1924-2008. — 50 cm of textual records. — 57 photographs.
The Grande Prairie Women’s Institute is a local branch of the Alberta Women’s Institute. The A. W. I. is part of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, which is itself a member of an international organization, the Associated Country Women of the World. W. I. is an educational organization with the goal of giving women opportunities to engage in national and international interests. Each individual W. I. club works to improve services for women and children in their local community. G. P. W. I. is located in A. W. I. District 1, the Peace River District, in the South Peace Constituency.
The Grande Prairie Women’s Institute was established on September 28, 1924 during a meeting in Mrs. L. B. Yule’s home. Ten Grande Prairie women listened to speeches on the work of Women’s Institutes by Mrs. J. Beaubier, President of Alberta Women’s Institute and Mrs. William Stewart, a Women’s Institute director from Peace River. The first president of the branch was Mrs. C. Graban. As of 2009, the G. P. W. I. was still in operation despite declining membership.
Throughout its more than 80 years of operation, the G. P. W. I. has engaged in the provision of numerous welfare services to the people of the Grande Prairie area and beyond. G. P. W. I. has assembled food and clothing hampers, given aid to local schools, visited at hospitals, provided aid for local families in need, helped start and run the Grande Prairie library, helped start and furnish the Grande Prairie town rest room, arranged preschool and baby clinics, provided prizes for local competitions, participated in war work and overseas relief efforts, established a hostess hut for soldiers in Grande Prairie’s Basic Training Camp, ran a maternity waiting room for expectant mothers from outside of Grande Prairie, contributed to Unitarian Service parcels, catered numerous events, organized and participated in fundraising efforts, and sent donations to numerous worthy causes.
G. P. W. I. also has a strong social component. Each meeting had a program which could consist of a variety of activities including talks on various subjects, musical presentations, spelling matches, or outings. The group also arranged events including teas, markets, dances, and tours, participated in handiwork courses and exhibitions, and sent delegates to provincial conventions and constituency conferences around and outside the Peace River country. In 1941, G. P. W. I. started a radio news program over CFGP that continued into the 1960s. The Women’s Institute motto of “For Home and Country” is seen in action through the group’s social and service activities.
The records were donated to the Grande Prairie Public Library with the Isabel Campbell collection. In two accessions in 2008 and 2009, GPPL passed them on to South Peace Regional Archives. An accrual of a minute book (1997-2008) and a guest register (1984) were donated by Betty Welter in 2010.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of records relating to the business and activities of the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute, dating primarily from 1924 to 1999. These records include meeting minutes, membership lists, lists of officers and directors, financial records, meeting program booklets, a maternity waiting room register, scrapbooks of the branch’s history and activities, a guest book for the 60th Anniversary, and Alberta Women’s Institute history booklets .
The fonds is arranged in six series based on record type: Minute books, Finances, Program booklets, Maternity Waiting Room, Scrapbooks, and Women’s Institute History. Within the series, the records are arranged chronologically.
Table of Contents
|Series 371.01||Minute books|
|Series 371.03||Program booklets|
|Series 371.04||Maternity Waiting Room|
|Series 371.06||Women’s Institute History|
|Series 371.01||Minute books. — 1924-2008. — 25 cm of textual records.The series consists of the meeting records kept by the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute from 1924 to 2008, a 1958 “Handbook for the Use of Alberta Women’s Institutes,” and a card printed with the Creed, Flag Salute, Grace, and Institutional Ode. The meeting records were recorded into bound books or looseleaf collected in binders. The majority of the records are meeting minutes, but also included are roll call and membership lists, lists of officers and directors, lists of Women’s Institute activities, lists of surprise gifts, annual reports, and some account records which were recorded in the minute books. The series also includes loose records and correspondence inserted into the minute books and a guest register from tea party held in the Golden Age Center, Oct 24, 1984, celebrating the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute’s 60th Anniversary.|
|Series 371.02||Finances. — 1929-1972. — 5 cm of textual records.The series consists of five Women’s Institute membership and finance books dating from 1929 to 1972. The books contain membership lists, records of receipts and disbursements, bank reconciliations, and annual reports.|
|Series 371.03||Program booklets. — 1945-1999. — 8 cm of textual records.The series consists of Grande Prairie Women’s Institute program booklets from 1945 to 1999. Each booklet contains lists of that year’s executive, directors, auditors, and convenors of standing committees, as well as giving the meeting dates and programs for each. Attached to three of the booklets are Isabel Campbell’s membership cards for 1966, 1969, and 1970.|
|Series 371.04||Maternity Waiting Room. — 1934-1942. — 1 cm of textual records.The series consists of the register used at the maternity waiting room operated by the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute from 1934 to 1942. The register gives the name of the woman and her address, her doctor’s name, and the dates of her entry and departure from the home.|
|Series 371.05||Scrapbooks. — 1924-2004. — 10 cm of textual records. — 57 photographs.The series consists of two scrapbooks compiled by the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute about their history and activities and a Pioneer Museum Society Life Member Certificate (1970), an AWI Handicraft List (1985-1986), a loose award certificate (1995) and newspaper clipping (2004). The material in the scrapbook on Women’s Institute activities dates from 1924 to 1987 and includes newspaper clippings, certificates, correspondence, and photographs. The history scrapbook, dating from 1965 contains accounts of the Grande Prairie Women’s Institute’s history by decade as well as extra features on special events and projects, a map of the Grande Prairie area, In Memoriam pages, lists of executive officers up to 1965, membership rolls from 1962 and 1965, and a list of Grande Prairie members who had held provincial office.|
|Series 371.06||Women’s Institute History. — [1937, 1955]. — 1 cm of textual records.The series consists of two history booklets, “A Story of the Alberta Women’s Institutes 1909-1937” and “The Story of the Alberta Women’s Institute 1909-1955”, and a greeting card showing a picture of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless’ birthplace. The material relates to Women’s Institute History outside of the Grande Prairie area.|