About the Collection

 Welcome to the start of the virtual archives of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO).  We gratefully acknowledge the Government of Canada’s support, through the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada.

This first phase, launched March 31, 2016, provides a platform to make accessible the many documents the Women’s Institutes (WI) have created across the province since 1897.  This allows the original documents to remain within their communities, while researchers across Ontario, Canada, and the world can access them electronically.  They will learn about the rich communities in Ontario, conduct family research, and discover the wonderful work that has been created by WI Members.

Included in the collection are:

  1. The award-winning Tweedsmuir Community History Collections, which document the history of a community.  (Private information has been removed.)  More information on the Tweedsmuirs can be found in the FWIO website.
  2. The complete series of the FWIO newsletter, The Home & County, from 1933 to present.
  3. Minute and record books, including the minutes of Stoney Creek, the first WI Branch in the world. (Documents less than 50 years old are not available due to privacy considerations.)
  4. Documents from the Erland Lee Museum, including the Original WI Constitution.
  5. Other miscellaneous documents, such as:
    1. Published books on the history of WI or a community
    2. Various other scrapbooks
    3. Photos

These documents are searchable across the platform, within a series, or within a document, as much as possible and if not hand-written.  For those documents that are not searchable, they can be easily browsed.

 Within this site is also a record for each branch, district, and area.  Each record contains general information where available, such as location, whether active, when organized and disbanded, and the location of the actual Tweedsmuir Collections.

 It will take a number of years to digitize all the various documents across Ontario and review them for privacy considerations before they are available to the public.  There have been approximately 2,000 branches through the years across Ontario. It is estimated 1,300 Tweedsmuir Community History Collections have been created, with about 1,000 collections not yet digitized.  Links are being created to documents that have been digitized by other organizations and available online.

 As of March 31, 2016 the full Home & Country newsletters are available, as well as a few of the other documents.  FWIO is applying for further grants to continue digitizing documents and adding them to this platform.    We also encourage the public to donate to this worthwhile project through the link.

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