On March 12, the Damascus Women’s Institute gathered at the local community centre.
President Miriam Green welcomed everyone and the Institute grace was sung.
Following lunch convenor Shirley Langdon introduced guest speaker Elysia DeLaurentis, the archives assistant at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. She has a background in art history and in folklore and been at the archives since 2000. Outside of work she maintains an interest in local history. She is past president of the Guelph Historical Society and a member of the county Historical Society. She gave a brief history of the archives.
Its collection consists of municipal records from the original 21 municipalities, family histories, photographs, private manuscripts, diaries, pamphlets, directories, maps, property deeds, receipts, cemetery tombstone inscriptions, Newspaper collections relating to the history of Wellington County, its people and places.
The archives relies on donations to expand or fill missing links in its collection. If anyone is unsure about records in a home, office, church or group they should contact the archivist before discarding. Every donation is documented, detailing the history of each donation and catalogued. Fragile items are microfilmed. Donors are asked to sign gift forms releasing ownership. Donations are appraised and an income tax receipt will be issued for the donation’s value.
The archives is environmentally controlled and is monitored constantly.
Genealogists, students, researchers, and individuals seeking for long lost relatives use its resources. To use the collection an entrance interview with the archivist will help to identify records needed. Access points include names of people, organizations, places, lots and concessions, creators, title, and subject. Record the access number on a request form and present it to the archivist to get the document.
Aids and inventories are in the reading room.
Due to the rarity of the records the collection must remain non circulating. Reproductions of photos are permitted.
Federated Women’s Institute of Ontario established a committee for historical research and current events as early as the 1920s. Institute branches were encouraged to compile a scrapbook, which was the foundation of the Tweedsmuir History book, to record the history of their local community.
Subjects included agricultural practices and industry, community events including churches and schools, culture, history of the earliest settlers, the rural economy, labour, political, Sports and history of the local Women’s Institute branch.
In 2004, the archives took on the task of digitizing and indexing the Tweedsmuir books of all the Women’s Institute branches in Wellington County and making them available through the Internet.
Langdon thanked DeLaurentis for her presentation and, on behalf of the Damascus WI, presented her with a $25 donation to the Wellington County Museum and Archives.
Roll call was "name a fad or fashion from your teenage days" was answered by 15 members which spanned a period from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Fashions included full skirts, crinolines and hoops, saddle shoes and bobby socks, penny loafers, pleated skirts, and straight skirts with a row of pleats around the bottom.
Plans for Damascus WI’s 40th anniversary was discussed. The next meeting is the branch’s annual, with the election and installation of officers and planning for 2008 and 2009.
It is on April 9 at 10am, with a pot luck lunch.
submitted by Shirley Langdon