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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Marion Reid's Desk--Is It?

Marion Reid’s Desk—Is it?

We have a new/old desk at our house.  After months of searching for a suitable writing desk for me to use, we found a unique older desk on http://www.kijiji.ca/  last week.

The couple, we purchased it from, shared an intriguing story about the desk’s history.  They told us that it is an old-style teacher’s desk, which they bought on Prince Edward Island (exact location unremembered.)  

Originally the desk was medium brown colour, with different drawer pulls and a key.  They refinished it in a reddish hue, except for the inside of the top of the desk and the inside of the desk drawer, which they didn’t change or touch.  As an antique, those changes make the desk not particularly valuable, but as a desk with a story, it certainly is!

The sellers claim that the desk was used by the Honourable Marion Reid, who was the first woman Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island, from 1990 to1995.  For more information about Marion Reid, click here.

Indeed, Marion Reid did begin a teaching career on the Island in 1946, at age 17.  “Apart from a few years leave when her children were young, Reid continued her teaching career for 21 years.”  (Library and Archives Canada)

Marion Reid’s accomplishments are amazing:  wife and mother to 8 children, teacher and school principal, Member of the Legislative Assembly, Speaker of the House, Opposition House Leader and Lieutenant Governor for the Province of Prince Edward Island.  Her political achievements were “firsts” for any Island woman.

Throughout her teaching and political careers, Marion Reid remained active in community service and in women’s issues.

It is fascinating to think of writing at the desk of such an extraordinarily accomplished woman.  If she did, in fact, own or use this desk, it makes the desk an inspiration that comes with a great story.

The name “Marion Reid” is handwritten on the inside of the top of the desk, as you can see from the photo.

Regardless of whether the story is true, this desk is perfect for me to sit and write.  I cherish the feeling of history, and of furniture that has been loved which come with this older piece.  I wonder what other tales this desk might hold.  And what tales it will encourage and inspire.

Note:  Any of the printed words which show in red or blue will link to web pages, with additional information, if you click on them.  All photographs are mine.


Gwen Buchanan said...

What an interesting historical find, Carol.

Carol Steel said...

There is no guarantee that this is her desk, but wouldn't it be intriguing if it was?

It is a lovely place to write regardless.

Carol Steel said...

I received this note about the desk from a friend of mine, on August 30, 2011.

"Hi Carol,

I have consulted my friend Ellie, who spoke with Marion’s son-in-law who spoke to his wife Bethany who spoke with Marion, and then to Ellie . The only desk Marion remembers signing was a school desk she signed when she was a teacher and it was signed Marion Cole, her maiden name.

However, Marion says if you wish to say it is her desk, please feel free."

That's the note. So I guess it isn't her desk, but wasn't it generous of Marion Reid to offer to let me "say it is her desk"; further evidence of her graciousness.

I love the desk regardless. It's a wonderful place to write!