A short word about Marie’s father:- Peter Imandt was a Prussian. Nick-named ‘Red Wolf’ as a young man, he was a member of the Communist League, a founding father of the German Social Democratic Party and friends with Karl Marx. He came to Dundee about 1856, married Annie McKenzie, fathered three children and worked as a German teacher at Dundee High School. He died in 1897, leaving nearly £3000 – a remarkably substantial amount of money for a communist!

Marie attended Dundee High School then went on to become one of the first women to graduate with honours as a “Lady Literate in Arts” in 1880 (LLA was a ‘distance learning’ qualification) in German, English and French. Age 27, she started work at D.C.Thomson’s Dundee Courier; she was unusual in that she supported herself from her earnings.

She had been working there for seven years when Dundee Courier announced an exciting new project – to send two of its Lady Correspondents round the globe. A year before, the newspaper had undertaken a trip to North America, but the pioneering Thomsons recognised that the reporting back ignored women, so they determined to remedy this. Marie and a younger journalist Bessie Maxwell (q.v.) were chosen. “These ladies are not only intrepid, but they are shrewd and observant, are possessed of undoubted literary ability, and are in complete sympathy with the stupendous task in which they are about to engage.” “Their instructions are to go round the world to mix with its peoples and to ascertain for themselves how it fares with womankind in every important nation of the earth.”
It was not an austerity trip; they lived well, with letters of introduction; but they certainly earned their salaries, writing two 2-column reports complete with sketches every week for Dundee Courier and Weekly News, reports which also reached the London newspapers. And they were doing something very new; in Florence Marie observed: “French cabbies and porters, and Italian ones too, as we know by now, simply rob the British female unless she can fight or has someone to fight for her”. They visited a number of European countries before moving on to Egypt, Arabia, India, China, Japan, Canada and the United States. They visited an Italian cigar factory, an Egyptian mission, a women’s prison in China, a silk factory in Shanghai. They saw Florentine art and Japanese temples and a Turkish wedding. In USA they visited a working girls’ hostel and interviewed a woman lawyer and British women who had come to Seattle as mail order brides. They came close to a grizzly bear in British Columbia, crossed the prairies, visited Winnipeg Hospital and Toronto University and shopped in the largest department store in Canada – Bessie reported “five acres of earthly paradise”! They also met the Dundee astronomer Williamina Fleming [Plaque 8]. Marie and Bessie were very struck by the vivacity and freedoms of North American women; they made a strong point of contrasting this with the confinement of harems and zenanas and how in China men treated women with contempt, how in Japan – and even in France and Italy – men despised and made fun of women. “Life holds possibilities for [Americans and] us undreamed of by our sisters in the East.”

The two women’s return in early February 1895 passed with less hype than their departure. They were given gold bracelet watches and returned to their jobs. Marie wrote a series on “Where to go for a day out” and similar, – a rather less exotic assignment. She never married. She died in 1945 and was buried beside her father in Barnhill Cemetery in the 2-metre-high tomb she had bought him; the register read: “… occupation – journalist.”