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Prince George History

Includes materials on the local history of Prince George in the Northern BC Archives

Prince George Women's Organizations Collection

Fonds 2006.5 - Prince George Women's Organizations Collection


In the fall of 1972, the Prince George Women’s Centre was created, and this began a legacy of women’s centres in Prince George. It began when a group of women, after being involved with the local production of the play “Lysistrata," decided that Prince George needed a women’s centre. Although it was involved in other activities, the main goal of the Prince George Women’s Centre was to develop a transition home for women and their children who needed shelter for whatever reason. This goal was realized in 1974, with the opening of the Phoenix Transition House. However, due to a changing focus and a stronger political and feminist position, the Prince George Women’s Centre faced internal upheaval, which resulted in a name change taking place in September of 1976. The group was now called the Prince George Women’s Collective.

A main focus of The Prince George Women’s Collective was its counseling and referral services. The Prince George Women’s Collective lasted until January of 1978, when controversy regarding the firing of two employees proved to bring about denigration of the group's status, both internally and with the public in general. Thus, the members of the Prince George Women’s Centre voted to dissolve the organization, and replace it with the Prince George Women’s Equal Rights Association (known commonly as WERA) in January of 1978.

While the changeover was taking place, further financial scandal marred the Collective’s name. WERA set out to distance itself from the Collective, and to focus on educating the public on women’s issues. To that end, research and lobbying were a central focus. WERA was notably not a resource centre, but instead its main focus of education led to the production of a newsletter for women of northern British Columbia, by women of northern British Columbia. This they accomplished, and the result was ‘Aspen,' a publication which ran until 1983. WERA shut its doors in June of 1983 due to a combination of financial pressures and volunteer burn-out. Right at the time that WERA was closing down, however, another group was springing up with the intention of filling the need for a resource centre for women in Prince George.

The Prince George Women’s Resource Centre opened their doors officially on September 1, 1983, and served the community for many years. Similar to the Women’s Centre and the Women’s Collective, the Prince George Women’s Resource Centre was very service-oriented, and less politically oriented. The exact reason for the centre's closure is unclear; however, the evidence suggests that it lasted until some time in 1987, when federal money dried up and the centre was no longer able to provide its services to the women in Prince George.

Following the Prince George Women's Resource Centre, another group opened an office on George Street called the Prince George Women's Connection. The only records contained in this collection regarding the Women's Connection are in the form of brochures and advertisements sent to them. Because the collection does not include many of the Women's Connection records, extensive research was not undertaken in regards to their history.


Collection consists of records created, received, and collected by the Prince George Women's Centre, the Prince George Women's Collective, the Prince George Women's Equal Rights Association, the Prince George Women's Resource Centre, and the Prince George Women's Connection. This collection also features some materials on the Daughters of Lilith organization.

5.7 m of textual records

Restrictions on access: Some files and research materials (interviews) may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as stipulated by Archives policy, or the research participants. Consult archivist for research access.

Online Access: None

Finding Aid

Bridget Moran fonds (1935-1999)

2008. - Moran Signing Copy of 'Judgement at Stoney Creek'Bridget Moran fonds - 2008.3

This body of work has been designated by the Department of Canadian Heritage as archival work of outstanding regional and provincial significance.

Physical description: textual records 3.96 metres and other materials illustrating Bridget Moran's careers as a writer, a social worker and social activist.

Bridget Moran (née Drugan) (1923-1999) was a prominent social activist, social worker, writer and mentor who spent most of her adult life in British Columbia. In 1951 Moran immigrated from Ireland to British Columbia where she began a career as a social worker; first in welfare offices in Haney, Salmon Arm and Vernon, and then in 1954 in Prince George where she took a position as District Supervisor of Welfare Services for a large section of the Central Interior of BC. Moran worked as a social worker for 10 years based out of Prince George attending to the welfare service needs of BC’s Central Interior population. Her career with the public service came to a very public end when she was suspended from her position in 1964 after she wrote an open letter in a Vancouver newspaper criticizing Premier W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit government for what she saw as gross neglect in addressing the needs of child welfare in the province. Although Moran eventually won reinstatement after a two year battle, she was told there would be no work available for her in the BC Ministry of Social Services. She continued her career in social work; first, for the Prince George Regional Hospital, and later with the University of Victoria Social Work Department as a practicum instructor for social work students in Prince George. In 1977 she practiced social work with the PG School District, retiring in 1989.

2008. - Moran Receiving Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical WritingMoran then pursued a career as a writer. In 1988 she wrote Sai’k’uz Ts’eke: Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John based on extensive oral histories that Moran conducted with Elder Mary John about life on the Stoney Creek reserve. Her second book Judgment at Stoney Creek: Sai’k’uz Ne ba na huz’ya, (1990) is based on her account of the inquest into the death of Coreen Thomas and provides an in-depth analysis of tenuous white-native relations in rural BC in the 1970s. Moran’s book, A Little Rebellion (1992) provides an auto-biographical account of her public dispute with the Bennett government. The book Justa: A First Nations Leader, Dakelhne Butsowhudilhzulh’un (1994) is based on extensive oral interviews Moran conducted with Tl’azt’en Nation member, Justa Monk, who transformed his life and was elected Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Moran was commissioned by the Elizabeth Fry Society to write the case history of “Theresa” a battered woman, for the book Please don't bring me flowers: women in violent relationships (1992). Her book Prince George Remembered from Bridget Moran (1996) provides excerpts of oral history interviews that Moran conducted in the late 1950s with white settlers providing memories of their arrival in Prince George c.1911-c.1920.

2008. - Moran Giving Speech as Best Author of 1988These archival records illustrate Moran’s careers as writer, social worker and social activist primarily within Northern BC region. Types of records reflective of her career as a writer include: unpublished manuscripts, notebooks, oral history interviews and transcripts and VHS recordings of classroom talks given by Bridget Moran, Mary John and Justa Monk. Records reflective of her career as a social worker and activist include: work journals, correspondence re: social policy. The fonds is divided into 4 series: 1) Published and Unpublished Materials; 2) Career Related Materials; 3) Personal Papers and Correspondence; and 4) Honours and Awards.

Research Significance: The records document social and political events of significance to Northern British Columbia particularly related to Social Welfare issues and First Nations in BC in the latter half of the 20th century

Images (top to bottom):

  • 2008. - Moran Signing Copy of 'Judgement at Stoney Creek'
  • 2008. - Moran Receiving Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical Writing
  • 2008. - Moran Giving Speech as Best Author of 1988

Marianne (Marika) Ainley fonds (1973-2008)

Marianne (Marika) Ainley fonds - 2002.14
View Finding Aid

Dr. Marianne (Marika) Ainley (1937-2008) was a former chair and professor of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Northern British Columbia. She originally trained as a chemist in Budapest, Hungary before immigrating to Montreal, Quebec in 1958. She worked as an industrial chemist and laboratory assistant while completing an undergraduate degree at Sir George Williams University (now part of Concordia University), after which she completed a graduate degree at the Université de Montréal and at McGill University on the history of ornithology. Once Dr. Ainley had completed her graduate work, her research interests shifted towards the history of women in science and, later, the relationship between women scientists and Aboriginal peoples in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The fonds consists of 6.85 metres, 63 computer disks and 4.76 MB of textual records which contains drafts and published manuscripts, correspondence, interviews transcripts, questionnaires, lists of resources and other material. About 500 photographs predominetly consist of research materials and archival reprints through some relate to her personal life and hobbies. The audio and visual content consisting of 121 audio cassettes, 5 videocassettes, and 2 CDs predominantly contain oral histories, recordings of conferences, interviews and lectures.