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Beautiful Joe

24 Oct

As an inspiration for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in November, I would like to introduce you to a great author who has known success and is behind great works as a conservationist.

Margaret Marshall Saunders

Margaret Marshall Saunders. Source: Harkins and Johnstone (1902) Little Pilgramages among the Women Who Have Written Famous Books, L.C. Page & Co., Boston

Margaret Marshall Saunders was born on May 13, 1861 in the village of Milton, Nova Scotia; she died on February 15, 1947, in Toronto, Ontario. She is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.

She was a teacher in Nova Scotia who thought something was missing in her life.  Her friends and family encouraged her to write a novel.  She did just that.  Her first published novel was a melodramatic romantic story, My Spanish Sailor. [A Tale.]. Afraid of how other women would react to this book, she published under the name Marshall Saunders. And so began her writing career.

A chance encounter with William Moore in Meaford, Ontario, inspired her to write his real-life tale of a dog rescued from a brutal owner who clipped his ears and tail. The book is Beautiful Joe. It told the story of an abused dog from his point of view. Not only did her 1893 story win first prize in an American Humane Society competition, but Saunders was the first woman – the first Canadian – to sell more than a million copies. Her book was also translated in over fourteen languages!

“I don’t believe that a dog could have fallen into a happier home than I did.”

How’s that for inspiration?

In 1934, Saunders was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). Together with fellow Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Saunders co-founded the Maritime branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.

Following the success of Beautiful Joe, Saunders wrote more than twenty other stories, a number of which provided social commentary on such things as the abolition of child labor, slum clearance, and the improvement of playground facilities.

In 1994, the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society was formed to celebrate the life and story of Beautiful Joe and the achievements of Margaret Marshall Saunders. A park dedicated to Beautiful Joe has been established in Meaford, Ontario, Canada.

2014 Participant of the NaNoWriMo challenge

Natioanl Novel Writing Month http://nanowrimo.org

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14 responses to “Beautiful Joe

  1. purrfectkitties

    October 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 Much love, Roxy & Tigerlino ❤

     
    • tkmorin

      October 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Thank you, Roxy and Tigerlino! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

       
  2. Maurice A. Barry

    October 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    An author I was previously unaware of. Thanks for the introduction. Coincidentally she’s almost exactly 100 years older than me 🙂

     
  3. Yvonne

    October 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Canada has had (and still has) some wonderful female writers.

     
    • tkmorin

      October 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Yes we do 🙂

       
  4. noirfifre

    October 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to Marshall and her works.

     
    • tkmorin

      October 24, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      You’re welcome!

       
  5. cat

    October 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Never heard of any of this … so it’s a very fascinating read … thank you for sharing … Love cat . http://ckpeacemaker.wordpress.com/ and http://catsruledogsdroole.blogspot.com/

     
  6. First Night Design

    October 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Glorious to read about women such her.

     
    • tkmorin

      October 24, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Isn’t it, though? 🙂

       
  7. Maggie Wilson

    October 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    thank you for this – I hadn’t heard about the author, but I am familiar with the story. It is free online at Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2818/2818-h/2818-h.htm

     
    • tkmorin

      October 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Fantastic! Thank you for that. And thanks for dropping in, too! 🙂

       

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