Item 0024 - Letter, 11 November 1886

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Letter, 11 November 1886

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CA MUA MG 1022-3-040-0024

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  • 11 November 1886 (Creation)
    Murray, Margaret Polson, 1844-1927

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Margaret Smith Polson, founder of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of Empire, was born in Paisley, Scotland and married Scottish philosopher John Clark Murray in 1865. The couple moved to Kingston, Ontario, where her husband had been offered the post of professor of philosophy. In 1872 he accepted an appointment at McGill University and the family, now with three small children, headed to Montreal. Margaret began meeting with a small group of socially conscious women and in 1875 they founded the Montreal Young Women’s Christian Association. She began to write articles on social issues and in 1891 founded and edited a short-lived illustrated children’s magazine, the Young Canadian. While visiting England in 1899, at the height of the Boer War, she became inspired with the idea of a patriotic fund-raising association to support soldiers’ families and care for war graves. She worked all through the following year organizing chapters of the Federation of Daughters of the Empire across Canada, with headquarters in Montreal. The Toronto branch of the Victoria League, formed in England in 1901, claimed that the Federation was in competition with their organization; the bitter feud that ensured ended up involving Lady Minto, the wife of the governor-general. The Toronto chapter took over leadership and became the headquarters with the new name of Imperial Order of the Daughters of Empire, but the feud continued. Nevertheless, when Margaret died in 1927, there were 650 chapters in Canada and some of the other colonies.

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Letter from Margaret Polson Murray to Margaret Mercer Dawson.

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  • Box: M-1022-52