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One of the two first women elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly.
One of the two first women elected to a legislature in Canada and in the British Empire.
First and only woman representative to be elected by the Armed Services in the British Empire.
First woman to introduce a piece of legislation in the British Empire.
Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives, Calgary, Canada (NA-1404-3).
Born in Sarnia, Ontario on July 21, 1881.
Died in Calgary, Alberta on December 16, 1959.
Political Affiliation: Non-Partisan
Legislative Career: First elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the 1917 provincial election as one of the two Soldiers' Overseas Representatives for the province at large. Served until 1921.
Born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1881, Roberta Catherine MacAdams was a modest woman who made many original contributions to Canadian society.
In 1909, she started a new course in Domestic Science at the Macdonald Institute in Guelph, Ontario. After graduating in 1911, she relocated to Edmonton where she worked for the Alberta Department of Agriculture giving lectures to farm women on food, cookery and also providing information on the newly-founded Women's Institutes. In 1912, she became Superintendent of Domestic Science for the Edmonton Public School Board, establishing classes in cooking skills in schools across the city.
Roberta MacAdams enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1916. She wore the uniform of a nursing sister, but was commissioned as a lieutenant. As a dietician, she ran the kitchen of the Ontario Military Hospital in Orpington, England.
In 1917, the Alberta Military Representation Act provided for the overseas election of two Soldiers' Representatives to the Alberta Legislature. Twenty male candidates decided to contest these seats. Disappointed that there weren't any women in this election, particularly since Alberta women had just received the right to vote in 1916, Beatrice Nasmyth, a publicity secretary for the Alberta Agent General in England and Mrs. Nell Dennis convinced Roberta MacAdams to run. A very effective campaign poster was designed by these two ladies with the slogan "Give one vote to the man of your choice and the other to the sister."
Out of the 25,60l ballots cast in August 1917, Roberta MacAdams came in second with 4,023 votes to Captain Pearson's 4,286 votes, becoming the second woman elected to a legislature in the British Empire. In the June 7, 1917 Alberta General Election, Louise McKinney had become the first, and on February 7, 1918, these two women were the first to take the oath of office at the opening of the Fourth Legislative Assembly. The next day, on February 8, 1918, Roberta MacAdams became the first woman to introduce a piece of legislation in the British Empire. This was a bill to incorporate the War Veterans' Next-of-Kin Association.
On September 21, 1920, she married Harvey Stinson Price and later had one son, Robert. She did not seek re-election in 1921, but after the family moved to Calgary, she was involved in many women's and educational organizations until her death in December 1959.
On March 16, 1967, her portrait was presented to the Alberta Legislature to honour her achievements.
Jameson, Sheilagh S. — "Give your other vote to the Sister". — Alberta Historical Review. — Vol. 15, no. 4 (Autumn 1967). — P. 10-16. — ISSN 00024783
Mardon, Ernest G.; Mardon, Austin. — "MacAdams, Roberta Catherine". — Alberta political biography : work in progress. — Edmonton: Shoestring Press, 1994. — P. 542. — ISBN 1895385806
Marshall, Debbie. — Give your Other Vote to the Sister: A Woman's Journey into the Great War. – Calgary : University of Calgary Press, 2007.
Media Club of Canada. — "Price, Roberta". — Canadian women of note (C.W.O.N.). [North York, Ont.]: Institute for Social Research, York University, 1994. — P. 816. — ISBN 1550142356
Palamarek, Michael. — "Roberta MacAdams Price". — A History of women and politics in Alberta 1900-1988: a report for Senator Martha P. Bielish. — (s.l.: s.n.), 1989. — P. 42-44.
Rasmussen, Linda et al. — "Biographies: Roberta Catherine MacAdams". — A Harvest yet to reap: a history of prairie women. — Toronto: Women's Press, c1975. — P. 222. — ISBN 0889610304 -