A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service

Women and Girls of Canada and Newfoundland during the First World War

Sarah Glassford and Amy J. Shaw

  • Published: 2012. Paperback 2013
  • Subject Listing: History
  • Bibliographic information: 320 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

The First World War demanded sacrifice from all levels of society, and the degree to which citizens at home were expected to "do their bit" was made explicit in national propaganda. Women and girls in Canada and Newfoundland were indelibly affected by, and were integral parts of, their countries' war efforts. Yet their varied responses and myriad activities are not recognized in our memory of the war.

A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service actively engages in redressing that absence and in exploring why the retelling of women's stories meets such resistance. Drawing upon a multidisciplinary spectrum of recent work - studies on mobilizing women, paid and volunteer employment at home and overseas, grief, childhood, family life, and literary representations - this collection brings Canadian and Newfoundland women and girls into the history of the First World War and marks their place in the narrative of national transformation.

Recognizing women's active and emotional responses to the First World War is a crucial step towards understanding how that war shaped Newfoundland and Canada both during and after the conflict. This volume is therefore essential reading for anyone interested in the history of women, the First World War, Newfoundland, or Canada.
Sarah Glassford teaches history at the Universityof Ottawa and Carleton University. Amy Shaw is anassociate professor of history at the University of Lethbridge andauthor of Crisis of Conscience: Conscientious Objection in Canadaduring the First World War.

"A Sisterhood of Suffering and Service is innovative and unique, both in its combination of research on the two dominions and in its focus on girls, as well as women. Examining as it does the transformation of Canadian society and gender relations as a result of the First World War, this will be the standard work for some time to come."
-Linda Kealey, author of Enlisting Women for the Cause: Women, Labour and the Left in Canada, 1890-1920

"There has been very little published on the experiences of Canadian and Newfoundland women and girls in the First World War. This volume makes a start at filling that gap. It will stand alone as the single best book for university level studies on the history of women and the war."
-David MacKenzie, editor of Canada and the First World War: Essays in Honour of Robert Craig Brown

Introduction: Transformation in a Time of War? / SarahGlassford and Amy Shaw

Part 1: Mobilizing Women

1 "In Defense of the Empire": The SixNations of the Grand River and the Great War / AlisonNorman

2 The Unquiet Knitters of Newfoundland: FromMothers of the Regiment to Mothers of the Nation / Margot I.Duley

3 Freshettes, Farmerettes, and Feminine Fortitudeat the University of Toronto during the First World War/ Terry Wilde

Part 2: Women's Work

4 Gendering Patriotism: Canadian Volunteer Nursesas the Female "Soldiers" of the Great War / LindaJ. Quiney

5 "Such Sights One Will Never Forget":Newfoundland Women and Overseas Nursing in the First World War / Terry Bishop Stirling

6 Patriotic, Not Permanent: Attitudes aboutWomen's Making Bombs and Being Bankers / KoriStreet

Part 3: Family Matters

7 An Honour and a Burden: Canadian Girls and theGreat War / Kristine Alexander

8 Supporting Soldiers' Wives and Families inthe Great War: What Was Transformed? / Desmond Morton

9 Marks of Grief: Black Attire, Medals, andService Flags / Suzanne Evans

Part 4: Creative Responses

10 Verses in the Darkness: A Newfoundland Poet Respondsto the First World War / Vicki S. Hallett

11 "'Twas You, Mother, Made Me a Man":The Motherhood Motif in the Poetry of the First World War / LynnKennedy

12 "Mother, Lover, Nurse": The Reassertion ofConventional Gender Norms in Fictional Representations of Disability inCanadian Novels of the First World War / Amy Tector

Conclusion: "Sisterhood of Suffering and Service" /Sarah Glassford and Amy Shaw

Selected Bibliography