Margaret Newton

Margaret Newton, plant pathologist (b at Montréal 20 Apr 1887; d at Victoria 6 Apr 1971), sister of Robert NEWTON. While still a student at McGill, Margaret Newton worked on the first scientific survey of wheat rust in Canada, following the epidemic of 1916, and joined the Dominion Rust Research Laboratory, Winnipeg, on its creation. Her research in association with J.H. CRAIGIE is summarized in T. JOHNSON's Rust Research in Canada and I.L. Conners's Plant Pathology in Canada. Newton was possibly the first Canadian woman to undertake a lifelong research career. She never married and reportedly would work until near exhaustion - and then relax by foreign travel or strenuous canoe expeditions. In 1922 she was invited to the Soviet Union to discuss her work with wheat rust. She became an FRCS in 1942 and received the Flavelle Medal in 1948. She retired owing to ill health, perhaps caused by 25 years of exposure to rust-disease spores. A women's residence hall at the University of Victoria is named in her memory.