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Memorable Manitobans: Edna McConnell (c1914-?)

Agricultural representative, artist.

Born on her parents’ farm at Petersfield, Manitoba, she became the province’s first female agricultural representative in 1941. She received normal school training and her BSc (Agriculture) in Saskatoon and later attended Columbia University to complete a MA in co-operative extension.

After moving back to Manitoba, she joined the Dominion-Provincial Youth Training scheme as itinerant instructor. She remained in this role until 1939 when she moved to Dauphin for the extension service and eventually replaced the Dauphin district representative John Conner when he joined the Air Force. The province was slow to recognize McConnell and initially appointed her as “acting representative.” In May 1946, she received the full title.

As an agricultural representative, McConnell was popular among residents and was praised for her contributions to junior clubs. She was highly involved in the Grub Club, which promoted varied and interesting meals among residents in the Dauphin district, especially those living in rural homes. Although McConnell did not consider herself a role model and in fact believed women should not become agricultural representatives, she did see a future for women in farm vocational guidance.

During her time in Dauphin, McConnell earned a reputation as an artist. She most commonly painted local subjects and portraits.

Sources:

“Only female farm advisor popular,” by Val Werier. Winnipeg Tribune, 13 January 1948.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 3 November 2012

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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