Betty Welter fonds. — [1880-2002]. — 18 cm of textual records. — 55 photographs.
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, Ruth, Janet 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. Betty Welter died in 2013.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 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 including income tax forms from 1943-1973; a wide subject range of photographs, from local Grande Prairie scenes and people to the construction of the Alaska Highway; and research files containing material researched for the archives: Miller’s Taxi; Teen Town; and a publication “The Inside Track” which traces the history of Union Tractor which Betty’s husband Jack worked for. An accrual in 2010 consists of plans and blueprints of the Welter house and their duplex. An accrual in 2013 consists of clippings and biographies for several Wapiti Lodge reunions, cookbooks, and a copy of the publication “This is Alberta in 1963.”
Title based on content of fonds.
Accession Numbers: 1986.7; 1994.15; 1995.54; 1996.44; 1997.18; 1997.19; 2000.28; 2000.78; 2001.51; 2002.8; 2002.19; 2003.30; 2003.32; 2005.101; 2007.14; 2007.30; 2008.57; 2009.65; 2010.71; 2013.082.
Many artefacts from the Welter home, and a collection of her Stitchcraft and knitting magazines and cookbooks can be found in the Grande Prairie Museum Collections, as well as in the pamphlet collection at the Archives. Copies of the Welter family logging photographs are included in the Grande Prairie Museum Collections.
Table of Contents
|Series 129.01||Childhood and Smart family|
|Series 129.02||Marriage and Welter family|
|Series 129.03||Volunteer Activities|
|Series 129.04||Writing Portfolio|
|Series 129.05||Local Association of Rangers, Guides and Brownies|
|Series 129.06||Research Files|
|Series 129.01||Childhood and Smart family. — 1903-1950. — 1 cm of textual records. — 24 photographs.|
The series consists of a valentine from a school chum; a School Fair booklet made by Betty Smart in Grade 8; a record of prize winners including Betty Smart for her entry of certified seed oats at the 1937 G.P. Seed Fair, and two scrapbooks made by Betty in 1938-1944 while she was taking Household Economics in the Home Economics Department at Vermilion School of Agriculture. From the Smart family there is a pamphlet from WW 1 called “The Soul of a Soldier”, a cookbook belonging to Mable Smart; a newspaper article called In Retrospect written for the Grande Prairie Herald by Mable Smart; and a menu from Pland’s Restaurant in Oakland California where Mr. Smart visited his brother c. 1950. Photographs include some unidentified portraits of English relatives; photographs taken on a trip to see the devastation of the Dawson Creek explosion; a copy of a photo of Betty’s brother, Charlie Smart as well as a portrait of him in his sailor uniform and a photo of Betty and her sister as children; and two photographs of Ma Brainard at her Stopping Place west of Hythe. A later accrual includes booklets, newspaper clippings, and biographies celebrating reunions of former dormers at the Waptit Lodge, a residence for rural students attending Grande Prairie High School.
|Series 129.02||Marriage and Welter family. — 1944-. — 3 cm of textual records. — 2 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 the Welter family logging business; two photos of a bundle sweep built by Jack & Gerard Tissington when Jack worked on Tissington’s farm; Betty unemployment insurance card c. 1940; some receipts from their first home (building permit, electricity installation); Fred Welter’s Grade One Report Card from Montrose School ca. 1950; and income tax forms for Betty (1943-1945) and for Jack (1945-1973). An accrual in 2010 consists of plans and blueprints of the Welter house and their duplex.
|Series 129.03||Volunteer Activities. — 1964-1997. — 2 photographs.|
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. There are two photographs of a signature quilt made for the Pipestone Creek Reunion, and the interior of the Campbell cabin.
|Series 129.04||Writing Portfolio. — 1995-2007. — 2 cm of textual records.|
The series consists of 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. Also included is a history, “School Fairs in the Grande Prairie District”. Also included are 4 story booklets she created as a child likely for school assignments.
|Series 129.05||Local Association of Rangers, Guides and Brownies. — 1965-1970. — 1 cm of textual records.|
The series consists of one minute book of the Mother’s Auxiliary or the Local Association of Rangers, Guides and Brownies. This group held events, organized outings and raised money for the Rangers, Guides and Brownies.
|Series 129.06||Research Files. — 1942-1948. — 8 photographs.|
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 129.06.01||Miller’s Taxi. — 1945. — 5 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. Also included are some photographs of a parade in 1957 and the Grande Prairie Reservoir and Dam.
|SubSeries 129.06.02||Teen Town. — 1944-1948. — 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.
|SubSeries 129.06.03||Area Photographs. — 1987-1992. — 4 photographs.|
The subseries contains photographs of trumpeter swans and hot air ballons
|Series 129.07||Cookbooks. — 1929 – ca. 1940. — 8 cm of textual records.|
The series consists of three commercial cookboosks: “Seasonable Meat Recipes and Suggestions for Health, Balanced Menus in Table Form, Invalid Cookery, Large Quantity Meat Recipes;” “The Household Science Book of Recipes;” and “Culinary Secrets:” and two hand-written cookbooks. Several of the cookbooks have enclosures.