More Than a Footnote

  • Pages:328
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:Canadian Fur Trade, Metis women, Canadian women biographies, feminism in Canada, Canadian history
  • Available:10/04/2022

There are women throughout Canada’s history who when faced with a locked door, have looked for a key—or a battering ram. Award-winning writer Karin Wells tells the stories of women like the fierce and iconoclastic Mina Benson Hubbard, who finished the mission to map northern Labrador that had killed her explorer husband, and Vera Peters, MD, who revolutionized treatments for Hodgkins lymphoma and breast cancer. Or the painter Paraskeva Clark, child of the Bolshevik Revolution, who rattled staid Toronto when she took Norman Bethune as a lover and spoke out for art as a tool of social change. And have you heard of Charlotte Small, a Métis woman who canoed and trekked 42,000 km—more than three times further than the American explorers Lewis and Clark—and had five babies along the way?

Some were outrageous, some were unassuming, most were not polite, but they all ignored the voices that said women could not paddle a canoe, program a computer, understand the universe, or cure a disease. They lived big lives—often at great cost—and they made a difference.

"Wells has crafted an essential, engaging read, filled with captivating tales of inspiring women who deserve much wider recognition. With extensive research woven into sparkling prose, this book provides an engrossing window into the lives of women who dared to step beyond the bounds of acceptability. But the book goes beyond mere historical biography to lift the curtain on the research process. Wells makes the astute observation that men’s lives are saved in the public record, while so many women’s stories remain ensconced in family storage. That means uncovering the full stories of women’s lives often involves tracking down relatives, knocking on doors, digging in closets and chests, and wiping away a lot of dust."

– —Olivia Campbell, New York Times bestselling author of Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine

"A brilliant astrophysicist, a world-renowned cellist, a pioneering computer programmer—you’ve never heard of these early twentieth century Canadian women? Karin Wells makes their stories sparkle; I burned with indignation to read of the chauvinist oppression they endured, but my heart leaped up—and yours will, too—to learn of such intrepid women whose light has been hidden until now."

– —Michele Landsberg, award-winning journalist and author of Writing the Revolution

"Nobody brings history to life quite like Karin Wells, whose work on the page is as vivid and compelling as her work on the radio. Her subjects in More Than a Footnote leap right off the page to challenge our notions of Canadian history and its characters, illuminating the accomplishments of remarkable women in arts, science, politics, and more. These stories are a gift."

– —Kerry Clare, author of Waiting for a Star to Fall

“The book makes fascinating reading, not least of all because Wells writes so well… Like her documentaries, her book is incredibly well researched and her prose sings, bringing these mostly forgotten women to life.”

– The Peterborough Examiner