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Emily Murphy (1868 - 1933)

Emily Murphy (1868 - 1933)

Emily Murphy was a feisty, intelligent woman from Alberta. She was the first female police magistrate in Canada, and is best known for being a member of the Famous Five. She was a First Wave feminist, a writer, journalist, and self-educated in the philosophies and rules of law.

  • On the first day of her job as a police magistrate, a lawyer told Emily that “she was not a person in the eyes of British law” and therefore did not have the right to judge the case.
  • Outraged, she and four other prominent women from Alberta fought the law and had it overturned in 1929, in what would be known as the “Persons Case.” These women became known as the Famous Five.
  • Murphy was responsible for the passing of the Dower Act and the Married Women’s Protection Act. These laws ensured that women could own property (married women couldn’t do this before) and that a widow could receive one-third of her husband’s possessions when he passed away.
  • Murphy wrote fiction under the name Janey Canuck.
  • Her popular books include: The Impressions of Janey Canuck Abroad (1901), Janey Canuck in the West (1910), Open Trails (1912) and Seed of Pine (1914).
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