Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman (2005)

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman: A Person in Her Own Right offers a candid, intimate and thought-provoking look at a remarkable woman born in the lingering shadow of the Victorian era who chose to embrace the modern world.

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman was born in 1904 into a privileged Toronto family. As practicing Methodists, Mary's family was committed to national and international issues of equity and social justice. Mary carried on her family's legacy of public duty throughout her life, making significant contributions to her community and her country. She supported the most progressive beliefs and programs of the Methodist Church and the Social Gospel movement. Mary showed a deep commitment to the education and development of children. She was also a generous benefactor and supporter of Canadian artists and her love of literature inspired her to champion the work of Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury Group and Hogarth Press.

This documentary chronicles the significant events in Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman's 90 years of life (she died in 1994) in the context of her times; almost a century of enormous political, social and economic change. This profile also examines the complexity of Mary's private life, including the legacy of the women in Mary's family, including her grandmother, mother and daughter, Nancy Ruth.

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman's story is told through a richly textured tapestry of contemporary interviews and conversations, dramatized letters and diary entries, archival footage and family movies and photographs.

This documentary's goal is to not only paint a vivid and realistic portrait of Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman, but to also create a framework to help audiences develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role of our mothers, grandmothers, and women who came before us. The film encourages viewers to learn from Mary's struggles, her passions and her integrity.

Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman: A Person in Her Own Right is distributed by McNabb Connolly. To purchase a copy of this documentary visit or email

Commissioning Sponsor: Nancy's Very Own Foundation