Fonds edm-1917 - Ethel Marliss fonds

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Ethel Marliss fonds

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CA EDM edm-1917

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  • 1949-1991 (Creation)
    Marliss, Ethel

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Biographical history

Ethel Segal was born in 1912 in Calgary, Alberta to immigrant Russian Jews. Her family moved to Mossleigh in 1930-31 to run the community store. In 1938 she married Ben Marliss, a businessman who, with his brothers, owned a bottling plant in Edmonton. They had two sons, Garry and Errol. Mrs. Marliss became involved in a number of community organizations including the Edmonton Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, the local Council of Women, the Women's Committee of the Edmonton Symphony, the Edmonton Film Society Board and Alberta Home and School Association. She was a founding member of the Cromdale Home and School Association and served as its president in 1952. During the war she participated in a project organized by Dr. L. B. Pett, a University of Alberta biochemist, to teach women about nutrition. Ethel Marliss also served on the Women's Regional Advisory Committee of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board which led her to participate in the Alberta Branch of the Canadian Association of Consumers, later the Consumers' Association of Canada. She served as President of the local chapter and as National Vice-President of the CAC. In 1945 she made her first broadcast on a consumer issue on CKUA, the campus radio station. Starting in 1948, Marliss began a monthly guest appearances on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's local radio station as a representative of the Consumer Association of Canada. Her reputation as a consumer advocate grew. By 1964 she was asked to sit on the first National Advisory Committee of Consumers and to chair the "Ad Hoc Committee to Plan a Nation-wide Program on the Use and Abuse of Drugs." After some 20 years as CBC's "guest" commentator Ethel quit in 1971. Her retirement did not last long. A few months later she was "hired" back; contracted to do commentaries twice a week. The CBC also recognized her contribution in a network documentary simply entitled, "Ethel". The demands of the radio broadcasts increased so that by 1979 she was doing a feed for a national weekly commentary. At the age of 60, Ethel Marliss was widowed in 1972. Mrs. Marliss received many honours for her work as a consumer advocate including an Alberta Government Achievement award, an honorary diploma in General Administration - Marketing from Grant McEwan Community College (1977), an honorary membership of the Alberta Home Economics Association (1979), an honorary life membership in the Delta-Kappa-Gamma Society (1982), an honorary life membership in the Medico-Legal Society in Edmonton (1986), and admission to the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame (1986). In 1987 Ethel was honored in Ottawa for her 40 years of continuous membership in the Consumers' Association of Canada. On the occasion of Marliss' 75th birthday, a group of her friends established the Ethel Marliss Scholarship Award at Grant McEwan College to recognize her contribution in the field of consumerism. The annual $300 award funds research projects within that field. In January 1982, at seventy years of age, Mrs. Marliss took on an additional job of consumer columnist for the Edmonton Sun. Her articles appeared twice. In December of 1991, Ethel Marliss suffered a heart attack. She recovered and resumed her appearances but at a less frenetic pace. Over the next two years she retired completely. Ethel Marliss died in 1996. This collection was donated by Mrs. Marliss. The material in the collection is organized according to the system she employed to facilitate her research and creation of commentaries and articles. Wherever possible the original order of this collection was maintained. Materials relating to Mrs. Marliss' personal life have been catalogued as a separate class. The bulk of this collection consists of scripts for the CBC broadcasts, texts of the Edmonton Sun articles, speeches and the research files used in the last few years of her professional career. There is also some personal material, including correspondence, collections of poems, curricula vitae of a variety of people and information pertaining to ACTRA contracts and benefit programs.

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Scope and content

This fonds has been divided into the following Classes: Class 1: Professional Production; Sub-Class 1: CBC Broadcast Scripts; Sub-Class 2: Edmonton Sun Articles; Sub-Class 3: Speeches and Presentations; Class 2: Research Files; Class 3: Personal Records

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Physical condition

3.6 m of textual records

Immediate source of acquisition

This fonds was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives by Ethel Marliss in 1994.


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  • The material is in English.

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Record No. MS-586<br><br>

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