Memorial Park Library

With a photo of the front entrance and the bold headline “A National Treasure” on the front page of its January 19, 2018 edition, the Calgary Herald announced that Memorial Park Library has been designated a national historic site.

Although the article on page A2 doesn’t mention the Calgary Women’s Literary Club by name, it does explain that the library “was built thanks to the efforts of a group of local women, including one of Calgary’s cultural pioneers, Annie Davidson.” Memorial Park Library served as the city’s main library from 1912, when it opened, until 1963.

Although it may not be published, I did write the following e-mail to the newspaper:

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Our Club founders are noted in Swerve Magazine’s Dec 1, 2017 issue

Open old book, studio shot (with permission from Getty Images)

The Calgary Herald’s Swerve Magazine has once again given our Club a lovely tribute, this time to our founders who championed bringing the first library to Calgary. The article ends by reminding us that our Club has been using the Memorial Park premises for 103 years!

You can read the entire article here:

New Central Library, East Village

Click below for more about:

Our History

And while you are at it, Sue recently gave us a presentation:

CWLC Archives at the Glenbow


CWLC President’s Report 2017

There is no surer sign of Spring in Calgary than the first flowers we see! It’s also the time for the CWLC President to review the past Fall and Spring Season,. Margaret Sparkes has eloquently recapped our 2016-17 season. Your Webmaster will also archive it under the website page, Our History.

Was there anything that stood out for you this last year? Let us know!

CWLC President’s Report 2017

What Sue Carscallen unearthed at the Glenbow Archives

Archives photo by Samuel Zeller (CC0 1.0, Unsplash)

Archives photo by Samuel Zeller (CC0 1.0, Unsplash)

Sue gave a marvelous presentation on our Club’s interesting past, gleaned from its archives. (What other book club do you know submits its Minutes to Provincial archives and has done so for over 100 years?).

The photographs she took of discoveries in the archives, shared in her PowerPoint presentation, are treasures themselves!

Sue’s no stranger to exhaustive research, having edited and published her Great Aunt’s journals, originally written in Russian and French. Check out Sue’s website: A Countess in Limbo

To learn more:  CWLC Archives at the Glenbow

Reflections: CWLC’s 2014-2016 Biennium

2016 Lillian cutting cake

As we are on the verge today of a new Biennium, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the past two years, expertly guided by Lillian Tickles,  CWLC President 2014-16.

Thank you, Lillian, for two active years building on CWLC’s proud foundation!

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First Fall Meeting October 4

Hello, friends and fellow readers! Just a reminder that our first meeting of the Fall 2016 session is on Tuesday, October 4, in our usual venue – the lower level of Memorial Park Library, 1221 – 2 Street S.W. We had thought about making this a field trip, but the Glenbow Museum archives department is simply not set up to accommodate a large group, so Sue Carscallen is bringing the club’s archived material (or some of it, at least) to us. I know Sue will present an interesting and unique perspective on our club’s history.

If at all possible, please come early (1:30 pm onwards) for light refreshments and to meet new members and catch up with old friends.

Best wishes, Margaret

Historic Calgary Week

From Margaret Sparkes:

More free publicity for the Calgary Women’s Literary Club! The Calgary Herald of Tuesday, July 26, contained an article titled “First city library revealed” as part of a series of articles on Historic Calgary Week, which runs from July 22 to August 1.


In a brief overview of events taking place on July 26, they included the following.


“Catch the Cowtown Opera perform the story of how Annie Davidson and the Calgary Women’s Literary Club fought to start the city’s library system at the First Baptist Church on 4 Street S.W. from 2 p.m. to 2:45.


“Then, take a tour of Calgary’s first library – funded by Andrew Carnegie – at 3:30, starting at Central Memorial Park’s Boxwood Café.”


I might add that the tour was being guided by our old friend Marj Wing, who was the library’s representative responsible for Memorial Park Library until her recent retirement.


Feb 6, 1906

“Visualize the ladies meeting in their long dresses, petticoats, tightly corseted”, the first members of our Club 110 years ago!

At our 110th Anniversary celebration, Ruth Hilland also reminded us that “apparently Bob Edwards of the Calgary Eye Opener newspaper took great delight in making disparaging remarks about the ‘literary ladies’. Of course those were the heady days of the wild and woolly west, with a bar and brothel on every street corner. And maybe our ladies were a little straight-laced — but God bless them every one!”

Please check Our History (tab above), provided by Ruth Hilland (long-time member, Past President and currently focused on New Members). To quote Ruth: “May we carry on for at least another hundred years!”





Calgary Women’s Literary Club Celebrates 110th Birthday!


CTV’s crew did our Calgary Women’s Literary Club proud, with Ina Sidhu’s fine report aired Tuesday.

We have some “film naturals” in our midst! Check out the interviews with Dorothy Little, Lillian Tickles, Margaret Sparkes and author Clem Martini.

Many guests joined us for this celebration, including our speaker, author Clem Martini, and representatives from the Calgary Public Library and the Glenbow Museum.

What’s a birthday party without a cake? This one was (almost) too beautiful to eat! Thanks, Doloris! As March 1st is also St. David’s Day, we were treated to Welsh Cakes from Janet Samber.


A look at last year’s accomplishments: Lillian Tickles’ President’s Report April 28, 2015

I had overlooked a wonderful post in late April, written by our President Lillian Tickles, reflecting on the 2014-2015 season. It is well worth reflecting back now, just as our 2015-2016 season launches. It was an amazing season for the Club!

With my apologies, CWLC Webmaster, Janet Halls

When I reflect on year one of my biennium as president, a montage of images tell the story of the unfolding experience. Some of the early scenes in the composition depict Lillian, nervously taking over the role so competently managed by Ruth Hilland. In her words, I had inherited “a book club with a difference.” How to maintain, or indeed enhance this reputation became the challenge.

The next few episodes in the montage represent the rapidly growing realization that this initial stage fright was unwarranted. The first meeting of the executive dispelled any anxieties I had about the president’s role being a solo effort and an onerous task. It is a pleasure to work with so many very capable and creative individuals. They sustain and promote interest in the club’s endeavours in a variety of ways:

  • Ruth Hilland, past president, is my mentor. Her advice is invaluable.
  • Margaret Sparkes, 1st vice president, is an idea generator and her enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Doloris Duval, 2nd vice president and our social convener, she also designed our program and place name tags for our tables today.
  • Flora Spackman, secretary, summarizes every meeting so skillfully on her ipad.
  • Mavis Martinson and Anita Madill, are the program conveners for this year.
  • Anne Tingle, program convener for 2015-16.
  • Della Mae Wood, treasurer, keeps our finances in order.
  • Janet Halls, web master, responsible for making us electronically visible.

To all of you, a huge round of applause for your ongoing cooperation and tremendous support.

After considerable discussion at the executive level, we decided to shift the second half of our program from February/March to March/April, thus hoping to avoid colder weather and coping more easily with ongoing parking issues.

Especially rewarding this year has been the opportunity to welcome new members. We have 12 additions to our club. We look forward to your participation and encourage you to let us know if you have suggestions for program themes or presenters.

Our program this year has focused on Nobel prize winners. A highlight was to visit the University of Calgary Taylor Family Digital Library to see the Alice Munro (Canadian recipient) archives. Scholarly papers presented by our members captured our interest and appreciation.

On a sad note, we are reminded that one of our members, Joan Cross, passed away in 2014. Joan joined the club in 1997 and presented a number of thoroughly engaging papers before graduating to our honorary member status.

Going forward, we have a committee working on the revision of our constitution. Copies should be available for distribution in October 2015.

To our entire membership, thank you for your efforts toward making the CWLC  “a book club with a difference.” You are the ones who make that definition a reality. You have provided a happy ending to the montage of my first year as president.