Honorary Secretary's Report, Annual Meeting

by David McDowell

MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 28, 1971-72 season

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It is with pleasure that I report to the annual meeting about another busy year for the Manitoba Historical Society. With this second holding of our annual meeting away from Winnipeg, we have placed our business meeting in the form of short reports over your coffee.

The paper to be presented tonight by Dr. J. L. Tyman - "Patterns of Western Land Settlement", concludes this year's series of meetings, in which we have heard about:

Red River Carts and Trails, by H. B. Brehaut;

Demise of the Campbell Coalition, by D. McCormick;

Amor de Cosmos, by A. Arnold, our joint meeting with the Western Canadian Jewish Historical Society;

Charles Wesley Speers: Dynamic Western Colonizer, by Mrs. E. Heber;

J. S. Woodsworth and All People's Mission, by Prof. G. N. Emery;

"Career of Senator T. A. Crerar", Prof. F. J. K. Griezac, and

"Water in the History of Western Settlement" by Prof. John Warkentin, at our anniversary dinner in January.

Attendance at these meetings has been good, and 300 attended the anniversary dinner.

Our membership stood at 937 as of May 3, and with spouses, school memberships, etc. our circle now takes in almost 1500 people. To this group we have sent over eight newsletters, a bibliography of Local Histories produced in Manitoba during 1967 and 1970 (produced by Miss G. Perrin), two issues of the Pageant, a pictorial supplement on Jewish Settlement (produced by association with the Western Canadian Jewish Historical Society), and in the next few weeks paid up members will receive the Transactions, papers presented in 1970-71.

Our Executive Director, our secretary, and their assistant have been busy, in addition to their many regular duties, organizing very successful field trips. Last June saw 167 people tour through southern Manitoba to the Peace Garden, with some going on to Medora, North Dakota and back through Walhalla. In September 94 people spent two days seeing the land between Winnipeg and Porcupine Mountains, with the help of the Swan River Historical Society and the Gladstone Area Historical Society. Next month three bus loads will tour Interlake to Swan River and north to Thompson. Such are the opportunities to see our province at first hand.

Our ties with the Red River Valley Historical Society were continued as we had the pleasure of their company at our Anniversary Dinner, where Mr. Neil Mattson of the Minnesota Historical Society presented the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit to the authors of our Historical Atlas, Profs. Warkentin and Ruggles.

The Executive of the Society has met many times this year, and the Council has met twice. The next Council meeting will be in our major project, the restoration of 61 Carlton St., the Sir Hugh John Macdonald House. This work has been supported by the Manitoba Historical Society Bingo, a local initiatives grant of $40,000, and the support of the project's chairman, our past president Dr. W. Steward Martin. We are grateful to him for looking after this project on top of his busy business schedule. This worthwhile work is returning to us an authentic piece of turn-of-the-century Manitoba history. The authenticity would not have been possible without the painstaking work of Messrs. Chivers and Walker. We are also pleased to report the completion of another project of our past president, the distribution of the centennial Commemorative Medals to nearly 500 Manitobans.

Our office staff has helped at 61 Carlton by administering the parking spaces put in on the site, with the revenue going toward the house. Their other duties have included manning displays at Polo Park, at the Western International Library Conference; and producing a 12 page catalogue of our publications and old books which are for sale.

Other projects of the Society continue, such as Ross House and the Memorial Fund. Work is proceeding on the last of the Centennial Publications, a Believe it or not History by Mr. Chafe. The Architectural Survey was concluded last summer, and is now in the care of the Manitoba Archives. The Margaret McWilliams medals are being presented tonight.

The expansion of our work continues to draw on our reserves and continued support is needed to complete the Macdonald House, and to allow us to push forward in the coming years.

Page revised: 22 May 2010