The Splendid Gift
Lady Aberdeen

May Court Convalescent Home
May Court Convalescent Home, ca. 1960s
Superintendent Miss Elizabeth Serson and a volunteer
Courtesy of the May Court Club of Ottawa


The Honourable Ishbel Maria Marjoribanks was the daughter of Lord Tweedmouth. She married John Campbell Gordon, seventh Earl of Aberdeen, in 1877. During her years in Canada, Lady Aberdeen, wife of the Governor General, founded the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) in 1893, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) for Canada in 1897 and the May Courts of Canada, 1898.

Ishbel, Countess of Aberdeen, was a vigorous advocate of social reform. As wife of the Governor General, she used her position and experience to advance her causes. She was also devoted to her family and committed to the viceregal office.

VON nurses

Lord Aberdeen was Governor General of Canada from 1893 to 1898. He was in Halifax, Nova Scotia on June 24, 1897, the anniversary of John Cabot's landing in Canada, to unveil a commemorative plaque for the explorer at Province House. The plaque, sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada, is still displayed there in the stairwell. An ancestor of Lord Aberdeen, Sir John Gordon of Haddo, was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1642.

VON nurses sent to the Yukon in 1898
Left to right: Margaret Payson, Rachel Hanna, Georgina Powell and Amy Scott. Faith Fenton of the Toronto Globe is on the right.
Courtesy of the Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, Ottawa



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Creating the Dinner Service | Splendid Gift
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