Born in Stanley Township, Ontario, Agnes Christina Laut (1871-1936) was only two years old when her family relocated to Winnipeg. She completed normal school at the age of fifteen, and worked as a substitute teacher in a prairie school, although she was too young to earn a teacher's certificate. After several years of teaching in Winnipeg, she enrolled at the University of Manitoba but was forced to withdraw in her second year due to ill health. She then turned to writing and was published in the NEW YORK EVENING POST and the MANITOBA FREE PRESS; she was employed at the latter as an editorial writer from 1895 to 1897. After two years spent "tramping" across the continent and contributing to American, English, and Canadian periodicals, she published her first novel, LORDS OF THE NORTH, in 1900. In order to improve her health and be closer to her publishers, in 1901 she moved to Wassaic (in upstate New York), her home for the remainder of her life. She often visited and wrote about Canada and spent many summers were spent visiting the Rockies and Selkirk Mountains. As an ardent nationalist, she was asked by the Toronto-based SATURDAY NIGHT to investigate labour and racial issues in British Columbia; in 1919 she travelled to Mexico as secretary to the Childhood Conservation League. Her full-length volumes were primarily biographies and histories about early North America, from the fur trade, to sea voyages and rail expansion. Agnes Laut died in 1936 and was buried in Wassaic.
AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER? ed. Mark Leier (2003)
Stanley Township, Ontario (1871-1873); Winnipeg (1873-1895); Wassaic, New York (1901-1936)
fiction; popular history
LORDS OF THE NORTH: A ROMANCE OF THE NORTHWEST (1900); HERALDS OF EMPIRE: BEING THE STORY OF ONE RAMSAY STANHOPE, LIEUTENANT TO PIERRE RADISSON IN THE NORTHERN FUR TRADE (1902); THE STORY OF THE TRAPPER (1902); PATHFINDERS OF THE WEST: BEING THE THRILLING STORY OF THE ADVENTURES OF THE MEN WHO DISCOVERED THE GREAT NORTHWEST (1904); VIKINGS OF THE PACIFIC: THE ADVENTURES OF THE EXPLORERS WHO CAME FROM THE WEST, EASTWARD (1905); THE CONQUEST OF THE GREAT NORTHWEST: BEING THE STORY OF THE ADVENTURERS OF ENGLAND KNOWN AS THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY (1908); CANADA, THE EMPIRE OF THE NORTH: BEING THE ROMANTIC STORY OF THE NEW DOMINION'S GROWTH FROM COLONY TO KINGDOM (1909); THE FREEBOOTERS OF THE WILDERNESS (1910); THE NEW DAWN (1913); THROUGH OUR UNKNOWN SOUTHWEST, THE WONDERLAND OF THE UNITED STATES (1913); THE "ADVENTURERS OF ENGLAND" ON HUDSON BAY: A CHRONICLE OF THE FUR TRADE IN THE NORTH (1914); PIONEERS OF THE PACIFIC COAST: A CHRONICLE OF SEA ROVERS AND FUR HUNTERS (1915); THE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTH (1915); THE CARIBOO TRAIL: A CHRONICLE OF THE GOLD-FIELDS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (1916); THE FUR TRADE OF AMERICA (1921); CANADA AT THE CROSS ROADS (1921); THE QUENCHLESS LIGHT (1924); THE BLAZED TRAIL OF THE OLD FRONTIER: BEING THE LOG OF THE UPPER MISSOURI HISTORICAL EXPEDITION (1926); ENCHANTED TRAILS OF GLACIER PARK (1926); THE CONQUEST OF OUR WESTERN EMPIRE (1927); THE ROMANCE OF THE RAILS (1929); THE OVERLAND TRAIL: THE EPIC PATH OF THE PIONEERS TO OREGON (1929); ANTOINE DE LA MOTHE CADILLAC (1930); JOHN TANNER, CAPTIVE BOY WANDERER OF THE BORDERLANDS (1930); MARQUETTE (1930); CADILLAC, KNIGHT ERRANT OF THE WILDERNESS, FOUNDER OF DETROIT, GOVERNOR OF LOUISIANA FROM THE GREAT LAKES TO THE GULF (1931); PILGRIMS OF THE SANTA FE (1931)
AMERICAN ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE; CANADIAN BOOKMAN; CENTURY; COLLIERS; FINANCIAL POST; FORBES; LADIES' HOME JOURNAL; MACLEAN'S; MANITOBA FREE PRESS; MCCLURE'S; MONTREAL HERALD; MUNDY'S; NATION'S BUSINESS; NEW YORK EVENING POST; NEW YORK HERALD; OUTING; RED BOOK; REVIEW OF REVIEWS; SATURDAY EVENING POST; SCRIBNER'S MAGAZINE; SUNSET; THE TRAPPER; WESTMINSTER GAZETTE; WORLD'S WORK
Anthologized in LITTLE MANITOBANS (1900)
Life dates of father
c1824, Scotland - after 1871
merchant from Glasgow
Life dates of mother
c1832, USA - after 1871
Daughter of Reverend James George, vice-principal of Queen's University from 1853-1857
Dictionary of Literary Biography 92; Blenkhorn, "Laut, Agnes Christina" in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LITERATURE IN CANADA, ed. New (2002), pp. 636-37; "Miss Laut's Entertaining History" in CANADIAN BOOKMAN (1909); "Miss Agnes Laut, Former Manitoba Author, is Dead" in WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (17 November 1936); 1871 Census of Canada; Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957; Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913
Watters, CHECKLIST OF CANADIAN LITERATURE...1620-1960 (1970), pp. 324, 529, 699, 880, 969
letter, Queen's University Archives; photos, autobiographical note, and correspondence, Lorne and Edith Pierce collection, Queen's University Archives; correspondence, archives of the Century Publishing Company, New York Public Library; letter to Judge Howay, Howay Papers, University of British Columbia; correspondence, Board of Publication Papers, Archives of the United Church of Canada, Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
Photo by Topley of Ottawa. Image from Henry Morgan, TYPES OF CANADIAN WOMEN (Toronto: Briggs, 1903).