Fonds PR3636 - Helen Hunley fonds

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Helen Hunley fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

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    • 1941-2005 (Creation)

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    Physical description

    1.12 m of textual records
    484 photographs
    125 photographs: negatives.
    1 transparency
    6 VHS videocassettes [4hrs: 37 min]

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    Biographical history

    Wilma Helen Hunley was born on September 6, 1920 in Acme, Alberta to parents James Edgar Hunley and Esta May Hunley. Her early years were spent in the Delia district and in 1933 she moved with her family to the Rocky Mountain House district where she attended rural schools in southern Alberta and went to the Rocky Mountain House High School. She first worked as a telephone operator in Carstairs, Acme, and Calgary, then in 1941 enlisted in the Canadian Women's Army Corps and served overseas from 1943 to 1945. After being discharged with the rank of Lieutenant, she returned to her mother's farm which she helped operate for one year.

    Ms. Hunley was then employed for nine years by an implement and truck dealership and an insurance agency at Rocky Mountain House. She purchased these businesses in 1957 and held the International Harvester franchise in Rocky Mountain House until 1968, making her the first woman to hold an International Harvester dealership in North America. She also had her Journeyman's Certificate as a "Partsman." She owned and managed Helen Hunley Agencies Limited, an insurance agency, from 1968-71. W. Helen Hunley was active in community affairs and volunteer agencies, particularly the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, and Rocky Mountain House Memorial Public Library. As well, she served in various executive positions in the Rocky Mountain House Badminton Club, Arts and Crafts Association, and Recreation Board.

    She was Town Councillor for six years (1960-66) and Mayor of Rocky Mountain House for five (1966-71). She was first elected as a Progressive Conservative and Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for the electoral district of Rocky Mountain House in 1971 and was re-elected in 1975. She served as Minister Without Portfolio from 1971 to 1973 and was responsible for the Alberta Health Care Commission. She then served as Alberta's first Solicitor General from 1973 to 1975, and finally, she was appointed Minister of Social Services and Community Health on April 3, 1975. She did not run as a candidate at the general election of 1979.

    In June, 1980 she was appointed Chairman of the Alberta Mental Health Advisory Council. The same year, she also served on the Alberta Seventy-fifth Anniversary Commission and helped form the Alberta Citizens' Coalition. This coalition was organized to inform other Canadians regarding Alberta's position during the negotiations between the Alberta and Canadian governments over constitutional and energy-related issues.

    In 1984, she served as President of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. On the advice of Prime Minister M. Brian Mulroney, W. Helen Hunley was appointed as the twelfth Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta effective January 22, 1985. This appointment was made by Jeanne M. Sauve, Governor General of Canada. The Lieutenant-Governor's first Aide-de-Camp was Lieutenant-Colonel John H.Quarton. He was replaced by Lieutenant Commander Donald J. Stewart. Her Private Secretary was M. Patricia Halligan-Baker.

    W. Helen Hunley is a Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (1985) and she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta (1985). Her term as Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta was completed on March 11, 1991 and she was admitted into the Order of Canada on October 21, 1992. Ms. Hunley died on October 22, 2010 at Rocky Mountain House.

    Custodial history

    Hunley's ministerial records were transferred from the Ministry of Social Services and Community Health in 1979. The remaining material was donated by Helen Hunley to the Royal Alberta Museum in 2006, along with several artifacts. The Museum kept the artifacts and transferred this material to the PAA in 2009. A second donation was made to the Royal Alberta Museum in 2010 and materials were transferred to the PAA in 2012.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records related to Helen Hunley's personal, professional and political activities. The fonds is comprised of the following series:

    • Personal, professional and political records
    • Minister without Portfolio records

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    The records were acquired by direct transfer from the Ministry of Social Services and Community Health and by donation.


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        Restrictions on access

        Please consult the Reference Archivist regarding access restrictions to these records.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Subject to the Copyright Act. Permission for use required.

        Finding aids

        File lists are available.

        Associated materials

        Artifacts related to Helen Hunley were donated to the Royal Alberta Museum and have been assigned the catalogue number H07.2.


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Please consult the series level descriptions for the accessions associated with those series.

        General note

        Includes accessions PR2012.0391, PR2009.0534 and GR1979.0107.

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            The scope and content is based upon a review of the records.

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