Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gertrude Macaulay Sutton (1887-?)

Author, Poet
Born October 16, 1887, Canada
Died ?

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].

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 M.L. Bragg in 1881. She was presumably the mother of Gertrude F. Macaulay. Henrietta died in 1910. 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--Relative[s] 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 [illegible], 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 Cuslung [?], 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 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)
and the following by Gertrude Macaulay Sutton:
  • "Indifference Is Filthy" in Maclean’s (short story, Jan. 1, 1930)
  • "Private Angel" in Woman’s Home Companion (short story, Feb. 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)
She also wrote for The Canadian Home Journal and The Cavalier. Her story for Weird Tales was "Gesture" from September 1930.

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.

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 almost nothing about her.

Gertrude Macaulay and friend, 1910, Mount Victoria Farm, Hudson, Quebec. I don't know which one is Gertrude. I assume she's on the left.

Text copyright 2015 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.