“Equality Seekers, 100 Years of Leadership by CFUW Presidents”, is a series of biographies of all CFUW national presidents since 1919. For each president there is a record of her CFUW contributions and her career and community involvement, as well as some information about her personal life.
The official beginning of this project was recorded at the 2011 CFUW AGM in St. John’s NL when a proposal sent by Eleanor Palmer was read by Tammy Irwin at the Board Alumnae meeting. It was accepted by the group that CFUW should look seriously at preserving the history of CFUW as it pertains to the Presidents who have led our national organization.
Earlier writings included the histories of the presidencies up to 1949, written largely by the presidents themselves, and presented at the 1950 IFUW Triennial. Later, to celebrate CFUW’s 60th and 75th Anniversaries, historical Calendars were produced which included brief accounts of each president. Early in the 21st century writing CFUW’s history was discussed at several Board meetings and President Ardith Toogood followed with History and Heroines, published in the Communicator and later on the CFUW website.
By 2011 many presidents were being added to the memorial list and concern was expressed that CFUW was losing some of its history. It was decided to start by recording the presidencies of those Past Presidents who could be interviewed. Early in 2012, Doris Mae Oulton and Eleanor Palmer drew up a plan for this project. It was discovered that a great deal of research needed to be done. Under Tammy Irwin’s direction questions were formulated for interviewing the presidents. Writers were found, a history committee was formed, and research began in earnest. Later an editorial committee was formed.
Thanks are due to the following contributing writers who researched and wrote the biographies: Marlene Chatterson, Kim Collett, Louise Corrall, Gail Crawford (who wrote 11 biographies), Susan Darling, Leslie Forrester, Heather Foss, Tammy Irwin, Jacqueline Jacques, Louise McLeod, Susan Murphy, Beverley New, Helen Norrie, Doris Mae Oulton, Eleanor Palmer, Julia Paul, Susan Russell, Dianne Rummery, Myrtle Siebert, Heather Thom, Wanda Leah Trineer, and Brenda Wallace.
For responding to inquiries for additional information from the editorial and history committees, thanks are extended to: researcher and writer Ivana Caccia, of Ottawa; the Past Presidents; Robin Jackson and Staff at National Office; current and past CFUW Board members; Regional Directors; CFUW Club executives and members and various archivists throughout North America.
The original members of the CFUW History Committee were: Gail Crawford, Tammy Irwin, Liette Michaud, Doris Mae Oulton (Chair), Eleanor Palmer and Susan Russell. The members of the 2014-2016 CFUW History Committee were: Gail Crawford, Grace Hollett (chair), Tammy Irwin and Eleanor Palmer. Brenda Shanahan was co-chair till Oct. 2015.
The members of the CFUW Editorial Committee from CFUW St. John’s (2014-2016) were: Grace Hollett (Chair), Faith Balisch (main editor), Gillian Brown, Barbara Clancy,
Margie Green, Hazel Pritchett Harris, Lois Jeffrey, Elizabeth Mouland, Linda Patzold, Judith Prior, and Joyce Pritchett. A friend of CFUW ST. John’s, IT publisher Rebecca Jeffrey, provided invaluable assistance. The committee hopes that readers will enjoy learning about the magnificent women who were our CFUW Presidents.
Grace Hollett, Chair Editorial committee