Fertig’s new poems

“Poet, publisher and long-time supporter of the writing community, Salt Spring Island-based Mona Fertig (left) has released her first collection of poems in 14 years.” FULL STORY


Chapter One

December 15th, 2016

A Visit from Francis [1]

Alice Ravenhill collected her going-out items from the room she shared with her sister Edith at the Windermere Hotel on McLure Street in Victoria.  It was 9 a.m. on August 7, 1940, and downstairs waited a twenty-year old art prodigy, Francis Jim Baptiste, just in from the Inkameep Reserve near Osoyoos. This was the meeting Ravenhill had wished for. Still it had come out of the blue with no advance warning.

“You would think that the young man would have written first,” she fussed to Edith. “And not just turn up on an 81-year old lady’s doorstep. Why is Mr. Walsh in Banff and not here when we need him so?”

Anthony Walsh’s presence would have been helpful as Francis’s former teacher at the Inkameep Indian Day School. But he was spending the summer at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and getting involved in dramatic presentations. And he hadn’t even left a forwarding address! Perhaps Betty Newton would be able to help if the hotel wasn’t too busy and her father let her go – and luckily she was available. Together they met Francis in the lobby. Ravenhill noted that he was a handsome young lad, well-groomed and well-dressed.

“Thank goodness Mr. Newton noticed you peering in the windows of the hotel and went out to find out what you wanted. We will go first to the Parliament Buildings and then the lovely Empress Gardens,” she said to Francis, who had so far said nothing.

“Hey,” Francis said. “There’s Billy.” He waved at a boy across the street who quickly ran over to meet them. “My cousin, Billy Louie.”

“Your cousin lives in Victoria?”

“No, we came together on the ferry.”

“Well, he must join us then. How fortunate that we met him on the street.”

After the gardens and the Parliament building, the British Columbia Provincial Museum was the final stop. Ravenhill introduced Francis to the curator who tried to interest him in the Indian exhibits. Francis, it seemed, had little to say.

The arrival of the Honourable Mark Kearley, a new member of the Arts and Crafts Society, recently arrived in Victoria, offered some relief to the beleaguered Ravenhill. “I have some art supplies for you, Francis,” he said. Francis took the parcels, but said nothing.

“Go ahead, open them!” said Ravenhill. Francis didn’t seem to want to open them. He didn’t seem to want to say thank you either.

“Mr. Kearley, that is so kind of you. I know Francis greatly appreciates your generous gift,” Ravenhill said.

Betty Newton chimed in, speaking as if Francis weren’t there. “Oh yes, thank you so much, I’m sure he is delighted.”

After the tour, Ravenhill remembered a matter that she had discussed with Anthony Walsh. “I need a photograph of you in full Indian head-dress. Mr. Lismer wants it for the National Gallery exhibit in the fall. Is there a good photographer in Oliver?”

“I don’t know anything about it,” said Francis. “I don’t think so.” Ravenhill found this exasperating.  She had given away the only copy of Francis in eagle regalia to the Victoria Colonist for the boy’s exhibition in June. You would think Francis did not want to have the national exhibit, she thought.

All in all it was a frustrating day. The cap came when Betty Newton gave Francis thirty-five dollars and fifty cents owed to him for his pictures that had sold at the June exhibition. Ravenhill watched in horror as Newton took the money out of the hotel safe. If it had been put in the strong box at the bank, it wouldn’t have been so accessible.

“Mr. Walsh asked that any money from the exhibit be sent directly to him”, she said, but it was too late.

When the day was finally over, and the boys delivered safely to the ferry by Mr. Kearley, Ravenhill and Newton spent a few minutes in reflection back at the Windermere. Ravenhill, tired after the busy day, rested in one of the big upholstered chairs in the lounge, and Newton sat on a straight-backed chair beside her.

“I think our Francis is very shy,”Ravenhill said.

Betty Newton disagreed. “No, I think he’s just being polite. And he speaks better English than his friend, Billy. Did you notice the ugly Canadian accent that boy had?”

“Francis was completely unaware of Coast Indian art”, Ravenhill said. “And he was surprised that the museum didn’t have much information about his own Okanagan tribe. I must introduce him to my Native Tribes book.

“It was very kind of Mr. Kearley to turn up.”

“At least he didn’t offer art lessons,”Ravenhill said. “We don’t want to spoil the boy’s spontaneity.”  She frowned at the thought of another matter. “I am deeply concerned about the money, Miss Newton.”

“I’m so sorry, Miss Ravenhill.  I didn’t think! When I saw Francis standing there I felt like I had to give him something, and then I remembered the thirty-five dollars we have been going to send care of Mr. Walsh to Osoyoos. And I just went ahead and gave it to Francis.”

“And he rolled it into a wad and tucked it into his breast pocket.” Ravenhill shook her head. “We’ll will have to tell Mr. Walsh about it. Did you hear Mr. Kearley ask for five more pictures and a twelve-foot long beam for his new house?  He wants it all decorated with Francis’ pictures of animal life. As if we’re not already behind. Mr. Lismer has asked for three large pictures for next month’s show at the National Gallery in Ottawa.”


Cover of Alice Ravenhill: Memoirs of an Educational Pioneer[Memoirs]. 1951. Photo by author.

“Francis is already behind a score of pictures from the June show,” Newton said.

“What will we ever do if Mr. Walsh leaves the Inkameep Day School? Francis is incapable of managing his own affairs.” Ravenhill sighed. “Well, as Elbert Hubbard said years ago: “Difficulties show what men are.”

But what about women who are difficult, Betty Newton thought. But she didn’t say it aloud. Alice Ravenhill didn’t suffer fools gladly.

* * *

Alice Ravenhill (1859-1954) is a legend in British Columbia even though the major accomplishments of her early career took place in England before her emigration to B.C. in 1910. In the first half of her life, she had been appointed the first female Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute of London, she was a recognized leader in Britain in newly-formed field of home economics, and she was a much sought-after speaker and teacher.[2]

In the second half of her life, Ravenhill became a supporter of and advocate for British Columbia Indigenous arts and crafts.[3] She touched on many different topics in her ninety-five years of existence. She was a staunch Imperialist and Anglican; she was an indefatigable researcher and writer; she had a reputation for caustic wit. The seeds of Ravenhill’s achievements can be found in the detailed accounts that she provided in her autobiography, Alice Ravenhill: Memoirs of an Educational Pioneer, published in 1951 when she was ninety-two years old, as well as two smaller life summaries, Glimpses of a Long Life, written in the 1930s, and Alice Ravenhill: Notes On Her Life written after she received an honorary doctorate from UBC in 1948.


Alice Ravenhill, age 20, 1879. Courtesy Rare Books and Special Collections, UBC [RBSC – UBC].

Ravenhill’s autobiographical ventures are prone to niceness; we can discern a highly-controlled Victorian childhood and youth, followed by the freedom of Edwardian days when Ravenhill emerged as a valued professional woman in an era when women had few rights. Ravenhill also wrote a monumental number of letters, many of which are now housed in the British Columbia Archives in Victoria [BCA], the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the University of British Columbia [UBCSCL], and Library and Archives Canada [LAC] in Ottawa. Local, provincial, and national newspapers also contributed to the body of knowledge that exists about Alice Ravenhill. She has been mentioned in several master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, although not generally as the sole subject of investigation. What can we learn from her life story?

The basic facts of Alice Ravenhill’s life begin with her birth on 31 March 1859, the fourth child of John Richard Ravenhill and Fanny Pocock Ravenhill, at Snaresbrook, Essex, at that time a community on the edge of Epping Forest, and now an area of north-east London. 1859 was also the year that Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, John Stuart Mill brought out On Liberty, and Charles Dickens issued A Tale of Two Cities. The elevator was also patented in that year.[4]

Both of Ravenhill’s parents came from well-to-do families whose histories dated back several hundred years in Wiltshire, a county in southwest England. Her parents called themselves “Wiltshire Moonrakers,”[5] a reference to a Wiltshire story of men caught raking ponds for kegs of smuggled brandy. They told the revenue men they were raking out the moon. Her father, John Richard Ravenhill (1824-1894) was the eldest of five sons of a well-known and well-educated family, born at the Manor House, Warminster, Wiltshire.[6] He attended Winchester College and King’s College at the University of London, and became a naval architect and marine engineer in the family firm of Miller, Ravenhill & Co., a maker of marine engines.  His brother Major Philip Ravenhill became a Royal Engineer and another brother joined the Anglican clergy (Rev. Canon Henry Everitt Ravenhill). Another brother became a lawyer (William Waldon Ravenhill), thus fitting into the English establishment canon of one for the army, one for the Church and one for the law.


John Ravenhill, 1891. Memoirs, p. 52.

Her mother, Fanny Pocock (1831-1903), was the only daughter of Thomas Pike Pocock and his wife Martha Pike, who was also his cousin.  Pocock had a sound business as manufacturer of the famous “West of England cloth.”[7]  It was mentioned in The Ecclesiastical Gazette of 1845 as the best wool for church garments.  The family (Fanny had one younger brother about whom little is known) lived at Pew Hill near Chippenham, Wiltshire, in a well-known country house.  Fanny had been educated at a residential school in London, and Ravenhill writes about her mother’s harp-playing, equestrian, and hostess skills. The 1853 wedding of John and Fanny was elaborate; a special train was hired for the event to bring the groom’s family from South Wiltshire to the bride’s home, a distance of 34 miles.

In her autobiography, Ravenhill describes a photograph of a peaceful family scene taken in 1859 when she was four months old: “The central figure is a beautiful, gracious young mother, on whose lap lies a plump sleeping baby, the writer of these Memoirs.[8] Looking on were her older siblings, Edward, five, Francis, three, and Margaret, two. Her much-loved younger sister, Edith, was born thirteen months later. Three years later the family moved to 167 Paradise Place, Walthamstow, half a kilometer from their former home. Ravenhill lists the amenities of their new house in her autobiography; library, schoolroom, croquet and archery lawn, conservatory, four nurseries complete with pantry, servants’ hall, kitchen, butler’s pantry, storeroom, glass greenhouses and dairy, poultry yard and cow sheds in addition to drawing room, bedrooms, and kitchen. The young family with five children under the age of six required the services of a cook, two nurses, two house servants, and a domestic coachman in addition to the farm workers.


Fanny Pocock Ravenhill, 1859. Memoirs, p. 20

Two more sons, Horace and Hugh, were born at Walthamstow. The cook, Maria Newman, had accompanied Fanny Pocock to her first home, remaining with her for twenty-two years. She ruled the roost. Ravenhill described Newman as “typical of the domestic devotion in those days,” barely able to read but with a retentive memory. [9] Despite her hot temper she was loving to the children.

From the start, Ravenhill characterized herself as the exception in her family. She was the middle child who did not speak until the age of three; among beauties a plain child who developed a general feeling of inferiority. She describes a Spartan childhood that emphasized self-control  and restraint despite the family’s obvious wealth. Children were not whipped or slapped; rather, transgressions were dealt with by the administration of Gregory’s Powder, a laxative made of rhubarb, ginger, and magnesia.[10]

There were emotionally painful moments. Ravenhill’s alleged clumsiness resulted in the gift to her of a tiny, gold hippopotamus. She thought the family considered her to be “more stupid” than her sisters and brothers: “Acute was my humiliation”, she writes, “when the picture of a man climbing a hill, with a sack on his back…was always pointed out as the representation of ‘a sackful of common sense being brought to Alice.’”[11] Ravenhill was convinced that she had had a propensity to help others her whole life long: “Years later I heard my mother say that I had taken the cares of the world on my shoulders [at the age of eight].”[12]

Despite the rigours of Victorian-era discipline, Ravenhill considered her childhood to be very happy. Summers were spent at Ashton-Gifford House, her Ravenhill grandparents’ residence in Wiltshire where the children were expected to pay formal visits to the lodge keepers and to carry dinner to the cottagers. Her naval engineer father was absent a great deal of the time, but when he was home, her parents had an active social life. Ravenhill describes a scene of helping her mother dress for the evening that evoked a memory passed on to me by my own grandmother: of “sparkle dust” being sprinkled over my great-grandmother’s dress at the last minute before going out, so that it looked magical.

The sons of the Ravenhill family attended prestigious boarding schools; the daughters were schooled at home by a governess. In May 1870, the eldest brother, Edward, was sent home from Cheltenham College in Gloucestershire with scarlet fever. This prompted Ravenhill and her sister Margaret to be sent to a residential school in Richmond, and from there to another private school at St. John’s Wood, London, which Ravenhill characterized as “our second great adventure,” following the school in Richmond. [13]  The school included aspects of classical education — Greek, Latin, French — as well as visits to the theatre, opera, and concerts.  The subject in which she excelled at school was dancing.

Possibly significant in Ravenhill’s later life was the one-half hour spent twice a week on the writing of letters on a variety of topics. Despite the early teasing she had received, Ravenhill was an academically-strong and strong-willed student, placed in the same classes as students who were two or more years older than her.  Humility was impressed upon Ravenhill in her schooling: “Such a modest standard as I did attain was not due to being ‘clever’ or to any intellectual gifts but was simply the outcome of humdrum perseverance and determination to gain my end.”[14]  At the school, Ravenhill contracted scarlet fever, followed by mumps and measles, which she thought led to a “susceptible throat” for the rest of her life.[15]

In the summer of 1873 Ravenhill and her sister Margaret paid their first solo visit to their uncle, Canon Henry Everett Ravenhill (1831-1913), Vicar of Buckland-Newton cum Plush in Dorset and Canon of Salisbury. Here Ravenhill encountered social conservatism, observing her uncle’s opposition to the efforts of Joseph Arch, an early union organizer who worked to establish an Agricultural Labourers’ Union in Dorset between 1872 and 1874.[16] She noted the charitable inconsistencies of her aunt and uncle: they accepted the bitter poverty of the farm labourers while providing them with dinners, blankets, warm clothing, and with free milk for babies and invalids.

It was disheartening for Ravenhill to have to leave school in 1875, three months before she turned seventeen. Her father had sustained “unexpected sustained serious financial losses owing to the dishonesty of a partner in whom he had reposed implicit confidence.”[17] The family had to move from their large house near Hyde Park in London to Courtfield Gardens, South Kensington, a developing part of London.  The sisters set up their own course of daily studies, with Margaret painting and drawing at her easel and Alice reading aloud history and essays in English, or plays and fiction in French and German. There was a nearby Public Day School for girls, but her father refused to let her go; she was also refused the chance to train as a hospital nurse. Even her grandmother’s offer to pay her fees at the Kensington School of Cookery was rejected.

Alice was, however, allowed to become a Sunday School teacher. One of the other instructors was a well-read layman of the Anglican Church who introduced her to Dante. During Ravenhill’s socializing years, she also met a young man who wanted to marry her. The indication of this is a laconic sentence in her autobiography: “Neither do I care to dwell upon my engagement in 1882 to a young professional man.”[18]  It was broken off by Ravenhill’s parents three days before the wedding because the groom-to-be refused to insure his life for the amount equivalent to her dowry.  “Modern maidens will smile at my submission to such drastic procedure,” she wrote. “I was stunned by the shock; debarred from seeing my fiancé or from receiving his letters; and whisked out of London.”[19]

Of the Ravenhill siblings, only the brothers married.  Edward, the eldest, died before the age of 30, leaving his wife and a young daughter. Frank (Francis) left Eton shortly after his father’s financial difficulties to pursue his own fortune in Australia. He engaged in a few enterprises, “not without cost to his own people,” Alice noted, one of which included a gold mine in Queensland that finally started to make money a few months after the family withdrew financial support.[20]

Alice Ravenhill’s social contacts and family connections had a powerful effect on her English career. One of the most productive relationships of this time developed with the Duke and Duchess of Albany (Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, and his wife, Princess Helena of Waldeck-Pyrmont).  In 1876, a family friend who had frequently visited the Ravenhills in Essex became Prince Leopold’s tutor, then living at Boyton Manor, Warminster, Wiltshire.  Ravenhill’s grandfather, John Ravenhill, lived close by at Ashton-Gifford House. The Prince mixed freely with the neighbours, and Ravenhill and her elder sister made a number of visits to his house. When Prince Leopold married Princess Helena in 1882, Queen Victoria bought Claremont House in Surrey for the young couple.

Through some unspecified circumstance surrounding the death of the Princess’s sister Marie on the couple’s wedding day, Ravenhill developed an “unusually intimate relationship with [Princess Helena] and the Duke.”[21] The Duke, who had hemophilia, died prematurely as a result of a fall, but this did not end the connection. The Duchess invited Ravenhill to spend the winter of 1885-86 with them, and she was swept into a whirlwind of dances and parties. Ravenhill wrote, “I confess the fact that I was considered the best dancer among them was not a bed of roses for me.”[22] She could claim to be the girl who, while not specifically dancing with the Prince of Wales, did help entertain a very shy future King George V.[23] She met important personages including the influential art critic John Ruskin and the noted historian, Lord Acton.[24]

After a bout of illness in 1887 had curtailed her social life, Ravenhill retreated with her family to a country home, Delaford House, Iver, Buckinghamshire.  By this time, both grandfathers had died, and Thomas Pike Pocock had left an estate worth (on paper at least) of £61,000.[25]  Alas, this considerable sum didn’t seem to solve John and Fanny Ravenhill’s money problems, but fortunately all the grandchildren received small annuities and Alice Ravenhill was finally allowed to get some training for self-support. [26]

The area of study that Alice Ravenhill chose was health and hygiene, a burgeoning movement in England.  While the beginnings of the national desire to improve the health of the English people are hard to pinpoint, it might have begun with Florence Nightingale’s work in the Crimea and the awareness of the importance of health and hygiene to wartime nursing. Dr. Edmund Parkes, mentioned by Ravenhill in her Memoirs, served in the Crimea and upon his return to England, worked unceasingly to establish the science of military hygiene.

In 1875, the first Public Health Act had been passed by the British Parliament. One year later, after Dr. Parkes’ death from tuberculosis, the Parkes Museum of Hygiene was opened in London as a memorial to him. It promoted awareness of public health matters and the healthy design of living accommodations.  The Sanitary Institute, with the aim to improve public health practice by setting standards for health professionals, was founded in the same year.  When the Parkes Museum was moved to new premises in 1883, it was opened by none other than His Royal Highness, the Duke of Albany. The two organizations were soon, in 1888, joined together under the joint name of The Sanitary Institute under the leadership of the Duchess of Albany.

Given her connections with the Duke and Duchess, it is not surprising that Alice Ravenhill was one of the first four women allowed to take a newly-offered National Health Diploma course through the Sanitary Institute. Her foray into advanced education reflected a concurrent movement in British society for middle- and upper-class women to find work elsewhere than in traditional philanthropic work.[27] Ravenhill and her fellow students spent three of their twelve months of study at lectures on anatomy and physiology, personal and domestic hygiene, public and domestic sanitation, and training in first aid and dietetics.[28]

The nine months that the women spent at the Chelsea Poor Law Infirmary had the potential to be more life-changing. [29] “Most of the occupants were fairly rough diamonds,” Ravenhill wrote, “but we could but respect their courage under stupendous difficulties before humiliating themselves to accept Poor Law relief.”[30]

At Chelsea, Ravenhill was plunged straight into a women’s ward devoted to cases of venereal diseases. She noted various discrepancies at the Infirmary, such as the nonchalance of the resident doctors and the reluctance of some residents to return to their own poverty-stricken homes. Ravenhill described the examination day for the diploma, which combined written and oral examinations. Her non-traditional schooling had meant very little exposure to such assessment methods.

Ravenhill recalled that her fellow student, Lucy Deane, completed the papers quickly and thoroughly; and despite feeling paralyzed, Ravenhill came through the examination with flying colours thanks to the oral component. On the recommendation of the Superintendent, Miss de Pledge, Ravenhill applied to a three-year nursing course at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.  Here her life took a new turn.

According to Ravenhill, she was unable to pass the physical fitness test for nursing, and then decided to answer the greater call of preventive work.  This does not completely jibe with a backstory provided by the Victorian scholar, Ruth Livesey.[31]  Using Lucy Deane’s diaries as a source, Livesey determined that the two women competed for the same position as first woman Sanitary Inspector under the Kensington Borough Council. While the need for women inspectors in factories had increased in the previous few years because more women were employed, the Home Office was not prepared to hire working-class women for this position. Middle and upper-class women were preferred.

Ravenhill confided to Lucy Deane that she hoped to use her connections with the Duchess of Albany to obtain the position, perhaps not reckoning that Lucy’s mother was the sister of the 6th Earl Falmouth.[32]  Aristocracy triumphed when it came to hiring the inspectors, and Lucy Deane received the position. Ravenhill did make a new contact through her application: Eliza Orme, a social activist and the first woman to receive a law degree from London University. Orme gave Ravenhill advice that she used for the rest of her life: “There is such a thing as legitimate ‘playing to the gallery.’”[33]  According to Orme, one should never lose an opportunity to see, hear, or if possible, secure contact — however momentary — with persons of note.

Alice Ravenhill picked herself up and dusted herself off. The extreme deprivation and poverty that she had witnessed at the Poor Law Infirmary notwithstanding, she and her sister Edith took a refreshing month-long German trip to Nuremberg, Konigsberg, and Carlsbad. Then she started over again as a County Council Lecturer in Bedfordshire and Lincolnshire. Her creative talents blossomed. Very much in tune with the emphasis of the Parkes Museum on practical demonstrations, she made illustrative models of good ventilation, and used actual food samples such as milk, cheese, and eggs to stress the importance of a nutritious daily diet. Before she spoke to any village audiences, she researched the types of windows, the chief source of water supply, the form of sanitary conveniences in use, even the type of soil on which the cottages were built — in order to advocate methods of sanitation and hygiene that were specific and sensitive to local conditions.

Ravenhill considered herself successful in her work, and credited it to several factors. She always followed the recommendation of Orme to “apply to the fountainhead for information,” by which she meant going directly to the source of information (usually a man of authority).[34]  When she needed information about atmospheric impurities in the atmosphere, she contacted professors at the University of Leeds. For a comparison between the industrial organization of ants or bees and those of human beings, she referred to Sir John Lubbock (later Lord Avebury). When she wanted a new way to introduce physiology other than by the skeleton, she took Sir Charles Sherrington’s advice and started with the central nervous system.  She also benefited from the women’s suffrage movement by frequently being the only woman available to serve on a men’s committee or take part in a deputation to a cabinet minister.[35]

After one year as a County Council Lecturer, Ravenhill was asked by the Royal British Nurses Association to become their secretary. It was more than a coincidence that the President of the association was Princess Christian,[36] sister of the Duke of Albany, and third daughter of Queen Victoria. Ravenhill’s intricate links with influential people had once again paid off. The main focus of the organization was to professionalize nursing by requiring at least three years’ training in a hospital of not less than one hundred beds, and to maintain a nursing registry. The drive to organize nurses’ training had begun with Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who set up a one-year course for nurses in the 1860s. The goal of a three year program was finally achieved through the untiring efforts of Ethel Bedford Fenwick, a woman that Ravenhill characterized as a “truly stormy petrel”.[37]

For the next three years, Ravenhill’s work brought her into contact with many men and women who she described as “outstanding.”  She worked closely with Princess Christian, and commented on having to keep the princess’s impulsivity and proneness to partialities (perhaps prejudices) in check. Ravenhill also kept up what she called her “first love” — short courses at Factory Girls’ or Working Men’s clubs in various poorer areas around London.

Alice Ravenhill’s health let her down again, in an illness that she described as a severe bout of influenza and “certain latent physical troubles,” putting her in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital for three months in 1897. Under medical orders, she resigned from her position. After a few months of convalescence at a country home, she met her sister and mother at Cannes. During her country convalescence, she met Janet Hogarth (later Courtney) who became one of her “staunchest” friends.[38] Just as her previous stay at Cannes with the Duke and Duchess of Albany had resulted in many connections, so did this one. Ravenhill caught glimpses of the former British Prime Minister, W.E. Gladstone. He was a relative of her family, her cousin Sophie Ravenhill having married Gladstone’s cousin, John Gladstone.

When the holiday was over, the ever-practical Ravenhill set out to learn shorthand, typewriting, and bookkeeping at the School of Business Training for Gentlewomen in Westminster, run by Miss Cecil Gradwell.[39] True to form, Ravenhill and Gradwell became friends for life. In September of 1897, Ravenhill’s career leaped ahead with an invitation to represent the National Health Society at the Congress of the Royal Sanitary Institute at Leeds. As well, the Society nominated her to be a lecturer for the Men’s Co-operative Society and the Women’s Co-operative Guild on “the Elements of Sanitary Law.”[40]

Ravenhill relished this assignment. She honed her speaking skills. “I selected for emphasis no more than five ‘points’ of which, in the case of most audiences, I did not count on more than three being carried so clearly away that they could influence habits or conduct or opinions.”[41]  She associated with all kinds of people from bricklayers to miners, and was invited to be the guest of a renowned surgeon, Mr. Pridgin Teale, during the Congress.

A slight diversion came in 1899 when she was pressed to become the governess to the King of Siam’s daughters at Bangkok, but she declined this opportunity. “My premonitions [were] that to accept the position would see me freed at no distant date from all earthly cares or pleasures!”[42]


Alice Ravenhill c. 1900.

From this point on, Ravenhill’s career took on a life of its own. Her early association with the Parkes Museum had stood her well in her first career as County Council Lecturer; now she began to undertake the mission of the Sanitary Institute in promulgating the gospel of good health.

The years between 1899 and 1910 were the most productive and effective in Alice Ravenhill’s life. She was in the prime of her life, intellectually and socially, able to use all of her skills in speaking, writing, and organizing. Everything she had previously done in her life pointed her towards success.

Ravenhill’s career path repeatedly demonstrated the axiom that when one door closes, another opens. At the end of her second year of lecturing around England on the Public Health Laws, the West Riding of Yorkshire County Council approached her to train women teachers for a Home Nursing courses for girls. She decided that she could not accept the invitation because she disagreed profoundly with its basic tenet, which she recalled was “to concentrate attention upon deviations from health, thus fostering at this early age the already too strongly morbid interest in illness and disaster.”[43]

Instead, Ravenhill suggested a positive approach to health that focused on the promotion and maintenance of healthy minds and bodies, and that should include teachers of boys as well as girls. She proposed a course that included direct observations, practical demonstrations, and simple experimental work, and suggested that the success of such a course would depend on teachers who had faith in the importance of health promotion and in the “rescue of the subject from its dry-as-dust associations.”[44]

The West Riding Council agreed, and gave her five months to write a thirty-class course that could be included in the 1899 winter programme. In writing the course, Ravenhill drew upon all her expertise, starting with a paper written for the Royal Sanitary Institute on integrating health issues with regular school subjects and consulting her extensive circle of contacts, just as Eliza Orme had told her to do ten years previously. In the first year of the course, ten teachers were adventurous enough to take it; in the second year, the number climbed to one hundred, and the course continued for several seasons at various centres in Yorkshire including Leeds, Bradford, and Wakefield.

The Council of the Royal Sanitary Institute then asked Ravenhill to write a syllabus suitable for a teachers’ examination in Child Hygiene and School Sanitation – and then asked her to take the first examination! Ravenhill was full of trepidation as she wrote the exam; but luckily and not surprisingly she came first of all the entrants. Such were the tasks that she was given in order to continually prove that she knew what she was talking about.

Ravenhill’s social contacts also expanded in Yorkshire during these years. She met Sir William and Lady Byles, whom she described as “an interesting combination of professed practical socialism with all the appurtenances of comfortable conservatism.”[45] From her accommodation in Wakefield, a fine old Queen Anne house, she was invited to spend weekends in the country. Her sister Edith came to visit for ten days and they rode their bicycles out into the countryside every day. “The freedom was delightful,” Ravenhill recalled.[46]

An event occurred in August of 1900 that greatly influenced the remainder of Ravenhill’s life in England and the first part of her Canadian years. She attended the Annual Congress of the Royal Sanitary Institute at Paris where she was introduced to the new subject of “home economics.”  The idea of educating for everyday life was a new and exciting subject in the early years of the twentieth century. It began in the late nineteenth century as a response to worldwide change and development. On a broad scale, the agrarian way of life that had sustained people for generations with food, clothing, and shelter was gradually giving way to industrialization, resulting in migration to cities and emigration abroad. The social issues of family life, health, hygiene and the rights of women and children became critically important. Home economics developed as one of the earliest forms of modern feminism.[47]

The idea of home economics had been developed in the United States a few years earlier by Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911), the first woman to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[48]  An outstanding industrial chemist who became interested in the chemical analysis of foodstuffs, Richards took an interest in the practical applications of nutrition. At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, she designed a small kitchen that not only served 10,000 nutritious meals over a two-month period but also functioned as a laboratory to show consumers about the content of the food they were eating and how it was prepared.

Important Canadian connections had come out of the 1893 World’s Fair. Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, a British aristocrat and wife of Lord Aberdeen, the newly appointed Governor-General of Canada, was elected president of the International Council of Women.

At the Paris Congress, Ravenhill took note of the American approach to home economics, which demonstrated the first systematic educational efforts to explore fundamental problems connected with the home; for example, she recalled, “why [emphasis in original] heat applied to foodstuffs in various forms effected familiar but hitherto unexplained changes in their appearance or digestibility.”[49] Given Ravenhill’s inquisitive mind, it is easy to see how she latched onto a subject that was a close variation of what she was already teaching about health and hygiene. Immediately upon her return to London from Paris, she suggested that the Board of Education start to investigate this new subject which, she wrote, “comprised the intelligent care of human life in the home” in the form of a Special Report.[50]

Ravenhill claimed surprise when the Board of Education asked her to go to the United States to gather information on domestic science, as it was called at that time. Since the Board of Education’s Special Reports had been initiated by Sir Michael Sadler, who knew Ravenhill from the West Riding Council, her invitation was predictable.[51]  Ellen Swallow Richards undertook to organize the tour and arranged personal introductions along the way.

Alice Ravenhill left England for the U.S. on 6 April 1901 under nerve-wracking conditions. Her sister Edith had had an acute appendicitis attack a few days previously; the information that Edith might not survive the operation was kept from Ravenhill. The trans-Atlantic crossing took twelve days, and Ravenhill had no word about her sister’s recovery until she arrived in New York.

Nonetheless the three months Ravenhill spent in the U.S. were exhilarating; she marvelled at the ability of Americans to “put aside their daily occupations so as to appear always at the disposal of a guest, even when the said guest comes unexpectedly on the scene.”[52] Among other influential Americans, she met Dr. Murray Butler, president of Columbia University; John Dewey, the famous educationalist; Professor Stanley Hall, the originator of the term “adolescence;” and Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House Settlement in Chicago.

Ravenhill travelled by night in order to save time. From New York she went to Philadelphia, where she was shocked by the demarcation between blacks and whites on the streetcars. Next she went to Boston, Providence, and Worcester, Massachusetts, and then to Ohio and Michigan and finally back to New York. She was hosted by university faculty along the way. She was frequently asked to improvise responses to the many speeches she sat through. For the entire time, she interviewed extensively on courses of study for both teachers and students of home economics and collected exhaustive details of facilities.

Alice Ravenhill made a short trip across the Canadian border to inspect the home economics facilities in the Toronto schools with the renowned educationist, James Hughes, and also to meet Adelaide Hoodless in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1889, Hoodless’ young son had died from drinking contaminated milk, and, having become determined that no other parent should have to undergo such a tragedy, she set about working to improve health standards in Canada. After attending the International Council of Women and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Hoodless was inspired to create a home economics teacher education program at the Hamilton College for Women. [53]  She also founded the Women’s Institute in 1897, which became a world-wide organization and figured large in Ravenhill’s early years in Canada.

Hoodless had a severe case of bronchitis when Ravenhill came to see her and the visit was fruitless and unsatisfactory. Her husband John had met Ravenhill at the train station and took her on a drunken carriage ride. Ravenhill acknowledged Adelaide Hoodless’ farsighted conceptions in home economics but dismissed John Hoodless as an intemperate handicap to his wife’s work.[54]


Adelaide Hoodless, founder of Canadian home economics. Credit Adelaide Hoodless Family Papers, Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph Library

Attendance at the third Lake Placid Conference on Home Economics in upstate New York was an unexpected highlight that Ravenhill found to be much more congenial. Ellen Richards and Annie and Melvil Dewey (the inventor of the Dewey decimal-system) had instigated a series of yearly one-week conferences on the mission and direction of home economics. Many of the people Ravenhill had met on her American travels were present to discuss the topic. The conferences had begun two years previously at the small town of Lake Placid; ten conferences in all were required before a consensus was reached on the mission of home economics. Finally, the American Home Economics Association [AHEA] was formed in 1909.

Invigorated by her visit, Ravenhill was tempted to resign her West Riding Council appointment and enroll as a student in one of the American universities, which she thought would give her a greater chance of securing university recognition for home economics in England. However, her mentor Sir Michael Sadler dissuaded her from taking this step and suggested that Ravenhill could accomplish more by remaining in England. His portentous advice played out in Ravenhill’s future.

At the Third Lake Placid Conference, Ravenhill presented a paper on “Practical Hygienic Teaching in England.”  She differentiated between utilitarian instruction in housewifery such as cooking, laundry, dressmaking, and mandatory needlework, versus what she considered to be important: teaching the elements of hygiene with a focus on healthy living, “personal, domestic and communal.”[55] As early as 1897, Ravenhill had emphasized community health over the specific health of the family. In a paper she wrote in that year for the Women’s Cooperative Guild, she stated that, “Public health means public wealth [italics in original], mental, moral, and physical, as well as financial.”[56]  In the Lake Placid paper, Ravenhill noted the reluctance of teachers in England to engage in the teaching of domestic economy (as she termed it) as compared to the U.S.[57]

The special report that resulted from Alice Ravenhill’s tour, “On the Teaching of Hygiene in the Schools and Colleges of the United States of America,” took her over six months to write. The 300-plus pages covered the topics of training of teachers in hygiene; teaching of hygiene in schools; other provisions made for the health of schools; and “abnormal and subnormal” children in schools. It both reflected society and advanced it. After the paper was published, she was elected the first woman Fellow of the Royal Sanitary Institute, a rare honour given to individuals who had made original contributions to the advancement of sanitary science.

Ravenhill returned to her duties at the new teachers’ centre at Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 1902. Once again her health deteriorated, requiring an unspecified operation on Christmas Eve of 1902 and a long recovery, during which she was well enough to attend her eldest surviving brother Frank’s wedding in April 1903.

Frank — who had gone to Australia in 1875 — had fallen in love with Mina Cahill Rawson, the wife of his business partner. [58]  He waited almost thirty years until Mina was widowed and her children grown, and then convinced her to come to England and marry him. In Australia, Rawson had become famous for her cookery books and household management advice with a particular focus on skills for housewives who had no servants. Not only that, she was also the first swimming teacher in central Queensland.

Relations between Mina Rawson and Alice Ravenhill were perhaps less than satisfactory. In her memoirs, Ravenhill made the following enigmatic and seemingly frosty statement about her sister-in-law: “It was not surprising that she could not adapt herself either to English methods or to the vagaries of the English climate.”[59] The couple returned to Australia, where Frank died in February 1906.

Shortly after the wedding, Alice and Edith Ravenhill went to Switzerland for three months, and then Alice was asked to take part in a three-week University Extension meeting at Cambridge, at which the main topic was advanced education for women. Here she met various personages including Professor (later Sir) Patrick Geddes, renowned for his studies of biological sciences, F. Gowland Hopkins, who shortly afterwards discovered the role of vitamins in health, and Alfred Cort Haddon, an expert on ethnology and anthropology and a strong supporter of women’s role in higher education.

At Cambridge, Ravenhill stayed with Eleanor Sidgwick,[60] president of Newnham College and sister of Arthur Balfour, Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. She was also a granddaughter of the second Marquess of Salisbury. Ravenhill’s scientific and political connections at this time were impeccable.

In the fall of 1903, Alice’s mother Fanny Ravenhill died and ill health continued to plague Ravenhill herself. The West Riding County Council offered her a year’s leave of absence after which she was expected to undertake the work that had been interrupted by the various illnesses, but she decided to return to London instead. She and her sister Edith determined to make their home together and they started with a five-month trip to Italy, ending with a pleasant apartment in Baron’s Court, London and one of the family maids to look after them.

In the next few years, Ravenhill became involved in committees concerned with school hygiene. She lectured on topics such as hygiene, public health, and physical development in childhood. She carried out investigations in health, child development, and moral training. She was appointed to report on school baths in Holland, physical training systems in Sweden and Denmark, and the teaching of domestic economy in convent schools in Ireland.

One large investigation carried out by Ravenhill has continued to be used as a reference into the twenty-first century. Her paper, “Investigations into Hours of Sleep in School Children of Great Britain,” presented at the First International Congress on School Hygiene in 1907 in London, is quoted in a 2012 publication that disputed whether or not the amount of sleep children were getting affected their health.[61]

In 1908, she acted as an investigator into Moral Instruction and Training in Schools in 1908. In 1910, she conducted an investigation into the play interests of 6,000 boys and girls in English elementary schools and presented the results at the Child Study Society of Great Britain. Many of her papers were published and three books resulted from this period of intense and profitable research and writing: Eugenic Education for Women and Girls; Household Administration, its Place in the Higher Education of Women; and Lessons in Practical Hygiene.

Discussion also began around the implementation of a course in Household Science at the University of London. Ravenhill came up with the concept based on her experiences in the American Midwest in 1901. It came to fruition thanks to the political leverage provided by Lady Thereza Rücker, wife of Sir Arthur Rücker, the Principal of the University of London from 1901 to 1908.[62] Ravenhill and Lady Rücker set up many strategic meetings, and the “somewhat suspicious faculties” of the University of London finally agreed to institute post graduate and undergraduate courses in social and household sciences in 1908.[63] Ravenhill lectured at King’s College from 1908 until the end of 1910.

Ravenhill devotes an entire chapter of her autobiography to her role in health and educational movements between 1904 and 1910. She belonged to the Sociological Society, the Eugenics Education Society, the John Howard Society, the Child Study Society, the Society for Physical Education and Improvement, and sub-committees on school hygiene working under the Royal Sanitary Institute. Her steadily increasing emphasis on studying children may be linked to a corresponding concern in British society in the nineteenth century about health and efficiency. Historian Adrian Wooldridge writes that “middle-class reformers became increasingly worried about the tension between the growing prosperity of an imperial nation, on the one hand, and the persistent poverty, ignorance and vice of the urban proletariat, on the other.”[64]

The titles of Ravenhill’s publications frequently contained the word  “hygiene,” a word first used by Aristotle that meant simply “health.”[65] In the nineteenth century it assumed connotations of cleanliness and healthy practices of living. The last paragraph in Ravenhill’s 1901 Lake Placid paper included the hope that widespread adoption of hygienic teaching should lead to a country “filled with a healthy, vigorous, joyous race, reared in wholesome, happy, well-regulated homes.”[66]  Her use of the word “race” was perhaps not accidental. In the milieu in which Ravenhill operated, the concepts of imperialism, hygiene, and race were intertwined in the word “eugenics.”

Ravenhill’s perspective in eugenics education was outlined in a 1909 paper published in The Eugenics Review.[67]  In it she expounds on three factors that have caused human problems: biological or physical causes, sociological or moral influences, and economic or industrial conditions. Her main concerns centred on infant and child mortality. She adhered to the eugenics-influenced belief that acquired characteristics could be inherited. At the same time, she acknowledged the effects of stress on parenting and the lack of education about this subject. She advocated a liberal education for women that they had heretofore been unable to achieve. Young women must be given time for their own individual development. This education would, however, be directed to women’s national responsibilities, the maintenance of the home, and the production of healthy productive citizens. However, the focus should be on the family and boys as well as girls should know about matters of the home.

Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), cousin to Charles Darwin, is credited with first using the word “eugenics.”  While there is no indication that Ravenhill met Galton, one of her assistants at the West Riding County Council between 1899 and 1904 had worked for several years under Galton’s supervision. The growing scientific knowledge that people could control some aspects of their lives went to an unfortunate extreme with eugenics. As stated with perfect twenty-first century hindsight:

The truth about the science of eugenics is that there is no science to eugenics. What passed for scientific method in the eugenics movement is almost laughable now; if it were not so disturbing. Eugenicists were trying to explain complex human behaviours based on second hand accounts and in some cases heresy.[68]

A highlight of Ravenhill’s career in England was an invitation to become the second woman appointed as an Inspector of Schools under the British Government. It was initiated by Sir Robert Morant, at first an assistant to Sir Michael Sadler, and then Permanent Secretary of the Board of Education.[69]  But Ravenhill was unable to accept, despite her “intense regret.”  Her life was about to change radically.

The precipitating event was the “tragic breakup” of her brother Horace’s marriage and his removal in 1910 to Shawnigan Lake, B.C., with his 25-year old son Leslie, to take up homesteading. Horace was the third son in the Ravenhill family, educated like his brothers at a leading public school, in his case, Marlborough College in Wiltshire. Before his marriage he had been a prominent amateur tennis player; he also played nationally and internationally for the Marlborough Nomads Football Club.[70]  He had married Eleanor Cunningham, the daughter of a successful wine merchant; their only child, Leslie Horace Cunningham Ravenhill, was born in 1889 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland.[71] Horace Ravenhill’s occupation in the 1901 census was “brewer’s cashier,” indicating that he was most likely working for his wife’s family. In 1903, he was listed as a licensed victualler.[72] Leslie Ravenhill had served in the First Cheshire Regiment and had studied at Cheshire Agricultural College, where his instructors said he was “the right ‘stuff’ to carry out his heart’s desire to carve out a successful career in Canada”.[73] While the exact circumstances of the marriage breakup are not known, Eleanor Cunningham Ravenhill continued to live in England and died in 1942.[74]

Alice Ravenhill professed shock when Edith insisted they should move to Canada to housekeep for their brother and nephew.[75] On the other hand, there were mitigating circumstances. The Senate of the University of London University had decided that every faculty and staff member should hold recognized academic qualifications.[76] Ravenhill did not possess a university degree. She had been thinking of a sabbatical year anyway, and previous to that, she had considered enrolling at an American university for a three-year degree in household science. [77] Why not try Canada?  It would be only for three or four years at best, and then she could return to England.

Horace and Leslie sailed away to Canada in January of 1910 to start their great adventure. In the next nine months, Ravenhill completed her teaching obligations and said goodbye to her life as she had known it. “Only the belief that my absence was to be relatively temporary,” she recalled, “enabled me to keep my perspective in focus those months when the numerous farewells were hard enough to face.”[78]

She and Edith packed up their household contents including the bulk of the furniture and kitchen equipment, all their pictures, sliver, glass, china, semi-grand piano, and about a thousand of her books and sent them off at the end of May to Vancouver Island by the Panama Canal route. They rested for three quiet weeks at a seaside village before spending two months at the Studley Training College for Women in Warwickshire, preparing for their homesteading future.

Before and during the voyage, Ravenhill continued to benefit from her many influential contacts in English society and higher education. Dame Mary Scharlieb hosted them for a last few days in London.[79]  Lord Aberdeen, the former Governor-General of Canada, secured a luxurious stateroom for them on the CPR’s Empress of Britain, and Lady Aberdeen sent letters of introduction to various people in Canada. When the ship docked in Montreal, Nancy Hurlbatt, Warden of the Royal Victoria College, McGill University, took them to see Macdonald College, a home economics post-secondary institute for women established in 1905.

Their train ride across Canada was glorious, but they were greeted by torrents of rain in Victoria. “We came prepared to make the best of things,” Ravenhill remarked, “though the ‘things’ did not happen to be those which we anticipated.”[80]

[1] The following scene is drawn from the correspondence of Alice Ravenhill, Anthony Walsh, and Betty Newton.

[2] See Mary Leah de Zwart, “Alice Ravenhill: Making friends with the powers that be”, BC Studies, 191 (Autumn 2016), 35-57.

[3] Where appropriate, the word Indigenous will be used in this publication.  In Ravenhill’s era the term “Indian” was in common use, and quotations that use “Indian” will be left intact.

[4] http://www.historyorb.com/events/date/1859

[5] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/moonraker.

[6] John Ravenhill carried out contracts for the Admiralty during the Crimean War and was interested in the introduction of the screw propeller, which eventually replaced sail.

[7] West of England cloth was mentioned as the best wool-dyed cloth available, advertised for “clerical gentlemen” in The Ecclesiastical Gazette of 1845. Suits made from it combined “economy with a constant genteel appearance” (p. 245).

[8] Alice Ravenhill, Memoirs of an Education Pioneer [hereafter Memoirs], p. 1.

[9] Memoirs, p. 10

[10] Memoirs, p. 20. For information on Gregory’s Powder, a very unpleasant treatment, see:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthadvice/3297068/In-sickness-and-in-health.html. For information on Dr. Gregory, see http://www.robertburns.org/encyclopedia/GregoryDrJames17531511821.416.shtml

[11] Glimpses of a Long Life, University of British Columbia Rare Books and Special Collections Library [UBCSCL], p. 21

[12] Memoirs, p. 25

[13] Memoirs, p. 35

[14] Memoirs, p. 45.

[15] This was possibly strep (short for streptococcus bacteria) throat, a dangerous ailment in the age before antibiotics.

[16]See J. Harper, “Never-To-Be-Forgotten Acts of Oppression … by Professing Christians in the Year 1874: Joseph Arch’s Agricultural Labourers’ Union in Dorset, 1872-4,” The Agricultural History Review, Vol. 53 (1), 2005.

[17] Glimpses, p. 45.

[18] Memoirs, p. 52.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Glimpses, p. 49.

[21] Princess Marie apparently died of childbirth complications, although Ravenhill does not state this directly. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Marie_of_Waldeck_and_Pyrmont. The Albany connection continued to the next generation when Princess Alice, daughter of the Duke and Duchess, came to Victoria in 1943 as wife of the Governor-General and invited Alice to tea at Government House, confounding many of Ravenhill’s Victoria friends who did not know her past connections.

[22] Memoirs, p. 56.

[23] Memoirs, p. 57.

[24] Ruskin greatly influenced art, architecture and political change in Great Britain and other parts of the world. For further information, see: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/513091/John-Ruskin. Lord Acton is famously known for his statement, “Power corrupts: absolute power corrupts absolutely.” He gave Ravenhill much advice about what to see in Rome and Italy.

[25] Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

[26] Ravenhill detailed her father’s problems in Memoirs. Losses had occurred with a failed goldmine in Australia (that might have involved Frank Ravenhill, Alice’s second-oldest brother), poor investments in South America, and inadequate returns from the Wiltshire farms.

[27] See R. Livesey, “The Politics of Work: Feminism, Professionalisation and Women Inspectors of Factories and Workshops 1890-1906,” Women’s History Review 13: 2 (2004), pp. 233-261.

[28] Memoirs, p. 67

[29] The Chelsea Poor Law Infirmary was part of the Chelsea Workhouse, opened in 1872 owing to the health problems of many of the workhouse residents.  Poor Laws in England had existed for centuries in the belief that poverty was inevitable.  The 1834 Poor Law took the view that the poor were largely responsible for their own situation and could change their circumstances if they chose to. For more information, see http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Chelsea/ and http://www.workhouses.org.uk/poorlaws/

[30] Memoirs, p. 68.

[31] Livesey, p. 251

[32] Lucy Deane Streitfeild (she married in 1911) was one of the first people to bring attention to the health dangers of asbestos.  Her life parallels what Ravenhill’s might have been like, had the latter stayed in England. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/explorefurther/subject_guides/healthandwork/69.pdf

[33] Memoirs, p. 72.

[34] Memoirs, p. 76.

[35] Memoirs, p. 73.

[36] Princess Christian was otherwise known as Princess Helena. She took the name of her German husband, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. He was penniless and much older than her, and therefore willing to remain in England so that Helena could be close to her mother, Queen Victoria.

[37] Memoirs, p. 83.  See also http://www.nurses.info/personalities_ethel_fenwick.htm.

[38] http://fortnightlyreview.co.uk/history_courtney/.  Janet Hogarth was a well-known non-fiction writer, the first woman employee of the Bank of England and eventually a writer for the Encyclopedia Britannica.  Her brother was T.E. Lawrence’s mentor — a small indication of how British society was deeply intertwined.

[39] The skill of typing served Ravenhill well the rest of her life. She liked to wake up at 5 am and type until 7 am. This was sometimes too noisy for wherever she was living, and she had to handwrite instead.

[40] Started in Britain in 1844, the co-operative movement was based on the principle of people working together in a system of production, distribution, sales and purchasing of goods — but it largely ignored women. In 1883 Lady Alice Acland formed a women’s guild that promoted socialism and feminism.  See: http://www.newstatesman.com/old-statesman/2013/03/microcosm-womens-democracy-co-operative-movement-and-womens-rights


[41] Memoirs, p. 94.

[42] Memoirs, p. 99.

[43] Memoirs, p. 103.

[44] Memoirs, p. 104.

[45] Memoirs, p. 108.  This description might have been applied to many of Ravenhill’s circle of friends.

[46] Memoirs, p. 110

[47] M.G. Smith and M.L. de Zwart, “Education for everyday life: curriculum and pedagogy in home economics,” (2011). https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/37154, p. 3.

[48]Many references document Richards’ contributions to sanitary science as well as home economics.  See Robert Clarke. Ellen Swallow: The Woman who Founded Ecology (Chicago: Follett Publishing Company, 1973).

[49] Memoirs, p. 111.

[50] Memoirs, p. 112.

[51] Sadler (1861-1943) was internationally renowned as an expert in comparative education.  See http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/515935/Sir-Michael-Ernest-Sadler

[52] Memoirs, p. 116.

[53] See Cheryl MacDonald, Adelaide Hoodless: Domestic Crusader (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1986).

[54] See Glimpses, p. 123. One can only feel the utmost sympathy for Adelaide Hoodless.

[55] A. Ravenhill, “Practical Hygienic Teaching in England, Proceedings of the Third Lake Placid Conference, 1901,” p. 59. http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=hearth;idno=6060826_5315_002

[56] A. Ravenhill, “The health of the community: how to promote it,” Public Health Papers (Kirkby Lonsdale: Women’s Cooperative Guild, 1897), p. 15.

[57] The positive opinions that Ravenhill developed in her three-month stay in North America were highly relevant to her later decision to move to Canada.

[58] In retrospect, perhaps Ravenhill should have paid more attention to Mina Rawson’s pioneering skills. See a description of Rawson’s remarkable career at the Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/rawson-wilhelmina-frances-mina-8163/text14269

[59] Memoirs, p. 129.

[60] Sidgwick was an early feminist, influenced by her husband Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge.  See: http://www.oxforddnb.com/templates/article.jsp?articleid=36086&back=,30556

[61] See J. Horne, “Let’s Not Lose any Sleep,” New Scientist, 215: 2876 (2012), pp. 26-27.  Horne suggests that current studies are based on the same faulty assumption as Ravenhill’s study — that children aren’t getting enough sleep, rather than looking empirically at how much sleep they do need.  The interesting part of Ravenhill’s study is that it is still worthy of being critiqued.

[62] On Lady Rücker, see N.L. Blakestad, “Rücker, Thereza Charlotte, Lady Rücker (1863–1941),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: 2004).

[63] Memoirs, p. 141.

[64] See Adrian Woolridge, Measuring the Mind: Education and Psychology in England, c1860-c.1990 (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 18.

[65] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hygiene

[66] Ravenhill, “Practical Hygienic Teaching in England” (1901), p. 62.

[67] A. Ravenhill, Eugenic Education for Women and Girls (1909). Second edition, revised, 1914.

[68] Eugenics: America’s Darkest Days, para. 1. http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/spring02/holland/Science.htm

[69] Memoirs­, p. 163.

[70] J.F. Bosher, Imperial Vancouver Island: Who Was Who, 1850-1950 (Xlibris Corporation), p. 611.

[71] FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

[72] See Ancestry.com. 1901 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005 and Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Licensed Victuallers, 1785-1903 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.

[73] Memoirs, p. 170.

[74] See Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

[75] Memoirs, p. 170.

[76] Glimpses, pp. 176-177.

[77] Memoirs, p. 169.

[78] Memoirs, p. 171.

[79] http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/29th-november-1930/3/a-great-woman-doctor-dame-mary-scharlieb-who-has-d. Sharlieb was one of the earliest female doctors in England and was influential in the reduction of childbirth mortality in India. She was also a supporter of eugenics. See: http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/world/530b935f76f0db569b000003

[80] Memoirs, p. 175

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