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Irene Currie Love

 At the turn of the nineteenth century, women were beginning to leave their roles as strictly housewives, and were entering the workforce. One of the fields they were entering was journalism.

 Journalism was still primarily a man’s field of work; however, due to its significant impact on both man and women, it was becoming more gender equal quicker than other fields of work. Greater technology in communications meant news being reported was more timely and relevant to the Canadians reading it, and journalism was becoming a very important industry.

As well, there was the creation of many wholly Canadian newspapers across the nation; there were now hundreds of papers for both smaller towns and larger cities, and many were circulating daily. Papers now included advertising sections, and spanned a number of pages to include different daily and weekly features that had become staples for any paper, many of which are still common in papers today.

Trips were often being funded to allow newsmen to travel to all kinds of different events and report for their newspapers. This opportunity, however, was still not being afforded to any of the newswomen working in Canada. This all changed with the creation of the Canadian Women’s Press Club in 1904, after a group of 16 women were granted a fully-financed trip to the World Exposition  in St. Louis. In their private car on the train ride home, these women formed a club that vowed to assist and promote women in the field of journalism. One of the founding members making  this trip and beginning this powerful movement  of Canadian female journalists, was Irene Currie Love.

   Irene Currie Love was born on March 14, 1880, in London, Ontario. Her parents were Francis Love, a Scottish immigrant who had been born in Saltscoat, Scotland in 1850, and Jessie Campbell Currie, a native of Canada, born in London, Ontario in 1856. The couple were married on December 22, 1875 at the ages of 25 and 19 respectively. At the time of her birth, Irene’s father, Francis, worked as a Barrister, and later a Magistrate  (known in the community as Magistrate Love), and her mother, Jessie, remained in the home. Irene was born into a young family, and by observation of census records it is clear that the family grew to have many children throughout Irene’s childhood.

Irene was raised and educated in London, Ontario. She attended the Central Collegiate Institute in London, and after winning a contest for The London Advertiser, Irene regularly acted as a freelance contributor to the newspaper. Due to her contributions to the paper Irene was awarded a trip to attend and report on the happenings at the St. Louis World Fair in June 1904, with 15 female journalists from other Canadian newspapers. The London Advertiser was to send a female member of its staff to attend the trip; however, in 1904 the newspaper did not have any women officially on staff.


The 16 female journalists were treated like royalty, receiving fresh-cut flowers and 5 o’clock tea in their private train car during the 10-day trip. The group worked hard during this trip, reporting on the Fair to many Canadian and American news outlets. It was on this monumental trip that Irene and the female journalists formed the Canadian Women’s Press Club. This would have been an incredible experience for any female journalist, and for Irene to be able to participate as a young up-and-coming journalist, it was a chance to meet many experienced and well-regarded women.

  From the Central College Institute, Irene won a scholarship to the University of Toronto. Upon her graduation, she joined the advertising staff of The Toronto Star. Irene later became editor of the  women’s page in The Toronto World (no longer in print). From there, Irene worked in many different positions, from testing out freelance writing in New York, to working on the staff if The Hamilton Spectator. Irene was later invited to Calgary to do publicity work for the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was the first woman to work in this specialized field. From there Irene joined The Montreal Star. She wrote under the byline Margaret Currie, and through her work in Montreal she made a great impression on any editors who may still have been wary of women working in journalism.

    In 1914, shortly after the outbreak of WW1, Irene received an important opportunity within her journalism career. After suggesting to the managing editor of The Montreal Star at the time that the paper organize a department dedicated to helping the war effort, Irene was asked to take over the women’s page of The Montreal Star for the duration of the war. The column, originally titled “Economy Corner”, was very popular among women readers, and the column soon became a full page receiving an average of 65 letters per day from readers. These letters suggested ideas and requested advice on situations that women were commonly facing during this time period. Margaret Currie gave advice on many issues to wives, mothers  housewives, and female readers of the workforce faced  during the early 20th century, discussing everything from how to be a good mother., to making Swiss cream. Eventually the page became known as Margaret Currie’s Page”. During the 1920s, 1930s and wartimes Margaret Currie acted as a counsellor for women in Montreal, helping them through all kinds of situations, and providing them with advice that was free of ethnic and racial discrimination. By means of her page Margaret Currie became a very important figure within the newspaper and within Montreal society at the time. 


 Throughout her movement and success within journalism, Irene remained very involved within the Canadian Women’s Press Club. Montreal newspaper women had been holding informal meetings throughout 1914; however, it was not until June 1915 that the Montreal branch of the CWPC was formally organized. Irene became a charter member, and eventually the president of the branch, As well, Irene was elected Quebec Vice-President of the CWPC on October 7, 1920, at the club’s triennial convention.

 Irene made many appearances in the Montreal Gazette (no longer in print), participating in many social gatherings, hosting many events held by Montreal branch of the CWPC, and speaking about different topics affecting Canadian women to visiting clubs and groups. Her efforts in establishing the Montreal branch of the CWPC were successful, and by 1924, membership has increased to 48 members.

While her life in journalism flourished, changes were occurring in her personal life and family life as well. On January 14, 1911, Irene’s father, Francis, passed away when her mum Jessie was 56 years old. The 1911 Census reveals that Irene was no longer living at her family home during this time, and her mother was now widowed and living at home with a few of her grown children. Jessie passed away a few years later, on June 16, 1915.

  On September 25, 1912, Irene married Mr. Eldred James Archibald. Eldred Archibald was born  in Eastern Ontario was raised in the town if Clinton, Ontario, attending Clinton High School before entering the University of Toronto. Eldred worked in journalism as well, and worked for a number of years as a colleague in the Press Gallery in Ottawa representing The  Toronto Star, before  moving on to work as executive editor and editorial writer for The Montreal Star. Mr. and Mrs. Eldred Archibald were married for 33 years until  Irene’s death in 1945. The couple never had any children, although Irene was able to give much advice to the readers of her women’s column in The Montreal Star in the topics of parenthood and raising children.

In her later years Irene’s health was poor and she  was confined to her home. However, she  continued to write for her column in The Montreal Star. Irene Currie Love passed away in October  of 1945, just after the end of World War 11, at the age of 65. Through her life, Irene  encouraged young journalist to get a good education and lots of experience in order to be successful in the field. She played an important role in breaking down many barriers women faced in the field of journalism, and for convincing both the journalism world and the Canadian public of  the capabilities of women to become extraordinary journalists. Margaret Currie’s messages from her page in The Montreal Star  encouraged women to take credit for their own actions and live life in a way that brought them happiness and success.

Her assistance in founding the Montreal branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club and developing the club over its first 40 years is noticeable through events she hosted and the numerous images she appears in, supporting social groups and participating in the club’s functions. Ultimately Irene Currie Love was a very important figure for any Canadian women of the 20th century, and continues to be an empowering individual for people today.

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