MAG Collection

Irene Parlby’s League of Nations Dress and Jean Reed’s Plaid Skirt

Irene Parlby’s League of Nations Dress and Miss Jean Reed’s Plaid Skirt.

LeIrene Parlby's League of Nations black dress from a profile view.

Irene Parlby’s League of Nations Dress

Irene Parlby is well known in Alberta for her work with the United Farm Women of Alberta, and as a Minister without Portfolio in the Alberta Legislature. She was also a member of the Famous Five and helped bring the vote to women in Canada. In 1930, Parlby was asked by Prime Minister R. B. Bennett to be one of three Canadian delegates to the Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva. She wore this dress at the League of Nations where she gave a speech on Canadian identity and the need to help immigrants integrate into the larger society. Her suggestions in that speech formed the basis of Canada’s modern citizenship ceremony.

To learn more about Irene Parlby and the Famous 5 check out the Famous 5 Foundation’s website where they talk about the women, the story, the ‘Persons Case‘ and also the F5 flawed beliefs.

Gift of Mrs. Beatrice Parlby


Miss Jean Reed’s Plaid Skirt

Miss Jean Cullen Reed was born in England around 1860. The late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in England were full of parliamentary reform and eventually women began demanding their rights to vote in England. Jean Reed was at the fore of the Suffragette Movement and was a friend of the movement’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst.

In 1910, Jean Reed came to Canada and eventually settled in Alix where she became the housekeeper for Irene Parlby’s parents, Colonel and Mrs. Marryat. When Col. Marryat passed away in 1915 and Mrs. Marryat moved to British Columbia, Jean Reed stayed on as the housekeeper and life-long companion to Irene’s youngest sister, Sheila.

Irene and Jean ran in similar political circles; they were both members of the Alix Country Women’s Club and were the first two Provincial Presidents of the United Farm Women of Alberta. It is quite possible that Irene and Jean influenced each other regarding women’s suffrage.

Gift of Mrs. Beatrice Parlby


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