Given names: 
Eleanor P
Given address: 
Papanui Rd St Albans
Sheet No: 306
St Albans

Biographical information provided by Canterbury Museum for the He Tohu exhibition:

This signature belongs to the mother of Eleanor S Smith and Lucy Masey Smith, Eleanor Phoebe Smith (nee McLeod). Eleanor was born in Bristol in 1828 and married James Thomas Smith in 1849. The family emigrated to New Zealand in 1860, arriving at Lyttelton with four children, a baby having died during the voyage. They settled in St Albans where they attended the St Albans Methodist church and the children attended the Wesleyan Day School. Two further children were born in Christchurch.

In the 1880s Phoebe edited a magazine called The New Zealand Titbits which was published by her husband's printing firm, J. T. Smith and Co. She was a dominating matriarchal figure in the family, referred to as our 'Head Clansman.'

Phoebe Smith remained an active member of the St Albans Methodist Church until her  death in 1913. She was a President of the Church's Ladies' Guild, and also joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Canterbury Women's Institute (CWI). She was present at the first meeting of the National Council of Women in 1896 and was still a Vice President of the CW1 at the time of her death in 1913.

Tributes written after her death described her as 'a woman of unusual mental endowments and remarkable for the breadth of her sympathies and interests.' She was 'one of the pioneers of the woman suffrage movement in the Dominion rendering it much assistance in its early stages and was deeply interested in all social reform, especially in the cause of temperance.' She was described as an ardent member of the WCTU 'from its commencement.'

After her Eleanor's death in 1913, Lucy and her sister Eleanor continued to live in the family home on Papanui Road, Christchurch. 

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

How to cite this page

'Eleanor P Smith', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 2-Oct-2017

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