MacKinnon, Lilian Vaux (1879-1975)

Lilian Vaux MacKinnon was the author of one of the most fascinating accounts ever written of Queen's past: a wistful, semi-autobiographical novel called Miriam of Queen's about a young woman's adventures at the University at the turn of the century.

Born Lilian Vaux in Brockville, Ontario, Mackinnon was a student at Queen's from 1898 until 1902. She was a top student, editor of the "Ladies' Department" of the Queen's Journal, and a founding member of Queen's Dramatic Club. She graduated with the university's gold medal in English.

She married a fellow Queen's graduate, Murdoch Archibald MacKinnon, after graduation and lived in various cities across Canada, where he served as a Presbyterian minister.

Miriam of Queen's, published in 1921, was her first novel and the only one she ever published. Mackinnon apparently quit writing until shortly before her husband's death in 1954, when she began to submit reminiscences about her past to small newspapers and to the Alumni Review and the Queen's Quarterly.

The undated manuscript of her unpublished novel, Hard by St Lawrence, a romance set near Brockville, is held with some of her other papers in the Queen's Archives.

MacKinnon was 96 and Queen's oldest living woman graduate when she died in 1975.