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.

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May 21, 2020

Petition for Franchise for Women — Submission by Roland Sawatzky, Curator of History, Manitoba Museum

The petition after treatment

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The petition after treatment
Archives of Manitoba, LA 0009 Sessional papers, GR0247, 32 Petition of A.M. Blakely et al [from Women’s Christian Temperance Union] re: Franchise for Women, 1893, G 7173.

“The first petition for the vote for women in Manitoba was gathered in 1893, and included almost 4000 signatures. The petition sheets were pasted together and rolled into a scroll for presentation. It was introduced to the provincial Legislature but was defeated 28 to 11. It was criticized for not representing enough Manitoba women, so a second petition drive was held, and almost 1500 more signatures were gathered. The issue was then entirely ignored by lawmakers. One of the great things about the petition is that the communities of the signatories were listed. It turns out over 80% of the signatures were from rural Manitoba, and the rest from Winnipeg.

“I had a replica made of this petition for the Manitoba Museum 2016 travelling exhibition ‘Nice Women Don't Want the Vote.’ I wanted to return to study the petition in more detail, but it was in fragile condition. Thankfully, the Archives of Manitoba conservation staff took on the project.



The 1893 petition undergoing preservation treatment

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The 1893 petition undergoing preservation treatment

“Within a year, a colleague of mine was able to spend time photographing the scroll (26 metres long!) and other parts of the petition. She then counted every name and location. Time consuming though it was, she was able to reveal interesting demographic and geographical data from this primary source. We have presented this information at an international conference, and intend to publish sometime in the near future.”


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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May 14, 2020

L.B. Foote fonds — Submission by Danny Schur, composer/producer/writer of historical musicals

“In my research for my musical ‘Strike!’, set against the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, the wealth of photographs taken by Lewis Benjamin Foote were essential viewing. His most famous photograph of the overturned streetcar is arguably Winnipeg's most iconic shot.



Strikers  overturn a streetcar in front of City Hall, June 21, 1919
Strikers overturn a streetcar in front of City Hall, June 21, 1919
Archives of Manitoba, A 0272 Exhibits and other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike trials,
Exhibit 998, 1919, G 7494 file 3

“But more than just the stirring shots of Bloody Saturday, Foote captured so much of Winnipeg's early history. His photographs of the slums of the era I find to be particularly moving, showing a Dickensian level of poverty that we tend to romanticize or forget.

Interior of a  slum home
Interior of a slum home
Archives of Manitoba, L.B. Foote fonds, Foote 1491. Interior of slum home, ca. 1915, P7399/4

“In short, Foote's collection is Winnipeg. If a picture is worth a thousand words, he contributed millions of words in Winnipeg's and Manitoba's story.”

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to the Winnipeg General Strike, L.B. Foote, and Winnipeg photographs.

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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May 7, 2020

Children’s Home of Winnipeg fonds — Submission by James Mochoruk, Historian, University of North Dakota

“This is an amazing collection. What is most striking about the Home’s records is the window – or windows - they provide into White Anglo Saxon Protestant Winnipeg – particularly those of the working and lower middle classes. This is the case because as a Protestant institution, the Children’s Home records deal primarily with the children and families of British and/or British-Canadian descent. So often when one thinks of the sorts of economic and familial crises that might lead to a family placing one or more children in an ‘orphanage’ there is a natural tendency to think about the North End of Winnipeg and the foreign-born population (usually meaning eastern and central Europeans – not the British ‘foreigners’ who also lived there in certain neighborhoods). However, in the records of the Children’s Home we see the impacts of economic downturns, family crises, health emergencies and the like upon the Canadian-born, but particularly upon the British-born immigrants who filled the Canadian West and Winnipeg during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And in a geographic sense, although there are clearly some ‘North End’ cases, the ‘clientele’ of the Home came from every part of working-class Greater Winnipeg: St. James, Fort Rouge, Norwood, Weston, Brooklands, East and West Kildonan, and Central and West End Winnipeg were all well represented in the records of the Home. And so too were many rural districts, as prior to the mid-1920s, the Home had a surprisingly large number of children who had come from the homes of agricultural labourers and unwed mothers from throughout Manitoba and even Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario.”

Selected  records from the Children’s Home of Winnipeg fonds
Selected  records from the Children’s Home of Winnipeg fonds
Selected records from the Children’s Home of Winnipeg fonds
Archives of Manitoba, Children’s Home of Winnipeg fonds, 1884-1985

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to Children’s Home of Winnipeg, Children’s Aid Society of Winnipeg, and adoption.

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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April 30, 2020

Hudson's Bay House Library photograph collection subject files and "The Beaver" magazine vertical files — Submission by Dr. Karla Kit McManus, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts (Art History), Faculty of Media, Art + Performance, University of Regina

“The Beaver magazine was created in 1920 as an in-house magazine aimed at uniting the various far-flung workers of the Hudson's Bay Company who had little contact with the world beyond their outposts during most of the year. By 1938, the magazine had transformed from a glorified newsletter into an object of serious cultural significance and high print-production quality. Subtitled the ‘Magazine of the North,’ photography would become a key part of the magazine's approach to telling the story of the HBC's business interests in Canada's wilderness, where the fur trade was still a major economic engine. Many of the stories focused on the settler-colonial benevolence of the Company, and the wealth of images found in the Hudson's Bay House Library photograph collection subject files, which include over ten thousand images (including prints, contact sheets, negatives, slides, and transparencies) represent an enormous wealth of visual history about the HBC and its impact on the development of Canada in the age of photography. Of particular note is the representation of flora, fauna, and landscapes of the Arctic, which today are undergoing massive environmental changes because of global warming. The history of Canada's Indigenous peoples and their connection to the Hudson's Bay Company is also prominently recorded in these files and, between the magazine and the subject files, important work remains to be done in identifying the individuals who were photographed for the publication and whose images were often used without their permission. These files are of immense historical value not only to the province of Manitoba but are globally significant in their scope and historical importance. Manitobans should be proud to be the custodians of such a unique archive.”

The Beaver Magazine, Winter 1954. “Enter the Europeans…Among the Eskimos” by Diamond Jenesse.
"Leaving Thule for Craig Harbour" [Two Thule women aboard the "Nascopie" holding husky puppies.], photograph by Lorene Squire. 1938. Lorene Squire photographs taken for “The Beaver” magazine, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, H4-125-1-1.

Want to know more?  Search Keystone for other records related to The Hudson’s Bay House Library photograph collection subject files and “The Beaver” magazine vertical files.  Learn more about the HBCA Names and Knowledge initiative.

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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April 29, 2020

Hudson's Bay Company department store employee newsletter, “The Beaver Log” — Submission by Janis Thiessen, Professor of History, University of Winnipeg

“The Beaver Log was one of the employee newsletters of the Hudson's Bay Company department stores. These newsletters are such useful resources for learning more about business and labour history, and they are so much fun to read! My business history students have been indexing them for the Archives, and they are often taken aback by what passed for appropriate content several decades ago. The details of who is dating whom within the workforce, the ethnic/racial stereotyping, the paternalism -- they could read any number of scholarly journal articles on these aspects of Canadian business history. But turning the pages of these newsletters and being confronted by headlines like ‘Summer Brides and Happy Grooms’ or ‘What's the Matter, Girls?’ makes for a far more visceral experience.”

Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, “The Beaver Log” newsletter, July 1946, cover and page 9, H4-171-1-5.

Want to know more? Search Keystone for other records related to Hudson’s Bay Company staff publications.

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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