Born on October 20, 1873 in Chatsworth, Ontario as Helen Mooney, the prairie reformer and author Nellie McClung is seldom recognized as a British Columbian, but she lived in Victoria from 1935 until her death on September 1, 1951. One of Canada's leading political acitivists on women's rights, McClung wrote her first novel, Sowing Seeds In Donny (1908), during her time in Mantou, Manitoba. In 1911 she moved to Winnipeg where she became involved in women's suffrage, helping to organize the Women's Equity League and writing Women's Parliament, a burlesque performed in 1914 in which she played the Premier. She later moved to Alberta where she became the first woman to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 1921, eventually losing the position in 1926. Equally significant, McClung was one of the Famous Five who successfully fought to have women formally declared as "persons" under the law.

After moving again to Victoria, McClung became the first woman on the board of governors of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, served as a Canadian delegate to the League of Nations in 1938 and wrote a syndicated newspaper column. McClung also a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Canadian Women's Press Club. She was the subject of Carol L. Hancock's Nellie McClung: No Small Legacy (Northstone Publishing Inc. 1996), among many critical studies. Featuring a new foreword by her granddaughter Marcia McClung, Nellie McClung's first autobiographical work, Clearing in the West (Thomas Allen, 2005) was reissued 70 years after it was first printed.

[Nellie McClung and her husband Robert Wesley McClung shown at right.]

[BCBW 2005] "Women" "Politics"