Fonds 129 Betty Welter fonds

fonds-129

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[1880-2002]. — 4.5 cm of textual records. — 34 photographs.


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Biographical Sketch

Elizabeth Smart was born in Bassano, Alberta in 1921, the daughter of Archie Smart and his English War Bride, Mable. Mr. Smart had immigrated to Canada from Bristol, England in 1901 and, after working on projects throughout Canada, the States and Central America, settled in Southern Alberta. As well as farming and market gardening, he worked with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Patricia-Brooks irrigation project. In 1928, the family moved north to the Flying Shot Lake District in the Peace River Country.

Betty started school in Patricia, Alberta, but grades 2 through 8 were spent at the one-roomed Flying Shot Lake School. Grades 9 and 10 were completed by correspondence through the Western Canada Institute, part of it under very difficult circumstances after her mother passed away in 1938. In 1939, after a year at home, keeping house for her father and two younger siblings,Betty went on to Vermilion Agricultural College for 2 years and obtained a Home Economics Degree. She became an expert cook, seamstress and craftsperson.

Of the three Smart children (Betty, Barbara, and Charles), Betty was the only one who remained in the Peace Country. Barbara married an American Serviceman from California and Charles, a member of the Canadian Navy, was killed in an automobile accident in Halifax in 1954.

Returning to Grande Prairie in 1941, Betty cooked for the Grande Prairie Hospital, helped her father with his market garden and later cooked for the first group of students in the Wapiti Dorm (Grande Prairie High School’s student accomodations) when it was located at the Military Training Center. Later she worked at Nelson & Archibald’s General Store.
In 1944, Betty married Jack Welter, from Sexsmith. Jack had served with the Engineers during World War II, but was discharged because of foot and leg problems. After his marriage he worked on the extension of the runways at the Grande Prairie Airport, for the Town of Grande Prairie, as a heavy duty mechanic for Union Tractor until it closed down in 1957, and then for the Department of Highways until he retired in 1974. In his spare time, Jack built the family home and added rental properties. He was also an avid outdoorsman and helped build the shooting range in the dunes south of Grande Prairie. He passed away in 1987.

Jack & Betty raised six children: Fred, Margaret, Frances, Janet, Ruth and Wayne. In between cooking, sewing and working, Betty gardened and knitted. She volunteered for many organizations: the Red Cross, Women’s Institute, Guides and Brownies, the Grande Prairie Museum and the Golden Age Centre being the most frequent. She taught Arts & Crafts courses for the City in the 60s and 70s in knitting, crocheting, and drapery making. She also enjoyed writing, and the stories were collected and enjoyed by her children & grandchildren.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of a wide subject range of photographs, from local Grande Prairie scenes and people to the construction of the Alaska Highway; school memorabilia and paper artefacts from Betty’s childhood, building the Welter family home, and her volunteer activities; certificates and news clippings detailing Betty’s activities with the Canadian Red Cross, and a book of minutes from the Local Association (Mother’s Auxiliary) of Guides, Brownies and Rangers from 1965-1970; a writing portfolio of biographies of the Smart family and Jack Welter, as well as memories of incidents which happened in her childhood, her teenage years and years as a young wife; and research files containing material researched for the archives: Miller’s Taxi; Teen Town.

Table of Contents

Series 129.01Childhood and Smart family
Series 129.02Marriage and Welter family
Series 129.03Volunteer Work
Series 129.04Writing Portfolio
Series 129.05Photograph Collection
Series 129.06Research Files
Series 129.01Childhood and Smart family. — 1903-1950. — 1 cm of textual records, 11 photographs.The series consists of a valentine from a school chum; a School Fair booklet made by Betty Smart in Grade 8; a cookbook belonging to Mable Smart; a newspaper article called “In Retrospect” written for the Grande Prairie Herald by Mable Smart; some unidentified portraits of English relatives; photographs taken on a trip up the Alaska highway during construction including the devastation resulting from the Dawson Creek explosion; a copy of a photo of Betty’s brother, Charlie Smith; and a menu from Pland’s Restaurant in Oakland California where Mr. Smart visited his brother c. 1950.
 
Unknown Soldier, 1915 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 4
Head and shoulders portrait of a young World War I soldier from the Smart family album.
Location: 0129.01.1 
Smart Family Ancestor, 1880 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Formal portrait of un-named male ancestor from the Smart family.
Location: 0129.01.2 
Smart Family Ancestor, 1880 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6
Formal portrait of un-named female ancestor from the Smart family.
Location: 0129.01.3 
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Series 129.02Marriage and Welter family. — 1944-[1980]. — 1 cm of textual records, 11 photographs.The series consists of an army pay book belonging to John (Jack) Welter; two army pay books from William Welter, Jack’s brother; some Gasoline Ration coupon booklets from World War II; some photographs of a bundle sweep built by Jack & Gerard Tissington when Jack worked on Tissington’s farm; Betty unemployment insurance card c. 1940 and some receipts from their first home (building permit, electricity installation).
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Series 129.03Volunteer Work. — 1964-1997. — .5 cm of textual records.As a busy wife and mother, Betty considered volunteering as a part of her life in the community. Even as a child she had been involved with Canadian Red Cross, and she continued to sew and knit for them as well as for the maternity ward at the Grande Prairie Hospital. After her marriage in 1944 she became a member of the Women’s Institute. She also served on the Local Association (Mother’s Auxiliary) of Guides, Brownies and Rangers, both in planning events and fundraising, and in operating their Northern Alberta supply store and mail order business for uniforms, badges and manuals.The series consists of documents, certificates and news clippings detailing Betty’s activities with the Canadian Red Cross, and a book of minutes from the Local Association (Mother’s Auxiliary) of Guides, Brownies and Rangers from 1965-1970.
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Series 129.04Writing Portfolio. — 1995-2002. — 2 cm of textual records.The series consists of 24 stories written by Betty as submissions for writing contests and for the enjoyment of her children and grandchildren. They include short biographies of herself, her parents, her siblings and her husband as well as memories of incidents which happened in her childhood, her teenage years and years as a young wife. They convey what life was like during the depression and the war years.
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Series 129.05Photograph Collection. — 1942-1995., 12 photographs.The series consists of photographs of the Grande Prairie area: Miller’sTaxi and drivers, Grande Prairie dam, 1957 parade, Millarston School quilt, and the interior of the Campbell cabin.
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Series 129.06Research Files. — 1942-1948. — .5 cm of textual records.The series consists of files of paper artifacts, photographs and information on Miller’s Taxi and Teen Town. These were collected by Betty from various sources to supply information requested by the Grande Prairie Regional Archives.
SubSeries 129.06.01Miller’s Taxi. — 1945. — .5 cm of textual records, 4 photographs.The sub-series consists of files of paper artifacts, photographs and information on Miller’s Taxi. These were collected by Betty from various sources to supply information requested by the Grande Prairie Regional Archives.
SubSeries 129.06.02Teen Town. — 1944-1948. — .5 cm of textual records, 4 photographs.Teen Town was initiated by a High School Social class in 1944 and formally organized in 1945, after the war was over. It was a teen organization, with its own council and mayor, which organized events for teenagers in the town. It was for 13 to 19 year olds and up to 50 or 60 teenagers would gather for a dance. First they had dances in Miller’s Garage and larger events at the armouries, but eventually they bought their own H-hut and moved it behind the swimming pool, just north of the tracks on 101 Street.
 
Teen Town Dance, 1946 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 4
Group snapshot at a Teen Town Dance. Boys l to r: Don Hudson, Les Gault, Bob Burgess, Ray Howarth, John Hynatiuk, Jim Henning, Dunc Bird, Keith Johnson, Bob Gray, Billy Didow, Dale O’Brien, Lorn Kirby, Glen Paul. Girls l to r: Lonnie Wald, Donna Moore, Marge Honnor, Audrey Wald, Joan Miller, Sheila Charters, Joan Morrison, Evelyn Rose, Kay Morrison, Betty Shields, Monica Ayre, Dody Gray, Faye Ditch, Marge Wilson, Wilma Cook, Delores Sekora, Jeanne Hammer.
Location: 0129.06.02.01 
Jiving at a Teen Town Dance, 1946 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 4
Eileen Miller and Skip Duncan jiving at a teen town dance. Dody Gray, Monica Ayre and Billy Didow are on the sidelines.
Location: 0129.06.02.02 
Teen Town Bowling League, 1946 c.
1 photograph; b & w; 2 x 3
Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek bowlers at a tournament. Jerry Moore, Bob Keys, Ray Tintuol, Joan Miller and Dolores Sekora are from Grande Prairie; the rest are from Dawson Creek.
Location: 0129.06.02.03 
Teen Town Radio Program, 1947
; b & w;
Grande Prairie’s “Teen Town” features weekly broadcast of news and music especially slanted toward youthful audience. L to R: Wilf Blais, Wilma Fleming, Jack Shields; at controls, Gordon Pearcy. A monthly newspaper provides additional news of town’s activities, progress.
Location: 0129.06.02.04 
Teen Town “Press Room”, 1947
; b & w;
High school laboratory serves as the “press room” for Teen Town’s monthly newspaper.
Location: 0129.06.02.05 
Teen Town Dance, 1947
; b & w;
Teen-agers take time out for a breather between dances at their local clubhouse
Location: 0129.06.02.06 
Teen Town Council, 1947
; b & w;
Teen Town Council elected in November to serve a one year term
Location: 0129.06.02.07 
Mayor of Teen Town, Keith Leslie, 1947
; b & w;
Keith Leslie is elected as mayor of Teen Town
Location: 0129.06.02.08 
Keith Leslie, mayor of Teen Town at work at Macdonalds warehouse, 1947
; b & w;
Keith Leslie and Macdonalds warehouse manager, L.M. Cavendish, with past Teen Town mayor, Larry O’Brien
Location: 0129.06.02.09 
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