Myles, Margaret Fraser (1892-1988)

Née Margaret (“Maggie”) Fraser Findlay, Myles was the sole member of the fifth graduating class (in 1917) from the Queen Victoria Hospital nursing training program in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and went on to achieve world prominence in nursing education. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, on December 30, 1892, she emigrated to Saskatchewan just prior to World War I, trained as a nurse in Yorkton and there met her future husband, Charles James Myles; they married on June 30, 1920. When Charles died on July 30, 1921, Maggie returned to Scotland and took a year of midwifery training. After her three-year-old son died in 1924, she studied nursing for three additional years at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

In 1927, Maggie returned to her alma mater in Yorkton to be matron of nurses. For three years she did most of the teaching of the student nurses, upgraded the curriculum, graduated five to seven registered nurses per year, and realized that her interests lay in education. She studied education at McGill University; this was followed by posts as director of Nursing Education at Philadelphia and Detroit, and then as the sole midwife tutor when the Simpson Maternity Pavilion opened in Edinburgh in 1937.

Myles’ Textbook for Midwives appeared in 1953, and was constantly updated through the tenth edition in 1985 (when she was 92). Over half a million copies were sold, making it one of the most successful medical texts in world history. “Maggie” died in Kincardineshire, Scotland, on February 15, 1988.

C. Stuart Houston