Celebrating the International Day of Peace – Part III: The Voice of Women fonds

In earlier posts to celebrate International Day of Peace, we discussed Julia Grace Wales and Thérèse Casgrain, two Canadian women who played key roles in the international peace movement. Today, we will conclude by discussing the Voice of Women fonds held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

Women in North America have long been active in trying to put an end to conflicts around the world. In the early 1960s, when the threat of nuclear war loomed over many nations, our own Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) was formed. Since then, the organization has been promoting peace and disarmament, particularly in the context of nuclear war.

VOW has organized unique activities to draw attention to its cause. In 1963, it collected and tested thousands of baby teeth from children across North America to demonstrate the fallout from the atmospheric testing of Strontium 90, a harmful radioactive isotope. During the Vietnam War, the Ontario VOW organized the Knitting Project for Vietnamese Children. Over a ten-year period, the group sent thousands of hand-knitted garments and other aid to the child victims of the war and their families.

Over time, VOW has expanded its focus to include human rights and civil liberties, preservation of the environment, as well as economic and political issues.

LAC’s Voice of Women fonds includes correspondence, reports and subject files about many campaigns for peace. Digitized photos are also presented in LAC’s Women and Peace Flickr set.

Please remember that not all of our material is available online. For more information, consult the article How to Consult Material that Is Not Yet Available Online.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Celebrating the International Day of Peace – Part II: Thérèse Casgrain

Woman in a dress, standing in front of a stair case.

Thérèse Casgrain Source

Recently, to mark the International Day of Peace last September 21, we introduced you to Julia Grace Wales, champion for peace. Today, we present Thérèse Casgrain.

In the 1950s, Thérèse Casgrain became the first woman to be elected to the leadership of a political party in Canada. She was a fierce activist for women’s rights her entire life, and for two decades campaigned to obtain for Quebec women the right to vote in the provincial elections. Throughout her career, she also worked to correct many social injustices, to say nothing of the significant role she played in the promotion of peace. To that end, in 1961, she founded the Quebec chapter of the Voice of Women (Voix des femmes), an organization devoted to world peace—of which she became president the following year.

Thérèse Casgrain fonds

More can be learned about Thérèse Casgrain by consulting the speeches, memorabilia and digitized newspaper clippings (in French only) of the Thérèse Casgrain fonds, in which she talks about what motivated her: [TRANSLATION] “Long convinced that women can be a dynamic force in building peace, I resolved to establish, in February 1961, the Quebec branch of the Voice of Women. […] women of Ontario appealed to all women in our country to raise their voices against the tensions of a cold war and the imminent threat of a nuclear conflict.”

The fonds also comprises photographs, including many that are digitized. Not all the material in this fonds is digitized, but the titles of the various files may be consulted using our online research tool  [PDF].

Remember: Not all our material is digitized and accessible online. For more information, read our post How to Consult Material that Is Not Yet Available Online.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!