Shortt, Elizabeth Smith fonds

Shortt, Elizabeth Smith.
Elizabeth Smith Shortt fonds. - 1829-1979.

8.2 m of textual records and other materials. - 214 photographs : b&w ; 27 x 21 cm or smaller.


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Elizabeth Smith was born Jan. 18, 1859 at 'Mountain Hall', Vinemount. She was educated by a governess in the home, at Winona School and at the Hamilton Collegiate Institute. She attended Queen's University, Kingston and received her degree in medicine at the Royal Medical College in 1884 (one of the first 3 women M.D.'s in Canada). She also received a diploma from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons.

For two years Dr. Elizabeth Smith practised in Hamilton. She was married Dec. 3, 1886 to Adam Shortt. They moved to Kingston where Elizabeth lectured at Queen's on Medical Jurisprudence and Sanitary Science. She worked for the first Y.W.C.A. in Canada and served as its president, and was a sponsor of the Kingston Musical Club and presided over it for seven years.

In September 1908 she and her husband, Dr. Adam Shortt, moved to Ottawa where she became very active in the local, provincial, and National Council of Women affairs. In connection with these organizations she wrote pamphlets on social aspects of tuberculosis, housing, inspection of markets, clean-up weeks, fly control, pasteurization of milk, care of mentally deficient, child welfare, and mother's pensions'. In 1911 she was the first Convener of the Public Health and Mental Hygiene Committee of the National Council of Women. She was also Convener of the Committee on Immigration in the Council and was instrumental in organizing a hostel for women immigrants in Ottawa. She was largely responsible in convening a committee to petition the Provincial Government to establish Mother's Allowances in Ontario, and when this was accomplished in 1920, she was appointed vice-chairman of the Provincial Board of Mother's Allowances and acted in that capacity for seven years. She died in Ottawa Jan. 14, 1949.

Muriel Shortt and Roger Clarke married in 1917 and settled into fruit farming in Vineland. Her portion of the fonds contains details of the struggle to become established in this field.

Lorraine Shortt, a graduate of Queen's, chose a field in the public service - social work, and the collection traces her successful career in this area.

This fonds documents a social and family history spanning almost one century. It revolves primarily around three women: Elizabeth Smith Shortt, and her daughters, Muriel Clarke and Lorraine Shortt. The fonds contains family correspondence, 1880 - 1970, general correspondence 1876-1970, manuscripts, diaries, typescripts, pamphlets, clippings and photographs. Correspondence includes Cecil B. and Senator E.D. Smith, the Smith and Shortt family letters, Adam and Elizabeth Shortt love letters, but primarily correspondence during and after the war period between Elizabeth, her daughters Muriel and Lorraine, until Elizabeth's death in 1949. Letters follow Elizabeth Smith through Queen's University, her role in formation of the Queen's Medical School for women, her concern with local and national councils of women, and a variety of clubs, commissions, and organizations. Correspondents includes Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Dr. Jennie K. Trout, Eliza Fitzgerald, Lady Ishbel Aberdeen. Also present are 15 manuscript diaries kept by E. Smith Shortt covering the period from 1872-1932 (typescript available for first 8 diaries). Diaries 1892-1911 are memoirs of Shortts' European trips. 23 diaries or day books kept by Lorraine Shortt from 1912-1943 are also present. The fonds contains also approximately 50 manuscript addresses, reports and speeches given by Elizabeth Shortt, as well as speeches by Lorraine Shortt. About 100-150 pamphlets and leaflets on a variety of subjects document Elizabeth's interests and activities, especially war period and restoration, National Council of Women, Mother's Allowance Commission, etc. Also present are clippings from 1800-1960, original and photocopied newspaper and magazine clippings and articles arranged under about 50 headings dealing with the Shortt and Smith families, and with a multiplicity of organized groups that formed at the turn of the century. Miscellaneous documents include notebooks of Elizabeth Shortt's subjects at Queen's Medical School, certificates, records of investments, bank records, war medals, autograph books, and scrapbook belonging to the family. Photograph albums and approximately 100 loose photographs of family and friends complete this fonds.

Title from content of the fonds.

Also includes some artefactual materials.

Extent is measured in linear metres of shelf space as occupied by the fonds.

Donated by Muriel Clarke and Lorraine Shortt, daughters of Elizabeth Smith Shortt and Adam Shortt, in the fall of 1965 with some material arriving later in 1966. Muriel Clarke's papers were received in 1974.

Fonds and files have been redescribed in many cases, but series have been left as were created in the late 1970's. Series are generally arranged alphabetically, but as new information has come to light, files are not always in correct alphabetical order.

Detailed finding aid available.

Related materials can be found in WA 8, Damaris Isabella Smith fonds, and WA 9, Mauritana Smith fonds.

Call number: WA 10