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Madeleine Parent Fonds

  • CA MUA MG4269
  • Fonds
  • 1890s-2010

The fonds chiefly consists of materials that Madeleine Parent gathered or created as a labour organizer and activist. The United Textile Workers of America series (B) and the Canadian independent unions series (C) make up the bulk of the fonds. Series B and C relate to Parent’s activities as Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian District of the United Textile Workers of America (UTWA) and the Canadian Textile Council (CTC), later the Canadian Textile and Chemical Union (CTCU). Parent’s union activities closely connect with Robert Kent Rowley, with whom she co-founded the CTC. Series C also documents Parent’s work for the Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU), including files on member unions. Documentation includes meeting minutes, collective agreements, financial documents, correspondence, labour publications, and photographs. Series B and C also detail strikes in Quebec and Ontario organized by the UTWA Canadian District, CTC, and CTCU. Some of the strikes include the Dominion Textile Company Limited strikes in 1946 and 1952, Harding Carpets Limited in 1956, Artistic Woodwork Company Limited in 1973, and the Puretex Knitting Company Limited strike in 1978.

The smallest of the series, D and E, document the legal proceedings for the 1947 charge laid against Parent for seditious conspiracy and Parent’s campaign for Montreal City Council in 1954. Series F and H document Parent’s women’s and social justice activism, predominantly from the 1970s until the early 2000s. Among the records are files regarding her work with the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) and her advocacy for immigrants’ rights and indigenous rights, such as her support for Mary Pitawanakwat, an Ojibway woman unjustly dismissed from the federal civil service. Social justice files relate to various topics, including nuclear phaseout, workplace health and safety, peace activism, and human rights violations.

Personal papers, found in series A, include family documents and photographs, personal correspondence, and Parent’s agendas, research notes, and writings, as well as documentation related to interviews. Much of this material relates to labour and social justice activism and her activities as a labour organizer. The final series, H, consists of Rowley’s personal papers compiled by Parent. Included are files of correspondence, writings, and notebooks, as well as materials created about Rowley posthumously regarding his biography and tributes to him after his death.

The fonds also documents Madeleine Parent’s social and political activism, especially in the years following her retirement from the union in 1983, through correspondence, speeches and lectures, newspaper clippings, minutes, agenda books, 1948-2009, telephone journals, 1990-2005, photographs, as well as audiotapes of interviews and speeches. There are records concerning her involvement in public campaigns concerning such issues as free trade, 1987, de-indexing of family allowances, 1985-1986, freedom of choice/abortion rights, 1986-1987, Charlottetown Accord, 1992 and the human rights case of Mary Pitawanakwat, 1994-1995. Some of these campaigns reflect her involvement in the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.

Also included are documents pertaining to her personal life including family documents, correspondence, biographical information, photographs, and diplomas.

This fonds also contains personal and labour-related writings, including articles, letters to the editor, book reviews, reports on union activities, notes on Canadian history, and correspondence of Kent Rowley, 1942-1975.

Parent, Madeleine, 1918-2012