As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we are sharing the stories of women who are examples of strength and courage.
It was December 1929, just a few weeks after the stock market crash, and many families were feeling the pinch. As a teenager growing up in the 1920’s Dorothy Smith developed an interest in art, and enjoyed sketching the faces of her friends and family. Her parents invested in a few art lessons, and the hobby blossomed into an opportunity for Dorothy to answer an ad in the local paper. The problem was, the ad was for “male-help-only”. Dorothy was not deterred, at at the encouragement of her mother, put some trousers on and answered the ad.
From Dorothy Smith’s own life sketch:
“In December of my 18th year came an answer to a prayer for financial help as well as an unexpected opportunity to “cash-in” on my parent’s monetary investments in my future. At Mother’s suggestion, I bravely answered a “male-help-only” ad that had appeared for a week in the local newspaper. I got the job and was promptly put to work. I learned a lesson in preparedness when I was retained to work the rest of the day and was afraid to remove my coat because I hadn’t bothered to wear my belt. I thoroughly enjoyed my (one-man?) job as a sign-writer and copy-checker in the advertising department of the city’s largest store, T. Eaton, Co., and was glad to be able to help in the support of my elder brother Marv.”
-From the Dorothy Smith Archive, A Brief Life Sketch, written 31 January 1975.
Dorothy Smith with her parents Hyrum and June, in the late 1920’s, in front of their home in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Dorothy Smith sketching a face.
A window Dorothy Smith decorated at T. Eaton Co. in Lethbridge, Alberta.