H990.214.29 - Decoration Day poppy 1921

Catalogue Number
Object Name
Object Type
Origin Country
Use Country
1921 to 1921
Artifact History

From the Estate of Miss Hatfield who lived at 2208 W. 35th until she was in her 80s. She was the sister of Dr. W.H. Hatfield, who was head of the Vancouver General Hospital.

A tag on the stem of the poppy reads "Decoration Day 1921" and "Poppy lady from France" Decoration Day, which began June 2, 1890, recognizes veterans of Canada's military. The day has mostly been replaced by the similar Remembrance Day. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decoration_Day_(Canada)] The "Poppy Lady from France" refers to Madame E. Guérin (1878 - 1961) who established Remembrance Poppy Day. In June 1921, she was in Ontario organizing a Canadian version of her League, the ‘Canadian-Franco Children’s League’. She spoke of scarlet poppies made by the women and children of France for wearing on armistice day as a memorial to “the boys of Canada and the boys of France who sleep side by side in Flanders field.” The poppies would be sold from "the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans" on that day and the proceeds would benefit the 450,000 children in devastated areas of France, and the veteran of Canada. She hoped to make it an annual movement. On July 4, 1921, the Vancouver Daily World newspaper printed an article titled “CANADA TO SELL POPPIES FOR FRENCH WAR WIDOWS" . [https://poppyladymadameguerin.wordpress.com/chapter-7a-the-empire-dominion-of-canada-poppy]

History of Poppy Day: August 21 1915, a “Poppy Day” was held at South Shields, England, in aid of the town’s Ingham Infirmary and local Poor Children’s Association In 1916, artificial poppies were distributed in England for charity. In the U.S.A., as early as April 1918, American women gave out poppies in New York after accepting war effort donations. In September 1920, the American Legion was the first of the First World War inter-allied veterans’ groups to adopt the poppy as a remembrance emblem – after Madame Guérin was invited to speak about her ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ idea at their convention. The American Legion and its women’s Auxiliary supported Madame Guérin in her charity’s official U.S. ‘Poppy Day’ on 28 May 1921 – ahead of the country’s Memorial or Decoration Day on the 30th May. This was the first NATIONWIDE ‘Poppy Day’ ever. Veteran groups of the British Empire nations (the ‘Commonwealth’ today) followed. Canada’s ‘Great War Veterans Association’ was the first of these Empire groups. The Empire’s first national Poppy Days began in November 1921. [https://poppyladymadameguerin.wordpress.com/about-introduction]

Original Owner
Hatfield, Miss
Supporting Documentation Contents

List of references to 1921 Armistice Day poppy campaign in Vancouver from: https://poppyladymadameguerin.wordpress.com/chapter-7a-the-empire-dominion-of-canada-poppy/

Physical Description
Artificial poppy; made of red silk for flower, & wire wrapped in green paper for stem; paper tag attached says "Decoration Day 1921" and "Poppy lady from France"
silk, wire, paper
Dimension Remarks


Artifact Part Height (cm) Length (cm) Width (cm) Depth (cm) Diameter (cm) Thickness (cm) Weight
10.50 6.20



Sanguinetti, Michael