Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Anna Dorothy Bruce Garbutt (1897-1988)

Writer, historian.

Born at Winnipeg on 16 December 1897 to Hattie Scott (daughter of James Scott) and Murray Colcleugh (son of James Colcleugh), she attended Somerset School and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1918, winning the Gold Medal in German. In 1922 she married Ralph John Garbutt of Coventry, England and they eventually had two sons, Gordon and Peter. During the Second World War, she escorted children being evacuated from Britain to the United States. On her return to Canada, she worked as a wartime hostess for the YMCA/YWCA at Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

In September 1959, she joined the Penhandlers, a Winnipeg women writers’ criticism group, having taken a class from, and being recruited by, Olive Knox. She wrote a column entitled “Going My Way” for the Elmwood Herald newspaper, and the column “Houses I Have Known” for the Winnipeg Free Press. She wrote columns on social problems set in the fictional town of Bunchberry. She wrote for magazines in Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

She was recognized by a Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970), a Literary Medal for her history of the Walker Theatre, an International Who’s Who for Outstanding Achievement (Cambridge, England; 1979), and a Good Citizenship Award from the Tourism Association of Manitoba (1983).

She died at Winnipeg on 18 February 1988.

Her articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Morse Code For Manitoba
Manitoba Pageant, September 1956

The Old Swimming Hole
Manitoba Pageant, September 1956

How “The Crossing” Became the Town of Selkirk
Manitoba Pageant, January 1957


“Somerset pupils today have art collection legacy,” Winnipeg Free Press, 8 February 1949.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 20 February 1988

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 14 June 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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