Fonds glen-1818 - Irene and Walter Parlby fonds

Mrs. Irene Parlby. United Farmers Alberta members elect in front of Lougheed Building, Calgary, Alberta.

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Irene and Walter Parlby fonds

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GLEN glen-1818

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5 cm of textual records. -- 9 microfilm reels. -- 71 photographs

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Biographical history

Walter C.H. Parlby, 1862-1952, was born in England. He graduated from Oxford with an MA, and managed a tea plantation in Assam before coming to Alberta in 1890. In partnership with his brother, Edward, he established the Long Valley Ranch in 1890, near present day Alix. The partnership was dissolved when Edward married, and Walter then started Dartmoor Ranch nearby. Mary Irene Marryat (known as Irene), 1868-1965, was born in England and spent part of her childhood in India. On a visit to Alberta in 1897 she met and married Walter Parlby. They had one son, Humphrey, 1899-1976. Irene was first secretary of the Alix Country Women's Club in 1913. This club later became Local No. 1 of the United Farm Women of Alberta. She was provincial president of the UFWA, 1916-1919. In the 1921 provincial election she was elected as the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) member for Lacombe. She served as Minister without Portfolio from 1921 to 1935, being the second woman cabinet minister in the British Commonwealth. She was one of Alberta's "Famous Five" (Famous 5) who in 1929 led the movement to have women recognized as persons. She retired from public life in 1935. The Parlbys moved closer to Alix after Irene's election, but in 1948 returned to Dartmoor to live with their son, who in 1931 had married Beatrice Buckley, 1903-1988, and taken over the ranch in 1935. In 1966 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Irene Parlby as a National Historic Person. For further information see In Search of a Useful Life : Irene Marryat Parlby, 1868-1965 / Catherine A. Cavanaugh. -- University of Alberta : PhD thesis, 1995; "Irene Marryat Parlby : An 'Imperial Daughter' in the Canadian West, 1896-1934" in Telling Tales : Essays in Western Women's History / Catherine A. Cavanaugh and Randi R. Warne, eds. -- Vancouver : University of British Columbia Press, 2000, p. 100-122; and Dried Apples, Victorian Ideals and Organizational Works : The Private and Public Personae of Mary Irene Parlby / Alexis Ann Soltice. -- University of Calgary, unpublished PhD thesis, 2005.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of Walter Parlby's diaries (1892-1950 [on microfilm]) and Irene Parlby's personal papers and addresses (some on microfilm), and newsclippings. Includes photographs of the family, ranch and Alix area; a scrapbook of the Alix Farm Women's Union of Alberta (FWUA), successor to the UFWA (on microfilm); and memoirs by Bea Parlby regarding her father MLA John C. Buckley.

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Gifts of Irene, Beatrice, Gerald and Humphrey Parlby, 1958-2007; and Blyth Hall, 2002.


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No restrictions on access.

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No finding aid.

Associated materials

Other Parlby records are held by the Library and Archives Canada and the Red Deer and District Archives.

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General note

Call numbers M-936, M-937, M-938, M-2759, M-4798, M-9220, Microfilm Parlby, Microfilm Parlby - FWUA, PA-155, PA-2115, NA-142, NA-205, NA-648, NA-832, NA- 2204, NA-2217, NA-2925

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  • English

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