Written in 1914 by Mrs. A. W. McDougald, Hon. Organizing Secretary
From: "The Call To Arms, Montreal's Roll of Honour, European War, 1914"
The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, from being to the minds of most people merely a name, has, since the outbreak of the war, become a reality, taking its place beside the Patriotic Fund organization, the Red Cross, the Soldiers Wives' League, in the patriotic work of providing comforts for the soldiers in the field and relief for their families at home.
The whole theory of the I.O.D.E. is to provide an effective organization, which during the years of peace may actively engage in patriotic, philanthropic and educational pursuits, but which when faced with a national emergency may be able to act quickly and effectively, and may speak as one voice, act as one arm. This was amply demonstrated in the splendid campaign initiated by the Order for Hospital Aid immediately upon the outbreak of the war, when, in the incredibly short space of three weeks, the sum of $200,000 was collected through their efforts all over Canada. The movement, while initiated by the I.O.D.E., became national; all women's organizations contributing, so that the gift was from the women of Canada. The fund was, by request, divided between the Admiralty and the War Office, the portion given to the latter being used to supply motor ambulances, now in the field and bearing the designation: "The Gift of the Women of Canada."
The Order was founded in 1900, at the time of the South African War, by a Montreal woman, Mrs. Clark Murray [nee Margaret Polson], and was designed to be a bond between the women and children of the various parts of the Empire, particularly the Overseas Dominions. This splendid conception has borne abundant fruit, and though many of those who gave themselves to the perfecting of the links of the chain have passed on, it is a matter of greatest satisfaction that we in Montreal are able to enjoy the visits of the Foundress of the Order, who always has a word of inspiration for her "Daughters," whose numbers are being wonderfully augmented daily.
The Order soon became an effective means of supplying comforts to the men then in the field, and as Toronto was the centre of much of the activity at that time the headquarters of the Order were established there. The National Chapter is in Toronto, -where the National Executive legislates for the whole Order, which, besides a continuous chain of Chapters across the breadth of Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver, also comprises Chapters in Newfoundland, Bermuda, West Indies, Bahamas, India and the United States. It is affiliated with the Victorian League of England and Australia and the Guild of Loyal Women of South Africa. It is non-sectarian and non-political, admits of no prejudice of race, creed or color, and offers to women throughout the Empire an opportunity to meet upon one broad, patriotic ground.
The first aim of the Order as set forth in the constitution is "to stimulate and give expression to the sentiment of patriotism which binds the women and children of the Empire around the throne and person of their gracious and beloved Sovereign." Members are pledged to promote unity between the Motherland, the Sister Colonies, and themselves; to promote loyalty to King and Country; to forward every good work for the betterment of their country and people; to assist in the progress of art and literature; to draw women's influence to the bettering of all things connected with our great Empire; and to instil into the minds of the youth of the country patriotism in its fullest sense.
The Order's first great undertaking after the South African War, at the suggestion of Mrs. Clark Murray, was the search for the graves of those brave Canadians who sleep on the veldts of Africa. These graves they marked with fine headstones of Canadian grey granite, and later founded a fund which will keep the graves green for all time.
The Educational Committee each year prepares a course of reading upon the life of some hero of the British Empire for each month of the school year; these patriotic programmes have been in use in the Ontario public schools for some years and are considered to be of great value. Much work is done in the way of giving prizes, flags, medals, buttons, rifles, in the schools, to the scouts and cadets, and in every way encouraging the study of the Empire Much hospital work has been accomplished by the Order, particularly in the fight against the White Plague. There is in fact no phase of social service work which has not been undertaken by the Order during the fourteenyears of peace, but since the outbreak of war the Order has risen to the emergency in a manner which amply demonstrates the value of organization.
The particular function of the Daughters of the Empire in war time is to supplement the equipment of the soldier's kit with such articles as the Government does not supply, designated field comforts, particularly knitted articles. The Red Cross by their constitution can handle only hospital supplies. This left a wide scope for the I.O.D.E., and they rallied to the work with enthusiasm. During October  alone over 7,000 Balaclava caps were sent down to Valcartier, very largely hand knit. This number was to a large extent made possible by the fine donation of 1,000 pounds of wool from the Paton Manufacturing Co., Sherbrooke, for the I.O.D.E. have so far made no public appeal for funds, and all work has been carried on by the private contributions of members and friends.
Soon after the outbreak of war [WWI], the Municipal Chapter, under the direction of Mrs. Preble Macintosh, Regent, organised the headquarters for Montreal-practically for Quebec-in the Southam Building, 128 Bleury Street, where they occupy a fine suite of rooms, the generous and patriotic gift of the head of the firm, Mr. F. N. Southam. Here, under the superintendence of Mrs. W. J. Lewis, Convener of the work, wool is given and sent all over the Province to any reliable person who desires to knit for the soldiers - socks, mufflers, wristlets, mittens, caps, cholera belts, etc. The parcels are transported free of charge by the Dominion Express, Canadian Express and Canadian Northern Express Companies. It is interesting to find that far from having become lost, the homely art of knitting is still a much prized accomplishment of Canadian women. Articles often bear attached to them such human documents as: "These were knitted by an old lady of 90 years"; " I can no longer see to knit, but I can knit by feeling"; "Canadian ou Canadienne, c'est la meme chose, n'est-ce pas?"
Children's Chapters send us quantities of the cheese-cloth handkerchiefs so practical and so highly prized by the soldiers. These children are early learning the place that may be filled in the scheme of Empire by that sex which may not go to war. The good sisters of the various Roman Catholic orders have done great quantities of knitting for us; the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame Congregation, Villa Maria, and Grey Nuns, also many of the church guilds of the Protestant denominations. Recently many requests have been received from women throughout the Province of Quebec, asking what they may do to help in this time of national crisis, and many new Chapters have been formed. Mrs. A. W. McDougald, the Honorary Organising Secretary, has organised eleven new Chapters in the last two months, each a radiating point for patriotic zeal, as evidenced by the splendid quantity of knitted comforts sent forward.
The headquarters were equipped by the generosity of the following firms: Henry Morgan & Co., Goodwins Limited, R. W. Kerr, Cerini, the Bell Telephone Co., and the Williams and Singer sewing machine companies; Greenshields Limited, McIntyre, Son & Co., W. R. Brock & Co., and John Murphy & Co. having donated materials. In these workrooms the various Primary Chapters meet for work, morning or afternoon, upon different days, so that the rooms are constantly occupied by groups of from 30 to 50 ladies sewing, knitting or packing.
There is scarcely any limit to the volunteer work available, and results are bounded only by the amount of money on hand for materials. When it was decided to send a pair of socks as a Christmas gift to every man from the Province of Quebec on Salisbury Plain, to the number of 5,000 pairs, the response to the appeal made by Mrs. Preble Macintosh through the press came by letter and telegram to the extent of 3,500 pairs in one day; these offers could only be accepted as the funds for materials came in (Mrs. William Prentice is Treasurer of the fund), but at the time of writing it looks as if the goal of 5,000 pairs will be reached before the sailing of the Government boat which is to take these supplies.
A large consignment of caps, mufflers, wristlets and mittens has been sent to the sailors of the North Atlantic Squadron; a contribution of 1,700 hand-knitted mufflers was collected for the Imperial Army in response to a special request from Lady French, wife of the famous Field Marshal, to Mrs. F. Orr Lewis, a member of the Montreal Chapter. Besides the supplies sent to the men in Europe, quantities of caps, socks, etc., have been supplied to the pickets on duty on the railways and canals in the Province of Quebec.
The following corps, mobilized since the First Contingent, have also been supplied: Canadian Army Veterinary Corps (fully supplied with mufflers, cholera belts, wristlets, caps, mittens and handkerchiefs), Col. Gunn's command, Col. Fisher's command.
The aggregate of articles sent out from the Rooms up to November 25, is as follows:-
Contingent.................. 17,000 articles
Figures for Queen's Needlework Guild not available at present
As the Patriotic Fund and Soldiers Wives' League were so ably looking after the wives and families of soldiers, it was decided that the Order should bend every effort to relieving the widespread distress which, though the direct result of business conditions arising out of the war, cannot be relieved by the Fund. Several Chapters are contributing a very substantial sum monthly to the Charity Organization, Miss Mona Prentice acting as Treasurer, and other aid is afforded in the way of warm clothing from the Workrooms.
Recently, in response to a widespread demand, a Bureau was opened by the Municipal Chapter for parcels intended for soldiers of the First Contingent; this will prove a great boon to many lacking the necessary information or facilities to ensure that the packages reach their destination promptly. This Bureau will be in charge of Mrs. C. M. de R. Finniss and a committee.
The Montreal branch of the
Order dates from October 1910, when the Municipal Charter was organized
by Mrs. C. Welland Merritt and Organizing
Committee, the following officers being elected:
This Chapter is the organizing and governing body, has under its jurisdiction the Primary Chapters in the municipality, and is in turn under the National Chapter. The average membership of Primary Chapters is fifty, and their executives are members of the Municipal Chapter. Primary Chapters in Montreal have been organized in the following order:
WOLFE AND MONTCALM
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
MARGARET POLSON MURRAY
Executive of the Municipal Chapter, Montreal:
Councillors and members of the various Chapters include the following:-