Notice of AGM

The South Peace Regional Archives Society of Friends of the South Peace Regional Archives Society invites you to attend…

2018 Annual General Meeting

Saturday, March 24th, 10am

Archives Community Room
Muskoseepi Park

Museum Building
10329 101 Ave
Grande Prairie

FREE public parking across the footbridge

The AGM will include:

Continental Breakfast
by donation
Archives Updates
Volunteer Recognition
Panel Presentations

Students, Join Our Team

The Archives is currently seeking applications for the temporary position of Archives Assistant (Student).

The purpose of the South Peace Regional Archives Society is to encourage the appreciation and study of the history of the South Peace River area by acquiring, preserving, and making accessible to the public, records that reflect the cultural, social, economic and political history of this area. The Archives Assistant (Student) contributes to that purpose by providing public education regarding the importance of archives, and processing archival records so that they are available for public research.

Visit for eligibility criteria and application information. The Archives Assistant (Student) position is contingent on funding from the Young Canada Works Program.


The Modern Vintage Wedding

Your wedding is a celebration, and sharing the day with family and friends is important.  There are many unique ideas to honour loved ones, both past and present, on your special day.

One way to make your family history part of the wedding day is to use, alter, or repurpose your mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress.  Take a piece of the dress and incorporate it into your wedding dress, bridal sash or headpiece, jewelry, a clutch, or attach the lace onto the bouquet or garter.

You can also use, alter, or repurpose your father’s or grandfather’s suit.  Wear the same tie, pocket square, or cuff links they wore on their wedding day.

Use stones from a family heirloom or family wedding ring(s) in the ceremony.  Wear family heirlooms like jewelry, watches, or a bridal headpiece.

Recreate your parent’s entire wedding cake, incorporate details from their cake into yours, or use their cake topper.

There are so many unique ways to make your wedding day special for you and your loved ones.  Check out the March 2018 issue of Telling Our Stories for more ideas.

The South Peace Regional Archives would be happy to assist you in safely storing your photographs and documents.  If you donate or loan for copy your family records to the archives, you can easily access the items and help preserve your family history.

Paper flowers made using reproductions of love letters

History Made!

Above: Sharing Stories: Jim and Mary Jean read while Dr. Carlisle talks to young David, 1941. (SPRA 399.01.43)

Archives staff and volunteers shared ideas and suggestions with guests keen to learn their history and to preserve their family stories. Two families shared their family stories with us in our pop-up sound booth surrounded by images from the South Peace Region’s past. We were delighted to hear how families interact with each other, where they like to spend their holiday time, and their special family traditions.

Whether through sound recordings, scrapbooks, letters, or handwritten memoirs, family stories provide rich and diverse information and images about how people lived in the past. These new oral histories will be a great boon to researchers of the future looking back to see how we lived our lives today. Thanks to the two families who shared their stories, we now have an additional resource to add to the South Peace Regional Archives Sound Recording collection.

Archivist Josephine Sallis ready to record family stories in front of the SPRA pop up sound booth.

Science & Stories About the Land

Image: In 1949 a second floor was added to the Grande Prairie Municipal Hospital, almost doubling the bed space. (SPRA 1969.42.01.6, Alberta Association of Registered Nurses fonds)

Science and technology records are often in short supply in a small, regional archive. This is certainly true at the SPRA where the Smoky West Rural Electrification Association Ltd. Fonds, the Bear Hill Rural Electrification Association fonds, and the Grande Prairie Electric Co. fonds, which sound all power resource science-y, generally contain records related to administration and membership. The same is true for collections containing records related to medicine including the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses, Chapter 13, fonds, Tangent Municipal Nursing Society fonds, and Wanham Municipal Nursing Service fonds, as well as a few doctors’ records, tend to be administrative or related to family and social life.


Cover of the 1954 Assessment Manual, donated by Al Martin. SPRA 2018.008

One fonds with a solid chunk of material is the Peace River Archaeology Society fonds. It contains administrative records, newspaper clippings, and newsletters.  The science-y part is the Project series which contains slides, negatives, and field notes for the Grande Prairie Inventory in 1985, the Birch Hills Survey in 1987, and the Peace Project in 1991. These records help share the stories the land has to tell about its history. Al Martin’s recent donation of records related to his and Doug Cottrell’s work as land assessors adds to those stories. The donation includes 5 metres (10 banker boxes) of documents including manuals, farm guides, soil surveys, and related histories as well as three maps. We are very excited to be able to include this material in our collections, especially as the land has played and continues to play a big part in writing the history of the people in this region.

Closed for Family Day

The Archives will be closed on Monday February 18th for Family Day. Join us Sunday, 1-4pm, for Family Day activities with the Grande Prairie Museum!

Photograph: Family Picnic, SPRA 0002.01.03.068

Wanna Make History?

Image: William Innes in his home, using a radio set, ca. 1930 (SPRA

Make your mark on history. Visit the Archives Sound Booth in the Grande Prairie Museum on Sunday, February 18 between 1:00 and 4:00 to tell the story of your family. An Archives member will provide participants with an audio recorder and interview prompts. Your family story will be preserved in the South Peace Regional Archives and available for future generations. Limited interview times are available. Visit the Archives information table early to book your time!

Archived Love

Above: Card shared between Margaret and Eddie Schadeck, 1948.  SPRA 131

Below: Pages from Valentine’s Card n.d. SPRA 136 (1992.48.175)

Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome when Lupercalia, a fertility rite, was celebrated between February 13 and 15. Later, after the martyrdom of two Christian saints – Valentine of Terni around AD 197 and Valentine of Rome around AD 496 – the Catholic church Christianized the holiday by claiming 14 February as St. Valentine’s Day.

You will not be surprised to learn it was the French who made it into a celebrated annual feast day for lovers with lavish banquets and singing and dancing during the 15th century. Nor should you be surprised to learn that the oldest surviving Valentine committed to paper was written by a French man. While imprisoned in the Tower of London following the 1415 battle of Agincourt, the Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife: “Je suis desja d’amour tanné/Ma tres doulce Valentinée,” which means, “I am already sick of love/my very gentle Valentine.” The letter must not have made it to his wife as it is held at the British Library, which also holds the oldest surviving English Valentine. Written in 1477, it was sent by Margery Brews to her “right well-beloved Valentine,” fiancé John Paston.

Hand-made Valentine’s cards became popular in the 18th century. During this period, factory made cards also began to be produced, although they did not become popular until the 19th century. Possibly the oldest surviving printed Valentine’s card is the 1797 card at York Castle Museum, England. It was sent by Catherine Mossday to Mr. Brown of London and read: “Since on this ever Happy day,/All Nature’s full of Love and Play./Yet harmless still if my design,/‘Tis but to be your Valentine.”

To continue in the tradition of celebrating Love on St. Valentine’s Day, here are a few choice Valentine’s Day cards from our collection. Their heartfelt expressions, though written in the past, still ring true for friends and lovers today.

Below: Cards shared between Margaret and Eddie Schadeck before 1949. These two cards have movable parts.  SPRA 131.

Below: Valentine shared between Muriel and Clem Collins, n.d. SPRA 476.

Calling All Volunteers

South Peace Regional Archives is looking for volunteers for our transcription projects. You can volunteer any time and from the comfort of your own home – all you need is a computer! We can work with you to find a transcription project that interests you. Some of our recent projects have included personal letters, a handwritten telegraph manual, and a fur trade ledger.

Seen & Heard

The January 26, 1934 issue of the Grande Prairie Herald included several pages of notes from the rural communities of the South Peace region.  Whoever the writer, or writers, of these “Seen & Heard” columns, they were well informed of the day to day happenings of their communities… and had a subtle wit besides.

West Vale – what was Mr. Sayle’s secret?

Fox Creek – “a cool-headed teacher”

Albright – free lunch?  ‘Nuff said!

Mountain Trail – a new type of winter garden