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Karen Flynn

Karen Flynn

The Hilda Neatby Prize English Article


Karen Flynn, “ ‘Hotel Refuses Negro Nurse:’ Gloria Clarke Baylis and the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.”

Karen Flynn’s essay is a critical and illuminating history showcasing the experiences of Gloria Clarke Baylis, a black nurse who experienced workplace discrimination. On 4 September 1964, Baylis applied for a job advertised by the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal for a registered nurse only to be told that both the full and part time nursing positions had been filled after meeting the hotel’s manager. The lawsuit that ensued was based on evidence showing that Baylis was refused the positions based on her race. Using feminist and historical methodologies, Flynn expertly constructs a narrative that weaves black women’s workplace experiences into a broader history of human rights case law, immigrant work lives, and nursing history. Gloria Clarke Baylis’ fight for dignity and respect, and against discrimination demonstrates the deep racist roots permeating the mid-1960s work force. Flynn’s work offers a much needed and provocative insight into how race, gender, and power underscored gender and labour in Canadian history.

Honourable Mention
Donica Belisle with Kiera Mitchell. “Mary Quayle Innis: Faculty Wives’ Contributions and the Making of Academic Celebrity.”

Donica Belisle and Kiera Mitchell’s remarkable study of Mary Quayle Innis offers a detailed and sophisticated analysis of Quayle’s contributions in forging the legacy of her husband, Harold Innis. In this detailed account of Quayle’s life we learn of her endless labours throughout their marriage advancing his career by typing, editing, writing, researching, preparing indices, curating his papers, revising his publications and delivering manuscripts to press. In addition to her own literary endeavours and public profile among various national organizations, as the primary care giver, she also managed the domestic and childcare responsibilities. More broadly, the article situates the findings within the fields of gendered division of labour, in particular, wives’ caring labour, and a feminist analysis of faculty wives’ clubs. This study is a striking commentary on Mary Quayle Innis’s support for her husband which was integral to his success. As the authors assert, “If not for Quayle, Innis’s star would have burned less brightly and faded more quickly.”