Fonds - Reta Rowan fonds

UAA-1969-067 UAA-1971-070
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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Reta Rowan fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Dates of creation area


  • 1886 - 1979 (Creation)
    Rowan, Reta

Physical description area

Physical description

  • 2.09 metres of textual material. - 210 photographic prints and glass slides.

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Biographical history

Reta Guenever Mary Bush, daughter of A.R. Bush, was living in the family home in Morden, Surrey, England, at the time of her marriage to scientist William Rowan, in September 1919. That year they emigrated to Canada where her husband lectured in zoology at the Univeristy of Manitoba for one year, before moving farther west to found and become Head of the Department of Zoology at the University of Alberta. In Edmonton Reta Rowan raised her family of two sons and three daughters and participated in numerous University and community activities for more thatn fifty years. In 1977 she moved to Willowdale, Ontario. Mrs. Rowan died in Toronto on Juen 28, 1983. Mrs. Rowan's interests were varied, ranging from involvement with cultural groups such as the Folk Festival Committee and the Allied Arts Council, to association with the Alberta Adult Education Society and with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. It was, however, her work with minority groups at the civic and provincial level that claimed most of her time between 1942 and 1967. She organized the female representatives of nineteen ethnic groups in the city into the Council for Canadian Unity, which she chaired from 1942-1950. When the Council's Committee of the Friends of Indians was formed in 1944 she acccepted the duties of corresponding secretary. Although she resigned this executive position in 1960, she remained a member until 1967 when the Society, acting on a motion from Mrs. Rowan, disbanded and transferred its support to the Indian-Eskimo Association and the Canadian Native Friendship Centre. Through the Friends of the Indians Society she came in contact with the Indian Association of Alberta whose progress she followed as an observer or delegate until 1957 when she was appointed to its advisory board.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Reta Rowan fonds covers the years from 1940 to 1971. The material consists of correspondence, minutes, briefs, reports, publications, periodicals, newspapers, drawings, print and negative photographs. The books in the Reta Rowan fonds were listed on a separate inventory in 1977. Originally, the majority of the files were arranged in chronological order under the society's or association's title, while the remainder were filed by the organization's name or by subject, or left unlabelled. Mrs. Rowan's arrangement has been followed where possible but all unlabelled or loose files have been placed in the proper year or provided with a subject title.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


The fonds is arranged into the following series:

  1. The Friends of the Indians Society
  2. The Indian Association of Alberta
  3. Council for Canadian Unity
  4. Folk Festival Committee
  5. Alberta Adult Education Association
  6. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
  7. Government Publications and Other Printed Material
  8. Photographs, Maps and Drawings

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Restrictions on access

The Reta Rowan Fonds is open for research except for items 17/1/1-16 and 17/1/1-22. These items, from The Friends of the Indians Society series, are personal case files and cannot be consulted. Restrictions on Use The University of Alberta Archives holds copyright on all material in the Reta Rowan Fonds. The University Archivist must be consulted for any commercial use of the material.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

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William Rowan fonds

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Finding aid written by Elizabeth McCrum. Encoded by Raymond Frogner on January 30, 2003. Revised on June 21, 2004.
Updated by M.Fraser 24 March 2020.

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