Manx Heroes for International Women's Day

Wed, 08 Mar 2017

Marion Shimmin, Mona Douglas, Sophia Morrison and Elizabeth de Vere
Marion Shimmin, Mona Douglas, Sophia Morrison and Elizabeth de Vere

The 8th of March is International Women's Day; a day in which to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This is a good excuse to remind ourselves of some of the great female figures in Manx culture and history, and some of the resources where you can find out more.

The following list is just a small selection, and there are many great people missed out, but there is little doubt that the ones listed here are certainly worth a place in a list of heroes to reflect on today:

Sophia Morrison (1859-1917)
There is hardly a part of the culture of the Isle of Man today which is not flourishing in the wake of Sophia Morrison's hard work in the fields of Manx language, music, folklore, theatre, literature, dialect and more over a century ago.
More information:
Wikipedia: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophia_Morrison
Manx History App: http://www.manxhistory.com/app/#manx_people/51
Lecture by Dr Breesha Maddrell: https://soundcloud.com/culture-vannin/sophia-morrison-the-life-work-of-a-great-manx-activist

Mona Douglas RBV (1898-1987)
A plaque on the wall between Tynwald Hill and Church describes Mona Douglas as a "Poet, Collector, Visionary." Without her tireless work the Manx cultural landscape would be unrecognisable today. Perhaps her most significant achievement was saving from being forgotten almost the entirety of traditional Manx dancing, but her work in popularising Manx culture and taking it to a wider audience should also be remembered.
More information:
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Douglas
Collected writings: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/~stephen/chiollaghbooksfirstseries/CBPOD02S.pdf
On the collection of Manx dance: http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/~stephen/chiollaghbooks/MD_RESTORING_S.pdf

Constance Radcliffe (1921-2004)
One of the Isle of Man's greatest ever historians, the work of Constance Radcliffe (nee Curphey) on the history of Maughold and Ramsey will perhaps never be bettered.
More information:
RBV entry: http://www.culturevannin.im/rbv_entry_297093.html

Josephine Kermode (1852–1937)
Better known by her pen-name, Cushag, Josephine Kermode was considered the 'queen' of Manx poetry. Her body of work, including poetry and plays, include some of the best and most important works in all of Manx literature today.
More information:
Complete works: http://manxliterature.com/browse-by-author/cushag/
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephine_Kermode

Kathleen Faragher (1904-1974)
Considered by many as second only to T. E. Brown, Kathleen Faragher's stature as a great Manx poet can hardly be doubted when reading any of her Manx dialect verse. Her poems, short plays and stories will surely grow in stature over time, as we realise their literary and historical importance for the Island.
More information:
The Kathleen Faragher project: http://manxliterature.com/kathleen-faragher/
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Faragher

Elizabeth de Vere (1575-1627)
The Isle of Man's first female head of state, Elizabeth de Vere, was Lord of Mann from 1612 to 1627. As well as her importance in Manx history, she also notably served as a Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I of England before her marriage to William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby, an event which has been suggested as the inspiration for William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
More information:
Manx History App: http://www.manxhistory.com/app/#manx_people/5
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_de_Vere,_Countess_of_Derby

Sophia Goulden (1833-1910)
Lonan born and raised, Sophia Goulden's name will appear in every worthwhile book of women's history, for her role as mother of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette Movement.
More information:
The Friends of Sophia Goulden: https://www.facebook.com/SophiaGouldenCampaign/
Manx History App: http://www.manxhistory.com/app/#manx_people/26

Marion Shimmin (1879-1942)
The Isle of Man's first female member of Tynwald, Marion Shimmin, took office in 1930. She led a distinguished political career as MHK for Peel, taking up important positions within Tynwald to fight for social reform.
More information:
Manx History App: http://www.manxhistory.com/app/#manx_people/40

Sage Kinvig (c. 1870–1962)
One of final people then known as "the last native speakers of Manx," Sage Kinvig was able to hand on her knowledge of Yn Ghaelg to future generations, leading to the thriving language community (including new native speakers) which we see on the Isle of Man today.
More information:
Recording of Sage Kinvig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikM4Zv_HWmU

M. L. Wood (1839-1925)
Known as 'the Mother of Manx Music,' M. L. Wood played an incredibly important part in the cultural life of the Isle of Man for decades. Her legacy lives on in the Manx Music Festival ('the Guild') which she established in 1892.
More information:
'An Appreciation' from Manx Quarterly: http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/mquart/mq09852.htm

A good source of information about nearly all of these Manx heroes is the New Manx Worthies book, where you will also find many more great women of Manx history and culture.