Fonds - Rodney Women's Institute fonds

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Rodney Women's Institute fonds

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  • 1906-1977 (Creation)

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74 cm of textual records

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Administrative history

The Rodney Women's Institute, Rodney, Ontario was established in June 1906. Inaugural executive officers included Mrs. E.J. Schmidt, President; Mrs. A.D. McGugan, First Vice-President; Miss Margaret McGillis, Second Vice-President; and Mrs. B.B. Graham, Secretary-Treasurer. Thirty-eight members joined the Institute in its first year. Through the years, the Rodney Women's Institute built an impressive record of community service. The Institute helped to raise funds for the first fire-fighting equipment in the Village of Rodney, and contributed to the building of the grandstand at the Rodney fairgrounds, the erection of decorative pillars at the entrance to the Rodney Cemetery, and the refurbishment of the Rodney Community Hall. During the First World War, the Rodney Women's Institute took responsibility for local Red Cross work in support of Canadian troops overseas. The Institute was instrumental in organizing the Rodney Public Library, the Rodney Horticultural Society, and local chapters of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. In the 1940s the Institute arranged for the medical inspection of schools in Rodney and West Aldborough and sponsored the first Child Health Clinic held under the auspices of the Elgin Health Unit. The Rodney Women's Institute was disbanded in 1977. The first Women’s Institute in Canada was established at Stoney Creek, Ontario by Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless on February 9, 1897. In 1904 the Ontario Department of Agriculture began funding seven full-time staff to help promote and organize Women’s Institutes in communities throughout the province. By 1913 institutes were established in all the provinces. In 1919 provincial representatives met in Winnipeg to form the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC), a national organization that co-ordinates the activities of the provincial Women's Institutes. The FWIC’s national office was established in Ottawa in 1958. “The motto ‘For Home and Country’ reflects FWIC aims: to promote an appreciation of rural living, to develop informed citizens through the study of national and international issues (particularly those affecting women and children) and to initiate national programs to achieve common goals. Each provincial organization is represented on the board of directors, which meets annually; new executives are elected at triennial conventions. FWIC are constituent societies of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW), the international organization of Women's Institutes and other organizations with common aims and objectives.” The Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO) was founded in 1919 and soon began a process that resulted in the ‘Tweedsmuir Histories’ project. “In 1925, a special standing committee of the FWIO was formed known as the Committee for Historical Research and Current Events….By the mid-1930s, Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, [1935-1940,] …suggested that Ontario Women's Institute Branches keep local history books as the WIs in England did, where she had been a devoted member. In 1940, a recently widowed Lady Tweedsmuir was delighted to approve that these histories should be named after her late husband, and so originated ‘The Tweedsmuir Village History Books.’ Because documenting local history was seen as a fitting project to mark the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the Women's Institute movement, a campaign was launched in 1945 encouraging every WI Branch in Ontario to prepare a history of their local community before the 1947 celebrations took place. This proved a popular project, and these local histories were officially named Tweedsmuir History Books in 1947….A great boost to these histories was the appointment of FWIO's first provincial Tweedsmuir History Curator in 1957, Mrs. R.C. Walker. By 1964 she reported that all levels of the organization had begun to take Tweedsmuir Books seriously, with well over 1,100 Branch histories recorded.”

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of administrative records of the Rodney Women’s Institute, Rodney, Ontario including minute books, financial records, newspaper clippings and a Tweedsmuir History. The fonds has been arranged into the following series: 1. Minutes, 1906-1972 2. Tweedsmuir History, 1906-1977 3. Financial Records, 1918-1932 4. Historical information, 1956-1971

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Associated materials

Dutton Women’s Institute fonds Eden Women’s Institute fonds Iona Women’s Institute fonds Lyons Women’s Institute fonds South Yarmouth Women’s Institute fonds Springfield Women’s Institute fonds

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General note

Information included in the administrative history was taken from the fonds, from the article concerning the FWIC in the online edition of the Canadian Encyclopedia and from the FWIC and FWIO websites.

Accompanying material

The Tweedsmuir Histories compiled by members of the Women's Institutes of Elgin County are available online through the County of Elgin Women's Institutes Tweedsmuir Histories Digitization Project.

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