Fonds F 617 - Zonta Club of Regina fonds

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Zonta Club of Regina fonds

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F 617

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  • 1976-1987 (Creation)

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Physical description

55 cm of textual records
2 sound recordings

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Biographical history

In 1919, American playwright Marian de Forest and five other business women chartered the first Zonta club in Buffalo, New York, USA. They conceived Zonta as an organization that would network professional women and advance women's rights. The group chose the name Zonta, which comes from a Lakota Sioux Indian word that means "honest and trustworthy." Zonta sought, and seeks, to advance the status of women through service and advocacy. The group works to improve understanding, goodwill and peace through fellowship; promotes justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; unites internationally to foster high ethical standards; and implements service programs and support for members who serve their communities.

The Zonta Club of Regina, Saskatchewan, was chartered on March 26, 1954, at a gala dinner with members from Montreal, Winnipeg and Calgary, and local dignitaries present. There were 18 charter members. The Branch, #384, existed within the Bounds of District 7 of Zonta International. Jean Downing, economist and community planner, was the first President of the Saskatchewan branch. The Regina Club would install 192 members over the years, typically maintaining an active membership of approximately 20 members.

Zonta Club of Regina was instrumental in having a Chapel added to the plans when Regina's Plains Health Centre was built, and the club completely furnished and maintained it while the Branch remained in existence. When the new Regina Public library was built, Zonta's interest in handicapped children led the group to promote the building of ramps for easy access. Zonta purchased a "chair" in the new Centre of the Arts and furnished a room in the new wing of the Pasqua Hospital. Scholarship in music and arts were acknowledged annually - Zonta provided, for example, the Gladys Christie Memorial Scholarship at Luther College. Many volunteer hours were spent with handicapped children and seniors, taking them on scenic tours, plane rides, barbeques, library trips and concert tours.

From 1976 through 1981, an annual "Canada Week" essay contest sponsored by Zonta encouraged senior citizens to submit reminiscences about their life and experiences as pioneers. Nelle L. Balkwill, Chairman of Public Affairs with the Club (and member of the Regina Canada Week Committee), submitted the resultant entries to the Saskatchewan Archives Board. Trophies were awarded to the top three entries, which were presented by the mayor of Regina (H.H.P. Baker) at a ceremony that Zonta received a grant to sponsor.

Zonta Club of Regina also hosted speakers on women's issues; participated as a group in child sponsorship programs; supported high school art programs; and operated fundraising activities. The group recruited high-profile members of the community, and tracked the activities and contributions of their members as individuals (honours, trips, activities).

Edna Deck of Regina, Saskatchewan, served as Director of Area 1 within District 7 from 1984-1986. The President of the Regina Branch at the time was Wilma Downing, a well-known high school basketball coach. Other members included Nelle Balkwill, Nadine Cooper, Peggy Crittenden, Fran Crossley, Iris Fletcher, Lena Gilbertson, Edna Haggerty, Janet Haney, Mary Harris, Marie Hoffman, Helen Keay, Bertha Kennedy, Nancy Laidlaw, Adele MacPherson, Joanne Pavelick, Hertha Pfeifer, Margaret Rankin, Lee Stan, Margaret Stevenson, and Vera Taylor.

The Zonta Club of Regina disbanded on June 1, 1987. A portion of the group decided to continue on as a new service-oriented local volunteer group, the X-Z club (from "ex-Zontians"), which started up in November of the same year.

Zonta International continued to develop into its current form, where 30 Districts are overseen by an international board. The board is elected at biennial international conventions, and consists of seven elected directors and four elected offices, who form the executive committee. Districts are overseen by a governor and lieutenant governor divided into areas and clubs, which elect directors and presidents. Districts hold annual workshops and conferences every two years.

Custodial history

Nellie Lawson, Chairman of Public Affairs for Zonta Club of Regina, donated some of these records to the Regina Office, Saskatchewan Archives, in two accessions in 1977 and 1978: R77-196 (July 5, 1977); and R78-439 (September 29, 1978). Nelle Balkwill, Canada Week Chairman and Zonta Club of Regina member, donated some of these records to the Regina Office, Saskatchewan Archives, in two accessions in 1979 and 1980: R79-356 (October 23, 1979); and R80-558 (August 04, 1980). Ruby Apperley, former President of Zonta Club of Regina, donated some of these records to the Regina Office, Saskatchewan Archives, in one accession in 1992: R92-036 (March 13, 1992).

Scope and content

This fonds consists of records created, accumulated and used by members of the Zonta Club of Regina from 1976 through its dissolution in 1987. The records are mainly essay submissions from senior citizens that relate their experiences as pioneers, which were entered into a contest the Zonta Club of Regina sponsored and promoted annually during Canada Week from 1976 through 1981. Most of the entrants were women, and the submissions were subsequently donated to Saskatchewan Archives, providing a valuable contribution to the history of the nation, and to women's history. Two of the entries are recounted by audiotape. The fonds also includes administrative material related to: the delegation of executive sent to the Zonta International Convention in 1986; the dissolution of the Zonta Club of Regina in 1987; and the launch of the X-Z (ex-Zontians) service club in 1987.

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No arrangement had been applied to these records.

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Records are open for research use.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Use, publication and/or reproduction of records are subject to terms and conditions of the Copyright Act.

Finding aids

SAFA 524 consists of a fonds description and a list of names and addresses of essay contest entrants and is available in paper format.

Associated materials

Related material: Materials concerning the administration and press coverage of Zonta Club of Regina's "Canada Week Essay Contest for Senior Citizens" are also included in Nelle Balkwill's Canada Week files. See R-982.

Related materials


No further accruals expected.

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Other codes: Textual records: R-320.1; R-E94; R-E321; R-E514; R-E695; Sound recordings: R-1715; R 1716

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