Honorary Secretary’s Report, Annual Meeting, 9 June 1958

by Miss Aileen Garland

MHS Transactions, Series 3, 1957-58 season

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This was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Manitoba Historical Society June 9, 1958 at the Pavilion at City Park.

The Officers and Council of the Manitoba Historical Society are happy to report a successful year in the many activities of the Society.

Eight general meetings, including the Annual Meeting tonight, were held. Our Open House in October was a well attended meeting, at which a presentation was made on behalf of the Society by Mr. William Douglas to Mr. Clifford Wilson, a valued former member of the Executive, who has left to live in Calgary. At our November meeting, the late Mr. Philip C. Locke, Q.C., presented a provocative paper entitled Did the Norsemen Discover America before Christopher Columbus? In January, Mr. J. R. Johnston gave a most interesting talk on The Forty Ninth Parallel and in February, Major A. M. Pratt gave us a stimulating talk on Early Manitoba Rural Newspapers. At our March meeting, Mr. Hart Bowsfield read a scholarly paper written by Mr. Leonard F. Earl on The Hudson Bay Railway. In April, Mr. George P. Macleod, Q.C. made a valuable contribution in a paper on Sir Hugh John Macdonald, and in May, Mr. Roy Brown gave us a dramatic and exciting account of Western Canadian Aviation. These programmes were arranged by Dr. Ross Mitchell.

At the annual meeting last year the Society adopted a new constitution which provided for a larger Council, making provision for more members from outside Greater Winnipeg and setting up an Executive with power to carry out the decisions of Council and to conduct the business of the Society.

The Membership Committee under the able leadership of Mr. Nathan Arkin reported an increase in regular members from 337 to 403. There are also 53 contributing members, 7 sustaining members, 3 patrons and 12 life members of the Society.

The generous financial assistance of many firms made it possible for the Society to qualify for the grant of $3,000 from the Government of Manitoba which is given us if we succeed in raising that amount ourselves.

Mr. Douglas Kemp, who is in charge of the publication of our Transactions, reports that No. 13, containing the addresses presented during the 1956-57 season, will soon be ready for distribution to members, sister societies, and libraries.

Manitoba Pageant, the quarterly publication containing short articles about the history of Manitoba, is now in its third year. Mrs. Alice Brown is chairman of the committee in charge. Manitoba Pageant is distributed free to all schools in the province and to many libraries. Pupils are encouraged to form Junior Historical Societies, whose members receive, in return for an annual subscription of thirty-five cents, individual copies of the publication and a reproduction of an historical picture. There are now twenty-eight Junior Historical Societies in the province. Adults pay $1.00 a year, and there are now 450 adult subscribers, an increase of 40% over last year. We now print over 4,000 copies of Manitoba Pageant.

The Society sent two representatives to a Museum Workshop Feb. 21, 1958 to Feb. 23, 1958 and arranged a display of material relating to Manitoba history for Library Week in February at the William Avenue Library. A display was also arranged for the Valour Road Legion tea May 28.

The Selection Committee, under the chairmanship of Dr. Paul Yuzyk, reports that Mr. Victor Peters has completed his study of the Hutterians, and that Rabbi Chiel’s material on The Jews in Manitoba is in the hands of the University of Toronto Press.

Ross House is now open on Sunday afternoons in addition to its regular weekday opening, and reports an increased attendance. On Friday, June 6, as part of the celebration of the opening of Winnipeg's new post office, the Postmaster General met the president of the Society and some members at Ross House and then proceeded by coach from our first post office to the new one. Ross House is open from June 1 to September 15.

A flag has been procured for the site of the Lord Selkirk monument and is now being raised and lowered daily through the courtesy of the Hudson's Bay Company.

The Community History Committee, under the chairmanship of Prof. Pentland, has prepared an outline for the use of local groups planning to gather material about the history of their community. Copies of this outline are available to anyone interested, and this week copies are being supplied to delegates to the Conference of Women's Institutes. This committee has been working on the project of having the name of White Plains changed to White Horse Plains, which was the original name and commemorates the legend of the white horse. The officials of the Canadian National Railways received this suggestion with interest and invited the Society to make further suggestions of appropriate names which have historical significance before their time tables are revised next winter.

It was suggested that a Manitoba Record Society be formed, under the auspices of the Manitoba Historical Society to publish annually out-of-print books, records or unpublished manuscripts relating to the Red River-Lake Winnipeg Basin, Hudson Bay and the Province of Manitoba, e.g., The Journals of Colin Robertson, 1815-1826. Prof. W. L. Morton was named as chairman of this organization. The Manitoba Historical Society presented a request to the Canada Council for a grant of $15,000 to finance the first three publications, after which it was expected that the Record Society would be self-supporting. To our great disappointment the Canada Council did not agree to make this grant.

During its long existence the Society has amassed a very considerable library. A committee is undertaking to organize this collection. Some books, which are likely to be wanted by researchers, are now looked after by the Provincial Library though they are still the property of the Society. Some duplicates have been sold or given to other libraries.

During the year valuable additions have been made to our Archives which are looked after by Mr. Hart Bowsfield, and to our Pictorial Archives, which are under the care of Mr. G. F. Morrison.

The Society was asked by the Hon. F. L. Jobin, Minister of Industry and Commerce, to set up a committee to make recommendations regarding historical events and personages which should be recognized in the celebration of Manitoba's hundredth anniversary in 1970. The council was pleased to learn that this matter is already under consideration and that the Society is to be consulted about it. Prof. W. L. Morton agreed to head this committee.

Page revised: 22 May 2010