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The Women's Canadian Club of Montreal fonds (P722)

1907-2005. - 399 cm of textual records. - 70 photographs. - 1 object.

Administrative History - Biographical Sketch:

The Women's Canadian Club of Montreal was founded in 1907 by Lady Drummond and Mrs. Robert Reford. It was the Montreal chapter of what was originally the women's equivalent of the Canadian Clubs that were established across the country for men beginning in the 1890s. The purpose of these clubs was to underscore a distinctive Canadian culture separate from that of the "Old Country."

Although the Women's Canadian Club of Montreal declares itself "non-sectarian, non-partisan, non-political," its goal has largely been the "fostering of patriotism," and its activities are devoted to promoting Canadian culture, history and nationalism. Primarily a social organization that arranges for speakers and tours, the club has, from time to time, involved itself in a variety of philanthropic endeavours, especially during the two World Wars.

Membership has largely been drawn from Montreal's English-speaking population over the years, reaching numbers in the 2000s in the 1950s. While there has been a close relationship with the head office of the Association of Canadian Clubs over the years, the Women's Canadian Club of Montreal has not hesitated to make decisions that are more fitting for its membership and the particular situation of Quebec.

The Club is run by an Executive Committee, elected for a term of one year, along with an Advisory Council composed of past presidents. The Executive and Advisory committees meet regularly, and a number of the documents in the collection were produced through their activities. The club's season runs from the fall of one year into the spring of the next, culminating with an annual meeting that consists of a luncheon with a guest speaker. Several other luncheons with speakers are held during the year and have included both Canadian and international luminaries such as Earl Grey, Wilfrid Laurier, Stephen Leacock, Vincent Massey, John Diefenbaker, Pierre Berton and the Duke of Edinburgh. Local celebrities who have spoken to the club include Prof. Joe Schwarcz, Ann Medina and Terry Mosher (aka Aislin).

More recently, club members have taken tours of local venues such as the SAQ cellars and local museums, and a number of trips have been organized to cultural and historical sites in southern Quebec and Ontario, such as Stratford and the Eastern Townships, and bordering states such as Vermont. A good many of the photographs in the collection are from these trips and tours.

While the club is primarily a social one, it has also participated in community outreach, organizing donations and the building of the cenotaph in Dominion Square, donating funds for a vehicle for the Red Cross during World War II, and running several citizenship, immigration and scholarship programs.

Despite generally espousing apolitical leanings, the club has often engaged in letter-writing campaigns on significant political issues such as women's suffrage, peace during wartime, the living conditions and medical treatment of soldiers, conscription, and a number of the Quebec referendums.

Although these records have been donated to the McCord Museum, the club continues to be an active and functioning organization at the time of this writing.

Scope and Content:

This fonds documents the activities of the Women's Canadian Club of Montreal, mainly from 1907 through the 1990s. Records include minutes, reports, ledgers, financial statements, texts of speeches, correspondence, brochures and programs, and photographs.

The fonds is divided into the following series:

  • P722/A: History
  • P722/B: Operational Procedures
  • P722/C: Minutes and Agendas
  • P722/D: Annual Reports
  • P722/E: Finance
  • P722/F: Committees
  • P722/G: Executive
  • P722/H: Membership
  • P722/I: Other Organizations
  • P722/J: Public Programming
  • P722/K: Photographs