Duncan, Sara Jeannette National Historic Person
Sara Jeannette Duncan
© Johnston and Hoffman / Library and archives Canada / C-046447

Sara Jeannette Duncan was designated a national historic person in September 2014.

Historical importance: A well-known figure both in Canadian literature and in the history of women in journalism.

Commemorative plaque: 96 West Street, Brantford, Ontario

Pioneering journalist in the late 19th century, Sara Jeannette Duncan challenged social and political norms by examining women’s changing roles, the need for a national culture, and the way Canadian politics worked. After she left Canada in 1890, she lived in India and England, and wrote more than 20 popular books. Known for astute social observation and her skilful use of irony and wit, she produced realistic novels with strong female characters. The Imperialist (1904), a Canadian classic, featured a fictionalized portrait of her hometown of Brantford and incisive commentary on the political complexities of her time.

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