Miss Mary Stedman (1922 - 2014) was one of four daughters born to Brantford retail magnate Samuel Stedman and his wife, Jessie. Samuel Stedman, along with his brothers Edward and George, established the original Stedman's bookstore on downtown Colborne Street in Brantford on New Year's Day 1904, using the money they had made selling newspapers. They went on to establish a chain of some 200 five-and-10-cent department stores that once spanned the entire country.
All of the Stedmans were active in the business, social and cultural life of Brantford and Brant County for more than a century. Miss Stedman served as managing director of Stedman's Bookstore Ltd. from 1950 to 1974 and was a member of the executive of the Canadian Booksellers Association. Miss Stedman and the Stedman family were committed to the idea of giving back to their community and did so in a number of ways, not least through the Samuel W. Stedman Foundation of which Miss Stedman was the director and former chair of the bursary committee.
Miss Stedman was an early and strong supporter of the idea, and then the reality, of a university in Brantford, and supported the promotion of the literary and cultural life of Brantford and its surrounding communities. Funded by a gift from Miss Stedman, The Laurier Stedman Prize will be a part of the enduring legacy of Stedman and her family.
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