Through a study of the British Empire's largest women's patriotic organisation, formed in 1900 and still in existence, this book examines the relationship between female imperialism and national identity. It throws light on women's involvement in imperialism; on the history of ‘conservative’ women's organisations; on women's interventions in debates concerning citizenship and national identity; and on the history of women in white settler societies. After placing the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) in the context of recent scholarly work in Canadian, gender and imperial history, and post-colonial theory, the book follows the IODE's history through the twentieth century. Chapters focus upon the IODE's attempts to create a British Canada through its maternal feminist work in education, health, welfare and citizenship. In addition, the book reflects on the IODE's responses to threats to Anglo-Canadian hegemony posed by immigration, World Wars and Communism, and examines the complex relationship between imperial loyalty and settler nationalism. Tracing the organisation into the postcolonial era, where previous imperial ideas are outmoded, it considers the transformation from patriotism to charity, and the turn to colonisation at home in the Canadian North.
production of its own brand of femaleimperialism. As Dominic Alessio suggests in his examination of female
personifications in the ‘white’ British
‘colonies’ from 1886 to 1940, women were constructed as
‘agents of civilization’, their role moving beyond the
symbolic to that of active racial and moral agents. 2 As Anna Davin
articulated in 1978, such maternal civilizing work was deeply infused
, but they demonstrate that times do not change as quickly as
we might think. The history of the IODE and its part in the making of
Anglo-Canada in the image of Britain demands that we constantly
challenge those whom we choose as agents in explaining the past –
and the present.
In focusing on the IODE this book makes a contribution to
the new area of femaleimperialism. The IODE’s unique position, as
Daughters of the Empire, mothers in their own homes, 1929–45
drew upon notions of femaleimperialism developed at the beginning of
Making a British Canada during
Soon after the Schoolgirl Tour the
IODE asked the SOSBW if it could become the Society’s sole
Canadian representative in Canada. The situation became tense when the
SOSBW turned down the request. The SOSBW condescendingly wrote to the
enthusiastic patriotism. As Clark Murray declared: ‘do not forget
that the destiny of our Empire lies in the hands of our women and our
children, more than in politics and in parliaments’. 7 Thus, Clark Murray
and other patriotic women around the British Empire expressed a
femaleimperialism, that placed great importance in, and was
justified by, an appeal to women’s perceived maternal
throughout this book.
More specifically, the IODE was first and foremost a patriotic
organization, advancing its own particular brand of femaleimperialism.
Although unusual, as women’s patriotism was an awkward fit with
the gendered masculine domain of politics, nation and empire, here the
IODE was not alone, as there were other groups of solely patriotic women
– most notably, the Victoria League, the South
Women, internal colonization and indigenous peoples
Bay, where she saw a group of school children using
a map, and others in the community using skates and skis, all sent by
the IODE. 49
Femaleimperialism on the
The second phase of the
IODE’s work in Labrador is no longer in tune with government
policy, and is moreover in a period of crisis and retreat. Overall, the
Canadian north has not
., ‘General Warner’, Saint John Globe (27 February 1917: 4); Anon.,
‘General D. B. Warner, War Veteran’, Saint John Globe (27 February 1917): 10;
Anon., obituary for General Darius B. Warner, Daily Telegraph (28 February
Le petit paradis des blessés
81 Quinn, Agnes Warner: 41.
82 Agnes Warner was the third of six siblings: one older brother died in infancy
before she was born; one younger brother died in early childhood in 1877.
Quinn, Agnes Warner: 41.
83 Anon., My Beloved Poilus.
84 Katie Pickles, FemaleImperialism and National Identity: Imperial Order