Adelaide Hoodless: Domestic Crusader by Cheryl MacDonald

By Cheryl MacDonald

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, lifelong crusader for the popularity of the household sciences (cooking, stitching, childcare and housekeeping) and an early proponent of domestic economics in Canada, was once one in every of the unconventional new girl of the past due 19th and early 20th centuries. She helped flip the Canadian YWCA right into a nationwide association. She based the Women's Institute, assisted within the founding of the Victorian Order of Nurses and represented Canada on quite a few overseas Councils of girls, in addition to setting up the 1st institution for the learning of household technology academics in Canada and placing jointly the 1st Canadian household technological know-how textbook, popularly often called the Little purple Book.< p>

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So, for that matter was John. Undoubtedly, some of the criticism levelled at Adelaide resulted from jealousy, either on the part of John's business rivals, or some of Adelaide's colleagues. It is more likely, though, that most of the criticisms which arose were genuine indications of the temper of the times. The underlying theme of these complaints was clear, if illogical: there was no need to teach a woman cookery, since it was something she learned naturally. Any criticism of Adelaide would inevitably have reflected on John, since, after all, a Victorian husband was completely responsible for his wife's behaviour.

In a transcript of a speech given shortly before her death, Adelaide credited John with encouraging her to carry out her own work. 8 John Hoodless, was, apparently, a singularly enlightened Victorian husband. It is doubtful that Adelaide, who always needed encouragement 43 and reassurance that her efforts were worthwhile, could have maintained her crusade if John had opposed her involvement. There are indications that Adelaide was frequently anxious, and definite evidence that she was quick to respond to criticism.

It is quite likely that this was not the first meeting between the two 32 women. In 1890, the Aberdeens had lived briefly in Hamilton. In Chicago, as the future Governor-General's wife, Lady Aberdeen quite likely made a point of meeting most of the Canadian women involved in the Congress. Certainly there was ample time to make new acquaintances during the various social functions that punctuated the weeks's events. Did either woman suspect how closely their interests would coincide over the next several years?

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