Nellie McClung

Nellie Letitia McClung (born Helen Letitia Mooney October 20, 1873 – September 1, 1951) was a Canadian political , author, feminist and social activist . It was part of the moral and social reform movements prevalent on the west coast of Canada at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1927, McClung and four other women, Henrietta Muir Edwards , Emily Murphy , Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby , popularly known as the “Five Famosas” (also called “The Five Braves”), 1 brought to court what happened to be Known as the “People Case” (in English : Persons Case ). During the litigation, they argued that women could be “qualified persons” and therefore eligible to sit in the Canadian Senate . TheSupreme Court of Canada ruled that the law in force did not recognize them as such. However, McClung and his colleagues won the case by filing an appeal with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the last resort in the country at that time.


Early years and political career

Nellie McClung Mooney was born in Chatsworth , Province of Ontario in 1873, the youngest daughter of John Mooney, an Irish Methodist farmer , and Letitia McCurdy, a native of Scotland . The farm of his father suffered the ravages of the crisis and the family moved to Manitoba in 1880. 2 McClug only received six years of formal education and did not learn to read until he was 10. 3 later moved with his family To a farm near the Souris River in the province of Manitoba. 4

Between 1904 and 1915, five Nellie McClung, her husband Wesley (a pharmacist) and five children six lived in Winnipeg , Manitoba. In that city, between 1911 and 1915, Nellie McClung campaigned for women ‘s suffrage . In the Manitoba provincial elections of 1914 and 1915, he supported the Liberal Party, the only one that defended women’s right to vote. He played an important part in the successful campaign of the liberals in 1914, using his great oratory and his sense of humor. 4 Nellie McClung parodyed the then-Governor of Manitoba, Sir Rodmond Roblin , in a fictional women’s parliament in Winnipeg, organized by the Women’s Press Club of Canada in 1914. Her performance highlighted the nonsense of those who opposed Give votes to women. McClung and his colleagues celebrated the defeat of the Roblin government in August 1915, but moved to Edmonton , Alberta, shortly before Manitoba became the first Canadian province to approve female suffrage on January 28, 1916. 5 In Edmonton, continued her career as a speaker, author and reformer. 7 In 1921 was chosen deputy by the Liberal Party before the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. In 1923 she would move to Calgary , Alberta, and there she would write, becoming a prolific writer.


McClung’s home in Calgary, Alberta, where he lived from 1923 to the mid-1930s, is still preserved and is considered a historical heritage. 7 Two other houses in which McClung lived have been moved to the Archibald Museum 8 , near La Rivière, Manitoba, in the rural municipality of Pembina, where they have been restored. The houses are open to the public. The family residence in Winnipeg is also a historic site. 9 McClung once said “Why do pencils come equipped with erasers if it is not to correct mistakes?” When she defended the right to an equal divorce, of which she was an advocate throughout her life. 2


Its great causes were the feminine suffrage and the movement by the Temperance . She understood that World War I had been a determining factor in the redefinition of women and their right to vote, due in large part to the fact that the shortage of male labor had created more employment opportunities for women, thus breaking with the Image of the fragile and domestic woman who had no place in Canadian society under the circumstances. 2 It was largely thanks to his efforts that Manitoba became the first province of the country in 1916 to guarantee the female vote and the right to stand for public office. 10 After moving to Edmonton, he continued to fight for the vote for women. She got the children of school age to have medical and dental insurance, and women could inherit property and had maternity leave benefits, as well as security at the company and other reforms. McClung was a follower of the social philosophy known as eugenics and campaigned for the sterilization of those he considered “naive”. His promotion of the benefits of sterilization contributed to the passage of an eugenicist law in Alberta. eleven

McClung was active in several organizations. She was the founder of Winnipeg’s League for Political Equality and the Canadian Women’s Federated Institutes-Canada’s “largest educational movement” -and the Edmonton Women’s Institute, of which she was its first president. She was also active in the Canadian Authors’ Association, the Women’s Press Club of Canada, the Methodist Church of Canada, and the Women’s Literary Club of Calgary, among others. 12

He published his first novel Sowing Seeds in Danny in 1908. He was number one in sales nationwide, and was followed by several short stories and articles in various Canadian and American magazines. She was a representative of the Liberal Party in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1921 to 1926. As a member of the opposition, her opportunity to promote female suffrage was very limited because women were not taken into account. 2

It was one of “The Five Famous” (also known as the Brave Five ), along with Irene Parlby , Henrietta Muir Edwards , Emily Murphy and Louise McKinney . The five filed a lawsuit in 1927 to clarify the meaning of the word “persons” in section 24 of the Constitution of 1867. This section had served to exclude women from any public office. Their demand was successful, facilitating the participation of women in Canadian political life. 10


In 1954 the government of Canada named Nellie McClung “a person of national historical relevance”. A commemorative plaque in its memory is located on the west side of Highway 6, 1 km south of Highway 40, in Chatsworth, Ontario. 13 In addition, the famous “Caso Personas” was recognized as an event of national historical importance in 1997. 14

Among other honors, in October 2009, the Senate voted to name Nellie McClung and the rest of the “Famous Five” honorary senators. fifteen



  • Sowing Seeds in Danny . William Briggs. 1908.
  • The Second Chance . New York : Doubleday, Page & Co., 1910.
  • The Black Creek Stopping House: And Other Stories . Toronto: William Briggs. 1912.
  • Purple Springs . Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. 1922.
  • When Christmas Crossed The Peace . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1923.
  • Painted Fires . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1925.- Painted Fires . Early Canadian Literature series (in English) (reprinted edition). Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press. 2014.
  • All We Like Sheep . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1926.
  • Be Good to Yourself: A Book of Short Stories (in English) . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1930.
  • Flowers for the Living (English) . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1931.


  • In Times Like These (in English) . Toronto: McLeod & Allen. 1915.
  • The Next of Kin . Houghton Mifflin. 1917.- The Next of Kin inGoogle Books
  • Three Times and Out: A Canadian Boy’s Experience in Germany . Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin. 1918.
  • Clearing in the West: My Own Story . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1935.
  • Leaves from Lantern Lane (in English) . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1936.
  • More Leaves from Lantern Lane (in English) . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1937.
  • Before They Call … (pamphlet) (in English) . Board of Home Missions, United Church of Canada. 1937.
  • The Stream Runs Fast (in English) . Toronto: Thomas Allen. 1945.


  1. Back to top↑ Kome, Penney (1985). [ Nellie McClung , p. 31, in Google Books Women of Influence: Canadian Women and Politics ] |url=incorrect ( help ) (1st edition). Toronto : Doubleday Canada. Pp. 31-32. ISBN  978-0-3852-3140-4 .
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Strong-Boag, Veronica (2004). McClung, Nellie Letitia (1873-1951) . Dictionary of National Biography (in English) . Oxford University Press. Pp. 278-2799. doi : 10.1093 / ref: odnb / 65562 .
  3. Back to top↑ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women (in English) . Calgary , Alberta : Famous Five Foundation. P. 23 . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b Hallett, ME (April 1, 2008). Nellie McClung . The Canadian Encyclopedia (English) (online edition). Historica Canada . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 . .
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b Harry, Nutkin; Mildred, Gutkin (Fall 1996). «Give Us Our Due! How Manitoba Women Won the Vote » . At The Manitoba Historical Society. Manitoba History 32 . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  6. Back to top↑ Conrad, Margaret; Finkel, Alvin (2006). History of the Canadian Peoples: 1867 to the present (in English) . Volume 2 (Fifth Edition). Toronto: Pearson, Longman. P. 134. ISBN  0-3215-3908-7 .
  7. ↑ Jump to:a b Historic Sites of Canada, ed. «House of Nellie McClung» (in English) . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  8. Back to top↑ «Archibald Museum (RM of Pembina)» . Historic Sites of Manitoba (in English) . Manitoba Historical Society . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  9. Back to top↑ Historical Society of Manitoba (ed.). McClung House (97 Chestnut Street, Winnipeg) . Historic Sites of Manitoba (in English) . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  10. ↑ Jump to:a b Library and Archives Canada. Nellie Letitia (Mooney) McClung . Celebrating Women’s Achievements.
    • Filed 2008-June-29 on the Wayback Machine .
  11. Back to top↑ Marsh, James (6 March 2013). «Eugenics: Keeping Canada Sane» . The Canadian Encyclopedia (English) (online edition). Historica Canada . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  12. Back to top↑ Encyclopedia of Canadian Adult Education. «Nellie McClung» (in English) . University of Fraser Valley . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  13. Back to top↑ Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada, ed. “McClung, Nellie Mooney National Historic Person” (in English) . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  14. Back to top↑ Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada, ed. “Persons Case National Historic Event” (in English) . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .
  15. Back to top↑ «Alberta’s Famous Five named honorary senators» . The Globe and Mail (in English) . The Canadian Press . October 11, 2009 . Retrieved on July 9, 2016 .