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Monday, January 31, 2011

Rose Fyleman Visits Winnipeg (1929)

We get a snapshot of the Social Scene in Winnipeg in this extract out of the Manitoba Free Press (Dec. 5, 1929). In particular, the author Rose Fyleman, at age 52, paid a visit to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to speak to a couple of Women's clubs of the day. She spoke Wed. Dec. 4 to the Women's Canadian club, followed by tea as a guest of the Winnipeg branch, Canadian "Women's Press club." Finally, she was wined and dined by Mrs. Harrison Gilmour in the evening. As described in the "Social and Personal" section of the Manitoba Free Press (which two years later was to become the Winnipeg Free Press), "Pink roses centred the table, which was lighted by sunset tapers."

Here is an extract of the original newspaper article from 1929:

"Social and Personal" Manitoba Free Press Dec. 5, 1929, p.10

Mrs. Harrison Gilmour entertained
at dinner last evening in honor of
Mrs. George Galt and Miss Rose Fyleman.
Pink roses centred the table,
which was lighted by sunset tapers.

The guests included Mrs. George
Galt, Miss Rose Fyleman, Mr. and Mrs.
Rupert Reece, Mr. and Mrs. Conrad S.
Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Athol McBean, Mr.
and Mrs. Lally Dennison, Miss Joyce
Marples, Col. Godson-Godson, Col.
Hugh Osler and Mr. W. A. Murphy.

* * * * * * * * *

A large attendance of members of
the Women's Canadian club enjoyed a
delightful hour yesterday afternoon,
listening to an address entitled "Poetry
and Children for One Hundred Years,"
and to the sympathetic reading of
poems for children.
Miss Rose Fyleman, famous writer
of stories and poems for children
and a contributor to "Punch," was the
speaker. The meeting, held in the
banquet hall, Royal Alexandra hotel,
was presided over by Mrs. P. C. Shepherd,
president of the club.
Miss Fyleman referred to the days
when poetry for children dealt with
fearsome tales of everlasting punishment
rather than the whimsical beauty
and interests of child life, as today.
With regard to the importance of
poetry and the teaching of it in schools,
Miss Fyleman stated that in her opinion
the future of the country lies, to a
great extent, in the hands of the school
teachers. She advised encouraging
children to write poetry, but not publishing
collections of a child's poetry
which is not of literary value other
than for use in texts on child psychology.
The importance of not attempting
to write down to a child, but
rather of writing simple subjects and
enhancing them with the romantic,
the mysterious and the incident not
yet experienced by the readers, was
stressed. Miss Flyeman read favorite
poems from famous writers and several
of her own beautiful poems.

* * * * * * * * *

Miss Rose Fyleman of London, Eng.,
authoress of children's poems, was
the guest of the Winnipeg branch,
Canadian "Women's Press club" at tea
Wednesday afternoon at the Lodge on
Hargrave Street. Miss Fyleman chat-
ted informally with the members on
the writing of poems. Miss Kennethe
, vice-president, presided. Mrs.
C. S. Riley was also a guest of the
club on this occasion. Miss Thelma
Le Cocq poured tea.

Just delightful... That same evening—according to an interview that the CBC conducted many years later with a former president of one of those clubs—Rose Fyleman was inspired, after a walk to the Manitoba Parliament Building, to write a descriptive poem about "Winnipeg at Christmas." That poem was recited by several generations of children at Christmastime. A link to the poem can be found here: In Winnipeg at Christmas.