Fonds - Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada - St. Thomas Ontario Branch fonds

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Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada - St. Thomas Ontario Branch fonds

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  • [1887?]-1991 (Creation)

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57 cm of textual records 1 photograph : b&w

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Administrative history

The Women's Art Association of Canada was established in Toronto, Ontario in 1886 by its founding president the painter and educator Mary Dignam (1857-1938) with a mandate to promote "a general interest in art and the encouragement of women's work for the purpose of mutual help and co-operation of its members, the establishment of art lectures, reading clubs and music study clubs, the holding of exhibitions of paintings, designs, sculpture, engraving and industrial arts, and the encouragement and development of the art handicrafts and home industries of Canada." The national Association solicited and assisted the establishment of local branches across Canada. The St. Thomas, Ontario Branch was founded at an organization meeting held at the St. Thomas Business College on March 26, 1895. The Branch had eleven founding members, who elected the St. Thomas painter and teacher Miss Susan Paul to be the Branch's inaugural president. Miss Paul served as president until 1898, when she was succeeded by Miss A. Ermatinger who in turn served until 1920. Other long-serving Branch presidents include Mrs. Amasa Wood, 1920-1935 and Mrs. G.L. Kennedy, 1940-1948. In April, 1930, the Women's Art Association of Canada affiliated with the Lyceum Club of London, England, and changed its name to the Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada, necessitating a similar change in designation for its affiliate branches. Over the years, the Branch met at various venues in the City of St. Thomas, including the Y.W.C.A., the St. Thomas-Elgin Art Gallery, and Sifton House at Alma College. Branch activities were principally funded by members' fees, but also by exhibitions, lectures, teas and other events organized by the Branch. Under the original rules adopted by the Branch, members were periodically obliged to present papers/ lectures at Branch meetings for the entertainment and edification of the general membership. The Branch fulfilled its mandate to advance members' and the general public's appreciation for and understanding of the arts by organizing lectures and exhibitions, arranging museum and studio tours and sponsoring the placement of original art work and prints in public schools. The period of most intense interest and activity in the Branch occurred from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s, when paid annual memberships typically exceeded 100 and 75 members on average attended the Branch's bi-monthly meetings during its October to April season. Sadly, interest in the Branch gradually but steadily declined from this high point, and the Branch disbanded circa 1990 as a result of insufficient membership.

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Fonds consists of records created, collected and maintained by the Women's Art Association of Canada - St. Thomas Ontario Branch/ Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada - St. Thomas Ontario Branch, including minutes of meetings; copies of annual event programmes and annual reports; financial statements and account books; lists of members; collections of newspaper clippings and scrapbooks documenting Branch activities; and samples of papers presented at meetings by Branch members. The fonds also contains records created by the Women's Art Association of Canada/ Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada and collected and maintained by the St. Thomas branch. Fonds comprises the following eleven series: Fonds is comprised of the following series: Minutes, 1895-1986 Annual Programmes, 1900-1990 Annual Reports, 1937-1988 Financial Statements, 1919-1987 Membership Lists, 1895-1980 Newspaper Clippings, 1920-1988 Scrapbooks, 1921-[1983?] Meeting Presentations, 1910-1971 Cash Books, 1895-1931 Accounts Journals, 1905-1929 Miscellaneous Records, [1887?]-1991

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Open

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Fonds will be useful to researchers concerned with the establishment, development, administration, membership and activities of the Branch, its parent organization the Women's Art Association of Canada/ Lyceum Club and Women's Art Association of Canada, and private art appreciation/ education societies in Canada generally. Local historians and genealogists will profit from consulting the Branch's minutes, programmes, and membership lists when researching the identity and activities of individual Branch members.

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