RBCM Archives

Series MS-1337 - Queen Margaret's School records

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Queen Margaret's School records

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  • textual material
  • microform
  • moving images
  • graphic material
  • multiple media

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MS-1337

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Date(s)

  • 1901-1973 (Creation)
    Creator
    Queen Margaret's School (Duncan, B.C.)

Physical description area

Physical description

Originals, 3 m, microfilm (pos.), 1921-1972, 16 mm [A01355]

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Queen Margaret's School (Duncan, B.C.)

Administrative history

Queen Margaret's School was an independent school for girls on Vancouver Island. Founded in 1921, the school opened with fourteen pupils. Because of increasing enrollment in 1923 the school was relocated to a six acre farm above Duncan, B.C. In 1953, it was incorporated as a nonprofit society. The founders of the school, Norah Denny and Dorothy Geoghegan, remained as headmistresses until 1963.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Records of Queen Margaret's School, an independent school for girls on Vancouver Island founded in 1921 by Misses N.C. Denny and D.R. Geoghegan. Collection includes financial reports, students' roll books and attendance registers (1921-1964), headmistresses' inspirational talks and addresses, plus records and correspondence of QMS "old girls". Also included are N.C. Denny's wartime nursing records (1914-1920), along with minute books, registers, and reports of Cowichan district Girl Guides, 1914-1928. Register of Old Margaretians and students' personal history cards on microfilm [A01355]. Queen Margaret's School [QMS] is one of the best-known independent schools for girls in Western Canada. The school was established in Duncan by Norah C. Denny and Dorothy R. Geoghegan in 1921. Both women had been educated at boarding schools in Britain and both had operated small day schools in Duncan before joining forces and launching QMS. They conducted the school for over forty years and it was their energy and imagination, more than anything else, which accounted for the school's success. Norah Creina Denny was born in Lincolnshire, where her father practised medicine, in 1885. She attended Lincoln High School and Queen Margaret's School, Scarborough. During the First World War she served in France with Queen Alexandria's Imperial Military Nursing Service (Reserve); she was mentioned in despatches and was awarded the Royal Red Cross Society medal (A.R.R.C.). In 1919 Miss Denny came to Duncan, on what was intended to be a "working holiday"; she decided to stay on, and in 1920 she opened her first day school. The daughter of a Royal Navy surgeon, Dorothy Rachel Geoghegan was born in Devonport in 1896. She received her early education at Uplands School, St. Leonard's-on-Sea. In 1912 she immigrated with her family to Duncan, where she attended the local high school. After further studies at Victoria College, she transferred to the newly established University of British Columbia. She was a member of the first UBC graduating class of 1917. Both Miss Denny and Miss Geoghegan were ardent supporters of the Girl Guide movement. The former was among the first "Lady Scoutmasters" in England, the latter, one of the first Guide leaders in British Columbia. Miss Denny and Miss Geoghegan were first introduced in 1920 as a result of their interest in Guiding and it was this interest which led, indirectly, to the founding of QMS. The school opened with fourteen pupils on 4 April 1921 in a private residence called "Holmsdale." Enrollment soon increased and in 1923 the school was relocated on a six-acre farm above the village of Duncan. The farm house, which served as the first school house, was eventually replaced by modern classrooms and dormitories; other buildings including a rustic, log-built chapel and a large, covered riding ring were added later. The school was operated as a private venture by its founders until 1953, when it was incorporated as a non-profit society. Miss Denny and Miss Geoghegan continued as headmistresses of QMS until their retirement in 1963. Although QMS has always maintained high academic standards, the school was also intended as a "character-building institution," where young girls learned to be self reliant, socially accomplished, Christian ladies. The aims of the school are evident from Miss Denny's sermons and inspirational addresses, several of which concerned the school motto, Servite Fortiter ("Serve Ye Bravely"). Community service was emphasized in the Girl Guide company associated with the school and in the school's various charitable and philanthropic activities. The school's commitment to the community, and its strong sense of patriotism, was also evident during the Second World War, when QMS girls led a patriotic fund raising drive in the Cowichan Valley. The records in MS-1337 reflect many facets of the school's character, especially its emphasis on religion, tradition, scholarship and sport. In addition, they show the interests and careers of former students who, in 1927, were organized as the Overseas Old Margaretians' Association. Records include financial reports, students' roll books and attendance registers (1921-1964), headmistresses' inspirational talks and addresses, plus records and correspondence of QMS "old girls". Also included are Denny's wartime nursing records (1914-1920), along with minute books, registers, and reports of Cowichan District Girl Guides, 1914-1928 and a register of Old Margaretians and students' personal history cards. An 8 mm film showing QMS Girl Guides carrying out salvage work during the Second World War has been transferred to Sound and Moving Image accession F1983:5/1 (V1990:31/1). Four photograph albums and loose prints of QMS and guiding activities were transferred to Visual Records accession 198310-014. A published history of the school, Beyond All Dreams (1975), and a collected volume of Miss Denny's talks and addresses may be found in the library catalogue. The BC Archives Vertical Files also contain a large number of newspaper cuttings about Miss Denny, Miss Geoghegan, and Queen Margaret's School. Access restriction: written permission of the Head of the School is required to use the register of Old Margaretians and students' personal history cards on microfilm. The bulk of the QMS papers were donated to the Provincial Archives in 1983 by Miss Geoghegan and Miss Denny. Students' records were loaned for microfilming. Miss Isabella Greenwood, games mistress at QMS for many years, provided the 8mm film. Source: MS Finding Aids

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Presented by Misses N.C. Denny and D.R. Geoghegan, Duncan, 1983.

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Restrictions on access

Conservation restriction: material in cool or cold storage requires special retrieval and handling.

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General note

Photographs transferred to Visual Records

General note

8 mm film of QMS Girl Guides carrying out wartime salvage work (1942) transferred to Sound and Moving Image Division.

General note

Accession number(s): 83-013; 198310-014; F1983:05

Conservation

Moving image originals may be in cool or cold storage. Contact staff for specific details.

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Physical storage

  • Box: 001569-0001