Edna Staebler and the Lives of Women

For the past year or so, a lot of my research time has been focused on the magazine writing Edna Staebler did early in her career, mostly for Maclean’s and Chatelaine. As I’ve written before, it’s great stuff with a timeless quality to it; the stories are every bit as engaging and interesting today as they would have been when they were first published in the late 1940s through the early 1960s.

One of the things about Staebler’s work that struck me going through it was how focused it was on the lives of ordinary, working-class women. At a time when long magazine profiles were mostly about the powerful and influential, Staebler was more interested in telling the stories of regular people–and women in particular–giving them the same kind of time and space that was normally reserved for political and business leaders.

That’s why I was delighted to receive a copy of Profile Pieces: Journalism and the “Human Interest” Bias (edited by Richard Lance Keeble and Sue Joseph, published in November by Routledge) in the mail this week. The book includes a chapter I wrote called “Edna Staebler and the Lives of Women,” which explores this theme of her work across three profiles: one about a young woman leaving small town life on the East Coast for a better living in Toronto, one about a miner’s wife in northern Ontario and one about a recent Italian immigrant in Toronto, trying to acclimate to her new home.

I’m honoured to have my work included in this collection, particularly as it allows me to continue spreading the word about Staebler’s important work with others in Canada and around the world.