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History Women

Sweet Canadian Girls Abroad

A Transnational History of Stage and Screen Actresses

by (author) Cecilia Morgan

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Women, Performance, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022

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By the late nineteenth century, Canadian women had begun forging careers as professional actresses, appearing not just in Canada, but in the United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. They played an integral role in theatrical networks and helped shape transnational middle-class culture.

Taking the approach of feminist collective biography, Sweet Canadian Girls Abroad writes the lives of women who, despite their renown during their lifetimes, have been all too easily forgotten. Cecilia Morgan examines these “sweet girls’” childhoods, their experiences of work, touring, and company management, the plays in which they appeared, and the celebrity they enjoyed. In so doing she shows how women helped convey messages about race, empire, and white identity in popular culture. Investigating a period from the 1870s to the 1940s, Morgan demonstrates how actresses evolved within a period of change in theatre, how they coped with new challenges, and how they brought their craft to new media. Paying particular attention to the careers of Margaret Bannerman, Tony Award-winner Beatrice Lillie, Margaret Anglin, Julia Arthur, and Frances Doble, among many others, this book explores how being an actress abroad became work as well as profession for Canadian women.

Extensively researched and generously illustrated, Sweet Canadian Girls Abroad argues for the importance of theatre, both to Canadian women’s history and to our understanding of Canada in a transnational world.

About the author

Cecilia Morgan is Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She is the author of Commemorating Canada: History, Heritage, and Memory, 1850–1990s (2016), as well as Creating Colonial Pasts: History, Memory, and Commemoration in Southern Ontario, 1860–1980 (2015).

Cecilia Morgan's profile page

Other titles by Cecilia Morgan