Vida Smythe and Eliza J. Powley fonds Help

Fonds F 4484

Vida Smythe and Eliza J. Powley fonds

About these records

Vida Smythe and Eliza J. Powley fonds
Dates of Creation
Physical Description

21 volumes of textual records

Scope and Content

Fonds consists of diaries written by Eliza J. Powley and Vida Smythe describing day to day life near Cataraqui, Ontario over half a century. The diaries provide an extensive portrait of family life and work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ontario.

Eliza J. Powley's diaries document daily work, social activities, and the health of members of the Powley household in detail.

The diaries of Powley and Smythe provide a comprehensive picture of the seasonal work and social activities of these women in rural Ontario as well as what work was undertaken by the men.

In addition, Powley's diaries document local news such as births and deaths, weddings, migrations to the United States and Western Canada, and local travel with all its complexities.

After 1914, Eliza Powley's diaries include references to national and world events such as World War I.

Of note is Eliza Powley's regular mention of the weather, wages paid, expenses, market profits, health cures, and breeding information for livestock.

Vida Smythe's diary documents social activities of a seventeen year old living on a family farm while attending high school in Kingston and being courted by her future husband.

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Administrative History or Biographical Sketch

Eliza Jane Powley, together with her husband James, operated a farm and raised a family, near Cataraqui in Kingston Township, Ontario.

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Smythe, Vida Amelia, 1894-1988

Powley, Eliza Jane, 1835-1922

Restrictions on Access
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Terms For Use and Reproduction
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Custodial History

After Eliza Jane Powley's death in 1922 her diaries were given to Vida Smythe. On her death in 1988, her diary and those written by Eliza Jane Powley were given to Vera Smythe Clarke who passed the diaries on to her cousin, Marion Powley. Marion Powley donated the records to the Archives of Ontario in 2005.

Physical Condition

Prior to donation to the Archives of Ontario, a few blank pages were removed from the back of some of the diaries.


No further accruals are anticipated.

Finding Aid
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Records series that make up this fonds

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Reference Code Series Title
F 4484-1 Diaries of Eliza Jane Powley
F 4484-2 Diary of Vida Smythe