Fonds med-204 - Alberta Women's Institute fonds

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Alberta Women's Institute fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of records.

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CA MED med-204

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  • 1955-1985 (Creation)
    Alberta Women's Institute

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Physical description

1 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

The first Women's Institute in Alberta was organized in 1909, and was known as the Lea Park Institute. There were 39 members the first year. The officers were Mrs. M.E. Graham, President, and Miss Anna McKenzie Hall, Secretary. Many joint meetings were held with the United Farmers of Alberta to make travelling easier for families, and eventually the two groups merged. In 1915, when the Alberta Women's Institutes was finally organized provincially, a handbook was printed, travelling libraries were established and lectures and demonstrations were organized. Also in 1915, the first provincial convention was held in Olds, with about 100 delegates attending. 250 women attended the second convention in 1916, in Edmonton. The years between 1916 and 1921 were difficult. The war, influenza epidemic and drought in Southern Alberta taxed the resources of the Women's Institute movement. Thousands of dollars were raised for the Red Cross, socks were knitted, hospital supplies were bought and made, and soldiers and their dependants cared for . Local hospitals, maternity homes, libraries, community halls and rest rooms were founded through the initiative and support of Women's Institutes. In 1919, the Institutes turned to peace-time activities. Girls Club's were organized, as were lectures on home nursing, sewing, canning and child welfare. In the same year, the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada came into being. Much was done to aleviate the suffering of those in drought stricken Southern Alberta. In 1928, the wild rose was chosen as the floral emblem for Alberta. On the suggestion of the Women's Institute, the Department of Education held a vote of school children to choose the emblem. In 1930, their choice was endorsed by the Legislature. In the same year government funding to Women's Institutes was terminated. Throughout the difficult years of the Depression, annual conventions were held less fequently to cut costs. At this time the I.O.D.E. and Women's Institute operated to provide "Mother's Bundles" to needy families. In 1939, the Women's Institute was involved in arranging transportaiton for children to various centres to meet King George and Queen Elizabeth during their visit to Canada. During World War II conventions and official visits were again terminated but much vital work was still undertaken. Contributions were made to War funds, bonds, and certificates and tons of seeds, handknitted clothing, quilts, food and jam were sent overseas. Aid continued to war-torn countries after hostilities ceased and the response from Women's Institute branches was just as great as during the war. After 1947, support towards cancer research work became the objective. A vast amount of work was accomplished by women in the Women's Institute branches between 1909 and 1957, despite a struggle for existance in the early years. The Women's Institute contributed greatly to improve things for both Alberta citizens and those in countries overseas.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of: a booklet entitled "The Story of the Alberta Women's Institute 1909-1955", compiled by Adelaide Montgomery and Marion Rogers (1955), and a paper entitled "The Story of the Alberta Women's Institute 1909-1985", author unknown (1985).

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Immediate source of acquisition

Gifts of the Robert Mowat Estate, unknown date and Mrs. Nora Sept, June 10, 1993.


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  • Materials are in English.

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Record No. M93.16.1;M74.72<br><br>

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