Title: Administrative Records of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario
Series: 521/1 Records of the Women’s Union
Dates: 1926 – 1958
Extent: 20 cm textual records
Finding Aid: The Finding Aid includes File Description and Box Lists.
The Presbyterian Women’s Union was formed after a meeting at St. Stephen’s Church on 5 April 1907. The Presbyterian women were convinced of the value of the work carried on by the Methodist Deaconess Aid Society in conjunction with the All People’s Mission south of the CPR tracks in Winnipeg and wished to carry on similar work to the north. Property was secured on Alfred Avenue and a kindergarten as well as a program of home visits by a Deaconess was begun. A grant was secured from the Presbyterian Church Extension Committee and further funding was solicited from Winnipeg’s Presbyterian churches as well as Ladies Aid Societies, Bible Classes, Girls’ Clubs and other groups. The Women’s Union provided three members for the Alfred Avenue Mission Board and supported the work in any way that was required. This mission later amalgamated with the Dufferin Avenue congregation in 1911 and became known as Robertson Memorial Church and Institute. The Women’s Union continued to support this work financially (pledging to provide $2000.00 towards an annual budget of $5000.00 which they did until 1913) and in other ways including support for Camp Robertson. The Women’s Union supported this Fresh Air Camp with a Picnic for many years. The annual Fresh Air Camp Tea succeeded the picnic. Also in 1911, the Women’s Union amalgamated with the Women’s Moral Reform Council in order to undertake the support of a Social Service Rescue Home on Simcoe Street in Winnipeg. The Social Service Board of the Presbyterian Church provided financial support for the Home and the Women’s Union was responsible for day to day management and any extra expenses. From 1917, the Women’s Union co-operated with the Methodist Deaconess Aid Society in the operation of the Home. In 1923 the United Social Service Home, as it was now called, was relocated to Kildonan and around 1928 it began to be known as the Church Home for Girls.
The Methodist Deaconess Aid Society was formed in 1905 to support the work of the Deaconesses settled at the All People’s and other Institutional Missions. This included material and moral support for the Methodist Deaconess Home on George Street (closed in 1925) and support of the Methodist Fresh Air Camp, Camp Sparling. In 1925, the Presbyterian Women’s Union joined with the Methodist Deaconess Aid Society and representatives from the Central Congregational Church. The new organisation took the name of the Presbyterian group with the first meeting of the new Women’s Union held on 16 June 1926. The Union continued to support the work of the City Missions in many practical ways. This included everything from home visitors, tea and sandwiches, library books and furnishings to knitted mittens and a club for unemployed single men. Practical support for United Church Fresh Air Camps and the Church Home for Girls also continued. The Women’s Union ceased to exist around 1957 as the work previously handled by Institutional Missions became more professionalised and the United Church moved towards the creation of one organisation for all women of the Church (United Church Women).
Scope and Content
Surviving records of the Women’s Union described here include Minutes, 1926-1949; Reports of Monthly and Annual Meetings, 1946-1957; Treasurer’s Records, 1926-1950; Financial Statements, 1936-1957; Lists of Representatives from Affiliated Churches and Members at Large, 1948-1958; and the essay ‘The Women’s Union Looks Back’, 1951. File level description; box list available.
The provenance of these records is unclear. It is possible that they were accessioned in ca.1985 as part of larger collection of materials that also included records of the Manitoba Conference Fellowship of Professional Women.
For historical accounts of the work of the Presbyterian Women’s Union and the Methodist Deaconess Aid Society in Manitoba see the file ‘Historical Narratives’ described as part of the series 505/2 Manitoba Conference Branch Woman’s Missionary Society Archives Collection.
Records accessioned for Manitoba Conference Fresh Air Camps are described as part of the series 520/1 Church Camps.
Records accessioned for the Church Home for Girls are described as part of the series 520/2 Church Home for Girls.
For the records of All People’s, Robertson Memorial and other Winnipeg Institutional Missions please consult the Charge records for the individual missions.