A letter for Elizabeth Yates from the Queen of England
In 1893 Elizabeth Yates accepted nomination for the office of mayor of Onehunga. She defeated her sole opponent, F. W. Court, at the election of 29 November, to become the first woman mayor in the British Empire. This radical departure from convention caused much comment throughout New Zealand and the empire, and Yates received congratulations from Premier Richard Seddon and Queen Victoria. We're guessing Queen Victoria was secretly stoked to see a woman become Mayor - it must have been lonely for a woman like her at the top.
In 2018 the Internet allows us to piece together forgotten stories of our past
The truth is if you have a name and some idea of the story behind the woman you want to know about her story is often there in bits and pieces. Papers Past for a reference to a wedding, Births Deaths and Marriages for a record of a Marriage and a maiden name; another search in Papers Past for a woman of the correct name and over to Digital NZ for photographs of anyone of the same name. Suddenly a whole picture can open up. It might still only be in pieces but it allows us to build small pictures of stories previously invisible. To demonstrate we've used environmentalist, author and National Park Founder - Perrine Moncrieff. But if you're up for the challenge - the story of Lucy Gordon in Mr W J Napier's letter (found in your kit) can also be discovered this way.