International Woman’s Day

This Week in JPL History: Way Back Play Back – the Norman Berman Children’s Library.

This Week in JPL History: Way Back Play Back – the Norman Berman Children’s Library.

One of the true treasures of the Library has always been its Children’s library. Through there wasn’t a formal space dedicated to children in the Library until 1951, children’s books were always present. In 1919 made up 10% of the Library’s overall collection. Today, the Norman Berman Children’s Library boasts over 30,000 titles. A long cherished program of the Children’s library has been Storytime. Running consistently through many of the years that the JPL has been open, the program has long encouraged keen readers and introduced them to new authors and [...]



Sarah Fischer – International Opera Star in the International Press

Sarah Fischer – International Opera Star in the International Press

Sarah Fischer, while born in Paris, spent her formative years growing up in Montreal, where she was to kick off a highly successful career as an opera singer on the international stage, whre she was known as a Canadian soprano. Good reviews of her performances abounded in the press, both in Montreal and abroad, in Europe, where she studied and performed extensively before returning to Canada. Throughout her career her praises were sung from the pages of major newspapers: “Her voice never lacked warmth or [...]



Ethel Stark and the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra – The First Canadian Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

Ethel Stark and the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra – The First Canadian Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

On October 22nd, 1947, the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor and co-founder Ethel Stark, became the first Canadian orchestra ever to perform at the illustrious Carnegie Hall in New York. The performance, which was comprised of Weber’s Euryanthe Overture; Sir Ernest MarcMilaln’s Sketches on Canadian Airs; Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration; and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, was very well-received by the New York critics and audience, with members of the press saying things like, “Miss Stark and her energetic eighty [...]



Ethel Stark, 1910-2012

Ethel Stark, 1910-2012

Ethel Stark, violinist, conductor, musical pioneer and teacher, passed away on February 16, 2012.  Stark was born in Montreal on August 25, 1910. She was a laureat of the Quebec Academy of Music, recipient of the Curtis diploma, fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and the recipient of an honourary degree (LLD) from Concordia University, Montreal.  In 1934 Ethel Stark became the first Canadian woman to perform as soloist in a broadcasted program across the USA.  In 1940 she founded the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra, [...]



The Woman’s Page – December 29, 1916

The Woman’s Page – December 29, 1916

December 29, 1916 “Your feminist movement does not only seek the vote but tries to inculcate this very spirit of equality…” Given how dreadfully old-fashioned all this business of wanting to be taken places sounded, was MLA out of step in a feminist forum, complaining that men were failing to play prince to her princess?  “A Mere Man”, for example, rings in on the Dec. 29 issue to report sightings of a new species of bird that would surely render old squawking chickens like MLA [...]



The Woman’s Page – December 15, 1916

The Woman’s Page – December 15, 1916

December 15, 1916 On December 1st, 1916, the “Woman’s Page” featured an appraisal of the dating scene in Montreal by the American friend, called “M.L.A.” in the article, of Jessie Abrams (re-visit the article here).  The article was quite critical of the dating habits of Jewish men in Montreal and because of this received some biting responses from men and women alike in later articles, such as the response below on December 15th. The language MLA used — of “duty” and “payment” — prompted many [...]



The Woman’s Page – December 1, 1916

The Woman’s Page – December 1, 1916

December 1, 1916 “I found the Jewish girls well-read, entertaining, extremely well-dressed, and very much neglected” This concluded a frank appraisal of Jewish-Montreal’s dating scene provided by “M.L.A,” American friend of Jessie Abrams, following a stay in the city. While M.L.A was impressed with the overall hospitality of Montrealers, she found something amiss in the social economy between young men and women who lived there, saying that she was glad to be returning to her home country “where girls are regarded as comrades and not [...]



Jewish Junior Welfare League

Jewish Junior Welfare League

The Jewish Junior Welfare League (JJWL) was founded in 1926 by 26 young ladies of upper class Jewish Montreal who were dedicated to the ideals of community service.  The League’s objectives initially were: To train and educate its members as able volunteers. To sustain by means of volunteer service and financial assistance a number of worthy projects needed by the community and the city. To keep the members enlightened on all issues within the scope of the social, economic and cultural welfare of the community. [...]



The Woman’s Page – November 24, 1916

November 24, 1916 “Mrs. Stokes is well-known as an ardent Socialist, feminist and humanitarian, and for the romance which in 1905 culminated in her marriage to James Graham Phelps Stokes, New York millionaire.” At the end of “The Woman’s Page,” following letters and editorials, one could find the usual society page announcements (e.g. “Mr. and Mrs. L.E. Manolson were guests at the Hotel Astor during their stay in New York,” “Miss Blanche Semmelman of Dayton, Ohio, is visiting Miss Flora Ash, Montrose ave., Westmount, and [...]



The Woman’s Page – November 24, 1916

The Woman’s Page – November 24, 1916

November 24, 1916 “We would feel dreadfully hurt if somebody called us aliens, and yet some have been acting like aliens.  The Jewish women of Canada must cast off their apathy and take part in our country’s cause.” Thus the author of “The Woman’s Page” of the Canadian Jewish Chronicle chastises her Canadian Jewish sisters for neglecting their duty to support the war effort in 1916 in an editorial named “Our Jewish Overseas Company.”  She compares their failing to the concerted efforts of their British [...]