Fonds F6 - White Cross Guild fonds

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White Cross Guild fonds

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  • 1947 - present (Creation)
    White Cross Guild

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91 cm of textual records
2 videos

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(1947 - present)

Administrative history

In 1872 the ‘Ladies of the Province’ began to raise money to build a hospital on the land donated by Andrew McDermot at the corner of Sherbrook Street and McDermot Ave.

Eleven years later this group of women (Mrs. Aikins, Mrs. Brydges, Mrs. Pinkham, Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pitblado, Miss Mingaye, Miss Drever, Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs Leggo, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Rowan, Mrs. Tupper, Mrs. Tuttle, Mrs. Whitla and Mrs. Whiteford) became the Women’s Aid Society of the Winnipeg General Hospital. They raised money and provided many things for the hospital including furniture, bedding, linen, vegetables, meats and preserves as well as providing a lending library service for the patients.

The Surgeon’s wives joined the Guild in 1890 and their services increased to include preparing surgical dressings, rolling bandages, and making layettes as well as raising money for the purchase of furniture and equipment for the hospital. Sixteen years later the Women’s Aid Society established a Convalescent Home on McDermot Ave. It was created to relieve the congestion of the over-crowded Hospital and to help patients who were not sick enough to remain in the hospital but were not strong enough to return to work and their own home.

In 1946, with help from the Central Volunteer Bureau and at the request of the Board of the Winnipeg General Hospital, the White Cross Guild was created out of the Women’s Aid Society. At the time it was the only Guild of its kind in Canada and the third of its kind in North America.

The White Cross Guild employed the First Director of Volunteers who coordinated all volunteer services in the hospital including aiding nursing staff with routine duties as well as providing additional services. In 1960 the White Cross Guild was incorporated under The Companies Act of Manitoba and in 1971 the White Cross Guild Trust Fund was established.

With the creation of Health Sciences Centre in 1973 the White Cross Guild of the Winnipeg General Hospital became the White Cross Guild of the Health Sciences Centre, and four years later the Department of Volunteer Services was formed. The Director became an employee of HSC and coordinated volunteers at the General Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital and Children’s Hospital.

Although the business piece of the Guild became Volunteer Enterprises in 1989 they continued to provide services to patients and their families and to assist hospital staff in admitting, outpatients, emergency, ICU and surgical waiting rooms. By the late 1990s, the Guild had eight programs which they ran at HSC, these were the Keepsake Program, Intensive Care Unit lounge, the Layette program, Christmas stockings and gifts on the Maternity floor, Library services for all patients, a clothing depot, Patient radios and a Humor cart.

In 2004 the White Cross Guild re-assessed their role at HSC and approached the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the hospital with a proposal for a Thrift Shop to raise money to purchase equipment and other necessary items for the hospital. In 2005 they opened the Just Like New to You shop on Portage Avenue and discontinued providing any other services to the hospital. All funds raised by the Thrift Shop goes to purchasing items for HSC. In less than 10 years the shop had raised enough money to donate over $200,000.00 to HSC for much needed equipment and they hope to raise more money to purchase a very special piece of equipment for the Women's Hospital currently under construction.

Custodial history

Records were created in the course of the business of the White Cross Guild. In 2008 the records were donated by the Guild to the Nurses’ Alumni Association Archives. From October 2011 until June 2013 a member of the Guild came to the Archives and worked on the appraisal and arrangement of the records.

Scope and content

Records consist of Lists, History fact sheets, annual reports, Minutes, correspondence, financial records, Board orientation and manuals, records related to the Trust Fund and records related to the Thrift Shop.

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General note

The White Cross Guild was a member of the Manitoba Hospital Auxiliary Association and the Canadian Assocaition of Hospital Auxiliaries

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Created 23 August 2013
Revised 28 February 2014

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