Visit this blog for regular posts about Your Archives: The Histories We Share throughout 2020. Visit the Archives of Manitoba to see the records in person.

March 2020:

March 16, 2020

The History of Winnipeg Beach oral history project - Submission by Dale Barbour, historian

“This is a spectacular collection of interviews with people who lived or worked in Winnipeg Beach between 1920 and 1950. The interviews were collected in 1990 and 1991 as part of the provincial Oral History Grants Program. I conducted my own interviews in 2007 and 2008 with people who lived or worked in Winnipeg Beach. When I started my project, I had no idea this collection existed. Thankfully, D. Harrison and D. Carpenter, the people who conducted the interviews, gave me a phone call to let me know about their work. They wanted to see it put to use. Their subjects became a critical part of my book Winnipeg Beach: Leisure and Courtship in a Resort Town, 1900-1967.



photo of 3 cassettes



Interview with W.J. (Lil) Teel, September 5, 1990
Archives of Manitoba, Boundary Creek District Development oral history project records, oral history interview with W.J. Teel, September 5, 1990, C2135.

“The most haunting moment was when I listened to the mother of one of the subjects I had interviewed. She had passed on by the time I conducted my interview, but when I listened to her recording in the archives, after having interviewed her son, it felt as if I had the two of them in the room with me.”

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to oral history, Winnipeg Beach, and leisure activities.  You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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March 12, 2020

Half yearly attendance report for Beaudry School in La Salle, 1956 - Submission by Rachel Lagacé, Reporter, CTV Morning Live

“My mom Paulette Rochon was born on May 15, 1950. She’s a triplet and was born during the Flood of 1950.”

photo of 3 identical babies
Triplets
Photo credit: Rachel Lagacé

“This record is a glimpse of the triplet’s attendance at Beaudry School (grade 1).”

attendance report
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attendance report
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Attendance report for Beaudry School in La Salle, fall term 1956
Archives of Manitoba, E 0757 School division half-yearly attendance reports, GR1628, Beaudry School #1249, M510

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to half-yearly attendance reports, school records, and the Flood of 1950.  You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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March 10, 2020

Gertrude Perrin’s travel diary: 1936 voyage aboard the ‘Nascopie’ - Submission by Joni Storie, Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg

“There are so many good resources at the Archives (especially maps!) but I choose the diary by Gertrude Perrin for educational reasons (teaching Research Methods in Geography). Reading or listening to the diaries from the Archives teaches the students to identify and fully comprehend major themes in human geography and relate their personal experiences to personal experiences of people from the past. The resources at the Archives bring history to life and engage the students in experiential learning outside the classroom.”

cover of diary
first page of diary
open diary with handwritten entry
1936 travel diary
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, Gertrude Perrin fonds, Gertrude Perrin's travel diary: 1936 voyage aboard the "Nascopie", 1936, H2-142-3-6

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Nascopie and Gertrude Perrin. Take a look at the RearView exhibit on Gertrude Perrin to learn more. You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.

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March 5, 2020

Photographs of Industrial Bureau Exposition Building, ca. 1912 - Submission by Christine Hanlon, Author of Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens and Everything Manitoba

“While doing research on Winnipeg landmarks that no longer exist, I was amazed to discover this combination convention centre, art gallery, and trade show floor that showcased wares, products, art and innovations by local businesses and artists, the federal and provincial governments, and the railways.

Industrial Exposition Building, ca. 1912
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Industrial Exposition Building, ca. 1912
Archives of Manitoba, Buildings – General, Industrial Bureau 7, ca. 1912, N5275
Interior  of Industrial Exposition Building, ca. 1914
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Interior of Industrial Exposition Building, ca. 1914
Archives of Manitoba, Buildings – General, Industrial Bureau 13,
ca. 1914, N5281

“I was even more surprised by a photo of the trade show floor, filled with rows of mounted moose heads, barrels stacked like a Russian nesting doll, and boxes of a tonic to ‘Cure All Diseases.

“Then to find out that this was the headquarters of the Citizens Committee of 1000, the counterstrike committee during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike - well that just added to the thrill of finding this intriguing piece of Winnipeg history!”

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to Industrial Bureau, Winnipeg buildings, and Winnipeg General Strike.  You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.

Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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March 3, 2020

Drewry Scrapbooks - Submission from Gordon Goldsborough, President of the Manitoba Historical Society

“My archival fixation started with a bent, rusty piece of metal. My wife had found it buried in a load of soil delivered to our yard over 20 years ago. Cleaning off the mud, it turned out to be a very old license plate, issued in 1912. Who did it belong to, I wondered? Thinking that I knew how to find out, I visited the Archives of Manitoba, expecting to find automobile registration records from the early 20th century. They don’t exist, I was told; those records were destroyed in a fire at the Motor Vehicles Branch in the 1950s. Thinking that I would never find an answer to my question, I gave up and moved on to other historical questions.

“Months later, I was researching the historical hunting lodges at Delta Marsh for a book on the environmental history of this world-famous wetland. One of the archivists asked if I had consulted the Drewry Scrapbooks. What are those, I asked? They are a collection of 28 hardcover albums, I was told, each measuring 12 inches wide, 14 inches tall, and roughly 2½ inches thick. Each was crammed with memorabilia relating to the extended family of Edward L. Drewry (1851-1940) over a period from 1846 to 1989.

Drewry Scrapbook
Drewry Scrapbook
Archives of Manitoba, Edward Drewry fonds, E.L. Drewry family scrapbook, Volume 1, 1913-18, MG14 B15 box1

“Born at London, England, Drewry moved with his parents to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1860, where he was educated and commenced a life-long career in the brewing industry. He brought his family to Pembina, North Dakota in 1875, then settled in Winnipeg in May 1877. He took over an idle brewery and operated it until 1924. He was a member of the Winnipeg City Council from 1883 to 1884 where he advocated the introduction of street lighting and fire alarms. He was elected a Conservative member of the legislature in 1886, serving until 1889, and as the first chairman of the Winnipeg Parks Board from 1894 to 1899. Among his nine children was Charles Edward Drewry who shared his father’s passion for waterfowling shooting. Over the course of their lives, the two Drewrys amassed a huge collection of what we call ephemera: the routine day-to-day documents that are usually discarded soon after their purpose has been fulfilled. The Drewry collection included such things as newspaper clippings, business and personal letters, greeting cards, party invitations, and a diverse range of other materials.

“When I saw the first volume of the Drewry collection, I was taken aback: it bulged with contents and nothing was organized in any obvious way. A letter from the 1870s might be on a facing page to an invitation from the 1910s. Given the enormity of the collection, I realized quickly that finding anything relevant to me would be difficult and time-consuming. Yet, it was fascinating! I had been given access to the personal life of a family, albeit one much wealthier and powerful than mine, of a different time.

Childhood pants
Childhood pants
Archives of Manitoba, Edward Drewry fonds, E.L. Drewry family scrapbook, Volume 1, 1913-18, MG14 B15 box1

“Flipping from page to page, I could see names that I recognized, members of Manitoba’s political and social elite. Some of the topics were mundane yet others were probably full of historical importance, if I only had time to investigate them more fully. Imagine my surprise when, on a page of one scrapbook, I found a small pair of white cotton pants! A handwritten note written beside the pants said that they had probably been made in 1880, for the three-year-old Charles Drewry, by his mother Eliza Starkey Drewry (1852-1922). What would have motivated Charles Drewry to keep a pair of his childhood pants and put them into a family scrapbook? Nostalgia for an item made by a cherished mother? We may never know, but those pants provided insight into the mindset of the people who amassed this amazing collection, and the scope and magnitude of what those 28 hefty volumes contained.

“Eventually, I found a wealth of information on hunting at Delta Marsh in the Drewry Scrapbooks. But I also found something even more intriguing. Edward Drewry had been a keen automobile enthusiast, an owner of one of Winnipeg’s first cars. He subscribed to a magazine called Gas Power Age that catered to the early (and wealthy) owners of local automobiles. In mid-1912, the publishers of that magazine had issued, for reasons unknown, a small pamphlet listing every automobile registered in Manitoba at that time, its license number (a sequential number starting at 1 and running to about 4,000), its make, and the name and address of its owner.

Gas Power Age, 1912
Gas Power Age, 1912
Gas Power Age, 1912
Archives of Manitoba, Edward Drewry fonds, E.L. Drewry family scrapbook, Volume 5, 1913-18, MG14 B15 box4

“Thinking back to that bent chunk of metal from my back yard, I recalled the number shown on it, and thumbed to that place in the pamphlet. Lo and behold, I had the answer to my question posed months earlier. The owner was another powerful member of Winnipeg’s business elite, Elisha F. Hutchings (1855-1930) who had made his money making saddles. In 1912, Hutchings had owned a vehicle made by the Franklin Automobile Company of Syracuse, New York. How had the plate from Hutching’s car ended up in a pile of soil in my back yard? I can only guess that it was discarded after its year of applicability had passed, was recycled as fill under a city street or sidewalk (as was a common practice in those days), then was exhumed during construction and dumped in response to my sign seeking free soil to raise the level of my yard.

“But my obsession with that old license plate did not end there. I wanted to know more about Manitoba automobiling in 1912. What were the demographics of a ‘typical’ automobile owner in 1912? Over a period of weeks, I transcribed the entire contents of the small pamphlet from the Drewry scrapbook into a computer spreadsheet, then began adding details for each vehicle gleaned from cross-referenced sources such as the 1911 federal census and Manitoba telephone directories. The former gave me such details as age, ethnicity, gender, and occupation of the owners. The latter gave me the specific addresses which, in the case of rural vehicle owners, was especially useful because the Gas Power Age pamphlet had told me only the nearest town to which car owners went to collect their mail. The telephone directory gave me the Section, Township, and Range where they lived. After I had obtained all these locations, I was able to convert them to a geographic position: a latitude and longitude where the automobile had been based. Ultimately, I was able to produce a detailed map of southern Manitoba showing where all the cars were located in 1912, to be able to talk about what vehicles were popular at that time, and who were the drivers. (Although, not surprisingly, the majority of owners were male, I was surprised to see how many owners were female.) All of this ended up in my 2018 book, More Abandoned Manitoba.

“Thinking back now on that old license plate, I realize that it reveals the essence of what I enjoy about history, in which two decades of fun detective work can culminate in a story that would have never been revealed without a serendipitous discovery in the Archives of Manitoba.”

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to the Drewry family, Elisha Hutchings, the Delta Marsh, and motor vehicle registration records.  You can also Visit Us in person at the Archives of Manitoba.


Want to participate in Your Archives? See Submit Your Story for details. You may e-mail us at yourarchives@gov.mb.ca with a comment about this blog post and your comments may be included on this page.


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