Guide Female Imperialism and National Identity: Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire

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There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. Average rating: 0 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews Write a review. Manchester University Press. Tell us if something is incorrect. But as long as immigration flows toward Canada a very large proportion will always consist of aliens.

No sooner do these people touch our shores than the problem of assimilation and integration emerges for us in its profound difficulty. The IODE differentiated immigrants, not only along racial and gender lines, but by class and age. As the work of Marilyn Barber — and of Adele Perry for nineteenth-century British Columbia — has shown, class preferences were idealistically commonplace. Poor thing, what opportunity has she here? Mrs Hannington, a British Columbia member reported to the national executive: We see it out there; the English woman, they come out to our land, expensively educated, they can paint miniatures and play on the piano beautifully, but she does not know which end of her baby to hold uppermost In this case it did not, although eugenic arguments would have suggested otherwise.

Katie Pickles | University of Canterbury

In , the president of the IODE proudly stated: Every British woman is a daughter of the Empire, but when she joins our organization she then becomes a subject militant in the service of our king and country — in times of peace we drill and otherwise prepare ourselves, so that when the call to arms comes, we may be ready. Since the war began, we have considered ourselves on active service The power of the maternal was clearly important, as it was through such prevailing ideology that the IODE was able to contribute to fighting the war.

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War is the time when identities become polarized into good or bad, for or against, friend or foe, enemy or compatriot. Despite the unification of a nation around one cause, providing new opportunities for women, war is also a time when gender identities are accentuated. Surrendering sons to significant deaths becomes a higher mode of giving birth.

Socially constructed motherhood, no less than socially constructed masculinity, is at the service of an ideal of citizenship that finds its fullest expression in war. It included provision of 19 ambulances, 3 motor trucks, 2 automobiles, 22 sterilizing units, 12 operating tables, 3 huts for convalescent soldiers, 22 field kitchens, cots, and equipment for 36 wards, plus thousands of knitted items. When supplies and weapons were donated by the IODE, they were justified with an appeal to domesticity.

As noted in the previous chapter, membership was at its most elitist at the beginning of the First World War. There were some impressive examples. On 4 August , just before war was declared, National President Gooderham called an emergency meeting at which it was decided to place the fully equipped hospital ship at the service of the British Admiralty. In such locations the IODE provided safe havens, homes away from home. The IODE was quick to realize that the forces had leisure time and that hostels and clubs offered a way of regulating the behaviour of potentially wayward men.

During the South Africa War and the First World War, Canada was a junior partner, seizing a chance to prove its value to the imperial centre. It is a never-to-be-forgotten demonstration of what a nation will do for a national ideal. Knitting had significant racial as well as gendered meanings. The knitting, the sewing, and the unparalleled helpfulness of women in all lines of activity have doubled the effectiveness of our men in the field.

Knit, Mother, Knit. The cross is thine; The cross that mothers borrow; For all must knit and some must mourn, While war brings need and sorrow. Dream, Mother, Dream. The night is here; Dream that its shadows borrow; A radiance from the great beyond, To light a blest to-morrow. Its opposition was singular and focused: It is not too much to say that the continuance of the present war depends upon the support of the women of the Empire, so that any discussion which may confuse the issue must be regarded as dangerous.

That is the reason why peace talk, no matter how sincere, cannot be tolerated. Women, from their moral and nurturing position, were to make sacrifices for future generations. It is simply a sane measure of self-preservation aimed against a nation which has made itself an outlaw of civilization.

All members who join this league pledge themselves never willingly or knowingly to buy German or Austrian goods, and to do their utmost to prevent such goods beings brought into Canada either now or after the war. In Mrs P. Specific episodes suggest a convergence in perceptions of both race and gender in the defence of the Empire. Her execution can only be regarded as a brutal murder, and another illustration of the many which the Germans have given in the late war, that in spite of all their vaunted culture they are in fact still a semi-barbarous people and destitute of the very elements of any true culture.

Despite the maternal identity that it cultivated as a representative of the Empire, in maintaining a patriotic purpose supportive of the status quo the IODE did not limit its work solely to issues that concerned gender. It demonstrated the multiple positioning of the IODE as a patriotic group of women with the primary objective of winning the war for Britain and the Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were organizations active in Ontario, the western provinces and the Maritimes. Bills were introduced in provincial legislatures and petitions were signed.

The campaign exhibited a Canadian quality in its orderliness, lawfulness and lack of confrontational tactics seen elsewhere. Some members of the IODE were supporters of suffrage, while others were not. By the time the Conservatives joined forces with the pro-conscription wing of the Liberal Party, forming the Union Government Coalition on 12 October , the IODE had become active in doing all that it could to bring about conscription.

The result was the controversial Wartime Elections Act that boosted the support for conscription by excluding from voting all conscientious objectors and those born in foreign countries and naturalized since ; and muting French Canadian and other dissenting voters by extending the franchise to women who were British subjects 21 years of age or over with a close relative serving in the armed forces of Canada or Great Britain.

Always at the forefront were the issues of motherhood and morality, and of seeking justice for the men in the forces overseas. Its maternal position was vitally connected to an idealization of an Anglo-Celtic race: it was female British subjects who were given the vote in Membership peaked during the war, and was never again to climb to the 50, it then reached. Notes 1 Echoes, 18 October , 6. Greenhill, Ethnicity in the Mainstream, James S.

This important clause was to be active for fifty years. Carol Lee Bacchi, Liberation Deferred? David N. Livingstone, The Geographical Tradition, Barber in Woodsworth, Strangers at Our Gates, xiv. Hawkins, Critical Years in Immigration, 5. Echoes, 28 June , Echoes, 52 June , 29— The first hostel was started in Winnipeg. Latham and Roberta J. At that time, the IODE was less concerned than were others over the numbers of domestics and other nationalities entering Canada.

Mrs WilsonSmith is speaking. For developments of this argument see R. Echoes, 78 —20 , Echoes, 69 October , Echoes, 73 June , 3.


Echoes, 72 May , Chas J. Castell Hopkins, Canadian Annual Review , Echoes, 75 December , 15, statement by David Lloyd George.

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Cooper et al. For examples see S. MacDonald, P. Holden and S. Ideally, canadianization involved assimilating all immigrants into the Canadian mainstream of the time. As canadianization was based upon mimicking Britain as much as possible, British people were considered the easiest to canadianize. A special interest was displayed in British single women, who the IODE hoped might migrate to Canada and there become wives and mothers.

Well aware of the importance of mothers in passing on culture, the IODE performed a considerable amount of maternal work with new immigrants. As female imperialists, they used techniques familiar to those of other patriotic organizations around the Empire, promoting the English language and an imperial curriculum at every opportunity.

To assimilate people of other than British origin, the IODE devoted increasing effort to its canadianization programme. For all involved with Canadian immigration, the s started as a time of great hope and potential. The Empire Settlement Act was motivated by the perception that there was a surplus of women in Britain. He proposed that salvation for redundant female workers in the stagnant postwar economy lay in the British colonies, where there was still an overabundance of men. We have magnificent British immigrants, and absolutely worthless British immigrants, and among those foreigners whom we call dirty, filthy and ignorant I hear it on every hand , are you not sure among those immigrants there are magnificent types of men?

The lower classes of foreigners in Europe have I venture to say a far greater appreciation of music and art. Canada was particularly eager to attract male agriculturalists and female domestics. Of the 8, British harvesters who went to Canada, most returned and the scheme was called a failure. As child migration continued under the Empire Settlement Act, between and Canada received more than , children. It does not redound to the credit of Canada that in an official publication of the Dominion Government we should speak of getting farm helpers from ten to thirteen years of age.

Do not these facts bear out a contention of a cheap labour demand, a cheap labour that approaches perilously near a form of slavery? While Britain held ambitions of lessening the surplus in its number of women, Canada hoped that an inflow of domestics would alleviate the shortage of domestic labour in Canada. Over , British women came to Canada between and declaring their intended occupation to be domestic service, about half arriving in the decade before the First World War and the rest in the s. Yet in all periods, single women came to Canada, many as domestic servants, for reasons of individual or family betterment very similar to those motivating male immigrants.

Those emigrating as domestics were young women of prime marriageable age. The imperial context was an overriding framework. In its work, the IODE was but one actor among many interested parties who were also imperial in attitude and scope. During the s immigration, especially of single women, was controlled by a complicated combination of state and voluntary interests. Increased government bureaucracy was attempting to manipulate, and replace, an extensive system of private philanthropic agencies and voluntary societies. Increased state involvement led to multiple positionings for the IODE.

The new bureaucracy involved collaboration between voluntary and state interests, and the IODE positioned itself in both arenas. Femocrats were women who, thanks to the efforts of a first wave of feminism, had received higher education. Although not often overtly feminist, and while necessarily a part of the public sector, these women were well aware of their position, and gathered together for support and networking.

For example, the Elizabeth Tudor Chapter, formed in Ottawa in , drew its limited membership of thirty-five from women who were occupied in public welfare work, nursing, teaching and various branches of civil service. It was characterized by highly educated, unmarried, professional women, such as Charlotte Whitton and Margaret Grier.

Ambitious plans were only partially fulfilled. Although it had grand professional intentions, the CCIW was dormant from until The SOSBW was a part-voluntary, part-statal organization, whose goal was to increase the number of white British women throughout the Empire outside of Britain. Its provincial representatives, who were all voluntary workers, served on the local employment committees of the Ministry of Labour when women applicants for oversea settlement were interviewed. As Julia Bush argues, in the area of British female emigration, it was clubwomen and women bureaucrats who were able to exert such a considerable formal influence.

While it was supportive of domestic servants, the IODE continued to encourage the immigration of educated and middle- and upper-class women. The Government furnishes wonderful assistance and opportunity for the household workers, but for the daughters of professional men, for young women with possibly a little capital anxious to start out in life on their own, much less is done. Your committee feels that it is of the utmost importance that Canada should encourage to come to its shores women who will include among their numbers those of education and ability.

The scheme involved an assisted passage for women aged 18—35 years, and a year of domestic employment at a fixed minimum salary in Victoria, while the women kept in touch with the Victoria League. The imperial scale of immigration work involved recruiting from the imperial centre, Britain.

The Victoria League in London threatened to get nasty if the IODE opened an office there, making it clear that any activities which seemed like steps towards organization would be considered as an infringement of the understanding between the two societies. From disappointment to articulating Anglo-Canadian identity For all of the efforts to encourage British immigration during the s, it was a time of disappointment for those concerned. Should we now allow ourselves to be timorous as to the possibility of Canada, this great country — being able to provide a livelihood for those British who are already in our midst?

In the face of the reality of heavy non-British immigration, the IODE undertook its efforts at canadianization. Good use was made of these services: in the postal booth was open for ships and 13, letters were posted. In it was reported that at Bonaventure Station in Montreal, transfer point for the west, Montreal chapters met trains and 25, newcomers passed through the rooms where the IODE retained a matron. The nurseries were run in cooperation with the Federal Department of Immigration and Colonization, and managed by the Red Cross.

Soon after the First World War the IODE realized that canadianization would be more influential if continued beyond the spaces of ports and stations. This was particularly important in work with health services. The ease with which immigrants were considered to be successfully assimilated corresponded with the categories of the racial hierarchy. Anxiety was directed towards Asians and African Americans, who were considered unable to be readily assimilated, or canadianized.

Let us, in all conscience, stand side by side with our fellow-citizens of British Columbia. Attitudes towards groups of migrants depended on how easily canadianized they were perceived to be. Looking back to the pre-First World War years, a member in noted: We did practically nothing. We paid them not nearly the attention that we should have paid to imported cattle. Did we try to understand their point of view, or make them understand ours?

We made no effort to even teach them our language If we expect any miracles to be performed among our foreign born, we have got to perform them ourselves. Canadianization was initially constructed by the IODE in very practical terms, emphasizing skills such as fluency in the English language and good housekeeping. In the meantime, as a safe fall-back position, canadianization was constructed to consist in everything that the alien was perceived not to be. To achieve canadianization, it was believed, immigrants must not be allowed to live in segregated spaces.

Is it any wonder, therefore, that she feels the gravity of the situation and the necessity of speedy action on the part of every loyal Canadian? But we must provide these toilers with something more than just work for their hands. I want to tell you that we have come to a dangerous position. The menace of Communistic and atheistic propaganda is also becoming widespread in every country.

After the First World War, fluency in English was considered to be the most vital component in canadianization. An imperial education, that provided English-language skills and knowledge, was central to the construction of an Anglo-Canadian identity.

Prizes were offered for patriotic short stories and one-act plays. Boulton visited some thirtyfive towns in western Ontario and delivered almost eighty lectures to approximately 30, children. None the less, it was more recognition than previously obtained. With the presence of increasing numbers of non-British European immigrants, French Canadians were re-aligned towards Anglo-Canadians. The IODE saw that teachers were vital transmitters in the canadianizing of immigrant children in classrooms.

It was not alone in that view. In the Prairie provinces, teachers were seen as important in canadianization by a variety of organizations such as the Red Cross and the YWCA. Applicants were asked to write an essay of 1, words describing their methods of canadianization. They have brought with them customs, morals and religions that are in many respects a century behind AngloSaxons [sic].

A Ukrainian missionary told me they had no traditions, or what we would call such. They had no King Arthur, or Saint George. The only tradition was oppression. The icons mentioned were from British history, and were to be mimicked in Canada. The potential of the film medium was recognized early on by the IODE. Initially, film substituted for the earlier patriotic entertainments such as musicals and pageants. Film had the advantage of transcending language barriers. To promote imperialism, nationalism and social purity, women were considered best able to exert their moralizing influence in the home.

Because of their importance as mothers, such women were considered hostile obstacles to canadianization and were treated with more suspicion than were men. The community workers could share the homes with the teachers, thus lifting some of the burdens off their shoulders. They would form community centres, visit the women and older girls in their homes, familiarize them with our language, gain their confidence, teach them elementary health conditions and how to care for the sick, and generally help them to adjust themselves to conditions in this country of their adoption.

Female Imperialism and National Identity: The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire

This would at least show the foreign-born woman that we, her Canadian sisters, are interested in her, and sympathize with her. And how far-reaching sympathy is, is it not? Its effect can never be measured. Treat as if a native-born moving into neighbourhood. While you are teaching the women get some tactful young woman who loves children to amuse the babies; perhaps wash them and turn them back to their mothers clean and happy.

In the name of health and citizenship it was the job of the IODE to induct immigrant women within the cult of domesticity. Sometimes a bouquet or a little picture will lead the foreign-born mother to tidy up a whole room. It was with a great sense of citizenly mission that the IODE attempted to influence immigration, and the subsequent life of immigrants.

It did so in the places to which it could negotiate access, through its gendered, race and class identities. These were spaces considered by the IODE as dangerous and threatening. For much of the s canadianization was constructed out of British-centred values, imposing an imperial narrative on the space of Canada. Increasing numbers of non-British immigrants, however, demanded that canadianization define more clearly what it meant to be situated in Canadian space.

Semmel shows the importance of geographer Halford MacKinder in such views. So says Mr Smart, chief inspector of British immigrant children under the Department of the Interior. Echoes —28 , 9. Editorial, Echoes, October , 5. Echoes, October , 8. Ethel D. Delay and neglect is dangerous — Must extend definite aid to aliens in our midst — Are alien women to have full Canadian citizenship?

Bolshevism was reported as spreading among workers in lumber and mining and railroad construction camps. Mangan ed. Chapter four examines the construction of the imperial curriculum. Mrs George H. Smith spoke on 5 February to the Toronto Municipal Chapter. Provincial Chapter of British Columbia Minutes Biesel, Echoes, March , From London they took a train to Liverpool, and then went by sea to Canada. Figure 4. The girls had been carefully selected. Nominated by their respective headmistresses, and having survived final selection by a sub-committee of the SOSBW, they were wished Bon Voyage!

Such enthusiasm on an imperial and a national scale contrasted with the media attention. A wide selection of Canadian newspapers in the s had been full of articles discussing the pros and cons of immigration to Canada, yet coverage of this tour in the Canadian mainstream press was limited to a few group photographs of the prim young English schoolgirls, and the details of their itinerary were placed mainly on the social pages.

This chapter provides a case study of how the reality was not so simple. The itinerary [ 75 ] Image not available Image not available Figure 4. They were themselves simultaneously on display, setting an example to which Canadians should aspire. Complicating the events was an entanglement in the post-war immigration interests of Britain, as well as of Canada at large. The tour organizers, however, were operating on a much grander level than simply expecting that the twenty-five schoolgirls would themselves emigrate.

Related to immigration, Empire unity was the theme behind the organization of educational excursions for representatives of vibrant British youth. Perhaps this indicated that Britain wanted to get rid of us rather than Canada wanted us as immigrants. It was I think purely to enlarge our outlook and to show us what a truly marvellous country Canada was. You could not fail to see this. Beatrice King considered emigrating after the Second World War , but was put off by stories that jobs and housing were hard to find.

Betty Bidder has a grandson living in Toronto. The Schoolgirl Tour took place in the context of school texts that, Maddrell suggests, imparted information about different parts of the Empire and linked to migration through the travel of schoolchildren. There were grand plans to send boys from English public schools on tours of the Empire.

Of the four schoolgirl tours between and , the tour of Canada was by far the most extensive. Due to the onset of the Depression, the next tour was not until when, from 2 August until 14 December, twenty-five schoolgirls went to Australia and New Zealand. That tour, like the one in , was led by Miss Thompson, with the Victoria League hosting the girls.

The outcome of these hopes unfolds in the next chapter. For the IODE, the tour was clearly intended to be more than an educational excursion. Members of the IODE countenanced the possibility of these girls, and others like them, emigrating to Canada. We are all ardent propagandists for the Great Dominion. Further, in publishing the diary entries Echoes chose extracts that suited its purposes. Likewise, the radio broadcast was carefully managed. Considered as propaganda, it revealed a colonial discourse that emphasized the interests of the tour organizers.

Significantly, the tour captures a moment in the narrative of hegemonic Anglo-Canada. I had no trouble in doing this at home and at school but do not flatter myself that it had a great deal of effect. One of the IODE organizers proudly asserted in her post-tour report: Twenty-five nicer and more attractive young people it would have been hard to find and their warm appreciation of what was done for them and their intense interest in Canada and what she had to show was very refreshing.

Their personal feeling towards the Order before they had finished their tour was a very noteworthy feature of their Canadian impressions. There was a high value placed upon the redemptive, feminine, civilizing effects which it was believed that motherhood could have on a nation. Meanwhile, the educational component of the tour had been recently deemed suitable for young women. The great distance to be covered was ambitious and made possible only by new technology in transportation. Similarly, in Britain the radio broadcast that told the story of the tour was further evidence of the utilization of new technology.

Overall, from the context of the s, and on a small scale, the tour offers an insight into the modernization of imperialism and nationalism themselves. And upper-class Anglo-Celtic femininity was an important part of such modernization. The desirability of the girls was embedded in naturalized notions of race, health and sexuality. There was a strong connection between the perceived health of the girls, the health of the British race and the health of Canada as a place.

Much care was taken by the IODE in the appointment of Miss Galt, a nurse who travelled with the girls and looked after their health. This included comments that the girls had gained weight during the tour and would have to lose it by exercising on board ship on the way back to England. Morag Bell has chronicled the links between geography and imperial emigration.

I don't think any of us thought they would be quite so wonderful, or would seem so extraordinarily near. The volume of water and the wonderfully coloured rainbows impressed us enormously. The wilds of northern Ontario were chosen for a week-long stay in log cabins. Canadians certainly do know how to make the most of their glorious Summer. Miss Thompson had wanted this school to be represented.

All the other schools were for fairly wealthy girls. My father was a parson with a big family and not wealthy! On our arrival, we would see a bunch of women of all ages backed by a row of cars varying from a shining new Packard no Cadillacs that I remember to a Model T Ford, and the hostesses and their homes covered the same range.

This made us feel like royalty. We took turns to thank them. Then on we would go. The girls were the guests of many prominent Canadians. The welcome extended in Duncan, British Columbia, was typical of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the tour. Cicely M. We put a wreath on the war memorial and then we sang the national anthem.

The Mayor extended a welcome to us and everybody seemed so pleased to see us that we were only sorry we could not stay longer. Legislative buildings across Canada, attributed to British-styled democracy and justice, and the connection to constitutional monarchy were emphasized, with royalty given a prominent position wherever possible.

We were pleased to see a photograph of little Princess Elizabeth hanging on the wall there. At various moments during the tour, appeal was made to domesticity: the girls were shown domestic science rooms, attended a household economics lecture and handicraft fairs, and were given feminine presents such as toiletries.

But because they were British and of privileged class their gender did not exclude the girls from the more masculine and public spaces. At the National Exhibition in Toronto the girls were presented with a full Empire narrative. Schoolgirl Phyllis Carter noted in her diary: We were taken to the Empire Marketing Building, which was beautifully laid out. We were particularly interested in the lovely models of animals and scenes of different parts of the Empire.

We rushed around the Ontario Building and saw all of the natural resources in the Province. Then we dashed through the agricultural section.

Female Imperialism and National Identity: Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.

Afterwards there were bands and fireworks. There appeared to be no end to the diversity and richness of the resources that Canada contained. In British Columbia they were shown over some huge lumber mills, some of the biggest in the World, I believe. It is marvellous what can be done with an enormous tree in a few minutes, and rather sad in a way. In Quebec City, with no guilty feelings about how French Canadians might view the site, they visited the exact landing place of General Wolfe, the British hero who captured French Canada for Britain in That is not to say that there was no recognition of a French Canadian presence, but rather that the visit was an input considered in relation to the hegemonic status of British Canada.

Tensions were to be glossed over, or treated as rousing patriotic events in the formation of an overall grand narrative. What a queer world it is! At the end of the tour there was time for the girls to reflect upon and consolidate their experiences. This was to be a Canada that mimicked Britain, and where all difference was subsumed into a strong modern nation within a united Empire. The schoolgirls themselves became part of the narrative, and themselves provide insight into who was considered a desirable immigrant.

The tour reveals the intricate politics of colonial identity in the interwar years where the everyday, the Canadian national and the British imperial divides were transgressed. Such politics were contingent upon the assumption by both the Canadian and the British government that Canada was best populated by British immigrants. The itinerary of the tour and the schoolgirls themselves document the production of British Canada within the larger narrative of the Empire.

If the hegemonic narrative represented in the tour was powerful, it was also more complicated than it appeared, being continually reconstituted and re-created in interacting spaces that cross-cut gender, race and class, as well as official boundaries.

An Imperial People?

Representative of Anglo-Canadian hegemony, the IODE had the economic, social and cultural connections to plan and execute the tour. It also possessed an unfailing desire to populate Canada with British migrants, and was complicit in British plans for Empire settlement. In this sense the tour was a desperate measure by those with the resources to assert their vision, and it was testimony to the extensive effort that the IODE would expend in its attempt to populate Canada with British immigrants.

It was an important moment, but one that would fade quickly as the Great Depression changed expectations and possibilities. Most of the schools were in the south of England. Echoes, December , 9. Correspondence with Betty Bidder, 27 July Correspondence with Beatrice Scarr, 20 June Avril M. See also J. Mangan and Roberta J. Mangan, The Games Ethic, The remarkable success of that tour led to a suggestion being put forward by the Oversea Settlement Committee that the SOSBW should explore the possibilities of arranging one for girls from secondary schools.