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Gurd, Mabel Hodgson

Main entryGurd, Mabel Hodgson
Birth placeMontreal, Quebec
Birth date30 April 1884
Death placeLondon, England
Death date4 February 1922
Birth nameMabel Marguerite Hodgson
Married nameGurd
Marital statusmarried
Religious affiliationFree Church, Presbyterian
BiographyBecause Thomas Emerson Hodgson's (1856-1926) position in the family importing business of Hodgson Brothers had led to a transfer out of Quebec City, where he and his wife were both born, daughter Mabel Marguerite Hodgson (1884-1922) was born and raised in Montreal. After completing her schooling, she lived an independent life in her own Montreal apartment which, in the days before World War I, made her something of a "New Woman." In 1910, she married Andrew Douglas Gurd (1885-1948), a Brazilian Traction (Brascan) employee whom Mabel accompanied to the South American continent on at least a couple of occasions. Before her untimely death while still in her thirties, she published two books, A BIT OF A DRIFTER AND OTHER STORIES (1921) and SOUTH SEA LULLABY. One of her best stories, "The Separation," shows her analysis of and empathy for those women, trapped in the child-centred domestic cloister, who lost their sons in the First World War. Mabel's understanding of English character and her attraction to English settings for her short stories may have derived in part from her British ancestry, which drew her back to England on more than one occasion. She was in London long enough to have her second of three children there in 1913. After her death in that city in 1922, Douglas sent the children back to Canada where they were raised by their governess, Miss Munns, in the home of their maternal grandparents. Despite a great deal of written correspondence between the children and Douglas, they would only see their father once or twice again.
TravelBrazil, 1912, 1915; Barbados, 1915 (stops in New York)
Other notesFamily members buried at Mount Royal Cemetery. Mabel's great-grandfather bore the same name as her father, Thomas Emerson Hodgson; it was the former, and not the latter, who immigrated from England. Mary Baillie (Gurd) Stikeman compiled a collection of Mabel's letters, written to family members from 1896-1922, and has published it as a booklet called, "A Fleeting Glimpse."
ResidencesMontreal, Quebec (1884-1911); London, England (1913); Montreal (1917); London (-1922)
Geographic regionsQuebec
Primary genresfiction
Father's nameThomas Emerson Hodgson
Life dates of father12 December 1856, Quebec City - 11 March 1926, Montreal; m. 1880
Father's noteimporter; drygoods merchant; lacrosse player for Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, played before Queen Victoria in 1876
Mother's nameJane ("Jennie") Starke
Life dates of mother26 October 1858, Quebec City - 23 March 1935; m. 1880
Mother's noteraised the Gurd children following Mabel's death
Spouse 1Andrew "Douglas" Gurd
Life dates of spouse 112 November 1885, Montreal, Quebec - 19 September 1948, Eastbourne, Sussex, England
Spouse 1 noteBSc; electrical engineer; banker; remarried following Mabel's death
Marriage 1 date6 January 1910
Marriage 1 placeMontreal, Quebec
Children number3
Children's names and datesMargaret Hodgson (23 May 1911 - 1997); Douglas Stuart (26 April 1913 - 1992); Mary Baillie (20 September 1917 - 13 August 2002), m. to Walter John Cawthorn Stikeman
Biographical references1891 Census of Canada; 1901 Census of Canada; Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956; Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935; England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2005; New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967; special thanks to John Stikeman, grandson of the author, for family contributions
Bibliographic referencesWatters, CHECKLIST OF CANADIAN LITERATURE...1620-1960 (1970), p. 303
Research referencescomplete
Image creditsImage courtesy of John Stikeman, grandson of Mabel Hodgson Gurd.
CopyrightThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) at Please cite Canada's Early Women Writers. SFU Library Digital Collections. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. 1980-2014.