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The War Years

World War I

On August 11, 1914, the question of making a contribution in the name of the Club to the Hospital Ship Fund was raised, but was not endorsed by Mrs. Barker, the President. It was decided that members wishing to contribute should do so individually.

Following this meeting, Mrs. Barker called a special meeting. Below are excerpts from the Minutes as recorded by the Club secretary on August 28, 1914.

“The Canadian Business Women’s Club held a special meeting at 114½ Yonge Street on Friday, August 28 at 8 p.m. to discuss the Club’s attitude in connection with the Hospital Ship Fund, with the President, Mrs. Barker, in the chair.

Mrs. Barker then vacated the chair which was taken by Miss Smart, 1st Vice President. Mrs. Barker stated she was absolutely opposed to the war, and could not contribute to the Hospital Ship Fund, as that would be countenancing war by relieving an inevitable consequence. She offered to retire from the presidency, if the Club wished as an organization to take part in this enterprise. After answering some questions, Mrs. Barker left the meeting.

A long discussion followed. The feeling was very strong that when a war came upon us, it was the duty of all true Canadian women to do what they could to ameliorate the suffering and distress in connection with it. Many members expressed their belief that the club should take a firm stand as being ready to do what it could.

The final decision reached was that the Canadian Business Women’s Club offer their services to the Toronto Women’s Patriotic League for any work that may be apportioned to them, and which is within their power to carry out. Carried unanimously.”

At a special meeting on September 22, Mrs. Barker tendered her resignation after a short address restating that she could not sanction any relief work in connection with war.

A group of club members during early years of World War I