Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gertrude Macaulay Sutton (1887-1979)

Gertrude Forster Macaulay Sutton
Author, Poet
Born October 16, 1887, Québec, Canada
Died September 19, 1979, presumably in Montréal, Québec, Canada

Update (Dec. 5, 2021): I first wrote on Gertrude Macaulay Sutton in 2015 when there was less information about her on line. The picture is a lot clearer now, but I will leave what I wrote before but with some updated information.

[From 2015:] Links in a broken chain:

A Miss Gertrude Macaulay, possessor of a "full and well-trained contralto," received coverage in The Sketch, March 16, 1898, page 322, including a photograph showing her as a full-grown woman, perhaps in her twenties.

Almost certainly the same Gertrude Macaulay, a contralto, having returned from Canada, advertised for singing engagements and to receive and visit students, giving her address as Park Court Mansions, Clapham Park, S.W., [London] in The Musical Times (Vol. 49, 1908).

On July 21, 1908, a Miss Gertrude Macaulay performed at St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, 112a Queen Victoria Street, E.C., [London].

[New information shows that this Gertrude was not our Gertrude. So, more from 2015, with a few pieces of updated information:]

A Gertrude F. Macaulay, age 28 years, 5 months, arrived in New York aboard the Orduna on March 20, 1916, from Liverpool. Given her age and the apparent age of the previously mentioned Gertrude Macaulay, I assume that these were two different women and that the second, the passenger on the Orduna, was the writer for Weird Tales.

A Gertrude Macaulay, daughter of President T.B. Macaulay of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, contributed to the war effort during World War I by preparing 700 puddings per week for wounded British soldiers in the Mary Lady Gerhardt Hospital in London. "Broken in health," she retreated to New York, arriving on April 6, 1916. The soldiers had awarded her "the Cuisine Cross de Pudding, the highest military honor conferred on civilians by wounded British soldiers." (From The Insurance Field--Life Edition, Apr. 14, 1916, p. 12.)

T.B. Macaulay--Thomas Bassett Macaulay (June 6, 1860-1942)--was a Canadian actuary, philanthropist, and farmer. According to Wikipedia, "It has been estimated that most of the world's Holstein cattle descend from Macaulay's herd." Macaulay married Henrietta Maria Louisiana Bragg (1857-1910) in 1881. She was a native of Louisiana. Henrietta died in 1910 and was buried in Montréal. The following year, her widowed husband pushed to have Canada annex the Bahamas.

A Gertrude F. Macaulay wrote a piece called "Only a 'Case'" for the journal Nurse (Vol. 5, 1916), in which she seems to have had some familiarity with nursing and hospitals in England during the war.

A Gertrude F. Macaulay of Montreal was listed as a member in Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol. 12, 1918).

A Gertrude F. Macaulay, presumably the same woman, wrote an article called "The Source of Inspiration" in The Editor (May 25, 1918, pp. 345+), quoting from F.H.W. Myers' Human Personality and Its Survival after Bodily Death (1903). Frederick William Henry Myers (1843-1901) was the founder of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882.

June 23, 1923: A wedding announcement from the Vancouver Daily World (June 23, 1923, p. 9): "Sutton-Macaulay--Relatives of Miss Gertrude F. Macaulay here and in New Westminster have received the news of her marriage in Montreal to Mr. Cecil Arthur Sutton, of London, England. The bride, given in marriage by her father, Mr. T.B. Macaulay, wore a French robe of ivory tinted ninon stamped with a design in velvet, enriched by a court train of net embroidered in silver, the draperies, like the veil, caught with knots of orange blossom. Lilies of the valley and Ophelia roses composed the bouquet she carried. There were three attendants: the bride's cousin, Miss Edith Cushing, and her niece, Nancy Hale, and Kathryn Owen, of Detroit. All were dressed alike in almond green crepe sashed with black velvet and wore fillets of tulle. Mr. W. E. MacFarlane was best man. After a honeymoon in the Catskills, Mr. and Mrs. Sutton will live at 4002 Montrose Avenue, Montreal."

In an article from the Winnipeg Tribune (Jan. 31, 1930), Gertrude MacAulay [sic] Sutton was described as "a brilliant, vivid, young Canadian writer, who has in the past two years achieved literary distinction." If she was the passenger on the Orduna, she would have been, in 1930, about forty-two years old.

The FictionMags Index lists the following works by Gertrude F. Macaulay:
  • "And the Devil Laughed" in The Smart Set (short story, Jan. 1912)
  • "Sated" in The Cavalier (poem, Feb. 3, 1912)
  • "A Splash of Scarlet" in The Smart Set (short story, May 1915)
  • "The Girl in the Mirror" in The Parisienne (miscellaneous, July 1915)
  • "The Sale of a Face" in The Smart Set (short story, July 1915)
  • "The Artist" in The Smart Set (poem, Aug. 1916)
  • "Her Typical Experience" in The Smart Set (short story, Aug. 1916)
  • "Sweet as First Love" in The Smart Set (miscellaneous, Jan. 1918)
  • "Her Men" in The Smart Set (short story, Nov. 1918)
and the following by Gertrude Macaulay Sutton:
  • "Theft from the Devil" in The Delineator (short story, July 1928)
  • "Indifference Is Filthy" in Maclean's (short story, Jan. 1, 1930)
  • "Private Angel" in Woman's Home Companion (short story, Feb. 1930)
  • "Gesture" in Weird Tales (short story, Sept. 1930)
  • "Mrs. Falconer’s Private Conscience" in The Canadian Magazine (short story, Nov. 1930)
  • "Beauty Parade" in The Delineator (short story, Sept. 1931)
  • "In the House of My Friends" in The Canadian Magazine (short story, Nov. 1932)
  • "Husbands Can Be Managed" in Canadian Home Journal (short story, Apr. 1933)
  • "No Clue Left" in This Week (short story, July 28, 1935)
"Gesture" was her lone story for Weird Tales. "Theft from the Devil" won her a first prize in a competition for short stories by the Montreal Branch of the Canadian Authors' Association in 1927.

Old St. Andrews Parish Church of Charleston, South Carolina, an Anglican church, had among its parishioners Cecil Arthur Sutton (Oct. 25, 1884-Feb. 25, 1960), "Son of William Francis and Margaret Little Sutton [and] Beloved Husband of Gertrude Macaulay." Sutton was buried in the church cemetery.

And that's all I have found.

Update (Dec. 5, 2021): And now I have more:

Gertrude Forster Macaulay or MacAulay was born on October 16, 1887, in Québec, Canada, to Thomas Bassett Macaulay (June 6, 1860-1942) and Henrietta Maria Louisiana Bragg (1857-1910). Her father was Canadian, her mother American. She attended McGill University, presumably graduating in 1907. In her yearbook, she was described as an "[e]fficient hockey captain" and a "clever reporter." Her home at the time was Westmount, an enclave of wealthy English-speaking people located on the Island of Montreal. She wrote a number of stories, listed above, published in both Canadian and American magazines from 1912 to 1935. She married Cecil Arthur Sutton (Oct. 25, 1884-Feb. 25, 1960) in 1923, and although her writing career continued for at least a dozen years after being married, I have nothing for her after 1935.

Gertrude lived a very long life. I finally have her death date from Randal A. Everts and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. The latter informed the former that death notices for Gertrude Macauley Sutton appeared in the Montreal Star (p. B5) and The Gazette (p. 41) on September 20, 1979. She had died the previous day, September 19, 1979, at age ninety-two.

Gertrude Macaulay Sutton's Story in Weird Tales
"Gesture" (Sept. 1930)

Further Reading
There is a good deal on the Internet about Gertrude's father, Thomas Bassett Sutton, but only a little about her.

Gertrude Macaulay and friend, 1910, Mount Victoria Farm, Hudson, Quebec. I believe Gertrude is on the left. She was five feet, six or seven inches tall; the woman on the left appears to be the taller of the two.

Update (Dec. 5, 2021): Here is her yearbook picture, from Old McGill, the yearbook of McGill University, 1907. Dorothy McIlwraith (1891-1976), later editor of Weird Tales, also attended McGill University but graduated in 1914, well after Gertrude. I wouldn't rule out that they knew each other, though.

Thanks to Randal A. Everts and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec for more information on the death of Gertude Macauley Sutton.
Thanks also to Brian Busby (see his comment below) for more information on the young Gertrude.
Text copyright 2015, 2023 Terence E. Hanley


  1. You've found quite a bit. Though born and raised in Montreal, I must admit Gertrude Macaulay's name meant nothing to me. That said, after a bit of digging I can add a couple of things from the 1901, 1911 and 1921 Canadian censuses.

    The first finds the Macaulay family, Gertrude included, living in Westmount (now the wealthiest municipality on the island, completely surrounded by the City of Montreal). Her birthdate is given as 16 October 1887.

    She reappears in 1911, living with her family and select siblings at 4001 Dorchester St, Westmount (no street addresses recorded in 1901). Oddly, here her birthdate is recorded as "Oct 1888".

    Finally, we have her in 1921 living with her father and step-mother (but no siblings) in the district of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, No street addresses in this census either, but I can't help but note that this is were Hudson is located.

    Wish I had time to dig some more. I'm intrigued.

    1. Dear Brian,

      Thanks for the added information. Now if we could just find her at the other end of her life.