For the week of September 16, 2019.
On September 18, 1861, journalist and women’s rights advocate Ella Cora Hind was born in Toronto, Ontario.
Hind grew up on an Ontario farm, where she was raised by her aunt and paternal grandfather. When she was 21 years old, she moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba. There, she tried to enter the field of journalism, but editor W.F. Luxton refused her a job at the Manitoba Free Press on the grounds that the newspaper business “was hard, often rough work, late hours, and sometimes involved meeting not quite nice people.” In other words, it was not suitable for a young woman. She persevered, publishing articles as a freelance journalist, while transitioning from typist at the law firm of Macdonald, Tupper and Dexter to owner of the first stenography business in western Canada, which helped her build a network of contacts.
Hind had established herself as an agricultural journalist by 1898, when prominent Toronto publisher Colonel John Bayne Maclean asked her to survey prairie wheat crops. Heavy rains threatened the harvest. Worried that farmers would not be able to pay for their goods, eastern Canadian wholesalers decided to stop shipments to the prairies. Shipments only resumed after Hind released a reassuring a report that accurately predicted a healthy yield. The economy of the West relied on the continual accuracy of the annual crop inspections Hind continued for approximately 30 years. Her varied agricultural experience earned her international recognition and the position of Dominion Food Controller during the First World War.
In 1901, more than 20 years after she first applied to the newspaper, Hind became agricultural editor at the Manitoba Free Press, a position she held until 1937. From 1905 to 1922, she also wrote “The Woman’s Quiet Hour,” a monthly column in the Western Home Monthly, published as a supplement to the Manitoba Free Press. A strong advocate for organized labour, she often used her column to argue for improved working conditions for women.
Hind also advocated for women’s rights and social reforms as an early member of the Winnipeg’s branch of the Canadian Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. She was a founding member of the Manitoba Political Equality League and, in 1893, played a prominent role in the first mock parliament at the Bijou Theatre in Winnipeg. In addition, Hind was the founding president, in 1907, of the Winnipeg branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.
E. Cora Hind received many honours and accolades from agricultural and livestock organizations, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba. She is a designated national historic person.