Black, Martha Louise (1866–1957)

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Black, Martha Louise (1866–1957)

Canadian politician and writer. Born Martha Louise Munger in 1866 in Chicago, Illinois; died in 1957; attended St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana; married William Purdy, in 1887 (died); married George Black, in 1904; children: (first marriage) three.

Martha Black's well-known autobiography My Seventy Years documents her transformation from ordinary wife and mother to mining pioneer and politician. Born in Chicago in 1866, Black married William Purdy at the age of 21 and had three children. She separated from her husband in 1898 and took her children to the Yukon, where she joined the Klondike Gold Rush, working a claim and managing a sawmill. After her husband's death, she married George Black, who became commissioner of the Yukon in 1912.

During World War I, Black took on war work in London but returned to Canada, where her husband George served twice as a member of Parliament (1921–35 and 1940–49). During her husband's long illness, Black was elected to represent the Yukon from 1935 to 1940, only the second woman after Agnes Macphail to serve as an MP. In 1936, she published the book Yukon Wild Flowers.

suggested reading:

Black, M.L. My Seventy Years: as told to Elizabeth Bailey. Price, 1938.