I feel equal to high and splendid braveries! ”

— Emily Murphy

Celebrating The Famous Five

I have been a proud advocate of the story of these five feisty ladies rightly named The Famous Five!  

On October 18, 1929 these five women won The Person's Case which declared women to be "persons in the eyes of the law".  This made a significant improvement in the status of women, not only in Alberta, but in all of Canada and in every Commonwealth country of the day!!  
You can purchase my beautifully recorded CD with my two songs about The Famous Five.  The Ballad of The Famous Five is sung in English and in French.  The Spirit of The Famous Five is sung in English.  There is also a backing track for each of the songs to be used at events by a soloist or a choir.
Turn on my song The Spirit of the Famous Five and scroll through the photos.  
These are some of the events I have organized and in which I used my songs to encourage, educated and inspire people to follow in the courageous footsteps of The Famous Five!!

Is there an opportunity in your life to make a difference for the rights of women??

The Famous Five- Their Story Told in Song.  
The cost per CD is $15.00 plus $5.00 postage and handling.  You can purchase up to 5 copies for the single handling cost of $5.00.
Lyric sheets for the two songs in English will be included in the mail out.

An excellent resource for teachers.  Teach the song to your class or school choir to be used at assembly or special community events!!
An excellent gift for history buffs and people with a strong sense of woman's rights!!  
Share this site with people you know who might be interested in hearing or performing these songs!

To order contact me through this website or at harleys@shaw.ca


The Famous Five - Their Story told in Song is now on the Famous 5 Foundation website as part of their curriculum for schools.  For lesson plans and another access to my CD here are the directions.

  • Follow these steps:
  •    1)  Famous 5 Foundation website  www.famou5.ca      2)   Click on RESOURCES    3)   Click on EDUKIT  
  •    4)  Click on TEACHER'S CORNER and scroll down to check out Elementary ands Junior High School lessons plans.  
  •    5)  Scroll to the bottom of the page and find my CD resource called Their Story told in Song for use with choirs and soloists at school and community events.  


Jean Scott was the oldest living recipient of The Governor General's Persons Case Award for her lifetime of work for the betterment of women. Jean passed away just a few months shy of her 103rd birthday at the beginning of March, 2015. 

I had the great honour of getting to know and be inspired by this amazing woman. She lived in Chilliwack BC at the same seniors residence as my mother.
I loved singing my Famous Five songs for the residents when I would visit my Mom and dedicate the songs to Jean Scott and my mother and to all the women who had worked so hard through the years to improve the lot of all women.
Jean was still working hard on re-editing her book Brown Sugar And A Bone in The Throat. She felt that she had been too gentle when she wrote it and that she needed to be stronger in voicing her opinions. 
She also worked at organizing her scholarship fund established through The University of the Fraser Valley from whom she had received an honorary degree. 
If I wanted to visit with Jean I had to go after lunch because, even though she was over 100, she spent the morning 'working'. 
Jean played enthusiastic piano and sang with great gusto! I have video of her singing O Canada and God Save the Queen. It brings me to tears to watch. 
Her love of country and dedication to purpose amazed me in a woman of her age. A fire burned bright in her and she influenced many in her life time.
I look forward to dedicating my Famous Five songs to her memory when I perform next week end for International Women's Day!

Here are the words that Jean Scott wrote for the 'Person's Day' celebration on October 18 in Olympic Plaza at The Famous 5 Monument.

"At this time I encourage everyone to think of women all over the world. They need our help. Canada has a history of wonderful women in their time who have worked to make changes here in Canada.
Everything we do is like a pebble in a pond. The rings go wider and wider into the world and women everywhere are encouraged by our actions.
We each have this seed within us. Let's nurture it so it grows into acts of good will and caring.
As Nellie McClung used to say "Don't stop to argue. Let's get on with it!"

Thank you , Jean Scott, for all your hard work and dedication. You have inspired many and your memory will inspire many more.


October 18, 2014 was the 85th anniversary of The Persons Case!  With the assistance of a wonderful group of volunteers and the strong support of The Famous 5 Foundation we put on a wonderful celebration at The Monument to The Famous 5 in Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Alberta!

The sun shone and the autumn colours were a wonderful background.  

The talented all woman's band, Magnolia Buckskin, performed for an enthusiastic crowd;
Christopher Barron created a fun photo shoot with protest signs;
Mayor Nenshi arrived to declare PERSONS DAY!!;
I (Carolyn Harley) was the emcee for the event and was thrilled to perform my song The Spirit of The Famous Five with Magnolia Buckskin!   (We were five women on stage singing the praises of The Famous 5!!) 
Carolyn Robertson (the current  chair of The Famous 5 Foundation explained the varied projects of The Famous Foundation to inspire and encourage women and men; 
The Famous 5 were present in heritage costumes from Memory Lane Fashion Club;
Nancy Millar (one of the founding members of The Famous 5 Foundation) put on her wide brimmed hat in honour of The Famous 5 and thanked everyone sincerely for remembering their accomplishments. 
The Nellie McClung Elementary School Choir sang my song The Ballad of the Famous Five (receiving a standing ovation!);
Val Baldwin read a message from Jean Scott (at 102 Jean is the oldest living recipient of The Governor General's Persons Case Award for her lifetime of work for women's rights);
Frances Wright (one of the founding members of The Famous 5 Foundation) lead the crowd in the Famous 5 Pledge (taken from Emily Murphy's diary)  "I FEEL EQUAL TO HIGH AND SPLENDID BRAVERIES"!

I might never quite understand why the story of The Famous 5 grabbed my heart.  The story of these five women motivated me to write two songs about them and create this event in their honour.  Every year the event gets bigger and better.  People who hear the Famous 5 story are moved by their accomplishments.  I believe in the power of music and I watch as people are also moved and inspired by my songs.  The audience and participants leave with a renewed sense of awareness of their own important part in the ongoing struggle for equality and fair play.  This struggle is not just in the female arena but in all areas of life and in all parts of the world.

There is power in music and there is power in metaphor.  These five women are a strong symbol of action and determination.  We can all take a page from their book!!


Persons Day 2013 

On Friday, October 18, 203 at the monument to The Famous 5 in Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada a wonderful celebration of The Famous 5 was held in the bright autumn sunshine.
With a  combination of song, costume, spoken word and exciting announcements the accomplishments of The Famous 5 was heralded to a large crowd. People gathered to learn more about these interesting five ladies and to be inspired in their own lives to follow through when circumstances dictate action is required.
Carolyn Robertson of The Famous 5 Foundation read the proclamation from the mayor of Calgary declaring the day officially 'Persons Day!!'   
The Famous 5 in beautiful heritage costume were present to each speak about the struggle to become 'persons in the eyes of the law'.
I was proud to hear my song The Ballad of the Famous Five sung by the High Country Chorale, and to have Heather Brooks sing with me on my song The Spirit of The Famous Five.
Justine Tyrell sang a beautiful and inspiring version of John Lennon's Imagine and Alida Visbach of Heritage Park announced the creation of an interpretive centre for The Famous 5 to open for the summer of 2014!!
Sheri-D Wilson with Lin Elder on drum performed a lively spoken word about The Famous 5 which used history and humour to honour their success.  
We were inspired by the words of Jean Scott , who at 101 years of age is the oldest living recipient of The Governor Generals Persons Award for her life time of work for the betterment of women.  Jean Scott's message was read by Val Baldwin.
We were pleased to have author and historian Nancy Millar in attendance as well as Barbara Patterson the sculptor of The Famous 5 Monument.
Frances Wright lead everyone in closing the event with the Famous 5 Pledge.  "I feel equal to high and splendid braveries!"
Several ladies were wearing beautiful hats in celebration of The Famous 5 and we all left with a feeling of the spirit of these five feisty ladies going with us into our lives.  
I have developed a  strong affinity for these five ladies of Alberta's history and am  trying to exemplify their stubborness and tenacity in my own life.
They are role models that we can all relate to!!

I look forward to next year's event which will be the 85th anniversary of The Person's Case!!  See you there.


The Famous 5: A Celebration in Olympic Plaza - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at Noon! 

 The anniversary of the winning of The Persons Case by The Famous 5 is fast approaching.  Thursday, October 18, 2012 will be the 83rd anniversary of the day The Famous 5 received word from The Privy Council in London, England that women were indeed persons!!!

After many years of attempting to change the law of our land these five tenacious women finally won the right for women to be considered persons in the eyes of the law.   This important change in the legal status of women not only applied to Canadian women but also to all women in the Commonwealth.

These five women stood together and kept moving forward after every attempt at all levels of the Canadian judicial system ended in failure.  They are a great role model for us.  If we have never failed then we have probably never really tried.

Come on down to The Monuments to The Famous 5 in Olympic Plaza in Calgary on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at noon and join in this fun celebraton of these tenacious women.   This one hour event will include singers, a children's choir, fun and factual snippets of information from historian and author Nancy Millar.  This is also an opportunity to share with others your own personal sense of appreciation for what the Famous 5 accomplished.  
Wear a hat and have a chat!!  Bring a folding lawn chair if you want to sit and relax.

Carolyn Harley - Children's Choir sings Ballad of the Famous Five 

 I was thrilled and honoured to have sixty grade three students from St. Sebatian School in south Calgary sing The Ballad of The Famous Five as part of their Arts and Culture evening in May, 2012.
I was able to attend with my 85 year old Mom and we were both brought to tears by the beauty of the children's voices and the honesty and energy that they brought to the lyrics. The words seem to shine when sung by these young people who gave a sense of real honour to the work of the Famous Five.
These children are going to take a bus trip to Olympic Plaza to sing my song as part of a celebration on the anniversary of The Persons Case 
next October 18.  I am going to be in tears again!!   

The Famous Five 

I am a great fan of these five feisty women who battled  against the common convention of their day that said women were not considered persons in the eyes of the law.  One of the consequences of this law was that women were not allowed to become Senators.  This was a great insult to Emily Murphy who was a judge but was not allowed to be considered for the Senate.  
She knew that five signatures would compel the 'system'  to answer any question put forward.  Emily Murphy gathered four prominent women of the day to sign the petition with her and they began the long, uphill battle to have the law changed.  
Up through the levels of the judicial system they asked the question "are women persons in the eyes of the law?"   The answer always came back "NO".
Finally on October 18, 1929 the Privy Council in England came back with the verdict that "YES, women were persons in the eyes of the law!"  
This decision was not only a victory for all the women in Canada but also for all women in all the commonwealth countries.
I admire the determination of these five women and I believe that they were successful in great measure because of the fact that they rallied together. 
We can learn a great deal from The Famous Five!

At the 80th Anniversary of the Persons Case: I sang my song 5 times from noon to 1:00 and chatted with passers by about this amazing achievement!!!