As the founding president of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), Madge Robertson Watt (1868-1948) turned imperialism on its head. During the First World War, Watt imported the "made-in-Canada" concept of Women's Institutes - voluntary associations of rural women - to the British countryside. In the interwar years, she capitalized on the success of the Institutes to help create the ACWW, a global organization of rural women. A feminist imperialist and a liberal internationalist, Watt was central to the establishment of two organizations which remain active around the world today. In A Great Rural Sisterhood, Linda M. Ambrose uses a wealth of archival materials from both sides of the Atlantic to tell the story of Watt's remarkable life, from her early years as a Toronto journalist to her retirement and memorialization after the Second World War.
Linda M. Ambrose is a professor in the Department of History at Laurentian University.
Introduction: Framing the Life of Madge Robertson Watt 1. Formative Years: Family Influences and University Life 2. Scripting the New Woman: Writer and Editor 3. Playing Multiple Parts: Family, Society and Sorrow 4. Role Reversal: From Colonial Widow to Imperial War Hero 5. On the World Stage: Forging International Networks 6. Sidelined by War: Waning Influence, Denial, and Death 7. Conclusion: Interpreting the Significance of Madge Watt