ABOUT ELIZABETH ABBOTT
Elizabeth Abbott is a writer and historian with a doctorate from McGill University in 19th century history, and a Senior Research Associate at Trinity College, University of Toronto. She has also taught history at Montreal’s Dawson College, l’Université d’État d’Haïti, and University of Toronto. Courses included Canadian history, Comparative Slavery, and the history of Women, Childhood, and the Family.
After remarrying and moving to Haiti, she reported for Reuters, wrote magazine articles and Haiti: The Duvaliers and their Legacy, which ended her marriage and put her in such danger that she had to leave the country.
Back in Montreal, she was editor-in-chief of the best-selling Chronicle of Canada (1990), and began book reviewing for the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette and Ottawa Citizen. She also wrote Nelson Hackett’s bio for the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.)
In 1991, Elizabeth became Dean of Women at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College and began writing her historical relationship trilogy: A History of Celibacy (1999), A History of Mistresses (2003), A History of Marriage (2010). I also wrote Sugar: A Bittersweet History (2008), Haiti: A Shattered Nation (2011), following the catastrophic earthquake, and Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash (2015), a memoir about dog rescue and supervising the College-Mount Sinai Hospital Pet Therapy Program.
“Haiti: Where Rivers Run Brown” (Equinox Magazine), won the 1991 National Magazine Award for Environmental Writing. A History of Celibacy was a Globe and Mail Best Book of 1999, and won the GG Prize for Translation. Sugar: A Bittersweet History was a finalist for the Charles Taylor now RBC Prize. A History of Marriage was a finalist for the GG Prize for Non-Fiction.
Her books have been published in Canada, the US and UK, and translated into 22 languages.
Elizabeth has also contributed essays to The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets (2015), When We Are Bold (2016), The Routledge History of American Foodways (2018), and Colonisation: Notre Histoire (2023).
Until a recent reset of Huffington Post, Elizabeth blogged (mostly) about women’s history. She served for years on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation and the Rights and Freedoms Committee of The Writers’ Union of Canada. In the 2015 and 2019 federal elections, she stood as a candidate for the Animal Protection Party of Canada.
Elizabeth is a mother, stepmother and grandmother, and lives in Toronto with two rescue dogs. She is currently working on the Out of This World, the first of an historical fiction trilogy set in the 19th century.