Emma Leila Skinner-Gordon

Plot H, Lot 12E
Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Very little information is actually available on Emma Leila Skinner-Gordon. Her birth date was somewhere around 1859-61. A plaque on Merton Street, east of Mount Pleasant Road reads: “On this site from 1890 to 1970 stood the Merton Street Gospel Mission, a non-denominational church and one of the first centres of worship in the Davisville community. It sponsored missionary and charitable works and adopted war orphans around the world. Instrumental in its founding was Dr. Emma L. Skinner Gordon, one of the first women doctors in Canada and an inspiration behind the establishment of Women’s College Hospital. In 1898 she started at the Mission both the Barada and Philithea Societies, which were religious and educational clubs. Toronto Historical Board 1977." Skinner apparently graduated from the University of Toronto in 1896, and at some point thereafter, apparently set up a practice in mostly maternity work. Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw apparently went to work with Dr. Skinner, as an intern. She was not compensated for her year’s work, as interns received no pay. One footnote in the book The Complete Correspondence of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones, 1908-1939 relates: ‘Emma Leila (née Skinner) Gordon (1859-1949), one of Canada’s first female medical doctors, was very religious, held strict views on alcohol consumption and loose living, and was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.’ Emma Skinner-Gordon died on March 27, 1949. Her age was given as 88 years.

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