman and Culture. Berkeley/Los Angeles: The University of California Press 1990.

Unpublished papers:

  • BELL, Jolene. "Pawlina Smolack Staniul". Papers submitted for course credit: The University of Winnipeg 1995.
  • JOYAL, Valeria. "Emily Jane Harris". Papers submitted for course credit: The University of Winnipeg 1995.
  • WATKINS, Dawn. "Amelia Currie Fields". Papers presented for course credit: The University of Winnipeg 1995.