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WOMEN’S INSTITUTES OF ONTARIO – PART THREE

What are Tweedsmuir History Books?

Tweedsmuir Community History Books (or Tweedsmuirs as they are commonly known) uniquely capture and preserve community history. They vary in form from a simple scrapbook to an elaborate series of volumes bound in leather, with formal blue-and gold cover. Tweedsmuirs are comprised of a variety of information and often include a history.

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 centres

Local personalities, such as war veterans

And more…

The idea of WI members writing the histories of farms, buildings and places of interest at the local level began  in 1925, the Committee for Historical Research and Current Events was formed and suggested that more time be given to the study of local history in the hopes of gaining greater insight into the lives and thoughts of our ancestors

By the mid-1930s, Lady Tweedsmuir, wife of Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, took a great interest in the Institutes of this country. While at a meeting of the Athens Women’s Institute, Lady Tweedsmuir stressed the need. for the history of our Canadian people. As an active WI member in England, she suggested that Ontario Women’s Institutes follow the example of their English counterparts and keep detailed local history books

In 1940, a recently widowed Lady Tweedsmuir was delighted to approve that these histories should be named after her husband, thereby originating “The Tweedsmuir Village History Books.”

Today Tweedsmuir History books continue to be compiled by all levels of the Women’s Institutes, branch, district, area and province.

The list of branches started with the list created in 1995 in the book “For Home& Country–The Centennial History of Institutes in Ontario” by Linda Ambrose..