Caldwell, Jessie (1901-90)

Jessie Caldwell and Louis St. Laurent.
Saskatchewan Archives Board R-B7225 / Hillyard Studios

Born in Manchester, England on October 17, 1901, Jessie Rowles immigrated with her parents to Crandall, Manitoba, in 1910. She was one of five high-profile siblings including Edith Simpson and P. Winifred Rowles. After graduating from Normal School and the University of Saskatchewan, she married Dr. A.L. Caldwell in 1924; they had one son. After a period in Cabri, the family moved to Saskatoon in 1941. Caldwell was the first woman to serve on the University of Saskatchewan senate (1929–50) and on the board of the National Film Board (1950–56), and was the first vice-president of the United Nations Association of Canada. In 1953 she was an alternate delegate to the UN General Assembly. She held top posts in the local, provincial and national Councils of Women. Also prominent in the Liberal Women’s Association, she ran (unsuccessfully) for office in the 1952 provincial and 1958 federal elections. Her honours include local and provincial citizens’ awards, life memberships in several organizations, an honorary Doctors of Laws degree (University of Saskatchewan), and inclusion in the Canadian Who’s Who. Caldwell died on February 17, 1990.

Ruth Wright Millar