Photo: University Archives

Elsie Hall: 100 years since first female law graduate at USask

Elsie Hall may be a well-known name to those who have walked the halls of USask Law, yet surprisingly, it is difficult to find an abundance of information on the first female to enrol and graduate from the college.

By Sarah Trefiak

On the 100th anniversary of her graduation, we wanted to recognize her accomplishment as a pioneer in Saskatchewan law and thanks to the assistance of University Archives, part of her story can now be pieced together.

According to records, Hall was born in Gloucester, England on February 14, 1897 and landed in Canada—more specifically, in Swift Current, Sask.—in 1914.

A profile on Hall was featured in a 1920 yearbook. It read:

“Due, perhaps, to a sense of the fitness of things, Elsie chose the new world—and particularly our progressive province—in which to prepare for her life-work. Not content to follow the usual professions open to women, she determined to walk in paths yet untrodden by her sisters. Hence, to her belongs the distinction of being the first lady law-student to enrol in Saskatchewan University.”

The article goes on to mention that she played on the university basketball team and was an excellent swimmer and tennis player.

“We regard Elsie’s future as a bright one with hope. Especially do we think that she may be able to render unique service to her sisters who are called to tread the humbler paths, for we know she has our cause at heart.”

Little is known about Elsie’s career after she left USask, but a letter from one of Elsie’s former friends, Eileen Holden, states that Elsie lived in Hampstead, London, during the 1930s, and during the war worked for the Ministry of Pensions in St. Anne’s-on-the-Sea in Lancashire.

Miss Hall died on May 31, 1975 in Victoria, B.C.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2020 edition of of NOTE.