Helen Allison

Miss Helen Allison Remembers Evelyn (Kelly) Albright

Interviewed by Lorna Brooke Nov. 8, 1995

In 1920, Helen Allison was a freshman at the University of Western Ontario, London, the same year that Evelyn Albright began teaching there. Miss Allison was enrolled in the 4 year honours programme, graduating in 1924. She took a first year English Composition course, 19C English Literature, with Evelyn Albright. It was a "bright" class and the students told Evelyn Albright there was no sense in her giving them the course as she had planned it, as they had covered it all in High School. This caused Evelyn Albright to change her methods radically and the course she taught, though still English Composition, was far more worth while. Miss Allison said that her class didn't think too highly of Mrs. Albright. Many of the other faculty were better. [Miss Allison said that I would probably shoot her for saying that!]

Evelyn Albright lived around the corner from the Allisons. In 1919, Evelyn's father, Rev. Judson Kelly, came to London where he became a Methodist minister at Colborne St. Church. Methodist ministers served a four year term. After She left Calgary, Evelyn lived with her father for a long time. They lived on Piccadilly St. for quite a while.

Family and friends called Evelyn, Nona. Her mother developed cancer and died before Evelyn came to London. Rev. Judson was a good natured Irishman. Miss Allison remembers him as a round roly-poly. He was very different from her mother and was known as Father Kelly to those around him.

Evelyn’s sister Ora, who married Dr. Arthur Ritchie, lived in the London area. Miss Allison believes it was Stratford. Ora had no children. Evelyn once told Miss Allison that both she and Ora might have been able to have children if they had undergone surgery.

Evelyn talked about Fred only incidentally. Miss Allison remembers a picture of him on the living room wall. Rev. Kelly ‘made her mad’ by putting up a gravestone for Fred in the family plot in Thorold, where the Kellys had a family burial plot. Evelyn didn't think her husband belonged there. She believed Fred belonged in the West.

Evelyn (Kelly) Albright died on April 29, 1979. Miss Allison is one of the executors of her will. (The other being Frances Gage, who is also her literary executor.) The estate of Evelyn Albright remains to be settled. The will has been held up as 'someone persuaded Evelyn to put something in it to delay proceedings.’ It was made so that the income from the estate would be divided every year and split amongst the beneficiaries. Thus, as each of them died the income was divided amongst fewer and fewer people.

Helen Mildred Blythe Allison (BA '24, LL.D '65) enjoyed a long and successful career at the University of Western Ontario. She was on the staff in the Registrar's Office, where she soon became Assistant Registrar. In 1947, she was appointed Registrar and Secretary of the Senate. Miss Allison died in London in the late 1990's.