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Pour sortir les allumettières de l’ombre

Les ouvrières de la manufacture d’allumettes E. B. Eddy de Hull (1854-1928)

by (author) Kathleen Durocher

University of Ottawa Press
Initial publish date
May 2022
Women, General, Social History
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 16 to 18
  • Grade: 11 to 12


Exploited young women or committed union activists? How should we remember the allumettières working at the E. B. Eddy match factory, in Hull?
Between 1854 and 1928, an anonymous workforce of female workers produced 90% of Canada’s matches—grueling and incredibly dangerous work given the continual risk of fire and, more importantly, given the manipulation of toxic chemicals. This work had disastrous consequences for these women, and it is therefore of little surprise that they launched the very first female-driven union dispute in Quebec.
In this first-ever book devoted to Hull’s allumettières, historian Kathleen Durocher tells their fascinating story using a trove of historical documents, including Canadian censuses, various governments, private, and parish archives, as well as numerous articles published in scientific journals and large-circulation newspapers.
Durocher presents a demographic profile of the allumettières, followed by sections on their daily life, their role within the working class, their positions at the factory, their working conditions—particularly hazards linked to the use of white phosphorus—, and their union activities from 1918 to 1928, when the company closed its doors in Hull.
Tragic and inspiring, the history of Hull’s allumettières has marked both regional and Canadian history for more than a century, yet it remains little known. With this book, it is finally brought to light.
Published in French.

About the author

Détentrice d’un baccalauréat et d’une maîtrise en histoire de l’Université d’Ottawa, Kathleen Durocher est actuellement inscrite au doctorat en histoire à l’Université du Québec à Montréal. Elle s’intéresse principalement à la condition de la classe ouvrière hulloise, à la place des femmes dans celle-ci, ainsi qu’à l’activisme féminin. Ses recherches plus récentes portent sur la question des accidents de travail et des intoxications en milieu industriel.

Kathleen Durocher's profile page

Excerpt: Pour sortir les allumettières de l’ombre: Les ouvrières de la manufacture d’allumettes E. B. Eddy de Hull (1854-1928) (by (author) Kathleen Durocher)

« Cerner l’emploi féminin demeure une tâche complexe et imparfaite. Dans le cas des allumettières, très peu d’entre elles sont présentes dans les listes nominatives des recensements canadiens. Un nombre plus considérable y apparait au début du 20e siècle dans un contexte où le travail des jeunes femmes célibataires se voit de plus en plus accepté par la société. »