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A Real Companion and Friend:
The diary of William Lyon Mackenzie King

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Behind the Diary

A King's Who's Who Biographies

Joan Patteson (1869-1960)

Joan Patteson, ca. 1920-1940

Source

Joan Patteson, ca. 1920-1940

Joan Patteson and her husband Godfroy were two of King's closest friends. King was a frequent dinner guest in their home, and he came to depend on them, especially Joan, for companionship and moral support. They went on long walks together, often with their dogs, in Ottawa and during their summers at Kingsmere. Joan Patteson shared King's interest in spiritualism. The diary contains many references to her. This photograph is from King's personal collection.

On October 2, 1918, Mackenzie King gave a small dinner party to celebrate the publication of Industry and Humanity. Among the guests were his neighbours from the Roxborough Apartments, Godfroy and Joan Patteson. They were to become two of his closest friends.

As he became better acquainted with the Pattesons, King often dropped in on them, becoming a frequent dinner guest. When he became Liberal Leader and then Prime Minister, he often visited the Pattesons to unwind at the end of the day. After living at the Roxborough, Joan and Godfroy moved to 202 Elgin Street; King's diary contains many references to this address. King came to depend on them, especially Joan, for companionship and moral support. Joan ate meals with him, went for long walks with him, and became a confidante. Joan shared King's interest in spiritualism and took part in seances and table-rapping sessions with him.

The Pattesons spent summers with King at his estate in the Gatineau Hills. After the death of Marjorie Herridge, King purchased her cottage at Kingsmere, to be a summer home for the Pattesons. He renamed it Moorside. He later purchased another cottage, which he named Shady Hill and which eventually succeeded Moorside as the Pattesons' cottage. King allowed them the use of it, rent free, a year at a time.

Shortly before Mackenzie King died, he wrote in his diary of Joan, "So helpful and cheerful. Godfroy equally so. I can never repay all their kindness. She has filled the place of my mother in my heart over the years." (Diary, June 25, 1950)

King bequeathed to the Pattesons a joint annuity of $2,500.

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