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CAMERON, Agnes Deans

Victoria, Bristish Columbia, 1863
Victoria, British Columbia, 1912
Biography synopsis
Agnes Deans Cameron is best known for her work as a writer, feminist activist, lecturer and adventurer. Although she began her career as a teacher, she was forced to resign from teaching in 1905 because of her liberal ideas. Cameron turned to writing, and while working as a journalist took on a publicity commission for the Western Canada Immigration Association which would take her on a journey from Chicago to the Arctic Ocean. She was the first white woman to undertake such an impressive overland expedition which she documented with photographs, including camp scenes, portraits of indigenous people and even some humorous self-portraits. The photographs were later made into lantern slides which Cameron used to illustrate the lectures she subsequently gave in a tour across Canada, the United States, and England. Cameron wrote about her travels in the publication "The New North: Being some Account of a Woman's Journey through Canada to the Arctic." On her return home after a lengthy tour of lectures, Cameron received recognition for her work. Unfortunately, she had little time to enjoy her celebrity, for she passed away In the summer of 1912. She left behind a wealth of writing and photographs which is held in various archives across the country.
Media used
File & Archive locations
City of Vancouver Archives, BC
Provincial Archives of Alberta
University of Victoria, BC - McPherson Library
City of Victoria Archives, BC
British Columbia Archives
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
"Agnes Dean Cameron: Noted Canadian Authoress Succumbs to Appendicitis" Gazette (Montreal) 14 May 1912: 2
"Agnes Deans Cameron Travels to the Arctic Ocean." Canadian Museum of History website 29 Mar. 2017
"An English Schoolboy on Canada." Globe (Toronto) 26 Mar. 1910
"Cameron, Agnes Deans" ABC Bookworld British Columbia: ABC Bookworld, 2010
"Dinner to Miss Agnes Deans Cameron." Globe (Toronto) 28 Apr. 1909
"Past and Future Visitors: An Arctic Traveller." Globe (Toronto) 28 May 1909
"The Sudden Death of Agnes Deans Cameron." Globe (Toronto) 14 May 1912
"Through Canada to the Arctic." Globe (Toronto) 13 Dec. 1909
"Two Canadian Women Travellers." Globe (Toronto) 6 Jan. 1910
Bowen, Lynne. "Elusive Treasure." The Beaver 79.1 (Feb. 1999): 22-27
Buente, Gail. "The Intrepid Miss Cameron and the Kids." Herisons 4.7 (Oct./Nov. 1986): 32-33
Chalmers, Graeme. "Canada's Drawing Book Scandal: A Storm in a Victorian Teacup." Canadian Review of Art Education: Research and Issues 28.1 (2001): 41-59
Converse, Cathy. Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron. Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2018
Converse, Cathy. Mainstays: Women Who Shaped B.C. Victoria, BC: Touchwood Editions, 1998
Dickinson, Christine. "Agnes Deans Cameron." Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre (Comox Valley) 21 Sept. 2012
Forster, Merna. 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2004
Freeman, Randy. "Career Change: Drummed Out of a Teaching Position in Victoria's School System, Agnes Deans Cameron Became an Icon of the North." Up Here 16.6 (Aug./Sep. 2000): 53-54
Hale, Linda L.. "Cameron, Agnes Deans." Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14 Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto, 1998
Harding, Les. The Journeys of Remarkable Women: Their Travels on the Canadian Frontier Waterloo, Ontario: Escart Press; University of Waterloo, 1994
Hayball, Gwen. "Agnes Deans Cameron, 1863-1912." British Columbia Historical News Journal 7.4 (June 1974): 19-25
Heaps, Denise Adele. Gendered Discourse and Subjectivity in Travel Writing by Canadian Women. Toronto: University of Toronto (PhD dissertation), 2000
Holmlund, Mona, et al. Inspiring Women: A Celebration of Herstory. Regina: Coteau Books, 2003
Hume, Stephen. "Canada 150: Agnes Deans Cameron: the most remarkable woman citizen of the province." Vancouver Sun 16 Jan. 2017
Hume, Stephen. "Roots of a B.C. Women's Movement: Frontier Women in B.C.: Portrait of a Nation's Soul." The Vancouver Sun 16 Dec. 2002: B4
Humphreys, Danda. "Let's Hear it for the Ladies!" Times-Colonist (Victoria) 22 Oct. 2000: B3
Johnstone, Tiffany. "A Feminist Analysis of Conceptual Metaphor in Women's Exploration Literture About the Canadian Arctic." Le lieu du Nord: vers une cartographie des lieux du Nord Montreal; Stockholm: UQAM; University of Stockholm, 2015
Johnstone, Tiffany. "Seeing for Oneself: Agnes Deans Cameron's Ironic Critique of American Literary Discourse in 'The New North'." Nordlit 12.1 (2008): 69-88
Kelcey, Barbara E.. Alone in Silence: European Women in the Canadian North before 1940. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001
Kess, Cathleen and Barbara Latham. In Her Own Right: Selected Essays on Women's History in B.C. Victoria, British Columbia: Camosun College, 1980
Koltun, Lilly ed. Private Realms of Light: Amateur Photography in Canada 1839-1940. Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1984
LaFramboise, Lisa Nathalie. Travellers in Skirts: Women and English-Language Travel Writing in Canada. Edmonton: University of Alberta, 1997
Lang, Marjorie. Women Who Made the News: Female Journalists in Canada, 1880-1945. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999
Latham, Barbara and Roberta J. Pazdro. "A Simple Matter of Justice: Agnes Deans Cameron and the British Columbia Department of Education, 1906-8" Atlantis 10.1 (1984): 111-115
Marchand, Greg. "South Park Celebrating 100" Times-Colonist (Victoria) 22 May 1994: 1
McGeer, Ada. "Agnes Deans Cameron : A Memory." British Columbia Historical News 8.1 (Nov. 1974): 16
McLoone, Margo. Women Explorers in Polar Regions: Louise Arner Boyd, Agnes Deans Cameron, Kate Marsden, Ida Pfeiffer, Helen Thayer. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press, 1997
Morgan, Henry James. Canadian Men and Women of the Time. Toronto, Ontario: William Briggs, 1912
Munro, Sheila. "Agnes Deans Cameron: Feminist and Feisty Educator" Teacher 6.6 (Apr. 1994): 10-11
O'Leary, Daniel. "Environmentalism, Hermeneutics, and Canadian Imperialism in Agnes Deans Cameron's 'The New North'." This Elusive Land: Women and the Canadian Environment. Vancouver, British Columbia: UBC Press, 2005
Pederson, Diana Lynn. Changing Women, Changing History. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press, 1996
Reid, Jane E. The Joys of the Long Trail: Three Women Adventure-Travellers in Canada at the Turn of the Century. Ottawa, Canada: Carleton University (M.A. thesis), 1990
Roy, Wendy. Maps of Difference: Canada, Women, and Travel. Montreal; Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005
Roy, Wendy. "Primacy, Technology, and Nationalism in Agnes Deans Cameron's 'The New North'." Mosaic: a Journal for the Comparative Study of Literature 38.2 (2005): 53-78
Skidmore, Colleen. Rare Merit: Women in Photography in Canada, 1840-1940 Vancouver, B.C.: UBC Press, 2022
Tallentire, Jenaa. Everyday Athenas: Strategies of Survival and Identity for Ever-single Women in British Columbia 1880-1930. Vancouver: University of British Columbia (Ph.D dissertation), 2006
Tallentire, Jenaa. "The Ordinary Needs of Life: Strategies of Survival for Single Women in 1901 Victoria." BC Studies 139 (Fall 2008): 45-80
Twigg, Alan. The Essentials: 150 Great B.C. Book & Authors. Vancouver, British Columbia: Ronsdale Press, 2010
Willlow, Anna J.. "This Elusive Land: Women and the Canadian Environment." The American Review of Canadian Studies 36.1 (Spring 2006): 149-151

Writings by
Cameron, Agnes Deans. Canada's Farthest North. London: 1910
Cameron, Agnes Deans. The New North: being some account of a woman's journey through Canada to the Arctic. New York; London: D. Appleton and co., 1910
Cameron, Agnes Deans. The Prince of Playgrounds: Come Home by Canada and Revel in the Rockies: Beautiful Banff. Ottawa: Department of the Interior, 1910
Cameron, Agnes Deans. The Romance and Beauty of British Columbia II: Lords of Peltries and Founders of Empire. Toronto, Ontario: Westminster Co., 1908
Cameron, Agnes Deans. "Down the Athabasca River." Improved by Cultivation: English-Canadian Prose to 1914, Ed. R. G. Moyles. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1994
Cameron, Agnes Deans. "Dweller in The 'Shack O' Dreams.'" Week 4 Feb. 1905
Cameron, Agnes Deans. "Kipling and the Children." Rudyard Kipling. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013

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