Title and statement of responsibility area
Mothers' Union archives
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- Multiple media
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Dates of creation area
- Mothers' Union -- Prince Edward Island Chapter
Physical description area
32 cm of textual records, photographs, and other materials, as well as several artifacts.
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Archival description area
Name of creator
The Mothers’ Union was founded in England in 1876 by Mary Sumner, who wanted to create an organization for women that built a network of rich and poor to support mothers to raise their children in Christian faith. By 1909, the Mothers’ Union had become the largest voluntary women’s organization in Britain. In 1952, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted her royal patronage to the Mothers’ Union. In 1996, some 125 members of the Mothers’ Union became priests in the Church of England, following the Synod’s approval of the ordination of women.
The Prince Edward Island chapter of the Mothers’ Union was formed in March 1982. Among the activities undertaken by the local group included: hosting pancake breakfasts on the first day of Sunday School in early September; baking simnel cakes (a form of fruitcake) as part of Mothering Sunday; participating in the annual Christmas pageant; stitching needlepoint covers for church kneelers; organizing “Winter Games” events (evening gatherings of parishioners and others to play card games and board games in the church hall in winter); and holdings prayer sessions and meetings for members. The Mothers’ Union also provided support for refugees and newcomers to the Island and created a “link letters” activity comparable to “pen pals”. An Island-wide renewal meeting was held in November 1988. A major project for the Prince Edward Island chapter was the creation of a Mothers’ Union banner, which was unveiled on 24 May 1992. The banner still hangs in the church, as of 2020. Mothers’ Union activities began to decline as the Binney Group and Inglis Group became more active, eventually ceasing operations around 1995.
The Mothers' Union Archives form part of the St. Peter's Cathedral Church archives, which were relocated from the church bell tower to the church basement and then into a purpose-built archival room. The records had been stored in boxes and bags at one point and original order was lost. Additional materials related to the Mothers' Union were donated by volunteers as work on the backlog was carried out. Some materials related to Mothers' Union activities were transferred from the sacristy to the archives on 25 February 2019; it appears they were brought to the church for safekeeping and seem to relate to Rosemary Mathis, an active Mothers' Union member.
Scope and content
The Mothers' Union archives consist of meeting agendas and minutes, reports, financial records, programmes and booklets, newsletters, other textual records, photographs, newspaper clippings, artifacts, and an unidentified audiocassette. The activities and events documented in the archives include: hosting pancake breakfasts on the first day of Sunday School in early September; baking simnel cakes (a form of fruitcake) as part of Mothering Sunday; participating in the annual Christmas pageant; stitching needlepoint covers for church kneelers; organizing “Winter Games” events (evening gatherings of parishioners and others to play card games and board games in the church hall in winter); holdings prayer sessions and meetings for members; providing support for refugees and newcomers to the Island; creating a “link letters” activity comparable to “pen pals”; and holding regular meetings. A major project for the Prince Edward Island chapter documented in the archives is the creation of a Mothers’ Union banner, which was unveiled on 24 May 1992.
Information provided by St. Peter's Cathedral Church parishioner Catherine Edwards in February 2020 suggests that Donalda Winter and Eileen Paton were responsible for bringing the Mothers' Union to St. Peter's Cathedral.
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A file list is available.
Uploaded finding aid
The photographs within the Mothers' Union archives were transferred to the photographs collection for safe storage and are described separately. The file list provides details about the photographs and their PHOTO number and current location.
LOCATION: SPCA BOX 77, SPCA BOX 78, SPCA BOX 79, SPCA BOX O/S 31.
Also included in the archives at the time of appraisal and arrangement were nineteen photographs of art exhibits, along with price lists, for art created by Jane Reagh, a Canadian artist now living in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Communications with Jane Reagh confirmed that she is the daughter of Theodore and Elizabeth Reagh (née Strong), who grew up in Summerside. She and her siblings were born in British Columbia but the family returned to Prince Edward Island in 1975, and both parents and all the children sang in the choir, and she was in the altar guild and ran an after school program called the Junior Auxiliary for a year or so. She was married in St. Peter's Cathedral Church in 1992 and her youngest child, William, was baptized there in 2002.
Jane Reagh indicated that Rosemary Mathis was a great supporter of her artwork and suggested that perhaps the photographs had been kept by Rosemary for that reason. It was agreed that the photographs would be returned to Jane Reagh. This note confirms that the materials have been removed from the Mothers' Union archives.