The Canadian Jewish Chronicle was founded in 1914 by Hirsch Wolofsky, owner and operator of the Montreal Yiddish daily newspaper Keneder Adler. The Chronicle published bi-weekly and included editorials, international and local news, social pages and announcements, and literary materials such as poetry and short or seralized stories. The “Woman’s Page”, conducted by Jessie Abrams, started appearing in the Canadian Jewish Chronicle in 1916. According to editorial staff listings and bylines, Ida Seigler was already an editor and contributor before the first appearance of this section.
“The Woman’s Page” consisted of commentary pieces, letters to “Jessie Abrams” as well as her responses in some cases, and reportings of major events or campaigns in the community or diaspora. The commentary pieces ranged from opinions on women’s suffrage to the role of women in the Zionist movement, the issues of intermarriage to the Jewish dating scene in Montreal, philanthropy to the need for volunteerism and community involvement amongst Jewish Montreal women, and much more. Additional pieces within the section included serialized fiction, a set of letters billed as a “Chronicle” romance between a member of the Jewish Legion, David Gradinsky, and his love interest, Sophie Morgenblatt, and two series entitled “The Girls I Might Have Married” by a “Prominent Bachelor” and “His Jewish Wife”, attributed to a Jewish woman who married a non-Jewish man. The two latter are clearly commentary on the importance of marriage in the Jewish community.
JPL Archives long assumed that “Jessie Abrams” was a pseudonym as the “Woman’s Page” section was most definitely local and included details of Montreal events but no other mention of a Jessie Abrams appears in any other record in like-archival collections or printed materials. During Linda Kay’s research of Ida Seigler, she requested a digital copy of Seigler’s interview of Ariel Bension when he had visited Montreal. It is definite that Seigler interviewed Bension and wrote an article about his visit – sources also provide the specific date of this article. When the article was retrieved, the byline was for “Jessie Abrams”, thus finally solving for us that Abrams was most likely in fact Seigler.
This section of the “By Ida Seigler” virtual exhibit then features a selection of “The Woman’s Page”, from its first appearance in 1916 to 1920 (click through the gallery starting at “1916” below). Additional materials will be added as items are digitized.