Friday, 25 September 2015

Just Jam and Jerusalem? The Women’s Institute Centenary:

A blog post explores some of that organization's records at TNA in this the WI's centenary year. The Women’s Institute: it’s not all jam and Jerusalem mentions that the National Federation of Women’s Institute and Denman archive is held by the Women’s Library, at the London School of Economics and Political Science Library.

Most of the material there has not been digitized. You have to visit in person. A selection of materials in The Women's Library @ LSE collection is accessible from the Digital Library comprising "a representative sample of the collection, featuring more than 300 items from the 16th Century to the present day and 35 rare books digitised in full." Those rare books pre-date the WI.
The WI material seems to be single images such as this one of the first WI building.

While developing this post I wondered about the institution in Canada, and specifically about the OGS plans to digitize the Tweedsmuir Histories as announced in November 2009. It was supposed to be a three year project.  It appears this was seed that fell mostly on stony ground.  That's unfortunate although a few are linked from the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario site at


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this.I have been told that the WI info is very useful for Ontario Genealogy, but at present one has to search for it in various libraries.One library I called in the Ottawa area did not know where their Tweedsmuir writings were located.
Anne in Ottawa

Gail B said...

Due to the foresight of a recently deceased Special Collections Librarian, the St. Catharines Public Library holds many Tweedsmuir History scrapbooks, some now on microfilm. These include, naturally, many Niagara and Hamilton area ones ---- (St. C., Port Dalhousie, Grantham, Decew Falls, Welland, etc) but also one from West Lorne.

Love the new photo too, John Reid.

Gail B in St. C.

Gail B said...

Recently my husband and I watched a BBC TV show on the beginnings of the WI. Historian Lucy Walmsley was the creator of the programme and it was fascinating as they mentioned the first WI's were in England, Wales and Canada. Not elsewhere. Canada,eh?

Perhaps TV Ontario might pick up that programme as it was about the Centenary. We receive ex-pat TV, so that is why we have seen the programme.

Gail B again

Gail B said...

me again.

We just watched another BBC ex-pat show, and, to our surprise, it included the Centenary of the WI's, which the moderator said started in Canada, and then moved to the U.K. That is, it gave Canada the nod for starting the organization.

So the Centenary, and Adelaide Hoodless, should be much celebrated here.

Gail B in St. C.

Irene, FWIO Digitizing Coordinator said...

Yes, the WI movement started in Stoney Creek Ontario in 1897, then spread across Ontario, Canada, and the world. The OGS e-library did not materialize. The WI in Ontario is currently looking at other methods to have their Tweedsmuir Community History Collections and other information digitized and available for viewing. In the meantime there is a chart on the website ( the Tweedsmuir pull-down menu that lists all the branches past and present and the location of their Tweedsmuir collection, if known.