Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Elma Kennedy Brown (1879-1962)

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Elma Kennedy Brown
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Educator, community activitist.

Born at Westport, Ontario on 29 December 1879, daughter of William Kennedy and Selma Wright, she came to Manitoba in the early 1900s where she taught school for some years, including at Elmwood School (1908-1909) and Lord Selkirk School (1910-1911). She resigned from teaching in March 1911 and, on 4 May 1911, she married pharmacist John Kerr Brown (1883-1976) at Winnipeg. They subsequently had five children: Margaret Evelyn Brown (b 1912), Harold A. Brown (1918-2001), John “Jack“ Brown (b 1920), Dorothy Brown, and James Brown. In 1915, she became a trustee for the Winnipeg School Board, the first woman so elected in city history. She also volunteered as an English tutor to arriving immigrants, and was President of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Pharmacists of Manitoba. She wrote a book of poetry entitled Threshing Grain, in 1946. She died at the Winnipeg General Hospital on 19 August 1962 and was buried in the Elmwood Cemetery.


Ontario birth registration, Ancestry.

“Personal,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 March 1911, page 5.

“Society,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 April 1911, page 5.

Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 August 1962, page 23.

Obituary [John Kerr Brown], Winnipeg Free Press, 17 February 1976, page 36.

Death registration [John Kerr Brown], British Columbia Vital Statistics.

Obituary [Harold A. Brown], Winnipeg Free Press, 25 August 2001, page 53.

We thank Linda McDowell for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 March 2015

Memorable Manitobans

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