Thursday, December 18, 2014

165th Birthday of Henrietta Edwards

Today's Google Doodle is to celebrate the 16th Birthday of Henrietta Edwards, a Montreal native who went on to have a huge impact on Canadian Politics, and Woman's Suffrage in general.

Not to steal the thunder of the Watch House, who usually takes the Google Doodle as a starting point for gaming inspiration, but I felt I could not allow this one to pass, due to direct link of this personage to Montreal, and the 1920s.

Henrietta came to be known around Canada as one of the Famous Five. For those outside Canada, that is not from the books by Enid Blyton, but a group of 5 women who fought for, and won, the right of Canadian women to be considered as persons in 1929.

Amongst her other life works, she was also an author, and the founder member of the Victorian Order of Nurses.

She was born in Montreal in 1849, and lived there until she moved with her family to Saskatchewan in 1883. From there she lived in various parts of Canada (the Famous Five all met and worked in Alberta), so from a gaming point of view, she was in Montreal during the gaslight era, but was not known in general till after she left Quebec.

The whole aspect of feminism in gaming of course is a hot topic currently, and could of course go in many directions, so I'm going to stick to what direct effect and themes we can use at the table.

From a gaming standpoint therefore, she may be someone gaslight players meet when playing in Montreal, but by the time the classic era comes round, she has moved elsewhere. That is not to say that the effects of what she and many others were doing at that time to improve the representation of women in politics and society was not being felt in the city and surrounding province. Indeed, full Women's Suffrage did not take place in Quebec till the 1940s. How to pull this into a scenario?

One way could be to look at this kind of movement as a part of a characters background for one of the players. Most female investigators, by dint of them being pro-active investigators, tend to be at the forefront of this type of movement anyway, whether it is through academic advancement, or in other realms of society, hence membership of a group or association like this would not only allow for a web of contacts around the country, but as a possible front for another organisation, either Investigator based, or if you want to turn things on their heads, a cult. Maybe a group has taken things to extremes, and turned to Lilith for help with their cause. their good intentions thereby twisted by her influence. Isis is another Goddess who is referenced openly, both in occult groups, and otherwise, usually in relationship to female strength and wisdom, so groups relating to her may move openly in society, and be either a force for good or ill.

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