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Home > Artist Database > Bio-bibliographic Database > PHILLIPS, Mary Martha "May".

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PHILLIPS, Mary Martha "May".

Born
Montreal, 1856
Died
Montreal, 1937
Biography synopsis
Mary Martha (May) Phillips studied at the Art Association of Montreal and then at the Art Students League in New York City, after which she taught at St. John’s School before returning to Montreal. From 1890 - 1909 she exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, the Ontario Society of Artists, the Women's Art Association and the Royal Canadian Academy. The Royal Canadian Academy sent one of her works to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. In 1892 Phillips and Harriette J. MacDonnell were co-principals of Victoria School of Art in Montreal. By 1895 Phillips was the sole principal of the newly named School of Art and Applied Design. In 1894, Phillips was a key founder of The Women's Art Association (Montreal Branch), and its successor, the Women's Art Society (1907), serving as president for ten years. She worked with Mary Ella Dignam of Toronto on the sub-committee of Arts, Handicrafts, Drama and Music to produce the NCWC book, Women of Canada, for the Paris International Exhibition of 1900. She and Dignam publicly split over handicrafts promotion in Canada. In 1905 Phillips and Alice Peck co-founded the Canadian Handicrafts Guild (CHG) in Montreal, with Phillips its first president. Over 30 years, Phillips worked to foster Canadian arts and crafts by establishing a sales shop in downtown Montreal and a national, annual crafts exhibition at the Art Association of Montreal. She traveled throughout western Canada in 1910 promoting new branches of the CHG and collecting crafts for the annual exhibition. In the 1920s she supervised craft classes for immigrant children in Montreal, and headed the CHG education committee. Honoured in her obituary for founding the Junior Red Cross, today Phillips is recognized for her leadership in several arts organizations and her significant contribution to the Canadian Handicrafts Guild. (Special thanks to Ellen Easton McLeod for researching this artist.)
File & Archive locations
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Writings about
"Art Exhibition: Water Colours, Statuary and Miniatures." Montreal Daily Witness 6 Apr. 1897.
"Art Notes." Week (Toronto) 13 Apr. 1894: 470.
"Bright Scene at Art Gallery: Auspicious Opening of the Spring Exhibit Last Night." Star (Montreal) 5 Apr. 1898.
"Exhibition: Some of the Striking Pictures of the Exhibition." Star (Montreal) 2 Apr. 1897.
"Junior Red Cross Founder is Dead." Daily Star (Montreal) 19 Apr. 1937.
"La Kermesse: Galérie des Beaux-Arts." La Presse (Montreal) 16 Oct. 1895.
"Le Salon de L'Art Association." Les Nouvelles 11 Apr. 1897: 5-6.
"Les Petites Expositions." La Patrie (Montreal) 19 Nov. 1925: 18.
"Montreal Society." Toronto Saturday Night 23.10 (18 Dec. 1909): 19.
"Mrs. Jas. Peck, Noted Social Worker, was Associated with this Community." Lachute Watchman 11 Nov. 1943: 7.
"The Art Gallery: Further Review of the Exhibition's Pictures." Herald (Montreal) 30 Apr. 1892.
"The First Studio Day." Gazette (Montreal) 4 Nov. 1895: 6.
"The Spring Exhibition." Gazette (Montreal) 28 Feb. 1895: 2.
Alfoldy, Sandra. Crafting Identity: The Development of Professional Fine Craft in Canada. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005.
Alfoldy, Sandra. "An Intricate Web(b): American Influences on Professional Craft in Canada, 1964-1974." Artichoke 13.4 (2002): 16-20.
Arcadia Magazine. "Victoria School of Art." Arcadia Magazine 1.3 (Nov. 1892): 260.
Bannerman, Jean. Leading Ladies Canada 1639-1967. Galt, Ontario: Highland Press, 1967.
Bell, Celina. "McCord Exhibition Celebrates a Century of Fostering Feminist Artistic Achievement: 100 Years of Women in Art." Gazette (Montreal) 8 Jan. 1994.
Bertrand, Magdeleine. Les Femmes artistes du Québec de 1875 à 1925. Montreal: Université de Montréal, 1990.
Black, Alexander. "Women Artists in Canada, With Original Illustrations by the Women's Art Association of Canada." Monthly Illustrator 2.6 (1894): 178-82.
Bottomley, Mrs. H. "Report from Mrs. H. Bottomley on the Winnipeg Exhibition, and Her Visit to the Doukhobor Settlement". Canadian Handicrafts Guild Annual Report for the Year 1911. 1911.
Broadhurst, Maura Lesley. Strategic Spaces: towards a Genealogy of Women Artists' Groups in Canada. Montreal: Concordia University, 1998.
Collard, Edgar Andrew. "City's First Apartment Building in Danger." Gazette (Montreal) 14 Feb. 1987: B2.
Dignam, Mary Ella. "Art, Handicrafts, Music and Drama." Women of Canada: Their Life and Work. Ottawa: Minister of Agriculture, 1900.
Dowsett, Kathleen. The Women's Art Association of Canada and its Designs on Canadian Handicraft. Kingston, Ontario: Queen's University, 1998.
Doyle, Lynn C. "Art." Saturday Night 9.21(11 Apr. 1896): 9.
Flood, Sandra. Canadian Craft and Museum Practice 1900-1950. Gatineau, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2001.
Flood, Sandra. "Craft in Canada: Overview and Points from 'Canadian Craft and Museum Practice 1900-1950' " Exploring Contemporary Craft. Toronto: Coach House Press and Harbourfront Centre, 2002.
Gauld, Norma. "Histoire marquée au Coin de l'Art (Alice Peck and May Phillips: The Women Who Founded the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, Montreal 1905, Séminaire de la Série Savoir Faire Présenté par Ellen McLeod)." Nouvelles: Bibliothèque Nationale 30.5 (May 1998): 11.
Harper, J. Russell. Early Painters and Engravers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970.
Haskins, Heather Victoria. Bending the Rules: The Montreal Branch of the Woman's Art Association of Canada, 1894-1900. Montreal: Concordia University, 1995.
Holowach-Amiot, Elaine. The Women's Art Society of Montreal: A Century of Commitment to the Arts. Montreal: McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1994.
Kassis, Marie-Paule. "Une Association Culturelle au Feminin." L'Express d'Outremont/Mont-Royal 24 Feb. 2005.
Lash, Rochelle. "Circling the World in a Night." Gazette (Montreal) 9 Feb. 2000: F5.
McCord Museum and McGill University. The End of an Era: Montreal 1880-1914. Montreal: McCord Museum and McGill University, 1977.
McLeod, Ellen. Enterprising Women and the Early History of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild, 1905-1936. Ottawa: Carleton University, 1995.
McLeod, Ellen. "A Legacy of Female Leadership." Inuit Art Quarterly 14.3 (Fall 1999): 18-22.
McLeod, Ellen. "Alice Peck, May Phillips and the Canadian Handicrafts Guild." Framing Our Past: Canadian Women's History in the Twentieth Century. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001.
McLeod, Ellen Mary Easton. In Good Hands: The Women of the Canadian Handicrafts Guild. Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1999.
McLeod, Ellen; Translated by François Beaudin. "La Société Canadienne des Métiers du Terroir: A l'Origine de la Guilde Canadienne des Métiers d'Art Québec." Paroles, Gestes et Mémoires 3.2 (Atmn. 1996).
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Formerly Art Association of Montreal: Spring Exhibitions, 1880-1970. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
McMann, Evelyn de Rostaing. Royal Canadian Academy of Arts/Académie royale des arts du Canada: Exhibitions and Members 1880-1979. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981.
Morgan, Henry James. The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography. Toronto: William Briggs, 1898.
Peck, Mrs. James. "From the Canadian Handicrafts Guild Through Mrs. James H. Peck." Royal Society of Canada Proceedings and Transactions 11.2 (1905): 130-4.
Peck, Mrs. James. "The Canadian Handicraft Movement." NCWC Yearbook. Winnipeg: National Council of Women of Canada, 1904.
Petteys, Chris, et al. Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985.
Savage, Anne. "Address by Mrs. Savage." Canadian Handicrafts Guild Annual Report for the Year 1911 1911.
Simmins, Geoffrey. "Arts and Crafts in Canada." The Canadian Encyclopedia Historica. Toronto: Historica Foundation of Canada, 2001.
Watt, Virginia. "The First National Craft Organization in Canada." A Treasury of Canadian Craft. Vancouver: The Canadian Craft Museum, 1992: 33-8.

Writings by
Burns, Elizabeth Rollit; Illustrated by Mary M. Phillips. Little Canadians. unknown: Desbarats & Company, 1899.
Phillips, Mary M. "Are Handicrafts a Factor in National Up-Building?" Ottawa Journal 2 Mar. 1912.
Phillips, Mary M. "Diary of Trip Around the World, October 15, 1903 - May 3, 1904." Deligny, Armstrong, Phillips, Bentham Collection 1722-1937 (Mrs. W.A. Phillips Papers). Montreal: McCord Museum, 1904.
Phillips, Mary M. "Fumes from Cars." Times 1 Apr. 1932: 8.
Phillips, Mary M. "History of the Handicrafts Movement in Montreal, January 23, 1906." Women's Art Society of Montreal Files (Box 6). Montreal: McCord Museum, 1906.
Phillips, Mary M. "Home Arts and Handicrafts." NCWC Yearbook London, Ontario: National Council of Women of Canada, 1901: 138-40.
Phillips, Mary M. "Memoranda Diary and Ledger of 1910 Trip West." Canadian Guild of Crafts Archives Montreal: Canadian Guild of Crafts, 1910.
Phillips, Mary M. "Report of the Educational Committee for Year Ending... (various)." Canadian Handicrafts Guild Annual Report for the Year... (various) place unknown: Canadian Guild of Crafts Archives, 192?.
Phillips, Mary M. "Report of the Expenditure of Grant." unknown place unknown: Canadian Guild of Crafts, Dec. 1910.
Phillips, Mary M. "School of Art and Applied Design (List of Classes)." Deligny, Armstrong, Phillips, Bentham Collection 1722-1937 (Mrs. W. A. Phillips Papers). Montreal: McCord Museum, ?.

Full text pdfs of exhibition reviews
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 20, 1891) "At the Art Gallery. Many Prominent People Present at the Opening Last Night."  Montreal Herald  April 21, 1891.  p.8.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 20, 1891) W.M..  "Canadian Art. To the Editor of the Gazette."  Gazette (Montreal)  April 29, 1891.  p.7.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 19, 1892) "The Art Gallery. Further Review of the Exhibition's Pictures."  Montreal Herald  April 30, 1892.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Sketch Club Exhibition: (89 Canada Life Building, May 11, 1892) "General News of the City. Interesting Exhibition by the Women's Art Club"  Globe  May 12, 1892.  p.8.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, May 25, 1892) "Ontario Society of Artists."  Globe (Toronto)  May 30, 1892.  p. 4.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition: (Montreal, March 1893) "The Art Gallery. The Exhibition of Watercolors a Good One."  Montreal Star  March 10, 1893.  p.3.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, April 24, 1893) "Ontario Art Exhibition. The Annual Collection of the Society of Artists- a Splendid Showing of Oils and Watercolours."  Globe  April 29, 1893.  p. 17.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Sixth Annual Spring Exhibition: (89 Canada Life Building, March 29, 1894) "Art Notes"  Toronto Saturday Night  April 07, 1894.  p.6.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Sixth Annual Spring Exhibition: (89 Canada Life Building, March 29, 1894) "The Woman's Art Association"  The Week (Toronto)  April 13, 1894.  p.472.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Mtl) - Sketch Exhibition: (YMCA Studio, October 22, 1894) "Women's Art Association"  Gazette (Montreal)  October 23, 1894.  p.3.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 07, 1895) "The Spring Exhibition. Many Fine New Pictures will be Hung this Year in the Art Association Gallery."  Gazette (Montreal)  February 28, 1895.  p.2.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 07, 1895) "The Art Gallery. Oil and Water Color Paintings on Exhibition. Some of the Best Pictures Described."  Montreal Herald  March 11, 1895.  p.8.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - 3rd Annual Sketch Club Exhibition: (89 Canada Life Building, December 02, 1895) "Untitled"  Toronto Saturday Night  December 07, 1895.  p.9.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - 9th Annual Spring Exhibition: (Robert's Art Galleries, March 01, 1897) "Woman's Art Association. Annual Exhibition of Paintings by Members of the Association-Other Cities Represented."  Globe and Mail (Toronto)  March 02, 1897.  p.6.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 01, 1897) "The Spring Exhibition. Some of the Striking Pictures of the Exhibition."  Montreal Star  April 02, 1897.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 01, 1897) "Art Exhibition. Water Colors, Statuary and Miniatures."  Daily Witness (Montreal)  April 06, 1897.  p.12.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 01, 1897) G. de Werthemer.  "Le salon de L'"Art Association." Aquarelles."  Les Nouvelles (Montreal)  April 11, 1897.  p.7.   Full-text pdf
Ontario Society of Artists Annual Exhibition: (Toronto, May 13, 1897) James Mavor.  "Ontario Artists. Notice of Exhibits at the Annual Display. Several Good pictures."  Globe (Toronto)  May 22, 1897.  p.10.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Annual Sketch Exhibition: (89 Canada Life Building, December 06, 1897) "Studio and Gallery"  Toronto Saturday Night  December 11, 1897.  p.15.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 05, 1898) "Bright Scene at Art Gallery. Auspicious Opening of the Spring Exhibit Last Night."  Montreal Star  April 05, 1898.  p.4.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Tenth Annual Spring Exhibition: (Robert's Art Galleries, April 19, 1898) "Art and Artists. Tenth Annual Exhibition of the W.A.A. Water Colors the Feature. Some Noted Canvases by Distinguished Artists. Contributions from Montreal, Hamilton, Brockville and Kingston - Toronto Well Represented - The Trend of Art."  Globe and Mail (Toronto)  April 19, 1898.  p.5.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 16, 1900) "Ladies Contribute. Much Clever Work Sent to Art Exhibition by Gentler Sex."  Montreal Star  March 24, 1900.  p.22.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Mtl) - Exhibition of Arts & Handicrafts: (Morgan's Colnl. Art Galry, October 22, 1900) "Interesting Show. Arts and Handicrafts Exhibition Opened Yesterday. The Exhibits are Varied. Lace, Needlework, Wood and Metal Work, Ceramics, Jewellery, Bookbinding and Illustrating Are All Represented."  Gazette (Montreal)  October 23, 1900.  p.6.   Full-text pdf
Women's Art Association of Canada (Tor) - Thirteenth Annual Exhibition: (Confederation Life Bldng, March 26, 1901) "Work of Lady Artists. Exhibition of the Woman's Art Association. Choice and Attractive Studies of Life and Scenery - "Private View Day" a Great Success."  Globe and Mail (Toronto)  March 27, 1901.  p.12.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 12, 1903) "The Spring Exhibition. A Good Average Showing of Pictures by Canadian Artists."  Daily Witness (Montreal)  March 13, 1903.  p.6.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, March 12, 1903) "The Spring Exhibition. Final Notice."  Daily Witness (Montreal)  April 03, 1903.  p.4.   Full-text pdf
Royal Canadian Academy Annual Exhibition.: (Toronto, March 1904) "Royal Academy Exhibition."  Montreal Witness  March 19, 1904.  p.2.   Full-text pdf
Art Association of Montreal Annual Spring Exhibition: (Montreal, April 02, 1909) "Exhibition of Art. High Water Mark Reached in This Year's Spring Showing in Art Galleries. Stricter Standard Set."  Gazette (Montreal)  April 03, 1909.  p.9.   Full-text pdf

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