Governor Bars Women from New Year’s Levee

As I reported yesterday, January 1, 1975 was the first year that women were welcomed, albeit somewhat grudgingly, at the annual New Year’s Day levee at Government House in Charlottetown.

But that wasn’t how the story began: here’s the front page of The Guardian from December 10, 1974, with the headline “Governor Bars Women From New Year’s Levee”:

Headline of The Guardian, December 10, 1974: Governor Bars Women from New Year's Levee

Under that headline there were three stories, under the sub-heads “Tradition Continues As Stand Explained,” “Decision Disappoints Status Of Women Head” and “Various Interpretations Given To Term ‘Levee’ ”:

Tradition Continues As Stand Explained

Decision Disappoints Status Of Women Head

Various Interpretations Given To Term 'Levee'

To its credit, The Guardian ran an editorial in the same issue headed “Change Due,” and calling the ban on its blatant sexism: “Granted, time may be limited for the reception, but since it is a ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ affairs of persons meeting His Honor what has ‘mechanics” got to do with the sex of a person?”:

Change Due

More rational heads obviously prevailed, as the next day’s paper updated the story: “Women Not Barred at Governor’s Levee”:

Women Not Barred At Governor's Levee

Later that month, as January 1, 1975 approached, The Guardian comments on the busy levee schedule, with four levees – Lieutenant Governor’s, Mayor’s, Premier’s and Bishop’s – scheduled for New Year’s Day:

Four Levees Set For Area

The advertisement in the newspaper for Premier Alex Campbell’s levee made a point of specifying “Both ladies and genlemen [sic] will be received,” and avoided, presumably for reasons of not limiting women, the term “levee” altogether in favour of “receiption”:

Premier's Levee

Meanwhile, while not specifically excluding women, neither the Mayor nor the Lieutenant Government specifically welcomed women either:

Mayor's Levee

Lieutenant Governor's Levee

Another reminder that all are welcome at all levees, 40 years on from 1975. Find the schedule for 2015 here and I’ll see you there.


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