Hobnobbing with a Countess and Other Okanagan Adventures: The Diaries of Alice Barrett Parke, 1891-1900

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Jo Fraser Jones
UBC Press, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
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In 1891, Alice Barrett moved from Port Dover, Ontario, to the Okanagan Valley to keep house for her brother and uncle. She soon married Harold Parke, a former NWMP officer, and spent the next decade recording her experiences in a series of notebooks sent to her Ontario family. Few women's diaries have survived from that time, and Barrett Parke recalls a period of profound transformation in a region newly opened to white settlement by the railway. She was an astute observer and an exceptional writer, and her diaries provide invaluable insights into work, health, religion, race and gender relations, and women's lives. On a personal level, her writings show the conflict between her independent spirit and women's traditional roles. Although wary of the emerging feminism of the time, Alice was co-opted into the "vice-regal circle" of the Countess of Aberdeen, who stayed at nearby Coldstream Ranch, and became the first corresponding secretary of the Vernon chapter of the National Council of Women. Selected as a BC Book for Everybody.
 

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Contents

Arriving in
3
At Home in Vernon
57
How many people I have got to know Vernon Friends
78
Health
110
Some Members of the Barrett
133
Oh I wish I could hear someone who would stir me
151
A Husband of Unusual
163
Life at the BX Ranch
187
Attitudes
226
Early Feminism in Western
234
People really seem to be getting sanguine over the mining
257
The End of the Diaries
263
enjoy reading these papersThe Final Years
276
Notes
290
Appendices
332
Index
340

Confessions to the Diaries
205

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About the author (2002)

Jo Fraser Jones (editor) lives in Vernon, B.C. She is a contributor to Framing our Past: Canadian Women's History in the Twentieth Century and has published articles on regional history.

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