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Discussion Groups: Brandon History


Topic: Beatrice A. Brigden was the first woman to run in the Federal Riding of Brandon.
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Shirley Booth

1/30/2012 7:54:43 AM
Member since:
Feb 2007
Total posts:3225
Beatrice A. Brigden was the first woman to run in the Federal Riding of Brandon.

Beatrice A. Brigden was born on January 30th 1888.  
 
Born in Belleville, Ontario, she with elder Brother, and Parents moved to Manitoba in March of 1889, settling on a Homestead twenty miles north of Deloraine.  
 
She was the second eldest daughter of William Brigden (1861-1925), and Sarah Jane Wood (1861-1927), who were the children of British immigrant parents.  
 
Beatrice Brigden had six siblings, Stillman Allen, (Born 1st February 1887, Died 23rd June 1905): Anna Bardella, (Born 22nd April 1898, Died 20th November 1980): Maude Irene, (Born 21st March 1891, Died 20th January 1892): May Irene, (Born 21st March 20th January 1892): Perry Frost, (Born 15th April 1891, Died 2nd May 1956): Mable Pidgeon, (Born 28th May 1893, Died 28th June 1919).  
 
Her mother was of Quaker stock, but the family became  
associated with Methodism as a result of the influence of Mr. J. S.  
Woodsworth, a circuit preacher from the Deloraine, area of Manitoba.  
 
Ms. Brigden became active in the Methodist Church, and its program of Social Reconstruction, which called for the dismantling of the Capitalist System, and its replacement with a new Co-operative Social Order, but in reality her connection to Methodism, and the Social Gospel movement led her to dedicate her life to a variety of causes, mostly advocating the rights of women, and children.  
 
Throughout her life her religious ideals remained unchanged, while the institutions in which she practiced religion did.  
 
In 1908, Beatrice enrolled at Albert College in Belleville, studying first year Arts, and Vocal Expression.  
 
She would return to Manitoba the following year to study at Brandon College where she made the acquaintance of Mr. Stanley Knowles, and later worked on his early campaigns.  
 
Ms. Brigden once again relocated, this time to Toronto, to attend the Royal Conservatory, from which she Graduated in 1912 with a Degree in Psychology, and Vocal Expression.  
 
In 1919 She worked with noted strike leader Helen Armstrong and the Women’s Labour League to support the strikers in the Brandon Sympathetic Strike for the Winnipeg workers in their General Strike, and afterwards worked with Mr. A. E. Smith.  
 
After World War II Beatrice returned to the Quakers, the faith of her mother, and their belief in peaceful activism.  
 
In 1920 she was hired by the Brandon School Board to teach Special Needs children.  
 
She was active in the Independent Labour Party, and in 1923 she traveled to Regina, and was a participant in the founding convention of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, (CCF), which later became the National Democratic Party, (NDP).  
 
She was a frequent candidate in elections. In 1930, Ms. Brigden was the first woman to run in the Federal Riding of Brandon. She ran under the Banner of the Labour Party, but was defeated by Mr. David Wilson Beaubier of the Brandon Hotel family.  
 
During the 1930’s she went on a voluntary three month Relief Budget to better understand the problems of the people on Relief. She explained afterwards that she lost eight pounds, not because she didn't eat, but because of anxiety.  
 
In 1936 she ran in Winnipeg in another unsuccessful attempt at a Seat in the provincial Legislature. After her defeat she said that she knew she could not win, but she ran in the 1936 Provincial Election because no men would run, and she thought someone should try to gain the Votes of the United Farmers of Manitoba.  
 
She is quoted as saying that "men won't run where there is no chance, while women are willing to run for principle."  
 
Ms. Brigden organized the Manitoba Women’s Model Parliament of 1914, and was a member of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.  
 
In 1958, she helped found the first Native, and Métis Friendship Center.  
 
In 1970, she was awarded a Manitoba Centennial Medal by the Manitoba Historical Society, and she received the Manitoba Golden Boy Award for good citizenship.  
 
In 1973, Brandon University awarded her an Honorary Degree.  
 
Throughout her life she was fond of saying that “Jesus kindled a light, and we have been following that gleam ever since.”  
 
Beatrice Alice Brigden Died on 22nd February 1977 aged 89 at Napinka, Manitoba.  
 
Source: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/people/brigden_ba.shtml  
 
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/transactions/3/womencandidates.shtml  
 
http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=bmullem&id=I00688  
 
 
Note: The Brandon General Museum and Archives has updated its Web-site. The information about the historical prints donated by Dr. Hobbs  
has been moved to another page under the same section, (you can access it by going to www.brandon.ca/bgma and then it’s listed in the menu on the left hand side).  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
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