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- Saskatchewan Provincial Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 1912-197?
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The Woman's Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) was one of the first women's rights movements in Canada, and one of the most active. Established in 1873 in Cleveland, Ohio (United States of America) by Frances E. Willard, the W.C.T.U. soon became the largest national (then international) women's movement. The first Canadian W.C.T.U. was founded in Picton, Prince Edward County (Ontario) in 1874 by Letitia Youmans. Soon Unions were organised across Canada, including one in Regina in 1886. The local chapters, called "Unions," enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, even though they maintained very close ties with the national chapter. In the North-West Territories under Union president Mrs. W. W. Andrews, local Unions were established in Qu'Appelle, Wolseley, and Broadview (1887); Moose Jaw (1889); Edmonton (1894); Moosomin, Maple Creek, Innisfail, Red Deer, MacLeod, and Lethbridge (1894).
In 1905, when Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces, the North-West Territories Union was renamed the Alberta and Saskatchewan Union and continued to grow. In 1912 members decided that the Alberta and Saskatchewan Provincial Woman's Christian Temperance Union would be more effective if its efforts were split into two separate provincial Unions. The first Provincial Saskatchewan Woman's Christian Temperance Union annual convention was held in Knox Presbyterian Church in Regina in October, 1913 under the direction of president Mrs. W. W. Andrews.
Local Unions represented by the Saskatchewan Provincial W.C.T.U. were: Antler, Arcola, Balcarres, Bienfait, Bladworth, Bridgeford, Briercrest, Broadview, Caron, Carrievale, Chamberlain, Craik, Creelman, Drinkwater, Estevan, Eyebrow, Glenside, Govan, Grenfell, Heward, Imperial, Indian Head, Kinistino, Kindersley, Kisbey, Lajord, Lanigan, Liberty, Loreburn, Lumsden, Macoun, Maple Creek, Melfort, Melville, Mervin, Moose Jaw, Milestone, Netherill, North Battleford, North Portal, Oxbow, Parkdale, Plumbridge, Prince Albert, Qu'Appelle, Quill Lake, Radisson, Regina Central, Regina Westside, Regina Northside, Rostern, Rouleau, Saskatoon, Saskatoon Cleveland, Sedley, Soo Line, Sintaluta, Strasbourg, Stongfield, Stoughton, Swift Current, Saltcoats, Sheho, Spy Hill, Theodore, Unity, Wapella, Waldeck, Watrous, Welwyn, Weyburn, Whitewood, Wilcox, Wilkie, Yellowgrass, Yorkton, and Zealandia.
The W.C.T.U. was organised into five levels, from broadest in scope to narrowest: world/international Unions; national Unions; provincial Unions; district Unions and local Unions. Each Union was equipped with an executive structure of a president and nine officers, and at the provincial and local levels there was a full executive with the addition of twenty department superintendents. Each union was not able to fill all positions and not all departments were worked by every Union. There were also three different youth organisations, based on age: Little White Ribboners (up to 7 years of age); Loyal Temperance Union (7-14 years or age); and Youth Temperance Council (14 years of age and up).
The goal of the W.C.T.U. was to protect the home from dangerous influences and strengthen family life, but its primary objective was to promote total abstinence from alcohol. As part of its pro-family program, the W.C.T.U. lobbied for prohibition laws (and later anti-tobacco and anti-drug laws), and also supported women's suffrage, social reform legislation, and the abolition of prostitution. It also held a strong interest in marriage licences; citizenship and new immigrants; removing obscene literature from bookstores; as well as causes such as world peace and child welfare. As a Christian movement, the W.C.T.U. encouraged Bible readings and prayer recitation in schools.
In order to achieve the objectives of the W.C.T.U. twenty departments were created and supervised by superintendents. These departments were: Anti-gambling; Archives; Child Welfare; Cinema & Printed Matter; Citizen & Canadianization; Cooperation with Women's Church Groups; Evangelistic; Community Friendship; Legislation & Law Enforcement; Little White Ribboners; Medical Health and Nutrition; Moral Education; Narcotic Drugs; Non-Alcoholic Fruit Products; Out-Post Members; Peace & International Relations; Prisoner's Welfare; Publicity & Society Meetings; School of Methods; Medal & Talent Contests; World & Canadian Missions; and Work Among Soldiers and Sailors.
By the 1970's, the W.C.T.U. in Saskatchewan suffered dwindling interest and enrolment, and the last local chapters seem to have folded in 1979.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by the Saskatchewan Provincial Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The records, which date from 1886 to 2002, were created by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union at the local, provincial, national and international levels. Records relating to the Young Woman's Christian Temperance Union; the Mrs. Robert Sinton Memorial Committee and the Loyal Temperance Legions in Regina are included.
Records of the Canadian Union include publications relating to medal contests; constitution and by-laws (1970); convention reports and proceedings (1932-1972); pamphlets and brochures (ca. 1886-1960); reports (1970-1978) and a scrapbook (ca. 1946).
Records created by the Alberta and Saskatchewan Union include convention programmes and reports (1909-1912).
Records created by the Saskatchewan Provincial Union include leaflets, convention programs and proceedings (1913-1978); histories including "A Goodly Heritage: A Synoptic View of the History of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1913-1973"; minutes of full executive, sub-executive and annual meetings (1937-1979); constitution (1978) ; financial records including the provincial treasurer's record of receipts and disbursements (1916-1976) and photographs of delegates to conventions, individuals associated with the organization and winners of a national temperance study course.
Records of Saskatchewan district and local Unions consist mainly of minutes; membership lists; reports; financial statements; historical sketches; programmes, and scrapbooks. The district and local Unions represented include Briercrest; Drinkwater; Lumsden; Macoun; Moose Jaw; North Battleford; Parkdale; Qu'Appelle; Regina Central; Regina Northside; Regina Westside; Rouleau; Saskatoon and Soo Line.
Records relating to the International Union include convention reports and proceedings (1937-1962); lectures and a scrapbook relating to the World Convention in Vancouver, 1953.
The fonds also contains various W.C.T.U. publications, including Canada's White Ribbon Bulletin; the Canadian White Ribbon Tidings; the Canadian W.C.T.U. Medal Contest Book; the Dominion W.C.T.U. Reciter; the W.C.T.U. National Educator; The Temperance Advocate; The Union Signal and various publications written by and about Frances E. Willard.
F 68, File 1 includes records created, accumulated and used by Ethel Kollin of the WCTU, Saskatoon Union and consists mainly of newspaper clippings from The Star-Phoenix, Saskatoon; minutes of meetings, 1977-1990; 1989-1990 correspondence relating to the sale of alcoholic beverages at sidewalk cafes and other public places in Saskatoon; and leaflets and publications relating mainly to tobacco and alcohol use.