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Women Blacksmithing History


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Hello all! I am an amateur blacksmith and an interpreter at a living history museum in Canada. I am presently working on expanding our blacksmithing programming. I want to include some interpretation on the role of women blacksmiths during the settlement of Western Canada. I have found a great deal of documented evidence about the role of women blacksmiths in the Western United States. They weren’t common but they were indeed around. While I have found a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support the existence of women blacksmiths in Western Canada, I am having difficulty finding documented evidence.

Is there anyone out there that can recommend either good books on blacksmithing history in Canada and/or trade journals that existed in Western Canada pre WWII? Like I said, I can find TONS of stuff on US history but in the great Canadian tradition, we didn't seem to write anything down.

Any suggestions that anyone could offer regarding possible resources would be most appreciated.

Thank you!

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I am presently working on expanding our blacksmithing programming. I want to include some interpretation on the role of women blacksmiths during the settlement of Western Canada.

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Good luck to you Magic, if you find any evidence, other than anecdotal, let me know.
I smith and do research for a historical group here in Winnipeg and I've been doing it for 20 years now and I've never found any solid evidence showing any woman in the trade.
Now, admittedly, my focus is on the Fur Trade era almost exclusively, but it does span quite a few decades, and over a VERY large area. So far, no luck at all.
And that's after pouring over hundreds of contracts and journals of the North West Company, the Hudson's Bay Company and the XY company.
So yeah, if you find any, PLEASE let me know!

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The founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette (Daisy) Gordon Low, was a talented blacksmith [http://www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org/contents/view/51/139/collections/art-work-by-juliette-gordon-low.html].

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Waaaaay Back; we have some Guild Regulations stating that a woman could only work in the blacksmith's shop of her Husband, Father or Brother. So if they had to make a rule to cover it there seems to have been some going on in medieval/renaissance times.

So you may be hunting for a mention of seeing someone's wife working in the shop of her husband---especially if he was sick. Very hard to track down as it would be reading large amounts of letters, descriptive accounts, etc, from that time period and place.

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if you look a old photos of women chain makers in the black country uk, like Wippets hard fit no spare flesh on them and they would give most of us a good run ,and they reared a clutch of kids as well as work ,my wife Brenda did her bit when we were newly wed ,she now says to son Ben , leave me out been there done that.

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