Item - Brooksdale Women's Institute and Tweedsmuir fonds

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Brooksdale Women's Institute and Tweedsmuir fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Physical description

approx. 60cm textual records
18 minute books
11 bound scrapbooks
approx. 4000 photographs

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Administrative history

In February 1919, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada was formed so that rural woman would be empowered to speak as one voice at the national level. In doing so, the organization created education opportunities and support programs and services, for women, families, and communities across the country.

The Brooksdale Women’s Institute was established in 1922. The first meeting was held December 14, 1922 in James Bailey’s Hall in Brooksdale for the purpose of establishing a branch. The first president was Mrs. Andrew Kerr. The first regular meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Angus Matheson on January 18, 1923. The membership that year included 106 members. The membership was drawn from the north central part of the Township of West Zorra from Fairview to Youngsville and from Maplewood to Harrington.

Agriculture had always been one of the Institute’s chief interests and included co-operation with the Embro and Zorra Agricultural Society and involvement in community fairs. Members had access to district conferences, workshops and speaker presentations. The Institution’s work has also included collaborative projects with local schools and teachers.

Brooksdale W.I. philanthropic work included donations to Typhoid sufferers in Cochrane, Blind River “cripples”, Layettes to fire victims in Northern Ontario, Armenian Relief, Chinese War victims, the Y.W.C.A., The Cancer Society, the Queen Alexandra Sanatorium, the Children’s Aid Society, Woodstock General Hospital, the Canadian National Institute of the Blind, the Rotary Club, etc. Brooksdale W.I. even raised funds to establish a doctor in Tobermory in 1927.

During the Second World War, war work was organized through collaboration with the Red Cross Society. Sewing and knitting meetings were held specializing in quilts and children’s clothing. Jam was also made and shipped to Britain. Contributions on behalf of members were collected monthly and given to the War Charities Fund.

Historical research has always been a large part of the Women’s Institute’s activities, mainly focused on community history compiled in the Tweedsmuir scrapbooks.

In March, 2018 the Brooksdale Women’s Institute disbanded due to dwindling membership numbers.

Custodial history

The records were created and maintained by the Brooksdale Women’s Institute from the time of its creation in 1922 until March, 2018. In March, 2018 and October, 2019 the records were donated by Marlene A. Matheson and Anne Innes on behalf of the Brooksdale Women’s Institute to the County of Oxford Archives on a long-term loan agreement. Both ownership and copyright remain with the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario (FWIO).

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records related to the history and development of the Brookdale Women’s Institute. Additionally, the fonds contains information and records pertaining to the communities in Southern Oxford County.

It is arranged into the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Brooksdale Tweedsmuir Volumes 1-5 (1820-2011)

Series 2: Women’s Institute Miscellaneous (1909, 1918, 1920, 1923-2017)

  • Subseries A – Quilts
  • Subseries B – Programs

Series 3: Scrapbooks (1984-2000)

Series 4: Tweedsmuir History (2001-2017)

  • Subseries A – 2001-2002
  • Subseries B – 2003-2004
  • Subseries C – 2005-2007
  • Subseries D – 2008-2009
  • Subseries E – 2010
  • Subseries F – 2011-2012
  • Subseries G – 2013-2014
  • Subseries H – 2015-2016
  • Subseries I - 2017

Series 5: Brooksdale Minute Books (1922-2018)

Notes area

Physical condition

The material in this fonds is in good condition in general. Some of the pages in the bound volumes are moderately fragile and could use conservation work.

Immediate source of acquisition

In March, 2018 the records were received from Marlene A. Matheson and Anne Innes, on approval from the Brooksdale Women’s Institute, the organization which had previously stored the records. In October, 2019 additional records were donated by Anne Innes.


Language of material

  • English

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Restrictions on access

The material in this fonds is available for research on an unrestricted basis, subject only to those restrictions specified below:

Due to privacy legislation, biographies and autobiographies will remain closed to the public until 30 years after the death of the individual. As well, birth and marriage dates of living people, membership lists than 50 years old, and other privacy concerns will not be shown to the public.

The fonds is open to publish research. However, please contact the archivist responsible for the records regarding access, as some materials may be too fragile to handle. The Archives will make every effort to supply reference copies where feasible.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The material in this fonds is available for reproduction on an unrestricted basis, subject only to those restrictions specified below:

Any reproduction must state that the material is from the Brooksdale Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Collection.

Written permission is needed from the Oxford District Women’s Institute if the material, in whole or in part, is to be reproduced (other than for research purposes), stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means. Depending on the situation, the District may need to consult with the Provincial Office before making a decision.

Researchers are responsible for observing copyright regulations that may apply to the publication of their research. If you wish to publish any of this material, please contact the archivist responsible for the records.

The Archivist has the right to restrict reproduction if the material is in a fragile condition or falls under pertinent Privacy Legislation.

Finding aids

An item level description is available for researchers. Please contact the Archivist for further information.

Associated materials

COA20 Uniondale Women's Institute Tweedsmuir fonds
COA28 Innerkip Women’s Institute fonds
COA30 Harrington Women’s Institute fonds
COA77 Kintore Women’s Institute fonds
COA78 East Oxford Women’s Institute fonds
COA79 Grace Patterson Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir fonds
COA114 Hickson Women's Institute and Tweedsmuir fonds
COA132 Anna P. Lewis Women's Institute fonds
COA133 Princess Elizabeth Women's Institute fonds
COA142 Lakeside Women's Institute fonds
COA143 Brown's Women's Institute fonds
COA144 Braemar Women's Institute fonds
COA145 Oxford District North Women's Institute fonds
COA146 Oxford District Women's Institute fonds

Related materials


Further accruals are possible.

General note

Tweedsmuir Community History Books (or Tweedsmuirs as they are commonly known) uniquely capture and preserve local community history. They vary in form from a simple scrapbook to an elaborate series of volumes bound in leather, wood or a more formal blue-and-gold cover. Tweedsmuirs are comprised of a variety of information and often include a history of the:
• Local Women's Institute Branch
• Earliest settlers in an area
• Agricultural practices and individual farms
• Industries that formed the basis of the local economy
• Social institutions and public buildings, such as churches, schools and community centers
• Local personalities, such as war veterans

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