Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

History General

Liberal Hearts and Coronets

The Lives and Times of Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon and John Campbell Gordon, the Aberdeens

by (author) Veronica Strong-Boag

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
General, Women's Studies, Great Britain, Gender Studies
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Scottish aristocrats John Campbell Gordon (1847–1934) and Ishbel Marjoribanks Gordon (1857–1939), known as the Aberdeens, rejected both revolution and reaction in their political careers. The aristocratic progressivism and egalitarian marriage of these fervent liberals confounded both contemporaries and historians. John, as viceroy of Ireland and governor-general of Canada, was a notable ally of feminists, workers, and Irish Home Rulers. Ishbel, his viceregal companion and the long-time president of the International Council of Women, was a liberal feminist and Home Ruler whose commitments stirred up even more controversy.

Superbly written and informed by decades of research, Liberal Hearts and Coronets is the first biography to treat John Campbell Gordon as seriously as his better-known wife.  Examining the Aberdeens’ remarkable careers as landlords, philanthropists, and international progressives, Veronica Strong-Boag casts the twilight of the British aristocracy in an entirely new light.

About the author

Veronica Strong-Boag is a professor of women’s and gender studies and of educational studies at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a past president of the Canadian Historical Association. She has written widely on the history of Canadian women and children—including studies of the 1920s and 30s, the experience of post—WW II suburbia, Nellie L. McClung, E. Pauline Johnson, childhood disabilities, and modern neo-conservatism’s attack on women and children—and has won the John A. Macdonald Prize in Canadian History, the 2012 Canada Prize in the Social Sciences awarded by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and, with Carole Gerson, the Raymond Klibansky Prize in the Humanities. In 2012 Strong-Boag was awarded the Tyrrell Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for outstanding work in Canadian history. She is the author of Fostering Nation: Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage (WLU Press, 2010).

Veronica Strong-Boag's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘Strong-Boag’s research on the Aberdeens is exhaustive and her assessment of them even-handed… This is history with its many strands intertwines with critical biography and it is very, very good.

BC Studies February 2016

‘Veronica Strong-Boag’s joint biography of Lord and Lady Aberdeen draws upon comprehensive research, and her grasp of detail is flawless… This book offers a valuable wider perspective on imperial administrators who form an important part of Canada’s history.’

British Journal of Canadian History vol 30:01:2017

‘This book provides a window into social reform agendas and methods over the course of several decades, in multiple socio-political contexts, and the complicated dynamics that determine their outcomes.’

Canadian Historical Review vol 97:02:2016

Other titles by Veronica Strong-Boag