Books of Remembrance

Alberta’s Women’s Institutes (AWI) has created a unique collection of member life histories called the Books of Remembrance. Cumulatively, this collection represents almost 1,000 life histories of deceased members.

Currently, there are four Books of Remembrance: three are lodged with the Provincial Archives of Alberta; the fourth is at the AWI provincial headquarters in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. The first two Books are hand-written in copperplate script on acid-free paper; the scripts in part of the third Book and in all of the fourth Book are computer-generated.

The Books are patterned after a similar collection of member life histories produced by the Manitoba Women’s Institutes and bear a striking resemblance to the Veteran Affairs, Canada, Books of Remembrance that honour the names of Canadian veterans.

In 1942, then AWI president, Mrs. Helen Morton, proposed the idea for the Books of Remembrance to the AWI executive. The first dedication ceremony for the AWI Books of Remembrance was held at the 1949 annual convention.

These books began as a tribute to early members of the AWI who had made significant contributions to the organization and who had furthered the beliefs and values of the AWI.

Today, anyone in AWI can place a life history in the Books of Remembrance. The original cost was $15.00 per entry to cover paper and hand-engraving. Today, the cost is $25.00 per entry. Approximately 200 branches have placed life histories in the Books. In some cases individual members have contributed life histories.