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Queen's University
 

Founding of the Faculty Women's Club

On January 14, 1939 at the LaSalle Hotel, the 125 women in attendance unanimously passed a motion to organize a Club to serve their social, cultural and intellectual needs and elected Elizabeth Wallace, wife of Principal Wallace, to be its president.

In assuming the office of President, Mrs. Wallace remarked "If we can be useful to Queen's by which we live and which has a pre-eminent claim upon our interests, we must do so . . . . We belong to a community and can help that community as a definite part of our purposes."

Imagine how popular this organization was at that time, when Queen`s had only 4,463 students and 1,013 of those were extension or long-distance students.

The War Years

World War II was declared in September 1939 so the Club's emphasis became the local war effort.

In this regard members performed the following:

      - staffed the Red Cross Sewing Rooms, 1 day a week
      - sold War Stamps at the Capitol and Tivoli Theatres
      - participated in the War Services' Speakers' Committee
      - worked at the Victory Club Canteen 1 day every 3 weeks
      - joined the Soldiers' Entertainment Committee
      - sponsored dances for British airmen stationed at Collins Bay

 At the fall general meeting in 1940, Mrs. Wallace received a request from former Principal Fyfe for knitted garments. In his letter he mentioned that he had been in contact with the Rev. P.B. Clayton of the Orkney Islands (Mrs. Wallace's birthplace) who said the crew of the minesweeper, Toc Hoc Kirkwell, were in dire need of warm clothing. Club members immediately brought out their knitting needles, purchased yarn and exchanged patterns. From 1940-1946, the Club produced a total of 3,555 knitted articles (sweaters, scarves, helmets, gloves and mitts) which were mailed to the Reverend.

`During the war years, Mrs. Wallace supplied wool for Levana (women students) to knit between classes, making navy blue scarves and squares for afghans.`` (Shirley Brooks-Purkis, 2009, FWC member since 1941)

In the early part of 1940, an Emergency Committee chaired by Margaret Angus was set up in order to make all necessary arrangements for hosting British children being sent abroad to escape the intense bombing that was taking place in England. In a matter of days 28 members offered their homes. Those children arriving here without relatives in Kingston would become temporary wards of the Children's Aid Society.

An interesting anecdote pertains to the Club's very first donation. It was given to the local chapter of the I.O.D.E. in 1940 to purchase newspapers and magazines for the German nationals and prisoners of war interred at Fort Henry.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000