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Eyewitness Account of WW I
November 10, 2012
Among the many treasurers housed in the Mission Community Archives is a postcard from World War I which includes a letter written in French. Staff at École des Deux Rives in Mission kindly translated the brief and cryptic message that was undoubedly hurriedly written in 1916. Although the Mission Community Archives is unable to identify who the writer or recipient of the card was, the information it contains provides us with a glimpse into what life was like for soldiers along with their families and friends during World War I. The Community Archives is grateful to the school for providing the following translation.
January 26, 1916
I just wrote to my aunt, your mother, and she will pass on this postcard. You will see, by this card, what I think is the cause of my not getting anymore news from you.
This postcard is a small 'part' of one of our soldiers' trains on its way to Europe. The train is here at the Mission train station, in front of the door, there a lot of soldiers that have been in France for a long time. A lot of them hurt and others dead. The other day urgent news came of a young man (brother of my friend that I went to English school with) found dead in a field in France.
(This train is 15 wagons long, plus baggage wagons.)
The postcard is part of an extensive collection generously donated by Carl Klenk, a local resident, in 2007. Many are "never before seen" images of Mission and the Fraser Valley. A life-long interest, Carl earnestly began collecting old postcards and photographs in 1979 while living in Seattle. He joined the Seattle Postcard Club and subsequently the Vancouver Postcard Club where he both purchased and sold cards. He also acquired them at old antique stores, photographic club shows and swap meets.
17th Annual Celebration of Women
September 15, 2012
The Mission Community Archives is opening their 17th annual Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission exhibit on October 6, 2012 at 1:30 PM at the Cedar Valley Mennonite Church.
The annual event is part of a program which was founded in 1996 by Archivist Val Billesberger to facilitate the preservation of local women's records and celebrate the diverse contributions of women to the community.
The exhibit portrays the stories of women's lives, past and present, using the personal records acquired by the archives including: letters, photographs, awards, diplomas, speeches, newspaper clippings, published materials, and memorabilia. As a direct result of this program, the archives have added the personal records of over 50 women to its holdings.
The event also provides a forum to celebrate the achievements, hopes and dreams of women. Since 1996, the lives of 87 local women ranging from entrepreneurs, educators and politicians to artists, athletes, caregivers and community activists have been celebrated.
This year four more women will be honoured - Carol Hine, a remarkable woman who combined her nursing training and experience with her passion to care for helpless abused, abandoned, and surrendered animals by establishing SAINTS (Senior Animals in Need Today Society); Bev Kokoska, an inspirational educator who taught with her heart and soul throughout her 34 year career and ardent community volunteer; Anna Kopanyas, a native of Mission described as "a lady of class and dedication to the community" who has put in countless hours volunteering in McConnell Creek and Mission to improve the quality of life for local citizens; and Betty Robertson, an exceptional woman with a life-long interest in health care, history, and giving back to the community who co-authored a book on the history of Mission Memorial Hospital and works as a devoted volunteer to help preserve local history.
Guests will have the opportunity to meet and speak with these remarkable women and many of those previously honoured. Tickets for the event are $10 and may be purchased at Murdoch's Bookshoppe on First Avenue or the Mission Community Archives. Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $12.
The program is run completely through support from the community and any donations are greatly appreciated. For additional information, please contact the Community Archivist, Val Billesberger, by calling 604 820-2621 (Thursdays or Friday afternoons only) or send an email
Grant awarded for Gateway Project
June 16, 2012
On June 15th, work commenced on establishing a searchable online database of the Archives holdings. The Mission District Historical Society, the governing authority of the Archives, was recently awarded a 120th Mission Anniversary Grant from the District of Mission to fund the creation of a permanent gateway on the internet that will feature the holdings of the society's three operations: Mission Community Archives, Mission Museum and the Heritage Places Branch.
Each operation will create access to Mission's cultural assets through their perspective website, which will improve online service levels through 24 hour access.
"We are very excited," commented Archivist Val Billesberger, "to finally be in a position to use technology to advance public access to the archives unique holdings, including: photographs, textual records, sound recordings and more. We are most grateful to the District of Mission for making this possible."
In July and August, students hired through Services Canada Summer Jobs Program will work under the direction of the Archivist to help digitize materials for inclusion in the online database.
The Archives, along with the Museum and Heritage Places Branch will officially launch their online databases at the District of Mission 120th Anniversary Celebrations on September 29th. Once established, the information in the Archives database will be updated as material is processed and new acquisitions are received.
Annual Fundraiser a Success!
May 28, 2012
Over 60 people, including MLA Randy Hawes and Mayor Ted Adlem, attended the 7th annual Ice Cream Social on May 26th to raise funds for the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. Organizer Valerie Hundert proclaimed the springtime event which raised over $1300 for the program "a great success."
Held at the Cedarbrooke Chateau, attendees enjoyed ice cream, treats, and a poetry reading by Doris Paterson, a local artist, writer and poet.
"A special thanks to Karen Holmgren, Executive Director, Chef Jason Johnson and his staff of the Cedarbrooke Chateau for once again sponsoring the event;" said Archivist Val Billesberger "I am also extremely grateful to the Ice Cream Social Fundraising Committee comprised of Valerie Hundert, Ruth Dorling, Barbara Fehrmann, and Kuldip Herar who did an outstanding job planning and organizing this year's event."
In addition to door prizes donated by Fraser River Safari, Mission Community Archives, and Kerry Martin of the Blackberry Kitchen at Fraser River Heritage Park, 25 gift baskets were raffled off thanks to the generosity of the following businesses who donated items: Buck or Two, Dr. Lyndon Balisky, Optometrist, Claim to Frame, Framed By Lewis, Fronya Clothing Store, Gold Bin, Lloyd's Cleaners, London Drugs, Magnolias on Main, Mission Leisure Centre, Number 10 Hair Design, Opening Night Theatre, Pete's Pizza, Doris Paterson, Rex Cox Men's Wear, Sue's Copy Place, The Sweet Stop Cafe and Uncommon Thredz."
The funds generated will go towards the preservation of women's records in the archives and the annual celebration of women which will be held on Saturday, October 13th. Through the program, the records of over 78 local women and the oral histories of 50 local women have been preserved in the archives for present and future generations to use.
"We encourage members of the community to continue donating to this unique and important program of the Community Archives." Valerie Hundert said "Donations can be made by contacting the archives at 604 820-2621."
Nomination Deadline May 31, 2012
March 17, 2012
The Mission Community Archives is once again accepting nominations for the Paths & Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program. Since the inauguration of the program in 1996, the Community Archives has recognized and built its holdings on more than eighty-five local women who have helped shape the community in the past and the present.
Nominations for the 2012 event are being accepted until May 31, 2012. Women eligible for nomination must have resided or presently reside in the District of Mission, Hatzic Prairie, Hatzic Island, Dewdney, Deroche, Nicomen Island, Lake Errock and/or McConnell Creek.
The nominator must submit, on two pages or less, biographical information about the nominee, including her length of residence in the community, field of endeavor and personal attributes along with 2 letters of support for the nominee from family, friends, organizations etc.
On October 6th, 2012, the Community Archives will honour four women at the 17th Annual Celebration of Women. The event is being held as part of local activities to mark Women's History Month in Canada.
For additional information, please contact the Community Archivist, Val Billesberger, by calling 604 820-2621 (Thursdays or Friday afternoons only) or send an email
Remembering Mary Vogel
February 4, 2012
Mary Vogel, an outstanding volunteer at the Mission Community Archives and life-time member of the Mission District Historical Society died Wednesday, February 1st.
Mary first volunteered for the Archives starting in 1991 to assist with the Rites of Passage Exhibition on the history of Mission Japanese community. She joined the committee that planned the event and in 1992 agreed to serve as the volunteer coordinator.
Mary was responsible for organizing and supervising 103 volunteers working as ushers, registrars, security personnel, clerks, and tour guides during the 3 weeks the exhibit was open. Prior to the opening, she assisted with establishing a volunteer staff, including a record keeping system for tracking them, helped plan and organize volunteer orientation and training sessions, established and maintained a volunteer work roster; and addressed any staffing concerns or problems. Her contributions ensured the success of the historic event.
Following the opening of the new Archives building in 1994, Mary became a member of the "Senior Management Team", serving as the archives first "Social Events and Planning Coordinator" (1994-2001). Besides managing the provision of refreshments for volunteers and their social fund, she planned and organized staff socials and special events, including: the annual summer social, open houses and the Paths and Pathfinders: Women of Mission Program.
As member of the archives staff, she also served on the Collection Management Committee from 1994 to 2002 and the Archives Advisory Committee from 1994 to 2004. During her tenure on these committees, Mary played a vital role in the ground-breaking worked that was carried out to ensure the acquisition, preservation and accessibility of the community's documentary heritage. Mary will be remembered by many for her initiative, exceptional organizational skills and warm, hospitable nature.