Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940) in Canadian Singers and their Songs, 1919. Courtesy Internet Archive.

by George J. Dance

Ethelwyn Wetherald
Born Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald
April 26, 1857
Rockwood, Ontario
Died March 9, 1940 (aged 82)
Pen name Bel Thistlethwaite
Occupation journalist
Nationality Canada Canadian
Citizenship British subject
Notable work(s) The Last Robin (1907)

Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald (April 26, 1857 - March 9, 1940) was a Canadian poet.[1]


Wetherald was born at Rockwood, Ontario, the daughter of Rev. William Wetherald, a Quaker minister. She was educated at the Friends' Boarding School in Union, New York, and at Pickering College.[2]

Her earliest sale of a poem was to St. Nicholas Magazine at 17, and soon she was contributing to publications throughout Canada and the United States, including The Globe, The Week, and Rose-Belford's Canadian Magazine. She co-wrote a novel, An Algonquin Maiden (1887), with Graeme Mercer Adam, and in 1895 published her debut collection of poetry.[3]

She worked for several decades as a proofreader, journalist, and editorial assistant at newspapers in Ontario and the north-eastern United States.[4] For a time she 'conducted the Women's Department' of The Globe under the pseudonym "Bel Thistlethwait."[2]

She adopted a child, Dorothy, in 1911 when she was 54, and in 1921 published a book of children's verse, Tree-Top Mornings, dedicated to Dorothy.[3]


Ethelwyn Wetherald - Canadian Poet and Journalist

Ethelwyn Wetherald - Canadian Poet and Journalist

Reviewing her 1907 book, The Last Robin, The Globe pronounced: "The salient quality of Miss Wetherald's work is its freshness of feeling, a perennial freshness, renewable as spring. This has a setting of harmonious form, for the poet's ear is delicately attuned to the value of words, both as to the sound and the meaning.... The sonnets are an important part of the volume, and, to some minds, will represent the most important part. Miss Wetherald's sonnets are flowing in expression and harmonious in thought; some are beautiful."[2]

The Dictionary of Literary Biography calls the best of her poems "musical, restrained, and precise," and "equal to much of the work of her better-known Canadian contemporaries such as Archibald Lampman, Bliss Carman, and Duncan Campbell Scott." On occasion, it adds, "her themes and images recall the poetry of Emily Dickinson."[5]


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Short fictionEdit

  • Thirty Years of Storytelling: Selected short fiction (edited by Janet B. Friskney). Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 2011.



Collected editionsEdit

  • Dorothy W. Rungeling, Life and works of Ethelwyn Wetherald, 1857-1940: With a selection of her poems and articles. Ridgeville, ON: Rungeling, 2004.


  • "The Indigo Bird" in The Garden of the Heart: A Garland of verses. Boston: R.G. Badger, 1903.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[6]

See alsoEdit

In The Crowd (Ethelwyn Wetherald Poem)

In The Crowd (Ethelwyn Wetherald Poem)

237 The House of the Trees by Ethelwyn Wetherald Clarica Poetry Moment POEM

237 The House of the Trees by Ethelwyn Wetherald Clarica Poetry Moment POEM

Earth's Silences (Ethelwyn Wetherald Poem)

Earth's Silences (Ethelwyn Wetherald Poem)


  1. "Selected Poetry of Ethelwyn Wetherald (1857-1940)," Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto,, Web, Dec. 26, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 John Garvin, "Ethelwyn Wetherald," Canadian Poets (Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1916), 167, A Celebration of Women Writers, University of Pennsylvania,, Web, Dec. 26, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wanda Campbell, "Ethelwyn Wetherald," Hidden Rooms: Canadian Women Writers (Canadian Poetry Press, 2000), Canadian Poetry, UWO, Web, Dec. 26, 2011.
  4. Carole Gerson and Gwendolyn Davies, "Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald 1857-1940," Canadian Poetry From the Beginnings Through the First World War (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart New Canadian Library, 1944), 314, Print.
  5. Carole Gerson, "Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald," Dictionary of Literary Biography, Thomson Gale,, Web, Dec. 26, 2011.
  6. Search results = au:Ehelwyn Wetherald, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Apr. 19, 2015.

External linksEdit

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