Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen by Jean BarmanSojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen by Jean Barman

Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueen

byJean Barman

Paperback | October 1, 2004

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Shortly after the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1886, two young sisters from Pictou County, Nova Scotia, took the train west to British Columbia. Jessie and Annie McQueen each intended to teach there for three years and then return home. In fact they remained sojourners between British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario for much of their lives.

Drawing on family correspondence and supported by extensive engagement with current scholarship, Jean Barman tells the sisters' stories and, in doing so, offers a new interpretation of early settlement across Canada. As did many other women of these years, Jessie and Annie McQueen remained bound by daughterhood's obligations and sisterhood's bonds even as they got involved in their new communities. Barman takes seriously women as sojourners and uses Jessie and Annie McQueen's letters home to evoke the boundless energy and enthusiasm shown by the thousands of women who helped to form Canada's frontiers.

Like other sojourners, the McQueen sisters did not come to their new home empty handed. They brought with them a distinctly Scottish Presbyterian way of life, consistent with ideas of the nation being promoted in the public realm by fellow Nova Scotians such as George Monro Grant. Confident in their assumptions, including the central role of religion in the formation of a grand national vision, women like these sisters were critical in uniting Canada from coast to coast. Broad in its critical approach and nuanced in its interpretations, Sojourning Sisters is a major contribution to the field of life writing and to the political, gender, and social history of Canada.

Jean Barman is a professor emeritus in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, and is the author of the acclaimed study The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia (1996).
Title:Sojourning Sisters: The Lives and Letters of Jessie and Annie McQueenFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.01 × 6 × 0.97 inPublished:October 1, 2004Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing DivisionLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802048773

ISBN - 13:9780802048776

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Editorial Reviews

‘The narrative in Sojourning Sisters is carried by the extensive and vibrant correspondence between the various family members … Thanks to Barman’s scholarship, and the wealth of primary sources on which she was able to draw, we can now appreciate the role that two engaging individuals played in the shaping of a nation.’

- Charlotte Gray, Canadian Historical Review