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Abbott, Louise, 1950-

  • n92084830
  • Person
  • born 1950

Writer, photographer, and documentary filmmaker in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, known for her documentation of the culture, heritage, and natural environment of rural and indigenous communities both in Canada and elsewhere. She has authored six books: The Coast Way, The French Shore, A Country So Wild and Grand, The Heart of the Farm, Eeyou Istchee, and Memphrémagog: An Illustrated History. Her films include Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story. She graduated from McGill University in 1972.

Cox, Palmer, 1840-1924

  • n50019175
  • Person
  • 1840-1924

Son of Sarah Miller Cox and Michael Cox (Waterloo veteran), Irish immigrants, Palmer Cox is born in Granby, Québec in 1840. He leaves after his graduation at the protestant Granby Academy to work various jobs (carpentry, railroad and ship construction) in Massachussets, Ontario and California. In Ontario, in 1865, he is part of the local militia, in the quality of drill sergeant. He settles in San Francisco in 1870 where he joins the Mission Masonic Lodge (n.169) and starts to publish stories, poems and illustration in local magazines, and a first book of humorous illustrated verse. During this time, he becomes a United States citizen. He then moves to New York in 1874 to 1878, where he publishes three more books of humorous verse and illustrations, as well as illustrations and poems created for advertisement purposes. He then starts to write and draw for a younger audience. He produces poems and illustrations for Wide Awake! and St Nicholas Magazine from 1879, the latter of whom will see the appearance of the Brownies in 1883. These characters will be the center of Palmer Cox’s work for the rest of his life, appearing in magazines, in 11 books, various stage shows and plays, and derived commercial products. During this time, he lives in Broadway, then East Quogue (N.Y.). Aside from the Brownies, Palmer Cox also has some of his earlier books, aimed at a broader audience, re-published and augmented, continues his involvement in masonry, and co-create a series of children’s stories with E. Veale, in which he only illustrates. He retires to Granby in the 1910’s, where he had a house named Brownie Castle built from 1902 to 1906, where he is considered as a public figure, Palmer Cox regularly reading original poems and speeches at various social occasions, such as school graduation ceremonies, meetings of the Granby Congregational Social Club. Regularly praising American patriotism and himself a U.S. citizen, he remains involved as a Canadian citizen, loyal to the United Kingdom, and even composes a poem for the coronation of George V, King of the United Kingdom, in 1910. He remains a frequent visitor and public figure in East Quogue, where he delivers a speech in 1917 supporting American patriotism and the Liberty Bonds during World War I. He is honored by the city on the occasion of his 80th birthday, with a production of the play the Brownies in Fairyland by local children and several speeches. He dies in Granby in 1924. Having sold more than 100 000 Brownies books as early as 1895, Palmer Cox was a literary figure and a pioneer in licensing his characters to be used for commercial purposes, with Brownies-themed drinks, games, tableware, dolls and the Eastman-Kodak Brownie camera.

Duncan, Dorothy

  • Person
  • 1903-1957

Born in East Orange in 1903, New Jersey, Dorothy Duncan spent her formative years in the United States. She grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, with a Christian Science background. She received a Bachelor of Science in Botany from Northwestern University in Chicago in 1925 and worked as a journalist in the Chicago area for a number of years. In 1932, she made a trip abroad and on the return from England aboard the S.S. Penfield, she met Canadian Hugh McLennan. They fell in love, but McLennan’s father insisted that he should be financially independent before marrying. As a result, he wound up spending three unhappy years at Princeton doing graduate studies in Classics before he could look for a job, which was made more difficult by the Great Depression. They married in 1936 at her home in Wilmette, Illinois, and settled in Montreal, where MacLennan found work teaching at Lower Canada College. While Duncan was often addressed as Dorothy MacLennan in her correspondence, she published under her maiden name.

Duncan’s published works include “You Can Live in An Apartment” (1939), “Here's to Canada!” (1941), and “Bluenose: A Portrait of Nova Scotia” (1942). In 1944, she published a biography of the Czechoslovakian-Canadian Jan Rieger, entitled “Partner in Three Worlds,” for which she was awarded the 1946 Governor General’s award for creative non-fiction. Duncan was a member of the Authors’ League of America and the Canadian Authors’ Association. She was also the director of the North Hatley Library Association, the organization that ran the library in the small Quebec town where she and MacLennan summered.

Duncan encouraged MacLennan with his writing, and urged him to write about Canada rather than the United States or Europe, which were the settings for his first novels. While he had trouble finding publishers for those first books, he found success after following her advice with “Barometer Rising,” his first novel set in Canada. She often proofread his books. The character of Catherine Martell in Hugh MacLennan’s “The Watch That Ends The Night” is largely based on Dorothy Duncan.

In the late 1940s, Duncan’s health deteriorated, a result of rheumatic fever she had suffered during her youth. After her doctors advised her to stop writing, she took up painting, with some public success. Her health declined, however, and she died on Easter Day, April 22, 1957, two weeks before her solo gallery show was to open in Montreal.

Fitzgerald, Judith, 1952-2015

  • Person
  • 11 November 1952 – 25 November 2015

Judith Ariana Fitzgerald, a Canadian poet, critic, journalist, blogger, and editor, was born in Toronto, Ontario on November 11, 1952. She attended York University where she earned a BA and MA. She then pursued a doctoral degree at the University of Toronto. She had a broad range of interests, which included culture, media, and music, among others. Fitzgerald passed away from a heart attack on November 25, 2015 in her home of Port Loring, at the age of 63.
Fitzgerald had a difficult upbringing. She never had a father figure. Her mother, whom she recalls working as a prostitute, had many children from different men who were constantly being taken away by child services. Fitzgerald lived with her sister Maggie and her brother Robert for a short while. She reports that the three siblings were often neglected, even beaten and starved, forcing her brother Robert to go scavenge for food. Her sister Maggie passed away at the age of 29. It is through the help of her school teachers that Judith was moved to foster care at the age of 13.
A rough life followed her even rougher childhood. Fitzgerald was forced to survive on income support, welfare, loans, government grants, and even money from friends. In addition, she had a plethora of health problems, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, celiac disease, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis.
Despite her difficult upbringing, Fitzgerald became a prolific poet and journalist, making a name for herself in Canadian poetry and journalism. She published over 20 works of poetry, notably Octave (1970), Rapturous Chronicles (1991), Habit of Blues: Rapturous Chronicles II (1992), Given Names: New and Selected Poems (1985), to River (1995), and finally The Adagios Quartet which includes Iphigenia’s song (2003), Oreste’s Lament (2004), Electra’s Benison (2006), and O Clytemnestra! (2007). Many of her works were shortlisted for reputable literary awards, such as the Governor General’s Literary Award (for Rapturous Chronicles), The Pat Lowther Memorial Award (for Given Names: New and Selected Poems) and The Chalmers Arts Fellowship in 2003. Her works of prose include biographies of Sarah McLachlan (Sarah McLachlan: Building a Mystery, 2000) and Marshall McLuhan (Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy, 2001), of whom she was very fond.
Fitzgerald became a critic for the Globe and Mail in the early 1980s, publishing countless commentaries on art, media, music, sports, and culture. She wrote blogs for the Globe and Mail’s “In Other Words” column, music and poetry columns for the Toronto Star, and even a sports column for Canada’s Baseball Magazine.
Finally, Judith Fitzgerald made countless contributions and editions to literary journals and collections, such as The Oxford Book of Poetry by Canadian Women and Canadian Poetry Now, editing Canadian literary volumes like Un Dozen: Thirteen Canadian Poets (1982), SP/ELLES: Poetry by Canadian Women (1986), and First Person Plural (1988).