Business & Professional Women’s Club of Grande Prairie. — 1960-1988. — 5 cm of textual records. — 12 photographs.
In the fall of 1960, a group of Grande Prairie women invited the Canadian Federation of Business & Professional Women’s Clubs to help them organize a chapter in Grande Prairie. The Canadian Federation was founded in 1930, the purpose being “to develop and train women for leadership and responsibility in business, industry and the professions; to work towards improving economic, employment, and social conditions for women; … to encourage women to participate in the business of government at all levels; and to co-operate with the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.” Mrs. Lola Paul, from Calgary, came to represent the Federation, and following her talk, “a motion to organize was passed unanimously by upwards of 25 women present, representing teaching, and nursing professions, office personnel, reatil merchants, and other businesses.” (Herald Tribune October 7, 1960)
The Grande Prairie club received it’s charter on March 18, 1961 with 31 members on their roster. At that time it was the twelfth and most northern club in Alberta. The first executive consisted of Mina Pool, president; Myrtle Hook, 1st vice president; Evelyn Durda, 2nd vice president; Lorna Arnell, corresponding secretary; Isabel Campbell, recording secretary; and Ethel Orr, treasurer. There were also three committees: membership, led by Sheila Murphy; programme, led by Jean O’Brien; and publicity, led by Isabel Campbell.
Over the years, the Grande Prairie club championed equal pay for equal work, increased minimum wage, equal opportunities for education, training and advancement, removal of discrimination against employment of married and older women, legal rights for women, and a federal status of women report. Locally, they supported technical training and refresher courses for professional women, increased minimum wage, a regional library system, better resources for those with mental health issues, a mobile clinic to screen for cervical cancer, a day care center, and a home for transients in Grande Prairie. They also sent observers to local council and school board meetings to monitor the decisions being made in regards to girls and women, paid tribute to businesswomen during Business Week, offered musical scholarships, sponsored Careers Preview Afternoons at the Junior High School, and celebrated the successes of women in the Grande Prairie area, such as when Myrtle Hook set up the first woman-run real estate company, and when Lillian Middleton was named postmaster of Peace River in 1963. Each year they elected a “Woman of the Year”.
It appears that the Grande Prairie Business & Professional Women’s Club no longer exists, although a bursary is still given out each year in the club’s name for the Grande Prairie Regional College.
The records were deposited at the Grande Prairie Public Library by Isabel Campbell and passed on to South Peace Regional Archives in 2013.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of a scrapbook containing news clippings and photographs documenting the formation and activities of the Business & Professional Women’s Club of Grande Prairie from the initial meetings held in the fall of 1960 to 1972. Documents inserted within the pages include the program for Charter Night, The statement of purpose for the Canadian Federation in 1962, a proclamation from Mayor George Repka for Business Women’s Week in 1962, a programme for the Careers Preview Afternoon at Montrose Junior High School in 1962, a copy of their 1966 resolution for better cervical cancer screening, a copy of their Day Care Centre survey questionnaire sent out in 1969, and a Programme Planner from the Canadian Federation for 1987-1988.
Title based on the contents of the fonds.
Acquisition note: Accession No. 2013.084
Historical note: Information for agency history compiled from the records.