Fonds MG 499 - Irene Poelzer fonds

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Irene Poelzer fonds

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MG 499

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  • [ca.1939]-2005 (inclusive) ; 1970-1995 (predominant) (Creation)

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1.2 m of textual records
407 photographs
56 audio cassettes

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Biographical history

Irene Anna Poelzer was born on 21 April 1926 in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. She took vows as a Catholic nun, entering the convent in 1950 and becoming Sister Mary Ruth. She earned her BA (1950), B.Ed (1964) and M.Ed (1968) from the University of Saskatchewan, an MA (1969) from Seattle University, and PhD (1972) from the University of Oregon. Irene taught at the Loretto Abbey Girls’ School in Toronto, in Fort Erie, and was principal of Sedley High School prior to joining the University of Saskatchewan as an assistant professor of Educational Foundations in 1970. Other than one year at Dalhousie (1975-1976), she remained at the University of Saskatchewan for the rest of her career. In 1985 she earned the rank of full professor.

She authored or co-authored three books, Saskatchewan Women Teachers, 1905-1920: Their Contributions (1990), Metis Women’s Perception of Social Reality in Seven Northern Saskatchewan Communities (1983) and In Our Own Words: Northern Saskatchewan Metis Women Speak Out (1986); published a book of poetry, Women of Exodus II, wrote several articles and chapters in books, and was regularly invited to speak at conferences. She was a founding member of the Women’s Studies Research Unit, and had helped to develop a course on women and education (in 1973) that ushered in feminist scholarship at the University (and was the first continuing undergraduate course of its kind in Canada). Upon her retirement from the University in 1993, Irene was named Professor Emerita. Irene died on 12 January 2018.

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Scope and content

This fonds contains materials relating to Poelzer’s life, her religious vocation, and her career as a professor in Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan. It includes materials relating to research, particularly on women in society; feminist Christianity; Metis and First Nations women in northern Saskatchewan, the impact of development and the retention of native culture.

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Donated to the University Archives & Special Collections by the Poelzer family in 2014.


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