Alice Leone Mitchell teaches Marshall McLuhan a thing or two
Wednesday, 14 March, 2012
Born in Nova Scotia, Alice Leone Mitchell graduated from the Emerson College of Oratory in Boston and was head of the oratory department at Mount Allison University for six years. In 1912 came to Winnipeg to establish a school.
October 26, 1917, The Voice
She first settled at 408 Warwick Apartments from where she also ran the Alice Leone Mitchell School of Expression engaged in “ … training students for public speaking and physical culture including diaphragmatic breathing are especially emphasized.” Her school moved with her to 6-275 Young Street, 6 Camden Court then 333 Broadway.
One of Mitchell’s pupils was Elsie McLuhan, mother of Marshall McLuhan.
Mrs. McLuhan, for a time, sat on the school’s executive board and her home was the site for executive meetings and small recitals. In 1924 she began a public speaking career of her own and insisted that son Marshall take lessons from Mitchell as well.
Source: U of M Library
In his book Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan, Douglas Coupland writes:
Another McLuhan biography [Philip Marchand's] says that Mitchell’s school was considered one of the “foremost schools in North America for training in the principles of public reading” and created a fierce snobbery in Elsie McLuhan toward the McLuhans’ Irish Heritage, Ontario’s Protestant elite and Winnipeggers in general !
Mitchell and her students regularly held oratory and dramatic recitals around town and she was also a stage actress in her own right.
In 1945 Mitchell returned to her native Nova Scotia after falling ill. She died at her home in Dartmouth on April 29, 1946.
Related: McLuhan the Manitoban – U of M Library
News of Interest to Women – Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 4, 1913
Alice Mitchell, Voice Teacher, Dies – Winnipeg Free Press, May 9, 1946
Filed under: Biography, Commentary, Education, Remembrance | Leave a Comment
Tags: culture, education, rhetoric, Winnipeg
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