Nova Scotia Archives

Halifax and Its People / 1749-1999

Maud Foley, Street Car Conductor in Summer Uniform and Winter Uniform, Halifax, 1917 or 1918

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During World War I and especially after the Halifax Harbour Explosion, there was a shortage of male workers in the city. Maud Foley was one of a dozen woman streetcar conductors hired after the Explosion to operate the city's electric tram cars. These women gave commendable service but were replaced by men when the war ended. Mrs. Foley made about $ .45 an hour for an eight hour shift; the pay was considered good. The summer uniform was khaki and the winter uniform was blue/gray, with accompanying boots, leggings, voluminous trousers and three-quarter-length coat. During the summer, the conductor stood with the money box on the outside running board. Carl Moulton, a Connecticut native passing through Halifax briefly before going overseas in 1918, wrote to his girlfriend on 23 January, "It seems strange to see girls running the elevators and acting as trolley car conductors. I saw a girl walking on the outside of a car and fixing the pole just like a man. What are we coming to anyway?"

Date: 1917 or 1918

Reference no.: Nova Scotia Light and Power Co. Nova Scotia Archives  MG 9 vol. 226, pp. 27-28