Edith Mary Manuel (1902-1984)

(From the Women's History Walking Tour Booklet)

Born in Twillingate, Edith Manuel began teaching there at the age of 16. She had only completed grade 10, but was hired to teach grades I to 5 at the school she had attended. Edith stayed for three years, leaving to complete grade 11 and Normal School in St. John's.

She taught in several Newfoundland communities before joining the staff of Bishop Spencer College in 1929, the same year she founded the first Brownie Pack in Newfoundland. At Bishop Spencer, Edith taught all grade levels from primary to high school. She took a leave of absence from the College to finish her Senior Matriculation at Memorial University. Edith completed her Master of Arts in Education at Columbia University - no small feat for a woman of her time.

Home of Edith Mary Manuel
Home of Edith Mary Manuel
12 Rennies Mill Road, St. John's, NL
Photo by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1998.

Edith wrote the first series of geography textbooks for Newfoundland schools, and is considered one of Newfoundland's most influential teachers. Her textbooks include Our World for grade 3, Visits to World Workers for grade 4, and Our Country (later revised as Newfoundland Our Province) for grade 5.

Edith was named St. John's Citizen of the Year on two occasions, and in 1978 she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Memorial University. In 1979 she was the provincial patron for the International Year of the Child.