SPRA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting in Review

On Saturday, March 30, the South Peace Regional Archives board of directors, staff, volunteers, and members of the public gathered for SPRA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting.  Reports from president Jan Shields, executive director Alyssa Currie, and treasurer Gail Prette highlighted the successes, achievements, and challenges of the past year.

Three volunteers received awards to mark milestones they had reached in their work at the archives. (not pictured: Mary Nutting, 250 hours)

Meg Archer has dedicated over 250 to researching and writing biographies for the soldiers on our WWII Soldiers Memorial

Leita Askew has volunteered more than 1500 hours, working on clipping files, newspaper indices, and many other projects.

The Beth Sheehan Award recognizes individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the goals of gathering, preserving, and sharing the history of the South Peace region. Recipients of the award become Honorary Members of the South Peace Regional Archives Society.  This year, the award was presented to Mathew Wozniak and the Beaverlodge Area Cultural Society.

Alyssa Currie presenting the Beth Sheehan Award to Catherine Gabriel of the Beaverlodge Area Cultural Society

In 2018, the Beaverlodge Area Cultural Society donated over 20 boxes of archival materials, amounting to one of the most significant material donations of the year. This donation documents the community and culture of the Beaverlodge area and includes textual records, maps, pamphlets and over 1000 photographs. Shortly after the records were donated, the community of Beaverlodge was inundated by floodwaters, including the location where the records were previously stored.

Mathew Wozniak

Mathew Wozniak has been an avid supporter of the Archives since 2007: as a donor, advocate, volunteer, and magazine contributor. From 2007-2015, Mathew donated several accruals to the Wozniak family fonds. These records document the family’s immigration from Poland during the interwar period and settlement in the Wanham area. His volunteer involvement at the Archives began in 2012, with the transcription and translation of his family’s records from Polish. Since then, he has contributed over 600 hours to the Archives doing transcription and translation work.

To close the meeting, attendees heard presentations from a panel of community members who put archival records to work.

Maxine Maxwell of the Grande Prairie & District Branch of the Alberta Genealogical Society discussed the importance of archival records in genealogical research.

Charles Taws of the Grande Prairie Museum shared how he uses the Archives when preparing exhibits and programs.

Breanna Gouschuk of the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association discussed how she has used Archives photographs in social media.

Anna Ladwig shared how the Archives had contributed to the Glen Leslie Church restoration project.

Last Chance for Cemetery Tours!

 

 

South Peace Regional Archives is hosting a cemetery tour next week and we’re inviting you to join in!

The tour takes place on Wednesday, August 8 at 7:00 PM. Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich history of Grande Prairie and area through the stories of its people.

Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register. (limit of 25 participants per tour)

 

 

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.

Wanna Make History?

Image: William Innes in his home, using a radio set, ca. 1930 (SPRA 032.08.08.1090)

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!

Winter Fun, Winter Work

Above: Sexsmith curling ladies in 1928 posed with brooms, rocks, and a trophy. Skip Mrs. Brown (left), ?, Mrs. Ellsworth Foy (holding cup), and ? presumably outside the Sexsmith Curling Rink.

Not everyone is ready to wrap themselves up in their snuggly blankets and hunker down on the couch to binge watch their favourite TV shows when the temperature drops. Even on the coldest day, joggers, dog-walkers, students and workers brave the chill to do what they need to get doing.

It was no different in the early days of the South Peace. Daily chores had to be done, deliveries had to be made, railways and roads needed to be built. Winter work was balanced by winter fun. South Peace residents were quick to organize sports teams and winter carnivals to help them make most the most of the northern weather.

The ice cutters. Two men loosen blocks with hand saws while one man pulls blocks out with ice pick and two men load blocks in truck prior to delivery.

Brave the winter weather and make your way to the library tonight for the presentation, “Winter Fun, Winter Work,” by Archivist Josephine Sallis from the South Peace Regional Archives. The presentation starts at 6:30 pm.

10 Facts You May Not Have Known About World War I

1) Slugs were used to detect poison gas attacks.

Source: How did animals (even slugs) serve in World War I?

 

2) There were separate battalions, called “bantam battalions”, for short men (under 5’4″ tall).

Source: B.C. Bantams

 

3) A fake Paris was constructed to fool German pilots.

Source: Second Paris Built to Fool the Germans

 

4) By war’s end, it was estimated that 1,000 Canadian soldiers were marrying European women (mostly British) each month.

Source: Canadian War Brides of the First World War

Grande Prairie Herald ~ February 11, 1919

 

5) Pilots in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force were not allowed to have parachutes.

Source: Wikipedia – The Royal Flying Corps

Wop May, a First World War flying ace, was the first pilot to land in Grande Prairie, ca. 1920

 

6) Daylight Savings Time was first used during the First World War as a way to conserve coal.

Source: History of Daylight Savings Time; For men used to mining – fighting in trenches was seen as an escape FROM HELL

Side view of a coal miner with hat and lamp working on a vein of coal 350 feet into a Wapiti Coal Mine, 1937

 

7) The Halifax Explosion (1917) was the largest man-made explosion to occur before the dropping of the atomic bombs in the Second World War.

Source: The Canadian War Museum – The Halifax Explosion

 

8) White feathers were frequently given to men in civilian clothing to label them as cowards, but on more than one occasion the recipient was in fact a soldier returned from the front.

Source: Wikipedia – White Feathers in World War I

“The White Feather: A Sketch of English Recruiting”, Collier’s Weekly (1914)

 

9) Tanks were categorized as ‘male’ and ‘female’. Female tanks had only machine guns, while male tanks had a 6-pounder cannon.

Source: Wikipedia – British Heavy Tanks of World War I

 

10) During the Christmas of 1914, Allied and German soldiers met in ‘No Man’s Land’ to exchange greetings, gifts, and play football.

Source: Wikipedia – Christmas Truce

 

Compiled by Kaylee Dyck

Save the Date

The Friends of the South Peace Regional Archives invites you to save the date for our upcoming fall event, the Great War Gala. This event will be a night to remember with dinner, dancing, displays from our collections, and more.

A silent and live auction will be held to raise money for the South Peace Regional Archives. Sponsorship opportunities are available; if you would like to receive information on our sponsorship opportunities or be added to our contact list for tickets please call or email the archives at 780-830-5105 or director@southpeacearchives.org.

Every Thursday leading up to the event, our blog will have feature a lighthearted list to prepare you for the Gala; we will be showcasing fun facts, great reads, fashion trends, famous battles, and trench slang.

 

 

Coming Up: The Alaska Highway Road Show

If you like storytelling, don’t miss the Alaska Highway Roadshow on July 6th in the Grande Prairie Museum Community Room at 7:00 PM. Only 100 tickets are available and they are selling fast at $10.00.  Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance from the Grande Prairie Museum (Cash Only)

Performers Bill Dolan, Alison Tubman, and Kathy Jessup have a long family history in the north, and they have created an entertaining look back at the history of the Alaska Highway through research, family stories, music, artifacts, and photographs.

Raised as “highway kids,” they lend an authentic voice to this ninety-minute tribute concert. Audiences will gain an appreciation of why the Alaska Highway deserves to be Canada’s newest National Historic Site and why truckers and all those who’ve called it home over the years proudly share a special bond. The Trail of ’42 is a remarkable story, and as the Highway reaches its 75th birthday, this is the time to tell it!

Upcoming Cemetery Tours

South Peace Regional Archives is hosting two cemetery tours this summer and we’re inviting you to join in!

On Tuesday, July 4 and Friday, August 25 at 7:00 PM we will be hosting our annual cemetery walking tours.  Join us at the Grande Prairie Cemetery (84 Avenue and 112 Street) to discover the rich and interesting history of Grande Prairie and area through the lives and stories of its people.  Our tour will highlight the lives of those who served in the two world wars.  Please note that this will be the same tour that was given last summer.

Call the Archives at 780-830-5105 to register (limit of 25 participants per tour)