The history of the Canadian Handicraft Guild dates back to 1902, when the Women's Art Association of Montreal held a large exhibition of handicrafts. A few years later the organization named the Canadian Handicraft Guild was formed with the provision of formation of local branches all across Canada. The first branches outside of Quebec were formed in Edmonton in 1911, Vancouver in 1912 and Winnipeg in 1913. The Alberta Provincial Branch was organized in 1928.
The Lethbridge branch was formed in 1935. At the time of the Second World War and the pressure of Red Cross work, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Maclead and Lethbridge branches disbanded. Lethbridge organized again in 1949.
The first executive of 1949 included Mrs. J. McIntosh (President), Mrs. C.G. Cope (VP), Mrs. A.C. Head (Secretary) and Mrs. W. Strome (Tresurer). The original group included A.E. Ives, Mrs. D. Woodcock, Mrs. C.B. Johnson, Mrs. C. Farstad, Mrs. E. Church (Woitte), Mrs. J.T. Vallance, Mrs. W. Strome, Mrs. J. Keys, Mrs. G.C. Cope, Mrs. A.C. Head, Miss Lillian McNair, Mrs. Nell Clarke, Mrs, Edith Niven, Mrs. Rita Revenko, Mrs. Linda Gibson, Mrs. Etta Johnston, Mrs. Holly Turnbull, Mrs. Frances Gardiner, Mrs. Maida Bryant, Mrs. Anne Lundy, Mrs. Libby Fumerton, Mrs. Barbara Bruchet and Mrs. Cynthia Russel.
The Guild first operated from the Red Cross Rooms. In 1964, the organization moved to the lower level of the Bowman Centre. The Guild offered a variety of classes including weaving, copper, lether, novelties, rugs, petit point, glovemaking, guiltting, knitting, tooled leather and flowers. In 1953 the Guild counted 134 paid members with 10-30 active member core. The activities also included discussions, demonstrations and exhibites. In 1964, Potters group withdrew from the Lethbridge Handicraft Guild.
From 1966 to 1974 the following members received Life Membership: Cynthia Russel, Nell Clarke, Lovina Stringam, Etta Johnston.
Scope and Content
2012.1043/001 Correspondence 2005; meeting minutes 1994-2002; publication clippings; list of officers, 6 photos
2012.1043/002 Shows and displays 15 slides
2012.1043/003 Guild history, 1962; correspondence, records 1950-1965
2012.1043/004 Ledger 1964-1977
2012.1043/005 Bowman Centre 1964; newsletter 1987-1990
2012.1043/006 Membership lists various years
2012.1043/007 Administrative records 1952-1955
2012.1043/008 Administrative records 1949-1951
2012.1043/009 Administrative records 1955-1965
2012.1043/010 Guild history manuscript 1949-1993; newsletters 1987-1992; 185 photos
2012.1043/011 Minutes 1976-1982
2012.1043/012 Minutes 1971-1976
2012.1043/013 Minutes 1949-1958
2012.1043/014 Minutes 1958-1966
2012.1043/015 Exhibit Weaving notes and samples, cards and invoices 1958-1960
2012.1091/001 Financial records 2000-2006
2012.1091/002 Financial records 1991-1999
2012.1091/003 Financial records 1979-1991
2012.1091/004 Financial records 1974-1982
2012.1091/005 Minutes 1990-1993
2012.1091/006 Minutes 1993-1997
2012.1091/007 Minutes 1982-1987; annual reports 1982-1987; petty cash 1982-83
2012.1091/008 Minutes 1987-1990
2012.1091/009 Handicraft sales 1978-1989
2012.1091/010 Minutes 1997-1998; 1998-1999; 2000-2001; membership list 1997-1998;
Tomomi Okutake originally immigrated to Canada in 1907, and was employed with the CPR in Vancouver. He then moved to Hardiville, Alberta in 1911, and resided there until enlisting with the Princess Pat Canadian Infantry in 1917. After serving two years in Britain and France, he was honourably discharged, receiving the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Upon his return to Canada, Tomomi began his work in the No. 6 coal mine. In 1930, he travelled back to Japan to marry Tsuru Genka, and together they moved back to Hardieville where Tomomi continued his work.
The No. 8 coal mine site was moved to Lethbridge shortly after, where he continued as a miner until his retirement in 1953. Once Japanese citizens were allowed to live in Lethbridge, the couple moved into the city. Tomomi and Tsuru Okutake resided in the City of Lethbridge from 1961 until Tomomi’s passing in 1971.
Throughout his time in Alberta, Tomomi became a founding member of the Lethbridge Buddhist Temple and the Lethbridge Honpa Buddhist Temple. He also played a big part in being the interpreter or spokesperson for those who couldn’t speak English in the Okinawan community.
After Tomomi passed away, Tsuru enrolled at the Community College to learn English as a second language. She joined the Senior Centre and learned new skills such as weaving and dancing. In her final years, she lived in the Taber Long Term Care unit where she later passed away in 1990.
The Okutake family had two adopted daughters, Patricia Yuriko (Sassa) and Esther Tsuru (Ayukawa).
Scope and Content
2017.1025/001 Okutake Family Photographs: Tomomi Okutake, Tsura Okutake, Chiyoryo Ishimine, Toshiko Ishimine, Tomotaka Ishimine, Choryo Ishimine, Toshiko Higa, Chiyosei Genka, Yoneko Genka, Chiyotasu Genka, Dorothy Goshinmon, Chiyoki Okutake, Chotei Okutake, Art Okutake, Pat Okutake, Chokei Okutake, Guiso Oshiro, Vicki Okutake.
2017.1025/002 Citizens certificate, statement of service, passport, biography, etc.
2017.1025/003 Biographies of Issei Pioneers from Okinawa to Southern Alberta.