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Libraries --“For Home and Country” or “Help! I have to Give a Presentation”

Paper Presented at the Prairie Print Colloquium
by Jean Cogswell
Independent Scholar

A few years ago, I was researching an article I was writing for the Quebec Library Association Journal about the new library in Lachute, Quebec, where I was living at the time. I discovered that the first library in Lachute had been started by the Women’s Institute. Since I have been a member of the Women’s Institute for many years, and have a Library Science degree, I was immediately interested. A year later, I wrote an article about another rural library and the Women’s Institute had a hand in beginning that one, also. The Women’s Institute also runs the local library in another small community in my W.I. “county,” (regional district) Both libraries are part of the C.R.S.B.P.1 network, which is similar to, but not identical with the regional library systems set up in other Canadian provinces.

Since I have belonged to the W.I. in three different provinces, attended meetings of the W.I. in a fourth, am familiar with its national and hierarchical structure2 and with the objectives of the W.I.,3 it seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable that it would have contributed to the formation of libraries in rural areas in other parts of Canada. I felt that the W.I. had made a significant contribution that is not perhaps widely known. The W.I. does not have a high profile. All the more important, then, that its contribution to the print culture in rural Canada not be forgotten.

The Women’s Institute has always considered itself as, first and foremost, an educational organization for rural women. One researcher and writer of the history of the organization suggested that the Women’s Institute was a pioneer in distance education;4 another called it a “rural university.”5 Certainly, for rural Canadian women at the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, the Women’s Institute filled a very real need. Rural women led lives of isolation that we cannot really imagine today. Many had rudimentary education. Even educated women did not have access to reading materials. Unrecognized as persons, they had no vote and therefore little influence in community or political affairs. Opportunities for socializing were limited. So, when rural women heard of a new women’s club formed along the lines of the Farmers’ Institute, an organization which would provide courses and lectures on domestic economy, health, sanitation, scientific housekeeping, education, Canadian legislation and international affairs, they flocked to join these clubs.

Since the Women’s Institute was an educational organization, it followed that educational materials would be needed, which, in turn, would lead to the creation of loan libraries. But, first, it would be good to tell again the story of how the Women’s Institute was founded - a story that every Woman’s Institute member knows practically by heart.

In 1897, at Stoney Creek, Ontario, Mrs. Adelaide Hoodless was invited by Erland Lee, an enlightened farmer, to speak to the Farmer’s Institute of Saltfleet Township. This meeting was attended by a number of women. At this meeting, Mrs. Hoodless put forth the idea that women, as well as men, should have an Institute.

Another meeting was arranged for the women on February 19, at Squire’s Hall, Stoney Creek. 101 women attended this meeting. Mrs. Hoodless pointed out to her audience “that if men needed an organization and it enabled them to grow better crops of hay, grain and fruit, and produce better livestock, then an Institute for the women would be equally helpful in their work. Indeed, she declared, it was much more necessary since women’s work - homecraft and motherhood - was much more important than that of the men, as it concerned the home and the care of the loved ones who dwelt therein.6

Mrs. Hoodless had already made a name for herself as a social reformer.7 Her youngest son, John Harold, had died at the age of 18 months as a result of drinking contaminated milk. Devastated, Mrs. Hoodless, an educated woman, felt that she “should have known better.”8 She decided she would do all in her power to help others and to bring within reach of all women the education necessary to prevent further tragedies.

Those 101 women who attended the meeting decided to organize a group affiliated with the Farmer’s Institute and thus became the first Women’s Institute in the world.

The Institute idea spread rapidly from coast to coast in Canada and was formed into a national organization, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, in 1919.9 Although the W.I. movement originated in Ontario, “it was the Alberta W.I. which provided the impetus for the formation of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. (FWIC)”10 A resolution was passed at the 1918 AWI Convention to support the development of a national organization. Mary MacIsaac, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung and Mrs. W.M. Davidson represented Alberta at the preliminary meetings in Ottawa in February, 1918. Emily Murphy was elected first president. The idea of the Women’s Institute spread to the British Isles and onward through the world. In 1933, an international organization was formed: the Associated Countrywomen of the World. The ACWW now comprises Institutes and similar organizations of countrywomen in 108 countries, states and provinces.

The first Women’s Institute in Alberta was founded in Lea Park on February 3, 1909,11 and was modelled on the Ontario Women’s Institutes. It was committed to providing educational information, particularly in home economics and economic assistance to women of the area. Until 1922, the AWI was the only organization through which women could take short courses, demonstrations and lectures from the Department of Agriculture. The Alberta Women’s Institutes quickly became the primary voice of rural Alberta women. The AWI was often the first organization started in a community and was more suited to the needs of rural women than other women’s organizations.

In 1909, a Mrs. Finley MacKenzie of Morris, Manitoba, went home to Ontario to visit her mother. There she heard “glowing accounts” of the work being done by the Institute groups and returned to Morris “enthusiastic” about the idea of organizing such an association there.12 37 women joined the first Women’s Institute in Manitoba in August, 1910.

The first convention of the Manitoba groups was held at the Agricultural college in Winnipeg, February 14 and 15, 1911, just two weeks after the Saskatchewan Homemakers’ first annual convention. Their early name was “Home Economics Societies.” In 1919, it was decided to adopt the name Women’s Institutes.

Saskatchewan was a different case - as the Women’s Institute as an organization did not come into existence until 1972. A rural women’s group, the Homemakers’ Club, quite similar in aims and functions, began in 1911. They had a close association with the Extension Department of the University of Saskatchewan and furnished “an outstanding illustration of the great difference between the traditional academic colleges and this modern western University which is a centre of preparation for living in Western Canada.”13 42 delegates representing eighteen centres in the province were registered at the provincial founding convention. Nellie McClung was a speaker. “The promotion of the interests of the home and community” was the objective of the organization.14

Finding information about Women’s Institutes and their involvement in libraries is not easy. I have found only one reference so far in library literature: one reference to Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs was found in a mimeographed typewritten report entitled: Library Service in Saskatchewan, compiled in 1937 by Norma M. Bennett of the reference department of the Saskatoon Public Library. On page 7, reporting on library service in rural Saskatchewan, she notes that “The Director of Women’s Work at the University gives excellent guidance to Homemakers’ Clubs, which have started many small libraries throughout the province. Aware of the extreme lack of reading material in the rural districts, she has urged clubs to cooperate wherever possible. A few modern experiments in cooperative buying and regular exchange between these libraries are showing the value of the larger administration unit. The success of the county library idea as it is now being adopted in parts of Ontario should eventually lead to the organization of that type of service in Saskatchewan.”

Most of the rest of the material that I have gathered for this presentation has come from histories of the movement written or commissioned by the Women’s Institute itself. Women’s Institutes were prodigious record keepers and kept their minutes and other records in museums and archives. They also believed in publicizing their activities and all provincial organizations have newsletters as does the FWIC. Accounts of branch meetings and activities are written up for local weeklies. I also corresponded with Executive members at Provincial and National levels of the Women’s Institute for information regarding the involvement of Women’s Institutes in libraries at the present.

The Women’s Institutes also wrote a great many local community histories; on the Prairies they were encouraged to do so by Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor-General.15

The Women’s Institute histories that I used for my material were well-researched, well-written books. In the case of the history book for Ontario and the history book for Alberta, both books were commissioned and written by professional researchers or historians.16 The Manitoba history, however, is different form the other two provincial histories in that it provides in both volumes a history of each local branch in the province of Manitoba. In these local histories, there are many mentions of local Institute branches supporting libraries, volunteering at libraries, donating to libraries, providing books to libraries, operating their own libraries or lobbying to have a community involved in the regional library system of Manitoba. Neither book appears to have been commissioned by a professional researcher or historian. No information is provided about the editors or compilers of either volume.

The first libraries operated by Women’s Institutes were rudimentary affairs, created for the use of the members. When Institutes were first organized, special speakers and lecturers would come from the extension departments of universities or agricultural colleges. Before too long, the women were preparing their own programs. However, in rural Ontario and on the Prairies, there was little material available. Libraries were practically nonexistent, and any libraries there were would probably have been in towns or cities. The practice began of sending out “loan papers” from the extension departments to the local branches.17 Many W.I. members had little or no educational background and little or no experience in public speaking and found the prospect of presenting papers at monthly meetings terrifying. A woman from Bluevale, Ontario, wrote that she would “be greatly obliged if you could help me out as it is my first paper (and) I am very green at this business.”18

Library service, or the lack of it, was similar over all three prairie provinces. Norma Bennett, in her report on library service in rural Saskatchewan, writes that all the library services available at the time (1937) “furnish a most inadequate source of reading material.”19 Since 1913, rural Saskatchewan had been serviced by a Travelling Library established by an amendment to the Library Act. The Travelling Library and an Open Shelf Library were operated by the Provincial Bureau of Publications. The object of the Travelling Library was to supplement the book stock of small public and school libraries and to provide some public library service in communities otherwise without any. The Open Shelf Library had a stock of mostly non-fiction books, intended for educational extension work and it is the only source provided by the government to supply reference materials for those not within reach of established libraries. The Wheat Pool also had a good selection of books on economic and social problems. No librarian was available to give advice to the reader. Books from the Travelling Library were sent out from Regina in sturdy boxes, fifty to sixty books to the box, to some responsible person in a small town or rural district. Saskatchewan Homemakers took advantage of the various opportunities available to start a library and many made getting a local library going a major project of the club.

In 1929, at the request of the Manitoba Women’s Institute, Manitoba Agricultural College offered two week courses that included lectures on books, reading, and how to select books for home and community libraries.20 By 1933, the Institute reported owning and operating 43 libraries and 82 other Institutes handled books from “various travelling libraries” in the province.21 Manitoba Pool Elevators operated one of these travelling libraries.22

The government of Alberta provided loan items from the clipping bureau and travelling libraries of fiction, travel and biography. These supplemented courses requested by the AWI from the Women’s Extension Service, and were in existence as early as 1913.23

In several Prairie provinces, the Women’s Institute and other rural women’s clubs operated “rest rooms,” One such “rest room” in Alberta was set up in a vacant Methodist church. It was a place for farm women to rest with their children during visits to town, to drink tea, and browse through books in the library.24

Many Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs established similar dual purpose rest rooms and libraries.

References are made in The Great Human Heart, Vol. I, to Birtle and Erickson Women’s Institutes, which operated libraries in their rest rooms.

The annual report of the Director of Women’s work for the University of Saskatchewan, Abigail DeLury, noted that there were 47 University circulating libraries being administered by Homemaker’s Clubs, and that 24 communities had established libraries with the aid of a university grant.25

In each of the Prairie provinces, these early libraries established by the Women’s Institutes and Homemakers’ Clubs were, quite literally, store-front operations. Libraries were established wherever clubs could find (and afford) space, such as a corner of an implement shop, the general store, a railway station, a rural school, members’ homes, memorial hall, the W.I. hall, a health center, an old fire hall, the Agricultural office, the local hardware store, and a converted streetcar.

The Alberta Women’s Institutes were the recipient of 250 books donated by Institutes in Britain as an expression of gratitude for the friendship of the AWI.26 An appeal for books - “romance, fiction or fact” - for people in isolated rural areas was made in a column headed “Country people in need of books” in the Edmonton Journal in March, 1946. Donations left at the Journal office were to be distributed through the library of the AWI. Books also came from the Edmonton and Calgary public libraries, the T. Eaton Co., and military camps. Approximately six thousand books were sent to W.I. libraries throughout the province.27

Inarguably, one of the greatest benefactors to the Women’s Institutes and the Homemakers’ Clubs on the Prairies and on the national scene was Lady Susan Tweedsmuir, wife of the Governor-General of Canada. Lady Tweedsmuir was a firm supporter of the English W.I. movement, former president of Elsfield W.I., and, in 1947, County President of the Oxfordshire Federation of Women’s Institutes.28 By the mid-30’s, Women’s Institutes and Homemakers’ Clubs in all three Prairie Provinces were finding it more and more difficult to keep up with the increasing demand for books. Lady Tweedsmuir offered her help by way of books, boxes of them, which became “The Lady Tweedsmuir W.I. Rural Library Scheme,” also known as the “Lady Tweedsmuir Prairie Library Scheme.” In Manitoba, an Institute committee arranged their distribution in packs of 10 and scheduled the packs to be rotated among local Institute libraries with the Institutes paying the onward postage.29

Retrospect and Prospect notes that 81 Homemakers’ Clubs were “happy to receive parcels of books and to arrange for their circulation in their own communities and later to exchange them with other groups.”30

In Many and Remarkable, it is noted that the Lady Tweedsmuir Prairie Library Scheme originated in Calgary in September, 1936. Lady Tweedsmuir, the Queen, and an IODE in Eastern Canada gave books to stock a library. Institutes could borrow the books if they paid transportation charges.31

By the late 30’s and the 40’s, demand was growing in all three Prairie provinces for some sort of regional library scheme.

In Manitoba, Lady Tweedsmuir’s gift left the Institutes ready and eager to maintain and continue, on their own, the further development of rural libraries. In Gimli and Flin Flon the community at large had taken over and operated libraries begun by the Women’s Institutes. At the same time, the Manitoba Library Association, of which MWI was a member, was pushing for better library service for the province. A W.I. library committee study in 1948 simply confirmed the great need for better library service throughout the province. The Manitoba Library Association was investigating a regional library plan developed during the building of the Tennessee Valley Authority dam project.32After much consultation and lobbying directly to the minister in charge of libraries, archives and historical research, the Manitoba Public Library Act was passed in 1948.33

In 1937, the Director of Women’s Work at the University of Saskatchewan, Miss Bertha Oxner, and Mrs. E. Ducie of Coates put together a course of study for the Homemaker’s Clubs and were most disappointed by the response of the local libraries contacted. Only two of the twenty-two public libraries volunteered help and their book supplies were inadequate. Miss Oxner reported: “If this phase of Adult Education is to grow in Saskatchewan, some extension of existing library facilities must be provided. Larger central libraries serving wider areas should replace the small detached libraries that we now have in most parts of the province. Clubs should find out what is being done through country libraries, regional libraries and library associations in other provinces, in the United States and in Great Britain, and then attempt similar consolidation at home.”34

Alberta lagged behind the other provinces in providing library services to the vast majority of Albertans who lived outside of Edmonton and Calgary, who had no permanent libraries. Although the University of Alberta Extension Library had a catalogue of several thousand books available by mail, the demand for local libraries was high.35

An AWI resolution was passed in 1955 asking the Alberta government to formulate a progressive library program to include the employment of graduate librarians as full-time staff, a school library supervisor to work alongside the existing provincial library supervisor, sufficient grant to ensure an up-to-standard service, and a co-operative effort between the government library plan and community libraries. The Alberta Library Act was passed in 1956. It structured the setting up of a series of regional library districts over twenty years with ten regional centres to serve 60,000 people each.36

In 1946, Marion Gilroy was hired by the Saskatchewan provincial government to found a provincial library system. The Homemakers were ready and willing to help lobby for the new service. The first regional library was established in Prince Albert, partly due to the active support of the Homemakers in the northeast of the agricultural area in the province.37

However, after the establishment of the regional library in Prince Albert, the expansion of the regional library system stalled and the provincial government discontinued the travelling library service in 1961. In 1963, the president of the Associated Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan, Mrs. F.L. Farmer of Carwood, presented a brief to the provincial Royal Commission on Taxation in which she stated that “The present arrangements for financing regional libraries through a tax on property cannot be satisfactory, or there would be more regional libraries in the Province.”38

By 1967 Homemakers’ Clubs were “delighted” to see expansion of regional libraries and turned their energies toward assistance with the service in the libraries.

In Manitoba, the government was slow in putting the new Act to work. Travelling and open shelf libraries had been set up, but there was no director and better equipment and trained staff was needed. The system of distributing boxes of books was not as successful as had been expected. The provincial organization lobbied hard for a regional library system modelled on the Tennessee Valley Plan, which it saw as being better able to serve the reading needs of rural Manitobans and was supported by the director of the province’s travelling and open shelf libraries. By June, 1961, Manitoba could boast of nine regional libraries, their purpose to serve rural people.39

Women’s Institutes are still involved in libraries throughout Alberta. Maxean Brigley, President of the AWI, writes, however, that Institutes have given up running rural libraries to the community or schools in their areas. “They do, however, support the libraries by monetary and participation support. ...As well, there is a large group of members who are concerned about the high cost of library membership to those who live outside of the limits of small towns and other urban townsites. They are developing a resolution to be presented at our May convention to be forwarded to the Alberta Government. We hope to start a movement to have standardized library membership dues or in some way support the rural community with reasonable access to libraries.”

Mary Orr, Administration Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Women’s Institute, writes: “Current branches of W.I. continue to support their libraries by purchasing subscriptions, etc.... Actual volunteer time in libraries... is not documented here at the office.”

To date, I do not have any first-hand knowledge of continuing involvement in libraries by the Manitoba Women’s Institute; however, a communication from Shirley Bell, Executive Administrator of the Provincial Office for Manitoba W.I. notes that MWI has donated copies of its history books to libraries, schools, universities and other government offices for their use.

All three Prairie provinces have been participating in the LINKS Literacy Awareness Project, a team project co-sponsored by the Consumers Association of Canada and the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.40

In 1997, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada celebrated their 100th anniversary. As it faces the new century, it is faced with the challenge many organizations of its type are facing: that of declining membership and the disbanding of many branches. Many factors are responsible for its decline: rural depopulation, the entry of women into the work force, the aging of the population, women returning to school. The history of the Alberta Women’s Institutes quotes an article in Chatelaine, 1967, which blames “...burgeoning interest in sporting activities, particularly golf and curling among women... Television, radio and the growth of public libraries competed with women’s clubs as centres of self-expression, sociability and learning.”41

The following is quoted from a web-site operated by the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario on the future of the Women’s Institute: “The need for an organization to promote (W.I.) objectives is as great today as it was in 1897.... Across Canada, society is addressing concerns of safety, healthy communities, rural revitalization, education as a way of life, values and family lifestyles.... As they respond to these changes, they remember the vision first seen by Adelaide Hoodless - women meeting and working together to educate themselves in order to improve the lives of their families and their communities.”


1. C.R.S.B.P. - a French acronym for the Centre Régional de Services aux Bibliothèques Publiques, a centralized library clearing house which contracts out its services to libraries in Quebec, much the same as a regional library system. Both books and workshops for library staff are provided. English libraries on the island of Montreal are not part of this network.

2. The Women’s Institute operates under a four-tiered structure: (a) local branch; (b) county or district; (c) province; (d) national. Each provincial Women’s Institute organization is a member of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, the national organization. “Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC),” (Women’s Institutes of Nova Scotia:, Province of Nova Scotia, c2000.) Provinces and local branches were free to develop their own projects and interests, but the FWIC set common themes of interest to women nationally. Catherine Cole and Judy Larmour, Many and Remarkable: The Story of the Alberta Women’s Institutes (Alberta Women’s Institutes, c1997), p. 21.

3. The objectives of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada are:
To provide a united national voice for Women’s Institutes of Canada
To initiate national programs and to provide resource material
To provide a medium of inter-communication among the units of the Federation
To provide leadership in the promotion of Canadian agriculture and other aspects of community living
To develop responsible citizens through the study of issues of national and international importance.
There are six educational committees:
Agriculture, Canadian Industries, Citizenship & Legislation, Education and Cultural
Activities, Home Economics & Health, International Affairs. “History of the organization,” and “Committees,”
(Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada:, n.d.), pp. 1 & 2.

4. “Within the first year of their formation, the women in Stoney Creek decided ‘to undertake the Chautauqua study course in Domestic Science.’ This American curriculum was an early form of distance education.” Linda M. Ambrose, For Home and Country: the Centennial History of the Women’s Institutes of Ontario, (Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario, c.1996), p. 25. Also, the short courses provided by government organizers in cooking, sewing, home nursing, nutrition and handicrafts “initiated and preceded what we know today to be adult education.” Vivian Darroch/Lozowski, Not One but Many: on the Centennial of the Women’s Institutes (1897-1997), (Manitoulin Island, Ice Lake Press, 1996), p. 19.

5. Linda Ambrose, in responding to questions about the focus of the Women’s Institute, replies: “From the start the group has always had a strong educational focus, a group for women to learn things. It has even been called the ‘university for rural women.’” Preface, For Home and Country, p. 11.

6. Ruth Howes (Mrs. T.N.), Adelaide Hoodless: Woman with a Vision, (Millet, Alta., 1965), p. 13.

7. Adelaide Hoodless had already become well-known as a “spokesperson for a movement that worked to have women trained in the practical science of running a household according to scientific principles” Ambrose, For Home and Country, p. 19, and promoted the teaching of Domestic Science on the Guelph campus of the Ontario Agricultural College. She was also involved with the YWCA and became the second president of the National YWCA in 1893. Howes. Adelaide Hoodless, pp. 9, 10. She organized the second branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses in Hamilton. “Adelaide Hunter Hoodless: Visionary Social Reformer: 1857-1910.” ( n.d.), p. 1.

8. Howes,. Adelaide Hoodless, p. 7.

9. 0p. cit., p. 13.

10. Mary McIsaac, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung and Mrs. Wm. Davidson represented Alberta at preliminary meetings in Ottawa in 1918 and Emily Murphy was elected first president of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada. Cole, Larmour. Many and Remarkable, p. 4.

11. Op. cit., p. 1

12. Manitoba Women’s Institute, The Great Human Heart: A history of the Manitoba Women’s Institute, 1910-1980, (c. 1980), p. 2.

13. Quoted by Elizabeth Gow Cameron, Regina, President of the Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan, 1918 to 1920 and 1921 to 1923. Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan, Retrospect and Prospect: the Silver Cord and the Golden Chain, (1939), p. 24.

14. Op. cit., pp. 12, 13.

15. Colleen Armstrong. “The Women’s Institutes - after the first 100 years.” Country Guide, (May 1997), p. 42.

16. Catherine C. Cole and Judy Larmour, independent heritage consultants, collaborated in writing Many and Remarkable: The story of the Alberta Women’s Institutes. Catherine Cole is former curator of the Provincial Museum of Alberta (PMA) and Historic Sites Service, Alberta Community Development. Judy Larmour specializes in oral history and architectural building history. Catherine Cole handles the period up to the end of World War I and Judy Larmour the period from World War I to the present. For Home and Country: The Centennial History of the Women’s Institutes of Ontario was written by Linda Ambrose, Ph.D., associate professor of history at Laurentian University, Sudbury.

17. Women began to teach amongst themselves and write their own curricula in the form of “loan” papers. By 1910, various provincial departments of agriculture had accumulated a collection of pamphlets and papers on many subjects, written by both Institute members and government organizers. Darroch/Lozowski. Not One but Many, p. 19.

18. Ambrose. For Home and Country, p. 51.

19. Norma M. Bennett, Library Service in Saskatchewan, (Reference Department, Saskatoon Public Library, 1937), p. 7. (Mimeographed).

20. Manitoba Women’s Institute, The Great Human Heart, 1980, p. 109.

21. Ibid.

22. Op. cit., p. 110. Also referred to as “package libraries.” Manitoba Women’s Institute. The Great Human Heart II: a history of the Manitoba Women’s Institute, 1980-2000, Dianne C. Kowalchuk, ed., (2000), p. 12.

23. Cole and Larmour, Many and Remarkable, pp. 8, 26.

24. Nanci Langford, Politics, Pitchforks and Pickle Jars: 75 years of organized farm women in Alberta, (Calgary: Detselig Enterprises, Ltd., c1997), p. 24.

25. Saskatchewan Women’s Institutes, Legacy: A History of Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs and Women’s Institutes, 1911-1988, (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Women’s Institutes, c1988), pp. 12, 13.

26. Cole and Larmour, Many and Remarkable, p. 72.

27. Op. cit. p. 73.

28. “FWIO and the Tweedsmuir Histories,” ( Last update: June 1, 1999.)

29. Manitoba Women’s Institute. The Great Human Heart, 1980, p. 110.

30. Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan, Retrospect and Prospect, p. 50.

31. Cole and Larmour, Many and Remarkable, p. 37.

32. The Tennessee Valley Plan included a mobile library which travelled the county every two months financed by local councils and state. This mobile library was born from a shelf of books which travelled with mobile repair shops which visited various sites during the building of the dams of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Manitoba Women’s Institute, The Great Human Heart, 1980, pp. 110-111.

33. Ibid. p. 111.

34. Saskatchewan Women’s Institutes, Legacy, p. 28.

35. Cole and Larmour, Many and Remarkable, p. 73.

36. Ibid.

37. Saskatchewan Women’s Institutes, Legacy, p. 41.

38. Op. cit. p. 66.

39. Manitoba Women’s Institute, The Great Human Heart, 1980, p. 111.

40. The Consumers’ Association of Canada and the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada teamed up in 1999 to hold literacy awareness projects for 1,500 local FWIC groups across Canada. Two videos were produced - one with Peter Gzowski, the other with Ramon Hnatyshyn, former Governor-General of Canada, and two Canadians who discuss what it is like to be among the 48 percent of Canadians with low literacy skills. Consumers’ Association of Canada/Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, “Consumers’ Association of Canada Fact Sheet,”( n.d.)

41. From an article titled “Decline and Fall of Women’s Clubs,” Chatelaine Magazine, October, 1967. Cole and Larmour, Many and Remarkable, p. 81


“Adelaide Hunter Hoodless: Visionary Social Reformer 1857-1910.” n.d.

Ambrose, Linda M. For Home and Country: the Centennial History of the Women’s Institutes of Ontario. Guelph, Ontario: Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario, c1996.

Armstrong, Colleen. “The Women’ Institutes - after the first 100 years.” Country Guide. May, 1997.

Bennett, Norma M. Library Service in Saskatchewan. Reference Department, Saskatoon Public Library, Dec. 1937. (mimeographed)

Cole, Catherine C. and Judy Larmour. Many and Remarkable: the story of the Alberta Women’s Institutes. Edmonton: Alberta Women’s Institutes, 1997.

Darroch/Lozowski, Vivian. Not One but Many: on the Centennial of the Women’s Institutes. Manitoulin Island: Ice Lake Press, 1996.

“FWIO and the Tweedsmuir Histories.” Last update: June 1, 1999.

“Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada (FWIC).” Women’s Institutes of Nova Scotia: Province of Nova Scotia, c2000.

“History of the organization,” and “Committees.” Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada: n.d. 3 p.

Homemakers’ Clubs of Saskatchewan. Retrospect and Prospect: the Silver Cord and the Golden Chain. 1939.

Howes, Ruth (Mrs. T. H.). Adelaide Hoodless - Women with a Vision. Millet, Alberta: 1965. (booklet)

Kowalchuk, Dianne C., ed. The Great Human Heart II: A history of Manitoba Women’s Institute, 1980-2000. Manitoba Women’ Institute, 2000.

Langford, Nanci. Politics, Pitchforks and Pickle Jars: 75 years of organized farm women in Alberta. Calgary, Detselig Enterprises, Ltd., c1997.

Manitoba Women’s Institute. The Great Human Heart: A history of Manitoba Women’s Institute, 1910-1980. 1980.

Saskatchewan Women’s Institute. Legacy: A History of Saskatchewan Homemakers’ Clubs and Women’s Institutes, 1911-1988. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Women’s Institute, c1988.

Jean Cogswell